The Mandalorian is everything a Star Wars fan could want with great characters, a cool lead, spectacular action and impressive visuals. There are many quotable lines too; it’s just a shame we have to wait a year for the next season. This is the way you do Star Wars.
Plot: A lone gunfighter makes his way through the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS SHOW THEN DO NOT READ!
Review: It is a period of civil war; Star Wars fans across the galaxy are divided and no one can agree on anything… except that the new TV series on Disney+ called The Mandalorian is a whole load of awesome.
I remember a year or so ago when Jon Favreau suddenly announced he was making a live action Star Wars TV series called The Mandalorian. The Skywalker Saga is now over so the time had come for something fresh in the Star Wars Galaxy. Jon Favreau is a great talent and then we find out that Dave Filoni is also involved so can this show live up to expectations?
Quite simply, yes! I knew Favreau and Filoni have an amazing understanding of the world of Star Wars, frankly more than J.J. or Johnson ever did, and I would love to see them direct future Star Wars movies.
The Mandalorian actually feels like Star Wars and somehow captures the atmosphere of the very first movie from 1977. We’ve got dirty cantina bars, Jawas, bounty hunters, Imperials and more so there is something familiar about it but rather than being simply powered by nostalgia there is plenty of new content where we find out about the Mandalorian culture and how the galaxy has fallen into chaos since the fall of the empire.
Set after the events of Return of the Jedi we don’t have to worry about this show ruining childhood favourites and instead it gives us all new characters who we feel like we’ve always known. The Mandalorian himself is basically Clint Eastwood in The Man with No Name Trilogy. What’s great about him is that he is cool and totally badass, ruthless and efficient and yet he has a great humanity especially when he is tasked to pick up “an asset”. He is an immediately appealing figure and Pedro Pascal does a fantastic job of bringing him to life as it must be a struggle to give someone personality when you can’t see any facial expressions.
I have to watch TV shows with subtitles which actually makes them more entertaining as you could have a drinking game for any time it says “The Mandalorian sighs”. He is slightly world weary and far from invincible. He screws up and falls down a lot but his strength is that he doesn’t give up and keeps going… that’s how winning is done after all.
But let’s be honest the show should really be called “Baby Yoda and the Rest of the Cast” as he has stolen every scene (and our hearts) as the cutest creation since Gizmo. As much as I love the little guy however, I hope he isn’t in the show forever as I want to see The Mandalorian continue to kick ass and be the mysterious loner he started out as because cuteness only goes so far. The relationship between the two characters is one of the many highlights as this lone gunslinger has to now essentially become a father figure as half the galaxy is hunting for him and The Child. Star Wars was always about fathers and sons and the choices we make so this story makes sense. It also feels like Lone Wolf & Cub without the fountains of blood; The Mandalorian is still surprisingly violent in parts for a show that’s “for kids” but it’s still very much a family friendly show.
The Mandalorian also gives us some great other new characters like Kuill (Nick Nolte), IG-11 (Taika Waititi), Greef Carga (Carl Weathers), The Client (Werner Herzog) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano). Kuill is going to become a fan favourite as he has some quotable dialogue as does The Client with Werner Herzog unable to be not menacing.
Gina Carano doesn’t show up until episode 4 but she’s worth the wait and returns in future episodes and is a great addition to the cast.
Each episode has a budget of around $15 million and you can see every penny up on screen; the visuals are impressively done mixing both practical and CG to wondrous effect.
The music score is unlike anything we’ve heard before in the Star Wars universe and it’s taken a while for some people to come around but I’ve loved it from the start. Like the show itself it has a Spaghetti Western vibe that is both mysterious and bizarre. It’s refreshing to no longer be constrained to the music of John Williams so a new voice is welcome in that respect.
This show manages to have better action scenes than the sequel movies (for the most part) and when IG-11 and The Mandalorian team up in the first episode to kick some ass it is going to be seen as an instant classic with just the right amount of humour and thrills. It feels like a mixture of The Wild Bunch and Django.
The opening scene has our anti-hero show up in a cantina taking out a few scumbags so his coolness is immediately established followed by a very Star Wars-y scene as he tries to leave the planet but faces some challenges on the ice.
The second episode shows us the nastier side of the Jawas too as the Mandalorian faces off against them as he tries to repair his ship. They are vicious little bastards and although this episode felt more like filler it was hugely entertaining and had some fun moments.
Episode 3 may be my personal favourite as it has Mando going into one man army mode and the final few minutes had me cheering like a kid again. The 4th episode feels like on offshoot of Return of the Jedi and is also awesome. There actually isn’t an episode I haven’t liked this whole season but the only problem I have is that they are a little too short and I wish they were an hour long rather than the 35 minutes they tend to be.
The series looks fantastic with its establishing shots too and it’s impossible for Mando not to look ice cool. Finding out about the armour and some of the lore had me on the edge of my seat as I was a big fan of The Clone Wars which really delved into it.
Overall, Season 1 of The Mandalorian is my favourite thing to come from Star Wars since Return of the Jedi and I hope it goes on for many more seasons. It has memorable characters, some great dialogue, fantastic action sequences and one of the most adorable creatures since Gizmo. I have spoken.