Review: The Mandalorian is a plus for Disney+
December 10, 2019
Disney+ is finally streaming, and with it comes the first live-action Star Wars TV show: “The Mandalorian”. The show takes place after “Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi”, following the downfall of the empire and the destruction of the second Death Star, and 25 years before the rise of the First Order (the antagonists of “Episode 7: The Force Awakens”).
The Mandalorian is a nameless bounty hunter from the planet Mandalor. While he looks and fights like Star Wars fan favorites Boba and Jango Fett, he is a completely different character, working in the chaotic outer reaches of the galaxy rather than for the tyrannical empire.
The show begins with him collecting a bounty, after which the Mandalorian is sent to someone “off the books”. The Mandalorian then discovers the remnants of the Empire who want to send him, and others, after a 50-year-old bounty. The instructions on whether they want them dead or alive are unclear.
After this point, the audience is then wondering which known Star Wars character he must be after, only to find out it’s no one we know – which is somehow better.
The first half of the episode was very surfaced level and fan-service based. However, as it went on I realized that was not going to be the case for the rest of the series, and there was something much larger going on.
In the second chapter of “The Mandalorian”, the Mandalorian heads back to his ship with his collected bounty, while being attacked by other guild members on the way. It is clear that these many attackers are trying to retrieve or kill the bounty, but of course the Mandalorian kills them first.
We learn that someone else must also want the bounty because the Empire wants it alive, but every other bounty hunter we’ve come across so far does not.
This episode did not seem as openly important at first, but it provided a lot of build up for the future. Thematically, I think a lot is going to happen.
Chapter 3 of “The Mandalorian”, titled “The Sin,” was a doozy. On the way back to his planet, the Mandalorian bonds with his bounty, which lightly foreshadows what’s to come.
The Mandalorian then takes the bounty to his buyer and reluctantly leaves with his payment of Mandalorian steel. He takes the steel to the armorer we saw in Chapter One to get new gear, only to go back to the empire and rescue his bounty.
The show is shot with a high budget and a mix of practical effects and CGI, which I think was a good call. Director John Favreau (who previously directed “Iron Man”, “Zathura: A Space Adventure” and “The Lion King 2019”) has made a tremendous effort to build the world that the audience gets to experience. From barren space planet environments to practical aliens bustling among village streets, every frame of “The Mandalorian” screams Star Wars.
Favreau has also notably made a more grounded show that highlights the start of a simple and interesting story, rather than an all-out space war from one reach of the galaxy to the other. The show is highly captivating and I can’t wait to see what comes next.