Some would have you believe that the Star Wars franchise has lost its way, that too much of what made it good has been abandoned or tossed to the side. Well, anyone who has watched any of the most recent animated shows might disagree with these naysayers. They have been more than up to the task. However, live action segments of the Star Wars universe, specifically the new trilogy movies, have received a bad reputation of late. Not that all of the bad press should have been believed, (Solo may not have been a monster box office hit, but it was an excellent Chewbacca buddy movie).
So, when Lucasfilm told us that they were going to produce a Mandalorian TV series, I was both sceptical and elated. Could it be that this now secretive band of warriors was finally going to get a decent airing in the new Star Wars mythos? Could it be that there would finally be an explanation of just what had happened to this legendary race?
I will admit that my hopes and expectations were relatively high. Just like they had been at the start of the new Star Wars movie trilogy. However, based upon the erratic story style of the movies, my heart was all but broken and after four decades I was finally ready to walk away from the Star Wars universe.
I need not have worried.
Having watched the first three episodes of The Mandalorian, I can finally say that my Star Wars is back. Really back.
If you haven’t seen the first three episodes then apologies, there are spoilers ahead.
From the moment we see the Mandalorian, we realise that he isn’t someone to be ignored or trifled with. He’s a man on a mission. Rather like the man with no name who featured in so many spaghetti westerns, he’s not unbeatable, but he has talent, determination, a certain style and a reason to do what he is doing. He’s also laconic, honourable, oddly likeable and a badass all rolled into one.
In the first episode we see him bringing in the last of a long line of bounties, handing them over and then deciding that getting paid half of what he was due is okay. Just so long as he gets a better bounty next time. He then ends up working for a mysterious client who is linked to the old Empire. This bounty then brings him on to a new world where he not only manages to collect his bounty, but makes a friend, defeats a hairy rhino type creature and rescues parts of his ship that had been stolen by some daring Jawa’s. Oh yeah, the Jawa’s are comedy gold too, and not to be taken lightly. I wasn’t so sure about the giant tadpole like creatures with legs, but that’s just my dislike of pond life coming to the fore.
I won’t tell you what he manages to obtain as his bounty and who his target is – mostly because I don’t know the name of the race and I’ve only ever seen two examples before. I also won’t tell you about what happens in the firefight at the end of the third episode, but it is SO COOL!
I can see many us big kids getting addicted to this. It’s like someone just did a dive in to the old WEG Star Wars Roleplaying Game and said, “right, let’s make something gritty, character based and mythologically bound around the Mandalorians.” The problem here is that in order to achieve this, your writing, producing and directing talent must all be respectful of what has gone before and at the same time have the talent to bring us a varied and interesting look at the subject matter. Where on earth can this talent be obtained?
Oh yeah, this is Disney, so they hired Jon Favreau, put him and Dave Filoni at the helm and created a hell of a new adventure series. Favreau has done a great job writing the opening episodes and establishing the character. Even George Lucas has been involved, or so it has been rumoured.
I mean, come on, this is the show that we have been waiting for and it’s filled me with hope for the new Obi-Wan series too. Star Wars is amazing again, and I really don’t care how good or bad the next movie is. It no longer matters, we’ve got the show many of us have been waiting for.
Plus, I’m looking forward to all the Mando merch.
(Hey, that’s a cool phrase – wonder if I could copyright it?)