“Star Wars” is something that I’ve always been a fan of but never been a “fan” of. What I mean is I know a lot of the lore behind the franchise, but I have never been a big fan of the main movies that belong to it. I don’t remember the original films much and the prequels are pretty awful except for “Revenge of the Sith.” I find myself enjoying only certain aspects of the franchise such as both animated series from Cartoon Network, the video games, some of the comics and the spinoff films. With only five episodes released, I can now add “The Mandalorian” to that list.
“Star Wars” is no stranger to the small screen, but there has never been a live-action show like “The Mandalorian” (we can just pretend that the “Star Wars Holiday Special” doesn’t exist). It’s the first “Star Wars” series not to air on television, playing instead on Disney’s new streaming service, Disney Plus. The show reintroduces its viewers to the “Star Wars” universe fans are very familiar with, but during a time period where they are not familiar: the years between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens.” The setting itself is a big part of the show’s quality. There is no connection to any previous films or shows and it manages to stand on its own without said connection, unlike the current trilogy of films, which heavily rely on the nostalgia people have for the original trilogy. Anyone who doesn’t know much about the “Star Wars” universe can jump right into “The Mandalorian.”
When someone does tune in, they’ll be introduced to a silent yet compelling protagonist known simply as the Mandalorian, or as Apollo Creed says, Mando. There are many who don’t like him because he seems to be an emotionless, monotone character, but I don’t mind that he is written this way. Pedro Pascal, who you might know as “that guy from ‘Narcos,’” does a good job of playing an ostensibly cold-hearted bounty hunter who seems to solve all of his problems with his sidearm. The Mandalorian’s character reminds me of Darth Vader. He wears a mask all the time, he has some memorable dialogue and he is very skilled at combat; he is meant to be the antihero that every good Western has.
It sounds weird, but yes, “The Mandalorian” is a Western. It may not be set in the 19th century or even America, but it’s still a Western. Micah Peters from The Ringer says, “A Western is as much about societal decline as it is about survival and cool-sounding one-liners, and the lead should be a stone wall on which to project all of that.” In “The Mandalorian,” we see society collapse as the Empire, which Darth Vader served, has fallen apart after the Emperor’s death. The show’s first season has not finished but it seems as if bounty hunters like the Mandalorian are the only people resembling law and order in the galaxy.
He travels from planet to planet capturing bounties, who are not very good people I assume. Eventually he comes across the internet’s current obsession, Baby Yoda. I’m not the type of person that calls anything “cute” but it’s impossible for Baby Yoda to be described any other way. Currently he has no official name other than “The Child” but that’s not as good as Baby Yoda. I find myself constantly worrying about him whenever there is an action scene because he might get hurt. I hate Jon Favereau, the show’s creator, for making me care so much about a puppet. I do hope that we learn more about him before the end of the season.
Each episode of the show sees the Mandalorian escorting Baby Yoda to different places as his self-designated protector. This is basically the plot of the show and it works very well. I love shows that manage to have different plots each episode while maintaining an overarching narrative. Each episode might not have a plot that’s relevant to the central storyline of the series, but it may introduce elements that eventually will. In one episode, the Mandalorian finds himself helping a village protect themselves from bandits who attack them and steal their crops.
Not only do we get to see the Mandalorian finally interact with people that aren’t bounty hunters or shady individuals, but we also get introduced to a character who will definitely return to the show at some point. I don’t want to give spoilers but there is also another moment like this with another character as well. The show is a little slow, but I can tell that it’s building toward some big plot moments. Some of them will surely come along when Season 2 is released. That’s right, Disney has renewed the show for a second season, even with only five of its eight episodes being released so far.
— Disney+ (@disneyplus) December 6, 2019
This is a huge sign that Disney has confidence in the show being a staple of Disney Plus. The only thing that I would like to see changed is the length of the episodes. Each episode so far has been under 40 minutes and I think that it should be longer, maybe about 45 or 50 minutes. I just feel like more could be done with the show if the episodes were longer. However, I do like the traditional practice of a show coming out weekly as it allows for better discussion and gives something to look forward to every week.
That said, the problem with using this practice with “The Mandalorian” is that Disney Plus does not have much to offer currently. The Marvel shows I can’t wait for aren’t coming until 2020 at least, and I get tired of just watching shows I watched in elementary school. Whatever Disney does with “The Mandalorian,” I just hope they don’t ruin its plot, soundtrack or characters.