The Mandalorian is a Star Wars TV series derived from Boba Fett’s story in The Empire Strikes Back and set in The Republic shortly after The Return of the Jedi.
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The Mandalorian’s Success
The Star Wars franchise was in trouble, with the fan base unhappy with the recent interpretation of the Star Wars story and the approach taken with central characters. A belief that there was inadequate underlying story development compounded the problem.
Given all this, it is extraordinary that The Mandalorian is as good as it is. With everything problematic about the last Star Wars films, the Mandalorian gets it right and has been a tremendous hit with both fans and reviewers.
The Star Wars Timeline
The Mandalorian pays homage to the greater Star Wars universe and story. It immerses us in this world far better than any other films have done since the original three movies. It beautifully sources the look and feel of the early films. Even though the basis for the story is the elusive character Boba Fett, the Bounty Hunter from The Empire Strikes Back.
The timeline occurs after The Return of the Jedi, with the Empire defeated and the Republic governing the galaxy. The Star Wars canon refers to this time as 9 ABY, which means nine years after the Battle of Yavin, in which Luke Skywalker destroys the Death Star. This event occurs at the end of the first Star Wars film and marks when the rebellion defeats the Empire and creates the Republic.
Listed is the Timeline of all Star Wars live action Movies and TV series:
- 32 BBY – The Phantom Menace
- 22 BBY – Attack of the Clones
- 19 BBY – Revenge of the Sith
- 13 BBY – Solo: A Star Wars Story
- 10 BBY – Obi-Wan Kenobi
- 05 BBY – Andor
- 00 BBY – Rogue One
- 00 BBY – Star Wars aka A New Hope
- 03 ABY – The Empire Strikes Back
- 04 ABY – Return of the Jedi
- 09 ABY – The Mandalorian
- 09 ABY – The Book of Boba Fett
- 34 ABY – The Force Awakens
- 34 ABY – The Last Jedi
- 35 ABY – The Rise of Skywalker
Note, according to Star Wars canon:
- ABY is “After the Battle of Yavin”, in which Luke Skywalker destroys the Death Star, and
- BBY is “Before the Battle of Yavin”.
The action occurs on the lawless outer rim worlds, with the Republic struggling to maintain order. A prominent and familiar location is Tatooine.
From the start, the central titular character of The Mandalorian gains our support and interest. Which is impressive, considering he never takes his helmet off for most of the two seasons. Pedro Pascal, previously known for Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones, plays the title role. He delivers a stoic and dignified performance and is flawless in his delivery.
The Mandalorian is a loner, a solitary traveller who never settles down, living by a code that forbids him from publicly removing his helmet. His formidable reputation usually precedes him wherever he travels. While his real name is Din Djarin, he is better known by his nickname Mando. He accepts employment as a Bounty Hunter to retrieve an asset that turns out to be the Baby Yoda. He becomes uncomfortable with the fate that awaits The Child and instead decides to rescue him.
The show finds its best moments in this relationship between The Mandalorian and The Child. Here the tough guy cloaked in a shiny steel facade reveals some underlying compassion by protecting and looking after The Child. Yet, somehow, in this role, he finds a higher purpose.
Here the series deals with a familiar Star Wars theme, fatherhood and parenting, as the Mandalorian has lost his own family and grew up an orphan. Consequently, when he becomes responsible for The Child, he is suddenly thrust into a father-like role, a situation he has not experienced.
The Child (Baby Yoda)
The series introduces one of the best new Star Wars characters since the original trilogy, the Baby Yoda, known in the series as The Child. Even without seeing the TV series, it would have been hard to miss the Baby Yoda merchandise – the posters, the toys, the key rings. The Mandalorian has proven to be a massive popular culture hit.
The Baby Yoda delights in every scene that it appears. It’s cute, at times, hilarious and occasionally surprisingly powerful. The creators of The Mandalorian have done extraordinarily well with this new character.
They reveal minimal information about The Child other than he is 50 years old, of the same species as Yoda, and later that his name is Grogu.
Like all Star Wars stories, the show deals with the struggle between good and evil. However, it is never black and white, and some scenes sow some doubt about the way The Child will go and the importance of teaching him the right way.
The Other Characters
The primary villain in the series is Moff Gideon, a former Imperial Commander played by Giancarlo Esposito. Esposito is famous for his role as Gus Fring, Walter White’s employer and later adversary in Breaking Bad. He is determined to capture The Child and conduct experiments on him.
Katee Sackhoff plays Bo-Katan Kryze, part of a breakaway Mandalorian group. Sackhoff is best known to science fiction fans as the sensational Kara “Starbuck” Thrace from the 2004 re-imagined Battlestar Galactica.
Timothy Olyphant briefly appears as Cobb Vanth, a marshal on Tatooine.
Gina Carano pays a mercenary named Cara Dune, who was previously a rebel trooper and teams up with the Mandalorian for a while.
Luke Skywalker appears
Reviewers and fans have criticised the handling of the Luke Skywalker character in The Last Jedi. However, the Mandalorian treats Luke Skywalker with reverence. The dramatic building to his arrival, the displays of his power and the respect they give the character are perfect. It provides a spectacular conclusion to the second season.
Mark Hamill stars as Luke Skywalker and is digitally de-aged to make him fit the timeline sometime after The Return of the Jedi. His appearance in the Season 2 finale received enormous excitement and praise from fans.
The Series and the Star Wars Universe
Everything about the series, including its costumes, scenes, locations, and music, is excellent. The opening credits, theme and soundtrack, are outstanding. The Tatooine scenes in Star Wars were always a favourite of mine. The series revisits the planet and beautifully captures the original film’s appearance and atmosphere.
Like The Expanse, The Mandalorian follows the genre of Space Westerns. However, there are many more outdoor locations and a more open feel than in The Expanse, which sometimes felt claustrophobic inside endless spaceship scenes.
The Mandalorian’s success paved the way for three new Star Wars TV series, The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor.
In a perplexing move, significant developments in the story arc of the Mandalorian and The Child have progressed in later episodes of The Book of Boba Fett.
The Mandalorian is screening on Disney Plus.