Disney recently debuted the first live-action Star Wars television show "The Mandalorian" on the Disney+ streaming platform. The show follows the story of a bounty hunter whose origins are shrouded in mystery apart from his association with the ancient Mandalorian society.
Mandalore is a civilization that has been explored in previous animated Star Wars television shows such as "The Clone Wars," where its traditional warrior ways caused much chaos amidst the ongoing war between the Galactic Republic and Separatist Alliance. The Mandalorian’s adventures take place five years after the events of "Return of the Jedi," with the Empire’s presence merely a cruel memory in the galaxy.
The series has received critic and fan appraisal for its unique filming style reminiscent of 20th century wild western films and its appreciation for Star Wars lore. Salisbury University freshman Ayman Chow shared his thoughts on "The Mandalorian."
"I feel like the second episode was a bit rushed. It's set five years after ["The Return of the Jedi"], and I guess the intention is to keep the audience in that time frame. It was more advanced in technology. Mandalorian putting together a crew was surprising. Him bonding with Baby Yoda was completely necessary to explain why he will end up protecting him instead of turning the bounty in," Chow said.
Since its Nov. 12 premiere on Disney+, "The Mandalorian" has taken the world by storm. According to Business Insider, its popularity surpassed that of Netflix’s "Stranger Things" to become the most popular streamed television series in the U.S.
The infamous and unofficially named “Baby Yoda” has captured the internet’s soul with its undeniable adorable appeal and become one of 2019’s hottest memes.
The show is written and executive produced by "Iron Man" and "The Jungle Book" (2016) director Jon Favreau. Director appearances include Dave Filoni ("The Clone Wars") and Deborah Chow, who will be directing an upcoming Disney+ show set to focus on Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi’s time in the Tatooine Desert before the events of "A New Hope."
These directors have maintained a steady tone of relative solemnity with the occasional organic lighthearted moments. The mixed use of practical and computer-generated effects has helped produce grounded, yet fantastical atmosphere that does not feel out of place of George Lucas’s original trilogy.
The first four episodes (out of the show’s eight-episode first season) have shown the title character develop from an emotionless and devoted bounty hunter to a warrior who stands up for others. While the traditional large-scale conflicts are absent from the series as of yet, war still remains among the stars in "The Mandalorian."
The Galactic Civil War between the Rebellion and Galactic Empire has left behind a world ruled by lawlessness and survival of the fittest. War lords employ stormtroopers, ruthless raiders take control of imperial walkers and no one is left to defend the innocent in the galaxy. Mandalorian culture is explored with the exhibited creation of the warrior tribe’s armor via the rare metal beskar and the refusal of members to remove their helmets in the presence of others.
Yet despite not having seen the Mandalorian’s face throughout the first four episodes, dynamic aspects of this character’s emotions are beginning to make themselves manifest. Examples include his defense of Baby Yoda in "Chapter 3: The Sin" and the salvation of an unarmed village in "Chapter 4: Sanctuary." The desire for a bounty’s reward is beginning to be replaced by a courageous and selfless heart.
Fans of the series will be delighted to learn that Favreau began writing a second season before the first season’s television debut. The show’s success has proved that a live action series is a well-received format for Star Wars canon. Future incarnations of Disney+ originals such as the Cassian Andor series and the recently announced Obi-Wan show have higher potential to be successful additions to Star Wars and the Disney+ platform.
Live action series stretched out over multiple episodes allow cinema magic to express deeper elements of lore not yet brought to screen. The key to a stable future for Star Wars under Disney is fresh exploration, and "The Mandalorian" has opened that door.
"The Mandalorian" is executive produced by Jon Favreau and features episodes directed by Dave Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa, Deborah Chow, Bryce Dallas Howard and Taika Waititi. The series stars Pedro Pascal as the Mandalorian alongside performances from Carl Weathers, Werner Herzog and Gina Carano. Episodes premiere exclusively on Disney+ every Friday morning at 9 a.m. EST.
By JACOB BEAVER
Featured image by Disney.