Considering the vast amount of Star Wars content coming our way, largely influenced by the success of The Mandalorian, it is at times unfathomable to think that the series had its debut merely over a year ago. Breathing new life into the withered space opera franchise, the future of Star Wars is once again bright thanks to the incredible work that was done in The Mandalorian. Naturally, expectations towards the sophomore season are at an all-time high as fans of the show are looking forward for more adventures with Mando as well as the internet’s favourite alien infant.
Right from the first episode, season two of The Mandalorian felt bigger in almost every way. Whether it is its scale or ambitions, the Disney Plus original continues to push the boundaries of television. While nobody is arguing against the franchise’s legacy for pushing the boundaries of filmmaking, the Krayt Dragon sequence in the opening episode serves as a reminder for the audience that just because it is Star Wars on television, doesn’t mean it’s any lesser.
Narratively, The Mandalorian hinges on its titular character as well as the bond he shares with Baby Yoda (Who has a name now). Season two succeeds on many fronts, and even surpassing the first season on many levels. Baby Yoda, while a fan favourite in the last season, was a bit of a McGuffin in the first season. In this season however, The Mandalorian does an incredible job fleshing out the character, giving him a compelling backstory without coming across heavy handed.
The character progression of the protagonist, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), is equally if not even more fascinating. In the first season, we see the progression of a seemingly emotionless bounty hunter going through the motions and eventually evolving into a compassionate individual that genuinely cares for a life. The latest season of The Mandalorian ups the ante as we see Din progressing from a caretaker into a father figure to Baby Yoda. As George Lucas once said, it’s all about family.
Although the tremendous amount of care that went into developing the main characters goes a long way in prompting the audience to be emotionally invested in the series, several episodes of the show does verge on being too episodic for its own good. A common critique of the first season is that the show occasionally comes across like a video game, where we see the main character partaking in a series of side quests before reaching the endgame. Season two of The Mandalorian continues the formula. Fortunately, the episodic episodes are often superseded by an engaging episode, often featuring a familial character in the wider Star Wars universe.
Where The Mandalorian succeeds in creating a standalone series that can stand on its own without relying on legacy characters, the sophomore season succeeds in integrating itself into the wider Star Wars universe. Whether it’s through returning characters or story threads, season two of The Mandalorian is expertly crafted and weaved into the saga, which is no surprise considering both Favreau and Dave Filoni’s involvement with the franchise in the past. As a result, fans who engage in other Star Wars content such as The Clone Wars or Rebels will find a lot of satisfaction in the latest season of The Mandalorian.
All in all, The Mandalorian continues to prove that the franchise is still perfectly capable in quality storytelling when it is in the right hands. Despite amping up its connections to other Star Wars stories, the series never loses its focus on the compelling relationship between Din and Baby Yoda, which undoubtedly is the defining aspect of the show.
Now that we have two solid seasons of Star Wars television under Favreau and Filoni’s reign, one does wonder what the saga would look like today if they were appointed as the lead storytellers of the sequel trilogy. With rumours of Disney Plus building towards a grand Star Wars story event revolving Grand Admiral Thrawn, the idea of fans getting what they’ve always wanted doesn’t seem like a pipedream after all.