It has been a difficult stretch to be a Star Wars fan ever since “The Phantom Menace” hit the theaters in 1999. Many of the Star Wars stories to come out since then have been, at the very least, highly controversial.
It has almost come to the point where Star Wars is up there with politics and religion in terms of enjoyment of discussion. That is, before the arrival of what was at first a funny little show about a guy, not a Jedi or “the chosen one” or anything like that, coming almost like a package deal with the emerging Disney+ streaming service. Little did we all know that this little show would change the entire trajectory of the Star Wars franchise under the ownership of Disney, from a certain point of view.
“The Mandalorian” follows the journey of a Mandalorian Bounty Hunter, something of a warrior culture in the Star Wars universe, named Din Djarin that is played under the mask by Pedro Pascal.On a peculiar assignment from an imperial officer, he runs into something of a small baby. Little does Din know, this baby has galaxy-changing implications because of his special abilities.
Din’s adventures in trying to get the Child to his own kind brings along a cavalcade of characters, including the star-studded cast of Cara Dune (Gina Carano), Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) Migs Mayfeld (Bill Burr) and returning players Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson).
Star Wars has been, since its inception, something of a western. Not particularly with the primary protagonists, but more in the environment and secondary characters. Han Solo, for instance, has got the mannerisms, swagger and steed (the Millennium Falcon) to be the quintessential cowboy. However, the science fiction setting around him has a tendency to let these cowboy traits slip on by unnoticed.The Mandalorian takes these western elements and pushes them to the forefront of the show, without all the King Arthur-esque “chosen one” business. Is it a good choice? Maybe not for some, but I can speak on my own behalf and say that this is the breath of fresh air that the Star Wars franchise has needed for a very long time.
The similarities between this show and the old western shows of the age of black-and-white television run farther deep than most are willing to admit. I think that is a wonderful thing. We’ve got ourselves a cowboy, a loosely connected narrative and a different bad guy for every episode, so it’s fresh for just about every single episode. That is the type of formula that allowed “Gunsmoke” to stay on air for twenty years, so I’d be remiss to say that it doesn’t work.
Jon Faverau and Dave Filoni have taken the reigns of this franchise, and it looks like they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. They are both on board for the new slate of Star Wars shows that Disney announced just recently, many of these being spinoffs of The Mandalorian. If the vision for this show is anything to go off of, it’s pretty safe to say that Star Wars is going to be in good hands for a very long time.