The Mandalorian follows the life of a Bounty Hunter (Pedro Pascal, Narcos) in the ruins of the Galactic Empire.
Set roughly six years after the events of Return of the Jedi, the audience is introduced to ‘Mando’ – the titular Mandalorian – making an entrance into a seedy-looking saloon that would make Clint Eastwood proud. In the opening scene, our protagonist saves his bounty from a group of thugs, only to then freeze him in a block of carbonite. This Mandalorian has his first catch of the day. Jobs don’t pay nearly as well as the audience might expect – but luckily for the Mandalorian there are still those willing to pay for the tough jobs. He meets with the ‘The Client’ (Werner Herzog) to take a seemingly straightforward gig, and of course it doesn’t go all smoothly. The bounty, an infant of the same species as the Jedi Master Yoda or ‘Baby Yoda’ (as it becomes called during its phenomenal rise to social media fame) – its official title The Child.
Throughout the eight-episode season the relationship between the Mandalorian and ‘The Child’ becomes the foundation for an emotional piece of story-telling – giving the audience reason to warm towards the protagonist. It is clear from the beginning that the Mandalorian is produced in a way that pays homage to not only the Star Wars saga itself but to the spaghetti Westerns of old American cinema.
Instead of cowboys with their weapons strapped to their body or boots with spurs attached, we are treated to a sci-fi rendition filled with scum and villainy. The supporting cast are based on similar variations; from Carl Weathers (Rocky), the grizzly bounty hunter boss, to Gina Carano’s (Deadpool) rebel storm-trooper providing the show with elements of The Good the Bad and the Ugly.
Right from the start, there is a distinctly Star Wars feel to proceedings. The show’s frontrunner Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Chef) absolutely nails the look, tone and texture of the original trilogy. The cinematography has a grainy feel, it’s a little rough around the edges and everything seems vintage. Although absent of the glorious John Williams score and the rolling script like opening credits we’ve come to know, The Mandalorian still managed to feel like a classic Star Wars production. Favreau, with one of the biggest budgets ever seen for a TV show, has made The Mandalorian into a personable, low-key insight into the brilliant mind of George Lucas and his imagined galaxy as never seen before.
The grubby sci-fi western has successfully demonstrated that there is demand for the Star Wars saga away from the silver screen. It’s gripping, emotionally moving and just great space-based fun. Although it might not have every viewer binge-watching it from the very beginning, the plot draws even the most casual of viewer into proceedings as the series progresses. Hopefully, after the mixed reception received after The Rise of Skywalker, the hierarchy at Lucasfilm and Disney will recognise the success of The Mandalorian. Many people would argue that this form of storytelling is the future of the Star Wars franchise.
Image Credit: TheMovieDB