As a life long Star Wars fan, the last few years haven’t been easy, and I’m not expecting the coming ones to be. Disney seems to only want to serve me poorly butchered trimmings of my favorite franchise, from the unnecessary reboot that is The Force Awakens, to the failure of Solo, I had considered Star Wars to be mostly dead. But like so many of its characters, Star Wars has come back from the grave, in the form of The Mandalorian.
Dave Filoni, the Mandalorian’s show runner, has seized the opportunity to redeem himself in full force. Indeed, after his rather restrained and boring Star Wars: Rebels, Filoni has finally succeeded in capturing the sense of adventure, wonder, and spectacle that oozed out of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Filoni’s first big Star Wars TV show, and the best piece of Star Wars media to date. Filoni’s first foray into chronological, live action story telling – almost taking the form of a mini series – is a massive step in the right direction. However, the heavy hand of “Star Wars killer” Kathleen Kennedy has me quite worried for the Mandalorian’s future, as do Filoni’s previous misfires and mishaps, though for now, the first three episodes, at least, have been quite excellent.
Where one may expect a character such as the Mandalorian to be as lifeless and cold as the corporate entity that spawned him, Pedro Pascal’s performance, despite being covered by a helmet for now and likely for many more episodes, is as full of emotion and life as the worlds he explores. The other main character, the baby “Yoda”, is an excellent partner for the battle hardened “Mando”. While few other important characters have been shown, aside from members of the Mandalorian’s tribe, those that have been shown fit well in Star War’s gargantuan cast of supporting and side characters. The dialogue is well written, as is the rest of the show, which thus far has had a relatively air-tight plot and very good pacing.
So far, we’ve seen more Star Wars in the Mandalorian than in any of the recent films – it’s loaded with new locations, technologies, and colorful characters. That is, new places for the Mandalorian to hunt down bounties, new weapons and ships for the Mandalorian to kill people with, and interesting people to hunt. In fact, the Mandalorian is looking to be the most violent Star Wars in town. Star Wars is a series already known for getting away with a lot of violence, including torture, executions, decapitations, and even the title, Star Wars. The Mandalorian seeks to top it all, featuring disintegrations, John-Wick style shootouts, and even an alien being cut in half. Supporting the gratuitous violence is a whole host of practical effects, meticulous set and prop design, puppeteering, and even animatronics. The eye to detail in the Mandalorian is apparent, causing the show to feel right at home with the classics.
Some may argue that I’m too critical, or too high and mighty of a Star Wars fan, and I would agree. However, the Mandalorian has made me lessen my edge and come off my high horse. The Mandalorian’s bravado and spirit make me feel like a kid again, watching Star Wars for the first time, and while I’m quite skeptical of the show’s future, for now, it truly is the best Disney era Star Wars media. I look forward to seeing more of the Mandalorian’s adventures, and choose to steam ahead with it, cautiously optimistic of the looming Disney threat amid the currently spectacular adventure offered by the Mandalorian.