The Mandalorian, the first live-action Star Wars television series, landed exclusively on Disney+ just shy of two months ago. Many Disney+ subscriptions were influenced by the show, as Star Wars media content outside of the major films has always been limited to the various animated series. With the reveal of the mysterious yet promising first trailer, it became clear that The Mandalorian was ready to leave a lasting mark on the Star Wars universe.
And leave a lasting mark, it did.
The first season of The Mandalorian, which released one episode per week after Disney+ launched, was an absolute success. The Star Wars live-action universe has always operated on a larger-than-life scale, depicting cataclysmic space battles between epic heroes and villains that threaten to destroy the galaxy as we know it time and time again. And yet … what happens in the quieter moments in between? This is what The Mandalorian set out to explore.
Warning: Spoilers for the first season of ‘The Mandalorian’ below!
The show follows the adventures of a lone bounty hunter, a Mandalorian man named Din Djarin who is portrayed by the incredibly talented Pedro Pascal. Though Pascal dons a helmet approximately 99% of the time during the first season, fans quickly became attached to the character thanks to the level of emotion he managed to express through his rigid suit of armor.
Din, also referred to as either the Mandalorian and Mando until his name was finally revealed in the last episode, encounters a variety of equally interesting characters throughout the course of his journey. One of them would be Carasynthia “Cara” Dune, an ex-shock trooper that served under the Rebel Alliance (portrayed by Gina Carano). As with most Star Wars media, we were also introduced to a droid that quickly became a fan favorite (much to Din’s dismay) — IG-11, who played a rather small part but left a lasting impact on the series after his heroics in the eighth episode (and also just because Taika Waititi, of course).
Though much time could be spent exploring Pascal’s various co-stars in the series, perhaps the most important is not quite a living, breathing co-star at all but rather … a puppet. Din’s bounty-turned-adopted-son — referred to as “The Child” in a politically correct sense but we’ll die on the Baby Yoda hill, thank you — has seemingly become one of the most beloved characters in the Star Wars universe, period. Though some could argue that the insertion of the adorable green child was but a marketing ploy to draw in more viewers for the show, it must be recognized that Baby Yoda is absolutely essential to Din Djarin’s storyline.
Before the events of The Mandalorian, we’re led to believe that Din Djarin was but a ruthless, talented bounty hunting Mandalorian with a loose moral code, abiding only by the rules set out by his people — “This is the Way.” However, Baby Yoda is the spark of change within Din, as he outwardly questions The Guild after he turns over The Asset (something that is considered a blatant act of opposition amongst bounty hunters). Throughout the course of the show, we learn that Din was not born Mandalorian, but rather a foundling that was adopted into their culture (it isn’t a race, after all, it’s a creed.) It’s nothing if not poetic that Din himself would stumble upon what would become his own foundling with time.
The mere existence of Baby Yoda also helped to draw in new viewers to the Star Wars universe, as even those that were not very well-versed in the Skywalker Saga found themselves drawn to The Mandalorian. This series is built twofold for audiences, as it feels like a nostalgic and carefully crafted love letter for longtime fans yet it still tells a new story that can be enjoyed by those who aren’t as familiar with the world of Star Wars (I mean, come on, Din refers to the Jedi as a race of enemy sorcerers.)
Circling back to the nostalgia, The Mandalorian gives Star Wars fans something that they’ve craved for generations — a slower-paced view of a galaxy far, far away. Though the show is still jam-packed with excitement, the battles are on a smaller scale and allow audiences to actually take in the landscape and the characters in each scene. The love that series creator Jon Favreau and the rest of his team (which includes Star Wars genius Dave Filoni as an executive producer and director) have for this universe is clear in each and every episode, as the production quality of the show is exceptional yet still manages to stay true to the very essence of Star Wars that first came to fruition with A New Hope. Longtime fans have also enjoyed pointing out the various live-action movie and animated series easter eggs and callbacks that were planted in each episode, as well.
The Mandalorian doesn’t shy away from its fair share of fun cameos. Episode directors Dave Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa, and Deborah Chow all appear in episode 6 as New Republic X-wing pilots. Matt Lanter also appears in the same episode as a New Republic soldier, known for his voice role as Anakin Skywalker in The Clone Wars. And if you were wondering who to hunt down for punching our dear sweet child Baby Yoda (repeatedly!) in the last episode, that would be the one and only Jason Sudeikis. Not to mention, Jon Favreau himself voiced the Heavy Infantry Mandalorian Paz Vizla who initially challenged Din but later came to respect him.
Overall, the Din’s story throughout the eight-episode first season is a satisfyingly epic introduction to a new in-between chapter of the Star Wars universe — we have spoken. We’ve met many incredible characters, lost some great ones along the way (R.I.P. Kuiil), and we’re left with a handful of intriguing questions and plot points hopefully be picked up in later seasons — like where in the world did Baby Yoda come from and when is Din going to get his hands on the Darksaber? Will Din reunite with the rest of the Mandalorian that survived? And will we ever get another glimpse at Pascal’s face that lies underneath the beskar helmet, perhaps a little less on the brink of imminent death next time?
Season 2 of The Mandalorian is currently in production and will premiere on Disney+ in the fall of 2020.