Does “The Mandalorian” have enough room to grow?


When the pandemic forced major Hollywood studios to (mostly) push their hits into 2021 or beyond, Lucasfilm didn’t face major adjustments. The Disney-owned company responsible for all things Star Wars he was already planning a hiatus for his theatrical releases, a sensible decision considering the sour taste that The rise of Skywalker, the latest entry in the nine-part Skywalker saga, left to most fans at the end of last year. But nevertheless The rise of Skywalker undermining a lot of goodwill for Disney’s latest Star Wars trilogy, the franchise has been injected with new life from an unlikely source: a live-action TV series about a nascent streaming service that follows the adventures of a bounty hunter and a 50 year old child.

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 the child was a meme maker who wielded the Force of Yoda’s enigmatic species. (It’s technically known as “the baby”, although 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 confusing that of the first season of The Mandalorian it wasn’t just good Emmy-winning television, but a potential window into the future Star Wars it might seem, especially now that Disney’s biggest priority as a company is streaming.

The Mandalorian it’s not a small-scale show at all – the first season would cost $ 100 million – but da Star Wars standard, it’s a relatively decent experience. Most episodes come half an hour and change. The stakes are relatively minor and can usually be summed up in a single sentence; in the second episode, Mando (played by Pedro Pascal, or more precisely, the double behind the helmet) retrieves an egg so that he can repay a group of Jawas who tore his ship apart while he was recovering Baby Yoda. Despite a detour for Tatooine, the series doesn’t rely on fan service either.

It has been a winning formula so far. Luke Skywalker himself praised its virtues The Mandalorianit’s “economic storytelling” and explained why it’s been 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 have had to do,” said Mark Hamill. Entertainment Weekly in May. “In a way it goes back to George’s origins [Lucas] imagining it as a western in space. It has that tone of a Sergio Leone western. “In fact, we millennials of The Ringer favorably compared the series to a more modern western, Justified. (Sorry, boom.)

But while The Mandalorian he’s excelled largely because of his restraint – the Jedi are more commonly referred to as “sorcerers” and not a word of the Force has been mentioned – it’s worth considering how long the show can thrive on these little adventures. Because the series takes place after the events of Return of the Jedi and before The awakening of the force, the spectrum of the remainder of Star Wars hangs over great The Mandalorian. If this were simply a show about a bounty hunter with a cool helmet taking assignments and traversing the cosmos, it would be one thing, but Baby Yoda is both. The MandalorianHe is a 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 that he’s a skilled Force user, even if he doesn’t quite understand how to control him between breaks. Within the show, he is on the radar of the scattered Galactic Empire and will likely attract more unwanted attention in the second season, which premieres on Friday. But we also know that whatever Mando and Baby Yoda do, it should have little or no relationship to the looming conflict between the First Order and the Resistance, unless the series can find a way to retroactively influence the overall story in significantly way. (Given how bad Rise of Skywalker handled Palpatine’s raise, that’s not the way.)

These built-in limitations to the show’s narrative go away The Mandalorian in a strange place. They position Baby Yoda as someone of great importance, and with good reason: a fully mature version of the character would likely be one of the strongest players in the galaxy, while probably not allowing him to do anything. particularly important. A potential solution could be that, by the time the new trilogy synchronizes with Baby Yoda’s adventures, the character will be in the mid-70s; for Yoda’s species, perhaps the seventh decade of life is more like the terrible two. But the problem persists: as much as The Mandalorian functions as a discreet western, remains, to some extent, tied to the extravagances of the special effects driven by Skywalker that inform the rest of Star Wars, even if we wish it wasn’t.

[Extreme Palpy voice] It’s ironic. The Mandalorian breathed new life Star Wars after the latest film trilogy ended up shitting the bed, yet the Skywalker Saga may be the thing keeping the show from having a greater sense of purpose. Thankfully, this shouldn’t be a problem in the short term. The MandalorianS’s essential approach has whipped your ass so far, and with a third season already in the works, there’s still plenty of time for Mando and his viridescent companion to explore the parts of the galaxy that fall the most off the beaten track.

But the longer the series goes on, the closer Baby Yoda gets to whatever her version of a troubled teenage phase, the more the rest of Star Wars threatens to get in the way. (Sure enough, Season 2 looks poised to reintroduce Clone Wars emerging star Ahsoka Tano, most likely played by Rosario Dawson.) The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda are trapped somewhere between adorable memes and the biggest galactic implications looming on the horizon. Like its up-and-coming star, the show will have no choice but to keep growing.

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