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The Mandalorian: A New Hope

How it united the galaxy far, far away.

By Saelanna Sat 16 Jan, 2021 1:04 PM
For a saga that was supposedly all about balance, the Star Wars franchise lost its equilibrium somewhere along the way. After ‘The Force Awakens’ promised to reignite the spark that had been somewhat diminished among some fans by the prequels, the final two episodes of the Skywalker Saga, ‘The Last Jedi’ and ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, further divided the fans into the lovers and the haters. The only thing the warring factions could agree on was that they could not agree about Star Wars, until a mysterious bounty hunter wearing an iconic set of armour, and known as ‘The Mandalorian’, walked into a bar on Maldo Kreis and ‘millions’ of voices cried out in unity. The first season went on to be one of the most-watched series of 2019/20. At the 2020 Emmy Awards It was nominated in fifteen categories, ultimately winning seven of them.MandoSet1
Actor Giancarlo Esposito and show
creator Jon Favreau

For something that has always been so cinematic in its presentation, it took a hyperspace jump onto the small screen to breathe new life into the franchise and unite Star Wars fans once more. Now two seasons in and it is thanks to the showrunners’ understanding of the whole Star Wars universe for the rebirth of the galaxy far, far away. The show’s creator, Jon Favreau, and its executive producer, Dave Filoni, have written and produced the series under the premise that there is no good Star Wars, there is no bad Star Wars, there is only Star Wars. In doing so they have successfully blended the worlds of the original trilogy with everything that has come since, be that onscreen-canon or the Disney-retconned Star Wars Legends (the Expanded Universe as it was once called). To some ‘The Mandalorian’ feels more Star Wars than the recent movies because it recognizes that all Star Wars is authentic Star Wars. In short, whether you are a die-hard fan of the original trilogy or you have invested years in watching the animated shows, if you love the Disney polished sequels or have been ridiculed for enjoying the prequels (and liking Jar-Jar Binks), there is something for everyone to love in ‘The Mandalorian’. How the show looks on screen is pure vintage Star Wars too; all clanky retro-tech, rough looking towns, and outposts in the Outer Rim. It lacks the too obvious reliance on digital effects that the prequels did and does not have the cinematic blockbuster gloss of the sequel trilogy.

Of course, we cannot talk about ‘The Mandalorian’ without mentioning its cutest star: The Child, Baby Yoda or Grogu (let’s face it, he’ll always be Baby Yoda for the vast majority). Maybe it is those huge dewy eyes, how he is always up to mischief and eating things he shouldn’t (“Are these your babies Mrs. Frog Lady?” nom nom nom). While Mando is the lead character there is little doubt that the blue macaron pilfering/vomiting child is the scene-stealing star of the show.MandoSet3
George Lucas and actor Rosario Dawson

There is also the live action debut of fan favourite Ahsoka Tano in the season 2 episode ‘The Jedi’, whose seamless transition from animated series to our screens was a huge success. The news that she is getting her own live action series, with the excellent Rosario Dawson continuing in the titular role, was no surprise but that did not diminish the excitement caused among the fans. Another honourable mention must go to Katee Sackoff making her live action debut as Bo-Katan Kryze, reprising the role from ‘The Clone Wars’ where she provided the voice of the character. Now as the live action version of the character there are hopes that she will return in season 3 of ‘The Mandalorian’, perhaps we will see her at odds with Mando as he is the rightful holder of the Darksaber and, therefore, the de facto ruler of the Mandalorian people. Of course, the most exciting [for many] return to the screen was that of Boba Fett. Seen as a child-clone of Jango in the prequels and as an adult in the original trilogy, the relatively minor character already had a cult following amongst Star Wars fans. The casting of Temeura Morrison, who played Jango Fett in ‘Attack of the Clones’ and re-recorded Boba’s dialogue for the 2004 DVD release of the original trilogy, was pure genius, adding an undeniable sense of continuity to the character. It looks like the spinoff series ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ will be next in the story arriving in late 2021, with ‘The Mandalorian’ season 3 probably hitting our screens sometime in early 2022 (although that is yet to be officially announced).

