Review: The Mandalorian Season One Triumphs
“The Mandalorian” is a spinoff series from the “Star Wars” saga. This Disney Plus exclusive is not just a fantastic TV series on its own merit; It’s another worthy entry into the “Star Wars” lore that respects its lineage while also providing a whole new way to explore its world.
The series takes place after the events of “Return of the Jedi,” but before the events of the sequel trilogy. Following the mysterious title character of the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), the eight-episode first season explores a morally-grey line between the Rebel Alliance and the remnants of the Empire while he travels the galaxy collecting bounties and protecting a small child known as “Yiddle” (an alien that’s the same race as Yoda). Among those he crosses paths with are aging smuggler Greef Karga (Carl Weathers, “Predator,” “Rocky” series,) an eccentric droid called “IG-11” (voice of Taika Waititi, “What we Do in the Shadows,” “Thor Ragnarok”) and fellow bounty hunter Cara Dune (Gina Carano). The series plays out with each episode being its own self-contained story while also contributing to the larger narrative.
A live-action TV spinoff had been discussed as early as 2005 upon the release of “Revenge of the Sith,” and now it’s finally come to fruition. Originally starting life as a proposed spinoff film centered around Boba Fett (in the vein of “Rogue One” and “Solo,”), this series is a spectacular “space western” that’s quickly joined the ranks of the best material in the entire franchise. Sporting a budget of $25 million per episode, the series crafts a unique vision that forges its own path from the original “Star Wars” trilogy while also never forgetting what made it great to begin with. Much of Jon Favreau’s previous work has clear creative influence on the show, with everything from the first two “Iron Man” films to his cult classic comedy “Swingers” playing a part in the characterization to the tone of the story; much like how the saga was heavily influenced by Akira Kurosawa films and vintage “Flash Gordon” serials. Yiddle has proven to be as powerful as he is adorable, and IG-11 has a host of flashy tricks that easily make the droid one of the breakout characters in the series. The ambiguous lines between good and evil in the setting recall fellow series “Firefly” in many respects. The memetic bond between Yiddle and “Mando” resembles a space-age version of the Japanese classic “Lone Wolf and Cub.”
With a second season already in production for fall 2020 and another spinoff series centered around Obi-Wan Kenobi in development (with Ewan McGregor set to reprise his role from the films); “The Mandalorian” is another stellar entry in the “Star Wars” saga. It’s definitely a reason to opt into Disney Plus, and highly recommended as a great series in its own right.
Verdict: 5/5 Stars
Review by: Steven Pryor
At a Glance:
Starring: Pedro Pascal, Carl Weathers, Werner Herzog, Taika Waititi, Gina Carano, and Amy Sedaris with Nick Nolte and Giancarlo Esposito
Created by: Jon Favreau (Based on characters created by George Lucas)
Available on Disney Plus