For fans of Star Wars, today will be a day long remembered.
The arrival of Disney+, the Mouse House’s foray into the Streaming Wars, is finally here! And with it comes the first live action Star Wars television show to hold people over for the month between now and Rise of Skywalker in December. Luckily, that show is The Mandalorian, and it’s one of the best incarnations of Star Wars mythology to ever be put to film.
Starring Pedro Pascal as the titular bounty hunter, The Mandalorian is unlike anything that has come before in Star Wars canon, while still feeling like an organic extension of the world George Lucas first dreamed up in 1977. It’s both nostalgic and new; original yet familiar. (It’s also the first television show I can think of in which no one is ever named! Like, who’s even who? Even IMDB doesn’t really help.)
The Mandalorian drops the viewer in media res and doesn’t let up. While the opening adventure was thrilling — I guess carbon freezing is a Mandalorian thing? — it doesn’t really prepare you for the twists and turns throughout this first episode. Visually, the grime of the Original Trilogy is all over the show — but turned up to eleven. From the scum-and-villainy-filled cantina to the dusty Stormtrooper armor, the show really does feel like it’s set after the events of Return of the Jedi.
While Chapter 1 holds back some of the cast — namely, Gina Carano and Giancarlo Esposito — the actors that populate the episode are some welcome additions to the Star Wars legacy. Werner Herzog (billed simply as “The Client”) gives a masterful performance (that has anchored all of the trailers so far), and Carl Weathers’ all too brief turn as the Mandalorian’s handler is great. But the standouts are definitely Nick Nolte as the Ugnaught-like being that comes to the hero’s rescue and Taika Waititi as IG-11, the bounty-hunting droid. (Their team up in the climax is… chef’s kiss.)
There are several twists and mythology-building moments that I’ll not reveal here. Just know that I still have goosebumps from watching them earlier today.
All told, The Mandalorian is a worthy complement to the overall Star Wars saga. Shouts to Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni for co-creating such a great show. I can’t wait to see what else is in store.
I have spoken!