"The Mandalorian" is the first live-action Star Wars show released by Disney on Disney plus starting in November of 2019. The first season directed by the fabulous Jon Favreau was released every Thursday, beginning a month before the release of the newest Star Wars movie "The Rise of Skywalker." This method of released keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, itching to see what happens in the next episode. I could not wait to sit down each week to watch the latest episode.
At first glance, "The Mandalorian" is hard to decipher what the story may hold. Anyone who has seen Star Wars is sure to recognize the Mandalorian’s armor as that of Boba Fett from "The Empire Strikes Back." Coinciding with the release of the Disney Plus streaming service in November of 2019, it wasn’t long before many Disney fans began raving about this new Star Wars western.
The opening scene to episode one, “The Mandalorian," is pleasing to any Star Wars fan as it is set at a space bar full of alien thugs, classic. The central character, Mando, is revealed to be that of a true bounty hunter early on, and I enjoy that the series starts at a steady pace. His distrust of droids is shown quite early as it will come in to play throughout the rest of the series. The costuming and special effects are top tier and the vast array of alien costuming and animation. The first bounty Mando retrieves is quite talkative, which juxtaposes Mando's silent, stoic nature. Subtle references to the empire reinforce the series' chronological stance in the Star Wars universe, that being a few years after Return of the Jedi, and references to other Star Wars movies throughout the episode yields a refreshing atmosphere for fans.
The show's most significant appeal, by far, is the introduction of what the media calls "Baby Yoda." Officially known in the show as "The Child," this adorable baby version of Jedi Master Yoda is irresistible to fans and non-fans alike. After Baby Yoda's introduction at the end of the first episode, I was dying to learn more about him in chapter two, "The Child." Throughout this episode, Mando and Baby Yoda show off their capabilities in battle, all the while forming a bond that would be tested in the next episode.
Episode three, "The Sin" is one of my personal favorites as it tests the morals of Mando while also diving into the Mandalorian culture. Featuring betrayal, infiltration, and gunfights-- this action-packed episode never had a dull moment.
The following three episodes all contained a "filler" quality, unfortunately. That is to say, episodes 4-6 did not contribute to the overall plot in any way. I do not enjoy filler episodes, though I must admit each features a unique story that could be watched without having seen the rest of the series, also known as a "stand-alone" episode.
Episode 4 “Sanctuary” depicts the classic tale of villagers in need of heroes. The introduction of the ex-shock trooper in this episode is the only aspect that contributes to the plot later on.
Dry as Tatooine
Episode five, "The Gun Slinger" is dry both figuratively as yet another filler episode and literally as it takes place on the desert planet of Tatooine, another Star Wars classic. The depiction of other bounty hunters and betrayal in this episode is exciting to watch, though The Child is hardly active in this one. Similarly, in Episode 6, "The Prisoner," Mando meets some old bounty hunter crews. The small look into Mando's past is rewarding, and by the end, the twist ending had me amazed by the genius writing of Jon Favreau.
A Complicated Profession
Episodes 7 and 8 are by far my two favorites in the series. They are both emotionally taxing in an exciting way. After the three filler episodes, getting back to the main plot is quite refreshing. Also, the trials of the last six episodes all come into play to bring the show full circle. Episode 7 "The Reckoning" and episode 8 "Redemption" both released around the same time The Rise of Skywalker was released in theaters, so it was a thrilling time in the Star Wars community. The last two episodes feature exciting and some comical scenes. And the character development of Mando brought the first series to a wonderful conclusion. I sincerely hope the season is just as good.
The End of the Universe
Everyone involved in this series brought their very best to the table. Although Pedro Pascal does not show his face in the show, his great acting shines through. Gina Carano and Carl Weathers both portray their characters excellently. It’s no wonder that The Mandalorian was thought to be the only thing carrying Disney Plus early on.