Following the disappointing critical and commercial performance of both Solo and The Rise of Skywalker, it seems that Disney/Lucasfilm has been struggling to deliver projects that stick the landing in recent years. While there certainly has been a lot of Star Wars over the past five years, The Mandalorian, the franchise’s first live-action series succeeds in not only delivering a refreshing debut season but also one of the most compelling and satisfying modern Star Wars content.
Created by Jon Favreau, the first Star Wars live action series manages to capture the magic of the original Star Wars within the opening minutes of its first episode. Set five years after the fall of the Empire, The Mandalorian follows the adventures of a lone bounty hunter as well as his adorable cargo in the outer reaches of the galaxy. Much like the 1977 movie, the Disney + original borrows heavily from classic Western as well as samurai films, evoking the spirit of films such as The Man with No Name as well as Yojimbo.
Like the best Star Wars films, the characters of The Mandalorian are easily the highlight of the show. Well-developed and compellingly written, The Mandalorian’s (Pedro Pascal) journey is one that is rarely seen in the franchise – A man struggling between honouring his code and doing the right thing. Coupled with an ensemble of terrific supporting characters, the narrative structure of the show allows the audience to connect with everyone else aside from Mando. Besides, isn’t
Baby Yoda The Child the greatest thing since slice bread?
The Mandalorian also deserves praise for crafting a world that seems weathered and lived-in, which is a testament to the showrunner’s decision to prioritise practical effects in an age when everything is computer-generated. Let’s face it, would
Baby Yoda The Child be equally as charming if it was rendered in CGI? That being said, the visual effects of the show could not be understated, as The Mandalorian contains some of the most stunning visuals television has to offer.
Having provided the voice to another Mandalorian in The Clone Wars animated show, it is not a surprise that head writer and showrunner Jon Favreau is a certified fanboy. Whether it’s name-dropping prequel era alien species or paying homage to the notoriously terrible Star Wars Holiday Special, the showrunner’s passion and respect for the saga bleeds into the series, fitting perfectly within the grander Star Wars mythos. Alongside writer Dave Filoni, the true padawan of Lucas, The Mandalorian is a love letter to the world set in a galaxy far, far away.
However, The Mandalorian does have its fair share of shortcomings. The running time of the episodes range from 31-46 minutes, which is surprisingly short considering the nature of the show. As the series progresses, one would not be blamed for thinking that the series may have been more suited in a more cinematic “an-hour-an-episode’ format, instead of a narrative structure that’s episodic.
From a narrative standpoint, the middle episodes of The Mandalorian are also notably weaker than the rest of the series. Aside from introducing a key character (portrayed by Gina Corano), the episodes did not do much in terms of the advancement of the show’s narrative.
With its breath-taking visual effects, top notch action sequences as well as compelling characters, The Mandalorian succeeds in delivering an exciting show that rarely loses its momentum. By blending the right amount of western, samurai and Star Wars, the Disney + original feels like an extension of the original trilogy, rather than a simple “made-for-TV” one-off. A couple of hiccups aside, The Mandalorian is easily the best Star Wars content the franchise has to offer, as well as an early slam dunk for Disney’s streaming service.