Holy crap seriously, I cannot overstate how excited I am for this show!
So The Mandalorian was announced a while ago, and I’m a bit late to the party in writing this article, but I just need to get a rant out before it comes out in two weeks, so here we go.
Firstly, I just want to say that this show gives me a huge amount of faith in Disney and the future of Star Wars. The Mandalorian, along with the shows focused on Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cassien Andor, show that Disney is willing to invest in full narratives and exploring more interesting themes and scenarios. Instead of dropping blockbuster Disney money on more CGI and big movie events, they’re stepping away from the big screen and bringing more intense but personal stories to fans. I think a lower budget with focus on story is EXACTLY what Star Wars needs, and I really think the fans are going to love it. A huge part of what made the original Star Wars so endearing was the fact that everything was cobbled together from real world pieces, and that the production worked through a very restrictive budget which forced the team to work creatively and earnestly to tell the best story they could. That’s not to say that less money equals a better story in every case, but with Star Wars it certainly became one of the magic ingredients.
Another thing that I think the Mandalorian has that the more recent Star Wars movies don’t is a focus on darker themes (with the exception of Rogue One, which is just absolutely incredible). The trailer shows that this show is going to be a really intense story, and it won’t shy away from violence at all. It has been described as a space western, with the titular character being classified as a “Clint Eastwood type”.
One of the most iconic and obsessed-over characters in all of Star Wars is Boba Fett. What he brought to the table was the embodiment of almost everything that made Star Wars a global phenomenon; mystery, danger, adventure, and a gritty used visual style that spoke of rich history and a hundred stories to tell. The Mandalorian, though clearly not about Boba Fett, is so exciting because it promises to deliver on all of that. It feels like the culmination of every over-excited conversation held by children and adults alike in the late ’70s and ’80s; “Where do you think Boba Fett came from?” “Do you think he could win a fight against ____?” “What do all those gadgets and tools actually do?” “I just want a story about him!” “Imagine if the Empire wanted to hunt him down instead of hiring him!” “Is he the best bounty hunter? Are the others scared of him?” And so on… This show, although Boba Fett won’t be around, feels like finally settling all those questions.
I for one absolutely love Mandalorian culture. I love the armour, the weapons, and their ideals. I also love the concept of bounty hunters within the Star Wars universe. I have a book that I got years ago called The Bounty Hunter’s Guide, and it fascinates me endlessly, even to this day. I also absolutely loved the Bounty Hunter video game on Gamecube that featured Jango Fett. Since one of the confirmed characters is the leader of a bounty hunter guild, I’m really excited to get to see this side of bounty hunting explored in a canon TV show.
It’s also incredibly promising that Jon Favreau is so heavily involved. I’m a huge fan of him as a director and writer, and I think he’s one of the people who is single-handedly responsible for the MCU becoming the massive powerhouse it is today; if not for the first Iron Man movie being incredible and amazing and successful, the rest of the movies may not have followed with such dedication and funding. Favreau being involved with such an interesting character and such a promising project shows they’re really looking to create the best show they can. That may sound obvious, but a lot of studios these days don’t make shows or movies to tell the best story; they do it to make the most money. I really think that everything I’ve seen so far of The Mandalorian shows that the creative team involved is invested in making the best show possible.
As well as the “Clint Eastwood-esque” Mandalorian, some other characters who have been confirmed are a former Rebel shock trooper, a former governor of the Empire, and an IG model assassin droid. IG-88 was another character who inspired questions and speculation in the original trilogy, and the brief flash of combat we got to see of IG-11 in the trailer for the Mandalorian promises that we’ll get to see exactly what IG droids are capable of. The best thing about this is that IG-11 is voiced by Taika Waititi, who is as hilarious as he is awesome. But I’m very interested in the former Rebel and Empire characters; it’s a unique way to explore the aftermath of the Emperor’s death and the destruction of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. I don’t know how much of a role those characters will play in the overall story, but I’m really hoping for some exploration of the war and the morality of the Empire V the Rebels from their perspectives. If there are scenes of the two characters actually talking and getting to know each other, I think that would be an awesome dynamic for a Star Wars series to contain.
This may be a long shot, but one thing did come to mind when I started really thinking about the potential of The Mandalorian in the context of the wider Star Wars universe; the fact that we know Emperor Palpatine is still alive (or at least still exists in some form or another) because of his laugh at the end of the Rise of Skywalker trailer. It would be very interesting if there were any subtle hints about this in the series, as most (if not all) of the episodes will be released by the time Rise of Skywalker comes out. Now obviously they wouldn’t explore it in any detail, but it’ll be super exciting if even a tiny hint is dropped somewhere in The Mandalorian that the Emperor is still out there.
What I think would be even cooler, though, and possibly slightly more realistic, is if the Mandalorian himself is involved in the locating and collection of Luke’s saber in Bespin. Obviously too many gaps filled in will result in a total lack of mystery and therefore a bit of anticlimax instead of excitement, but I really think that the Mandalorian being hired by Maz Kanata (or someone else) to retrieve Luke’s saber isn’t completely off the table. Remember, Maz is a friend of the Mandalorians, as the Mandalorian Mythosaur skull appears front and centre on her castle entrance.
This is not a full-on theory that I’m invested in, but it would be very exciting and fun to have such a close link between this show and films that still gives enough distance to allow a completely separate story – and just for fun, keep in mind that the character description of the bounty hunter guild leader says “the leader of a bounty hunter guild who hires the Mandalorian to track a valuable asset.” Now, obviously there are countless valuable assets in the Star Wars universe, but wouldn’t it make more sense and provide excitement for fans if that valuable asset is something we all instantly recognise and have an emotional investment in? And an asset which is already the subject of a mystery as to how it came into a certain character’s possession? Alternatively, other options for “assets” which could be exciting for the Mandalorian to track could be;
-Darth Vader’s helmet
-Something to do with the Emperor (that allows him to eventually come back somehow in episode 9?)
-OR something belonging to Boba Fett – his ship, or his armour, etc
Just to be clear, I don’t even slightly believe that any of these things will happen, it’s just really fun to think about. I’ll love the show no matter what the valuable asset in question is, but I sort of do secretly hope that it’s Luke’s lightsaber.
Anyway… Another thing I find completely intriguing about the show and the character is the complete and utter mystery surrounding his identity; he is only known as The Mandalorian. There is no further information about him. Granted, I haven’t dug into the show too deeply because I don’t want spoilers, but it’s really interesting to me that they haven’t named the character publicly yet. Most of the other characters have been given names, but for the main character to not have a name at all is a really fascinating choice. He could end up being a “Man with No Name” type character, which I think would actually be kind of cool.
All of the ingredients are perfect for a really great Star Wars series, and I could not possibly be more excited for it!