The Mandalorian: A Review

Ephraim Hill and Gaston Walker, Sports Editor

Star Wars is one of Hollywood’s biggest movie franchises and Jon Favreau’s live-action series The Mandalorian has quickly become a hit in its own right. The series for the Disney Plus streaming service features Pedro Pascal as its lead character, a mysterious bounty hunter on the outer rim of the galaxy, and launched on Disney plus in November. Although the series itself is receiving high praise, the most popular character in The Mandalorian has proven to be one of the strongest Jedi Masters in the Star Wars films. Jedi Master Yoda or as everyone called him “Baby Yoda”, who The Mandalorian decides to protect from the powerful forces hunting him. 

The Mandalorian is such a good Star Wars series that it has Star Wars fans at Canton Academy waiting for the next season to come out. Junior Matthew Fokeladeh was asked what he liked most about the series and he replied, “I like episode eight because he gets the freaking jetpack NO CAP” he said with excitement, “and I like it so much because it’s going in a different direction because you know it takes place 5 years after The Return of the Jedi and 20 years before the Force Awakens and it gives it a unique storyline. 

No one has ever been able to pull this off like Disney and they can make all sorts of series because Star Wars is owned by Disney” as he said with a loud chuckle followed with a pig snort. “ I’ve seen all the Star Wars movies and when I saw the first episode, IT WAS A BANGERRR!!!!” he said with a surge of energy. He also said, “it got me hooked man and so I liked it from there and then as the season progressed the character Kuill became my favorite character so yeah it’s great Star Wars series on Disney plus.”

With the series being a great hit, a lot of Star Wars started to wonder when did these events take place. Well as Fokeladeh said, “it takes place five years after the Return of the Jedi and 20 years before the Force Awakens.” That’s where we find the Mandalorian and it is perfect timing to place this show in because it’s enough time for the grip of the Empire to have faded and for the First Order not to be as powerful yet. 

Junior Kyle Brasher was asked what he liked most about the series he replied, “I definitely liked the last one because it left you on a big cliffhanger and it was the most interesting thing to watch.” When Brasher got Disney plus he said The Mandalorian on there looked interesting to watch, “I started to watch the first episode and I started to like it. I have seen all of the Star Wars movies it’s not really part of the story it’s just a side story to it,” he said. 

Brasher started to watch the first episode, he started to keep watching it and it kept getting better and better. Brasher said, “that my favorite character in The Mandalorian is between Baby Yoda and the Mandalorian”. Brasher loved the ending of the Mandalorian and it sucks to wait a long time for the next season. 

Sometimes it’s in the nitty-gritty, the small details that compose each scene, or the little references and jokes. We see Kowakian monkey-lizards on the planet Navarro, just like Jabba the Hutt’s pet, Salacious B. Crumb. One is being roasted on a spit while the other looks on, forlorn in its cage. These are the things that make The Mandalorian have good stars as to be a series 

 

It also does an incredible job of capturing that special something that made the original trilogy so great. J.J. Abrams, a Star Wars filmmaker, also does this, to some extent, in the new trilogy, but Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, Star Wars animation director, do it better here, despite the lack of Skywalkers and Jedi or perhaps because of it. They are not working with a clean plate, but they’re able to tread new ground while still tipping their hats to what makes Star Wars feel like Star Wars. 

The Mandalorian is a Space Western for the most part. It’s also an interesting blend of serial and action storytelling. While there’s an overarching story that ties all the episodes together, about half of the first season unfolds more like an action drama, with egocentric adventure, or misadventures, playing out in each episode. It starts off as a serial, becomes an action film, and then returns to the serial format for the final two episodes.

You don’t see this kind of thing very often these days. Most tent-pole dramas and even many comedies are serials these days which a lot of people are largely okay with. It reminds us a bit of X-Files, actually and interestingly the Witcher on Netflix does a similar thing since its first season is based on a book of short stories.

Indeed, the shifting format led to the season’s biggest backlash, as critics and fans found themselves wondering if the story would ever go anywhere, or if Mando would simply hop from one planet to the next, facing a new threat each week.

People actually really like the format, maybe because it reminds them so much of other Star Wars movies. The first season of The Mandalorian is an exciting, visually sumptuous adventure through the dirtier, less glorified corridors of the Star Wars universe. It captures the feel of Star Wars perfectly without ever having a lightsaber duel.

And it leaves us with a galaxy full of opportunity for Season 2, with new planets to explore, new threats to face, and a new quest. Beyond just the excellent storytelling and cinematography and special effects, the rest of the production is stellar. Pedro Pascal, and his stunt doubles of course, does an excellent job in the lead role as the frondeur Mandalorian. 

Mando is, if anything, less chatty. He also never takes off his helmet, so a great deal of emotion and reaction has to be conveyed without facial expressions. It’s quite remarkable. Orphaned as a child when his parents were killed by Separatist battle droids, he was taken in and raised by the Mandalorians as a “foundling”, eventually becoming a member of a reclusive sect of Mandalorians known as “the Tribe”. 

Due to his childhood trauma, the Mandalorian developed a notable hatred for droids. Per the tenets of the Tribe’s Mandalorian Creed, the Mandalorian does not remove his helmet in the presence of others. Over time, the Mandalorian became a member of the Bounty Hunter’s Guild on Navarro, developing a reputation for being an expensive but formidable bounty hunter. 

The Mandalorians have a somewhat grim reputation in the wake of the Clone Wars and the fall of the Empire five years before the show begins. While Mandalore was ruled by a pacifist, Duchess Satine Kryze, during the Clone Wars. Attempting to shift the priorities of her people from being warmongers led to the formation of a separatist group and repeated assassination attempts.

Satine was overthrown and Darth Maul, with his crime syndicate, moved in to take control of the planet. While the planet was briefly returned to the hands of a Mandalorian ruler, Mandalore itself would become a pawn in the endless chess game of the Empire’s fight for power.