So, what else is on the horizon for the franchise…

At the Disney InvestorMandoSet2
Actors Carl Weathers, Pedro Pascal, and
Gina Carano
Livestream in early December 2020, 9 of the 10 Star Wars shows coming to Disney+ were announced, including ‘The Mandalorian’ season 3, the 10th being the Boba Fett series announced as a post-credit scene at the end of season 2. ‘Ahsoka’, ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ and ‘Rangers of the New Republic’ are three shows that are direct spin-offs from ‘The Mandalorian’ and are set during the same timeline. The long-anticipated ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ will feature Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader as well as the popular Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi; it is set 10 years after ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and 9 years before ‘A New Hope’. Cassian Andor and his taciturn droid companion K-2SO return to the screen in ‘Andor’, a prequel series set 5 years before the events portrayed in ‘Rogue One’. The focus is not entirely on live action series either with ‘Star Wars: Visions’ being a series of short films made in an anime style by acclaimed Japanese filmmakers, and ‘The Bad Batch’ being based on a squad of faulty clones with extraordinary abilities that featured in ‘The Clone Wars’ animated series. Adding to the list are ‘The Acolyte’, set in the High Republic era 200 years before ‘The Phantom Menace’, and ‘Lando’, featuring my second favourite scoundrel Lando Calrissian (casting to be confirmed), completing the list. Add to all this the feature length movie ‘Rogue Squadron’ and an as yet untitled film currently being written, and due to be directed, by Taika Waititi (expect something unique there).

While some of these projects have been in the planning and production stages for a few years now, there can be little doubt that the runaway success of ‘The Mandalorian’ will keep Disney investing in the 43-year-old franchise for the foreseeable future.

This is the way.

Did the Mandalorian bring Star Wars back to life, or has it always been better than ever? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

WRITTEN BY: Saelanna
Mon 18 Jan, 2021 3:25 PM
I've had friends who have never even had a passing interest in Star Wars over the years, now taking part in these conversations. I think The Mandalorian has converted more fans than anything since the first three movies.
Mon 18 Jan, 2021 4:41 PM
The Mandalorian has managed to hit a lot of right notes over these 2 seasons. One of the challenges and perhaps failings of the prequel and/or sequel movies is that they not only were pulling from the Star Wars universe, but they were extending the stories of beloved characters as well. Many fans were unhappy with the "whiny young Darth Vader" of the prequels and probably more were unhappy with the endings for Luke, Leia, and Han in the more recent sequels. The Mandalorian had the advantage with starting with brand new characters from popular but largely enigmatic bits of Star Wars lore (the Mandalorian culture, Yoda's species) and wasn't trapped in the narrative of the movies and only tangentially related to those plotlines. This left the writers a lot of latitude in crafting the story they wanted to tell without crashing into the walls of existing canon. Similarly, the more recent introductions of existing characters (Ahsoka and Luke on-camera, plus characters like Grand Admiral Thrawn off-camera) have been artfully limited to provide fanservice without derailing the story or diminishing the value of the stars of this series in light of the "superstars" of past movies and shows.

It makes me wonder if similar long-lived sci-fi series might prove less divisive if they similarly strayed further afield of their well-established roots, such as maybe a Star Trek series centered around Romulans or Klingons or something rather than another Starfleet crew, or maybe telling the story of the founders of Hogwarts for the Harry Potter/Wizarding World instead of just telling the story of the very next generation (Cursed Child), or the previous generation (Fantastic Beasts).
Mon 18 Jan, 2021 11:05 PM
Your comments kind of remind me of Torchwood in Dr. Who.
Tue 19 Jan, 2021 12:55 AM
Torchwood/Dr. Who crossed my mind as I wrote that, but seeing as we had a few years of that, I thought something not yet tried might be interesting.