The Mandalorian represents a turning point in the Star Wars saga. The battle between fans and the current leadership at Lucasfilm seems to be shifting in the fan’s favor. Spearheading this new vertical at the company is Jon Favreau. His vision for a more traditional Star Wars story, one that harkens back to the time before the prequels is something that fans have been clamoring for. With Dave Filoni at his side, the arbiter of The Clone Wars animated show, The Mandalorian is positioned to be the most authentic live action Star Wars project since 1983.
The first episode of The Mandalorian was not that exciting. There was a distinct lack of energy that brought down the entire episode. Even when there were action scenes, they seemed a little clumsy and didn’t offer a rush of excitement. The aspect that did bring the show up was the world building; there was no confusion in who this person was and what they did in their day to day life. There was also a familiar feeling that harkened back to the original trilogy. With a combination of practical and special effects, there was a sense of nostalgia that made the show more authentic. Prosthetic makeup and miniatures for space vehicles lended a realism to the show that has been absent from the movies. As a first episode, it wasn’t that great for driving interest but does create some hope that Star Wars might be fun again.
Throughout the first three episodes, you will notice the PG-13 rating very clearly. There will be shots or sequences that are framed certain ways to not be too graphic. This is a blessing and a curse as it makes the show palatable for all ages but also pulls back right as you think you are about to see something cool. It’s a problem that Diseny might have to face in the future, but for now isn’t too egregious.
The second episode is where I decided I was going to stick with the show. Even though this might not have been the case with some that were more skeptical, I knew I was watching the whole season from this point on. The internet has revealed the main secret of the show, but if you have not found out, I won’t be the one to spoil you. Just know that there is a big reveal at the end of the first episode which is continued here and I love it. The dynamic between characters can be described as cute and I want to see more of it. A new character on the show also gives me the opportunity to praise multiple departments that did a fantastic job bringing scenes to life. Those departments include the VFX people, whoever made the prosthetic animals, and also puppeteering. They bring creatures and characters to life so effectively I couldn’t look away. There is also a sequence with a fairly large animal in this episode that I was wowed by; not by its creature design, but for how real it looked on screen.
The third episode is universally praised as the best episode yet. It has heart, it drives characters forward, and it has the cool action scenes that glue your eyes to the screen. This episode can be described as well rounded as it hit on everything the viewer wants to see. It’s really hard to try and talk about the episodes without spoilers so the one thing I can say, is that the show kind of became a must watch for any Star Wars fan here. I have been a moderate fan since I was about 10 years old and The Mandalorian is the first time since I have been interested in Star Wars. Nostalgia works when it comes to this property because of the sprawling nature of its lore. Getting to touch on so many fun things in a show that has an episode come out each week is great.
I also have to give a quick shout out to Ludwig Göransson who does the music for each episode. You might know him for winning an Oscar for Black Panther’s soundtrack, and his work here is stellar. There are distinct moments where the music perfectly fits the visuals and you are transported to this equilibrium where everything is working in perfect harmony.
So that’s The Mandalorian, something that I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone. You don’t even have to be a big fan of Star Wars and still have a good time.