A story set in the Star Wars universe in the time between the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, Disney+’s flagship series, The Mandalorian follows the titular bounty hunter’s adventures across the galaxy, armed with his wits and arsenal of weapons. Each episode in the show tells a unique story. However, they all add up to a larger narrative.
The baby and the bounty hunter
Pedro Pascal does an excellent job as the Mandalorian. The show made the bold choice of putting the recognisable face from Game of Thrones and Narcos behind a mask as a faceless bounty hunter. His character is mostly silent, his personality coming through from his actions and sparse spoken lines. As a character that kills or captures people for money, he’s not the typical do-gooder hero, seen in a lot of Star Wars movies, but he still manages to be endearing, largely because he protects Baby Yoda. This is no spoiler; everyone who’s been on the internet recently has seen him. Appearing for the first time at the end of the first episode, Baby Yoda is a merchandising goldmine. Adorable and a marvellous combination of CG animation and animatronics, it’s no wonder he made the internet explode with memes.
It’s more than a toy commercial
While Baby Yoda is a great way for Disney to sell toys, anyone who thinks the show is just that would be mistaken. The Mandalorian excels when it comes to building an atmosphere. It features weathered, gritty locations that harken back to the original Star Wars trilogy. The action in each episode is well-directed and exhilarating to watch. The show’s score is the only one in the whole franchise which doesn’t sound like it’s trying to rip off John Williams. Like much of the show’s aesthetic and storytelling style, it has a Western vibe, which goes well with its often deserted planets.
A great supporting cast
The excellent supporting cast – they speak, thankfully – fill in the gaps left by a largely silent protagonist. Taika Waititi voices a droid bounty hunter that’s great fun to watch, Gina Carano is excellent as Cara Dune, a Rebel shock trooper and Carl Weathers is endearing as a bounty hunter contractor.
See the Star Wars world with new eyes
The structure of the show manages to expand very effectively on Star Wars lore in many ways. One example being the way the show gives viewers a look inside the Mandalorian bounty hunting guild, which is kept shrouded in mystery in the major Star Wars films.
The episodic structure of the show makes for a refreshingly low-key viewing experience in a franchise known for grandiose movie plots involving bloodlines, family squabbles and destinies being fulfilled. Viewers are allowed to truly enjoy the greater Star Wars world by exploring familiar locations from the movies, like the desert planet of Tatooine and new ones such as Sargan, a planet inhabited by farmers who are frequently set upon by raiders. Die-hard fans are also treated to easter eggs such as the first on-screen appearance of a Darksaber, a black-bladed lightsaber.
WATCH OR NOT
The Mandalorian is probably Disney’s most worthy addition to the Star Wars franchise as it excels at adding to the mythos from a unique angle. It has a strong cast of characters and some spaghetti western gunslinging for Star Wars fans and newcomers alike.
Creator: Jon Favreau
Cast:Pedro Pascal, Carl Weathers, Rio Hackford
Seasons: 1 (2020)
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar