I think The Mandalorian is the best thing that has happened to Star Wars in several years – since Rogue One, in fact.
The Mandalorian is set in the Star Wars universe after the demise of the Empire. Removing Vader and his Emperor would have started the process but it would have taken years for the still-powerful Empire to fall completely – and even more for the New Republic to take over. Out there in the frontier regions pockets of Imperial loyalists would use what muscle they still had. We see Imperial stormtroopers in grubby white armour co-existing with bounty hunters and bandits. Law and order is sporadic and local. I can imagine this is the sort of thing that would have happened as the Roman Empire crumbled so I find that setting eminently convincing, made more so because I know what happened to the Empire in the past.
The show has been described as a spaghetti western in space and that's pretty accurate. In each new episode, the Mandalorian (a mysterious man in a mask) arrives in a new setting, looking for a way to reunite Baby Yoda with his own kind. That quest is the thread that ties the series together. Mando is usually told he can have the information he seeks if he carries out a certain task – which, of course, he does.
The Star Wars background is always there. In the first series we had a number of blasts from the past. In one of the earliest scenes in episode one Mando strides through a frontier town and we spy a creature being roasted on a spit. It's the same species as the nasty little critter we saw in Revenge of the Jedi sitting next to Jabba in his palace, enjoying Leia's torment. When Mando takes on the bounty, he is assisted by Kuiil, an Ugnaught who had been indentured to the Empire. The Ugnaughts appeared in The Empire Strikes Back in Cloud City, scavenging parts which turned out to be sections of C3P0, who had been blasted by Imperial troops. IG-11, the bounty-hunting droid, first appeared on the bridge of the star destroyer Executor in The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader sent out bounty hunters to find the Millennium Falcon. And so it goes.
In the first season, we never saw a Jedi – although it was clear that Baby Yoda had the power. The characters were fresh and new, with no lingering nostalgia about the Skywalker legacy.
In a later episode we meet Ahsoka Tano, a Jedi who had been Anakin Skywalker's padawan. And then Boba Fett reappears. It seems the legends were right – he survived being ingested by the Sarlacc (Return of the Jedi).
I loved the final episode of season two of the Mandalorian. I was on the edge of my seat several times and found the ending – frankly, quite astonishing and very convincing.
To me, the Mandalorian is a masked stranger riding into town
to right wrongs, the Lone Ranger in space. He's a tough, resourceful individual – but he doesn't have any
super powers. He's not a force-wielder. I hope the producers don't go down the
Skywalker path. Keep on setting fun stories in that Galaxy far, far away but
don't try to resurrect the old characters as was done in Solo: A Star Wars
Story. And keep the Jedi encounters to a minimum.
After that final episode, after the credits, there is a
short teaser starring Boba Fett. I gather, though, that The Book of Boba Fett
is a spin-off, not The Mandalorian season three. It should be fun.
And for those who like flashing light sabres, Ahsoka Tano apparently gets her own series, too, set within the timeline for The Mandalorian. Ahsoka will debut on Disney Plus around Christmas 2021.
Disney has finally admitted there will be a Kenobi series, starring Ewan McGregor. It sounds promising.
So there'll be plenty to see in the Star Wars Universe. What The Mandalorion season three will bring is anybody's guess. There's plenty of room for more content, for instance the battle to regain control of Mandalore. And what actually happened to Moff Gideon? And why do they want Grogu's blood?..
But please, please, please - nothing resembling The Force Awakens. Please.
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