“The Mandalorian” shows Star Wars’ fandom “the way”


Courtesy of Lucasfilm.

The new Disney+ series brings new hope to a flagging franchise.

Athan Marshall, Staff Writer

After almost a year off the air, Disney Plus has premiered it’s second season of “The Mandalorian.”

Created by Jon Favreau; the show follows a bounty hunter named Din Djarin tasked with protecting a mysterious child from the Empire. Din, played by Pedro Pascal, has set out into both new and familiar regions of the “Star Wars” universe to return The Child, referred to by the internet as Baby Yoda.

Favreau and the writing team are in no rush to tell this story, which is best exemplified with the season’s premier. The episode takes place on Tatooine and tells a side adventure about conflict between two opposing groups and how they overcome it. Favreau, who also directed the episode, makes what could have been a boring start into an exciting episode that rivals big budget blockbusters. 

What makes the first episode work was how Favreau directed the action set pieces, which are some of the best in the show’s entire run. Even though this episode is relatively disconnected from the main story, it doesn’t feel like filler in any sort of way. The next three episodes, however, feel like a real slog to get through. 

These episodes are lacking in tension due to the fact that the action sequences are just characters running down grey hallways shooting at each other. There isn’t any fear for Din’s safety because his armor bounces laser blasts off it and Baby Yoda is usually pushed off to the side, away from the action. These episodes, with exception of the third one, don’t really have any great character moments either. There may be one or two scattered throughout this batch of episodes. Overall, this early stretch was lacking.

The second half of this season really makes up for the shortcomings of the prior episodes, with the introduction of fan favorite “Clone Wars” character Ahsoka Tano, played by Rosario Dawson. Episode five rivals the premier for the best episode of the season. Din is finally able to track down a Jedi who may be able to train Baby Yoda. This episode also makes a surprising revelation: we learn the name of the child. Strongly directed action and terrific writing make this one of the show’s best.

Episode six is light on story, but makes up for in fan service and action. Boba Fett, played by Temuera Morrison, makes his return to the Star Wars story after being unceremoniously “killed” at the end of the original trilogy. Alongside Fennec, played by Ming-Na Wen, from the first season. The trio fight the empire in an eighteen minute gunfight for the safety of Baby Yoda. The complaint about this season’s overall action persists a bit here, as Din is still impervious to laser blasts, but there is tension because Baby Yoda’s fate is involved. 

The penultimate episode to this season features the return of comedian Bill Burr as Migs Mayfield, a former stormtrooper turned mercenary from the first season. Din is forced to team up with him in order to hunt down the show’s shadowy villain Moff Gideon, played masterfully by Giancarlo Esposito. The dynamic between Burr and Pascal is a fascinating one to watch, both actors work off each other in a way that is reminiscent of a good cop/bad cop routine. The action in this episode, while being well directed, actually has tension because Din is forced to remove his laser-proof armor. 

The finale is where all the pieces of this season come together. Din gathers a group in order to raid the ship of Moff Gideon. The final battle between Din and Gideon is a fight that will be remembered for some time. More importantly, we see the end of Din’s arc to bring Baby Yoda to a Jedi. I won’t spoil who comes to get him, but Star Wars fans rejoiced by this appearance of a fan favorite character. The final scene between Din and Baby Yoda somehow manages to be heartwarming and heartbreaking to say the least. It feels like the end of a journey, and it very well could be. 

This season feels less consistent in quality than the first, but it surely is more ambitious in what it accomplishes and manages to set up for the future. It is definitely worth a watch for “Star Wars” fans and casual fans alike. 

After the release of “The Rise of Skywalker”, the “Star Wars” fan community seemed more divided than ever. With some fans praising the films and others flat out despising them. “The Mandalorian” however managed to satisfy everyone, which is no easy feat when talking about a brand as large as “Star Wars.” 

Senior and overall “Star Wars” fanatic Will Squires said “The Mandalorian has reunited the Star Wars fandom after the movies [sequel trilogy] divided it.”

He went on about how it was nice to be able to discuss “Star Wars” again without feeling like your opinion of something would cause fan conflict. Thanks to Jon Favreau and the rest of the writers and directors on “The Mandalorian”, the fandom is at peace and ready to look forward to more “Star Wars” projects in the future.