When the pandemic forced major Hollywood studios to (mainly) push their blockbusters to 2021 or beyond, Lucasfilm didn’t have to deal with any major adjustments. The Disney-owned company responsible for everything Star wars was already planning a break for its theatrical releases, a wise move given the bitter taste that The Rise of Skywalker, the latest entry in the nine-part Skywalker saga, left for the majority of fans at the end of last year. But despite The Rise of Skywalker Undermining a lot of goodwill for Disney’s latest Star Wars trilogy, the franchise has received new life from an unlikely source: a live-action TV series on a fledgling streaming service following the adventures of a bounty hunter and a 50 year old baby. .
To be fair, that streaming service was Disney +, which quickly developed a stronghold in Streaming Wars, the bounty hunter in question was in the mold of Star wars icon Boba Fett, and Baby was a Force-wielding meme creator of the enigmatic species of Yoda. (He’s technically known as “the kid,” but let’s face it, the name “Baby Yoda” is pretty much canon at this point, even if it isn’t. literally Baby Yoda.) But it’s still a bit disorienting that the first season of The Mandalorian was not just a good television, Emmy winner, but a potential window into what the future Star wars might look like this, especially now that Disney’s biggest priority as a business is streaming.
The Mandalorian is by no means a small-scale show – season 1 would have cost $ 100 million to make – but in Star wars standards, it’s a relatively low-key experience. Most episodes arrive at half an hour and change. The stakes are relatively minor and can usually be summed up in one sentence; in the second episode, Mando (played by Pedro Pascal, or more accurately the double behind the helmet) collects an egg to be able to pay a group of Jawas who tore up his ship while he was retrieving Baby Yoda. Despite a detour to Tatooine, the series is also not dependent on fan service.
So far, it is a winning formula. Luke Skywalker himself extolled the virtues of The Mandalorian‘s “economic storytelling” and explained why this was such a refreshing change of pace for the franchise. “They don’t have the burden of delivering a gigantic special effects extravaganza like the movies were meant to do,” said Mark Hamill. Weekly entertainment in May. “It kind of goes back to the basics of George [Lucas] envisioning him as a westerner in space. It has that tone of a Sergio Leone western. Indeed, we millennials at The ring favorably compared the series to a more modern western, Justified. (Sorry, baby boomers.)
But at the same time The Mandalorian excelled in large part because of its restraint – the Jedi are more commonly referred to as “wizards” and no word was mentioned on the Force – it’s worth considering how long the series can thrive on these little adventures. Because the series takes place after the events of Return of the Jedi and before the force awakens, the specter of the rest of Star wars occupies an important place The Mandalorian. If this was just a show about a bounty hunter with a cool helmet taking on missions and crossing the cosmos, that would be one thing, but Baby Yoda is both. The Mandalorianis the memorable savior and, perhaps, his greatest dilemma.
Introducing Baby Yoda was always going to be a big deal – we know so little about the species; justice for Yaddle – and it’s already clear he’s a capable Force user, though he doesn’t fully understand how to control him between soup breaks. On the show, he’s on the radar of the Scattered Galactic Empire and is likely to attract more unwanted attention in the second season, which begins Friday. But we also know that whatever Mando and Baby Yoda do, it should have little to no bearing on the impending conflict between the First Order and the Resistance – unless the show can find a way to make an impact. significantly retroactive to the overall history. way. (In view of the bad Rise of Skywalker handled Palpatine’s raise, that’s not the way.)
These built-in limitations for the show’s narration leave The Mandalorian in a strange place. They position Baby Yoda as someone important – and for good reason: a fully mature version of the character would arguably be one of the strongest players in the galaxy – while probably not allowing him to do anything. it would be. particularly important. A potential workaround could be that by the time the new trilogy syncs with the adventures of Baby Yoda, the character would be around 70; for Yoda’s species, maybe the seventh decade of life is more like the terrible two. But the problem persists: as much as The Mandalorian works like a low-key western, it remains, to some extent, indebted to the Skywalker-led special effects extravagances that inform the rest of Star wars, although we wish it would not.
[Extreme Palpy voice] It is ironical. The Mandalorian breathed new life into Star wars After the latest trilogy of movies ends up shitting the bed, the Skywalker Saga could be what keeps the series from having a greater sense of purpose. Fortunately, this shouldn’t be a problem in the short term. The MandalorianThe stripped-down approach has been ass-whipped so far, and with a third season already in the works, there is still plenty of time for Mando and his virid sidekick to explore the parts of the galaxy that are falling the most out of the way. beaten track.
But the longer the series goes on, and the closer Baby Yoda gets to what his version of an anguished teenage phase turns out to be, the more the rest of Star wars threatens to interfere with you. (Indeed, the second season seems set to reintroduce Clone Wars Ahsoka Tano, most likely played by Rosario Dawson.) The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda are trapped somewhere between lovable memes and the bigger galactic implications looming on the horizon. Like its star, the series will have no choice but to continue to grow.