At the very beginning of last week, we were a different society. Disney+ was not yet open for business, and we hadn’t experienced Jon Favreau’s new Star Wars series — The Mandalorian. Two episodes and just over a week later, we have been enlightened and the galaxy as we know it has been forever changed.
Alright, if you haven’t watched The Mandalorian yet, that may sound over dramatic … not to mention you’re now tip-toeing on the precipice of major spoiler territory. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The Mandalorian is the first live-action Star Wars television series and it was certainly worth the wait. But what exactly makes it so great?
The Mandalorian Himself
The not-yet-officially-named Mandalorian bounty hunter (What was that, Pedro — Dyn Jarren? Can we get a spell check over here, Lucasfilm?) is our main character of the series. Unlike most Star Wars tales that we’ve grown comfortably used to, the Mandalorian isn’t your typical hero that’s here to save the galaxy as we know it. Though the trajectory of his story still remains to be seen, he is ultimately a morally grey character that dances a fine line between what’s right and what’s wrong. Underneath the helmet is actor Pedro Pascal, whose talent shines brightly in the fact that he’s been able to convey so much emotion and personality without yet showing his face. The most interesting thing about the Mandalorian is that despite his reputation as a top shelf bounty hunter, he’s certainly not invincible — Jawas, anyone?
The closest thing we’ll get to world peace right now is the internet unanimously agreeing to temporarily name the asset “Baby Yoda,” despite fact that we’re all well aware that the adorable little green 50 year old baby is … not actually Yoda. So outside of the fact that Baby Yoda has taken all of social media by storm right now in a cult-like uprising of memes as if the end of the world as we know is upon us … it’s also a pretty fascinating character that we’d really like to learn more about. It’s clearly Force sensitive, intelligent, and has also developed an intriguing dynamic with its captor — the Mandalorian. The next episode may certainly rock the boat in terms of the Lone Wolf and Cub vibes that we’ve been lounging in for the past week, but we’ll enjoy this for what it is right now.
Every Other Character
We’re only two episodes in and we’ve already been introduced to a handful of great characters (not surprising). To name a few, one of the most standout ones was Kuill, the Ugnaught moisture farmer portrayed by Nick Nolte. Though he turned down the Mandalorian’s offer to join him, we can only hope that he will return in later episodes. And although IG-11 met an untimely death (rightfully so, how dare he!), Taika Waititi gave an enormous personality to the ruthless bounty hunting droid. The Mandalorian Armorer (Emily Swallow) is someone else that we’re really hoping to see more of, as the character’s short time on screen in Chapter 1 left many questions as to who exactly the formidable Mandalorian woman behind the mask is.
Throughout the generations of Star Wars, composer John Williams has been a constant presence. Though fans may have initially been apprehensive to have someone new in place of Williams — Ludwig Göransson — this young, rising talent has certainly proven himself capable. He has previously composed scores for films like Black Panther and Venom. For this series, Göransson crafted a selection of songs which innately understand the underlying world that is Star Wars, but break away to better fit within the style and framework of The Mandalorian. This music is a bit more technical and gritty than what we’re used to hearing in the background of a Star Wars feature, and yet so is the show itself. This score is exactly what the show needed, and we’re looking forward to hearing the rest of it as season one pans out.
The Worldbuilding and the Details
If there’s one gripe about Star Wars films, it’s the fact that George Lucas crafted an absolutely mesmerizing galaxy jam-packed with endless worlds and creatures — and yet we’ve barely had enough screen time to scratch the surface of it (in a live-action format, anyway.) With The Mandalorian, we’re finally being given the unique opportunity to take the story at a slower pace and stop and smell the flowers (or … fight an entire pack of Jawas). Favreau stayed rightfully true to the essence of Star Wars, yet tastefully stepped outside of the box to showcase the darker, unseen corners of stories previously left untold.
Thus far, the show has not felt like it’s attempting to turn each episode into a grand cinematic mini-movie adventure. Rather, it leisurely moves along in such a way that viewers can fully appreciate each and every scene, world, creature, and character. Chapter 2 was essentially The Mandalorian and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, complete with gratuitous amounts of mud, a stressful babysitting gig, a very expensive egg, and plenty of mischievous Jawas — Utinni!
Overall, The Mandalorian is ramping up to be a huge success. With the end of the Skywalker saga looming on the horizon, the normalcy of a paced, live-action episodic series is refreshing and exactly what the world of Star Wars needs right now.
Six episodes remain in the first season of The Mandalorian, which are set to premiere exclusively on Disney+ each Friday between now and the end of December. And try not to get too discouraged that there are only eight episodes, because season two is already in the works!
We have spoken.