The Mandalorian – Star Wars’ small screen success

If the Mandalorian is anything to go by, the future of Stars Wars seems a lot brighter on the small screen. Find out why in this season 1 review.

The Mandalorian walking in front of a desert sunset with his ship in the background

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When Disney Plus launched in November one of the biggest incentives to subscribe was the addition of the first ever live action Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian. Take into account the fact that most die hard fans of all things Marvel, Star Wars and other Disney stuff likely own most of the other content and it was probably the only incentive.

It seems to have worked though. Disney boasted about signing up over 10 million users the day after it launched. To put it into perspective it took Netflix two years to achieve the same result.

It might be a stretch to put it down to one show, there’s a lot of other content on the platform but, as far as new content goes, the Mandalorian is the top draw. Unless you want to watch Jeff Goldblum eat ice cream and talk about sneakers.

Who made it?

Series creator and show runner John Favreau has the Midas touch when it comes to giving franchises a bit of a kick. He’s the bloke who launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man and has his hand in a lot of Disney pie since. He’s directed the latest versions of the Lion King and The Jungle Book. He’s also starred in and worked as executive producer for a host of Marvel films. He was named a ‘Disney Legend’ at the D23 Expo for his outstanding contributions to The Walt Disney company. He’s like their employee of the month, and has been since 2016.

And who can complain? He’s a company man, but Favreau seems to get it. One can only hope that he has more to do with the future of Star Wars. A franchise that finds itself a crossroads having finished the Skywalker Saga with more of a whimper than a bang. The Mandalorian is something fresh help move forward and perhaps unite the fractured fanbase.

To quote The Client, “It is good to restore the natural order of things, after a period of such disarray, don’t you agree?”

Yes! Some fans absolutely do!

The story

In Star Wars canon Mandalorians are actually not a race but a clan based, multi-species culture that originated on the planet Mandalore. They never really took a side, battling with the Jedi and falling victim to a purge at the hands of Empire.

On the Star Wars timeline the show lives somewhere after the fall of the Empire and before the rise of The First Order. The Mandalorian is a character like Jango or Boba Fett, a bounty hunter travelling the outer rim, far from the view of the New Republic, accepting jobs from the highest bidders. It’s like the wild west, littered with warlords from the Empire, trying to keep control of what small part of the galaxy they can, and various other criminal elements.

The Mandalorian takes his jobs from Greef Karga, a former magistrate turned agent of the bounty hunter’s guild. Things kick off when he’s given a job from a guy only known as ‘The Client’ who is associated with a remnant of the collapsed Empire. He wants him to bring in a high value target which—thanks to people not being able to keep things to themselves on the internet—we now know as “Baby Yoda”. Who’s not actually baby Yoda because this is set well after Return of The Jedi.

The cast

There’s a top notch cast involved in this, Pedro Pascal is fantastic in the lead role and really does well to deliver any kind of pathos while under a mask for the entire series. Mr Apollo Creed, Carl Weathers is excellent as Greef Karga. Gina Carano, who you might recognise from Deadpool, is great as Cara Dune. It’s a real highlight seeing Werner Herzog take on the role of The Client, as is seeing Giancarlo Esposito of Breaking Bad fame as Moff Gideon. It’s also topped off by some great voice acting from Nick Nolte as Kuill and Taika Waititi as the bounty hunting droid IG-11.

There’s also some great cameos along the way from the likes of Mark Boone, Bill Burr, Jason Sudekis and more.

The best and most unique part about the Mandalorian is the serial format it takes. While there is a common story driving it, episodes branch off into various self-contained adventures. Now this may alarm fans at first, because season one is only 8 episodes long and the average run time for each episode is around the 40 minute mark. Viewers may wonder if the show really is going to go anywhere by the time they hit the third or fourth episode however, if they can adjust to the show’s style they will find it really enjoyable.

It’s littered with references to the original trilogy that will delight fans and it has this Sergio Leone spaghetti western feel that fits the character and the canon perfectly.

And of course Baby Yoda is too adorable for words.

The verdict

It doesn’t have the same polish as big blockbuster Star Wars films, but that’s not to say the cinematography and special effects aren’t top notch. It’s a little more grittier and a whole lot more practical than those movies and it works so much better on the small screen than anyone could have imagined.

If you’re a Star Wars fan (and you’re kind of done after the last trilogy) give the Madalorian a go. You might find you haven’t had this much fun since a couple of blokes and their droids stopped by the Mos Eisley cantina looking for a few bevvies and a lift to Alderaan.


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