Gone are the days when all that Star Wars fans had to look forward to were movies, with the launch of the first live-action Star Wars series in franchise history, The Mandalorian, a whole new world has been opened. Dropping us into a corner in the saga both chronologically and geographically, that we have never been before, the first episode of The Mandalorian serves as mostly set up for what’s to come, and that’s a tale full of new characters, western aesthetics and a lot of epic action. A serialized, live-action Star Wars series has never been done before, so what exactly are fans expecting? And what does Iron Man director/series creator, Jon Favreau, and Star Wars creative legend Dave Filoni have up their sleeves? Episode 1 only gives us a glimpse, and leaves us begging for more.
The series kicks off as many would expect, diving head first into the western vibes that made the original film so iconic. Following a lone Mandalorian on the hunt for a bounty, encountering strange creatures and nasty thugs. The episode continues on with a sense of nostalgia and fan services throughout, which is a good thing, and smart. This series needs to rope die-hard fans in immediately, and it does that with glimpses of gonk droids, rodians, stormtroopers and bluurgs. This overreliance on fan service is sure to calm as the series goes on, it even slows in the latter half of the episode. The Mandalorian takes a very secretive bounty from “The Client”, played by Werner Herzog, and here is not only where the main story kicks off, but it’s where the show really starts to find its footing.
The Mandalorian takes the Bounty and travels to an unnamed planet, upon which he encounters the helpful and grumpy moisture farmer, Kuiil, played by Nick Nolte, as well as the naive IG Bounty Hunter, IG-11. These characters are equal parts delightful and unique, and they help out the titular character a great deal. An incredible action sequence ensues, leading the Mando to securing the bounty, which is to both his and the audiences shock, a baby, and not just any baby, a 50 year old baby of Yoda’s species. I don’t think I or anyone could have ever predicted this, and I kind of love it. I want this series to be full of shocks and surprises, and I’m sure this is just the first of many, and what a cliffhanger to end the episode on. What will the Mando do? Bring the baby to Werner Herzog? Keep him and set him free? Luckily we only have to wait three days to find out, as Episode 2 drops November 15th on Disney+.
All in all, this was the perfect way to kick off the series. Finding a balance between fan-service to remind die-hards what they’re watching and raising questions and being unique so as to keep the audience engaged and excited for what future episodes hold. Featuring some brilliant direction from longtime Star Wars animation head, Dave Filoni, “Chapter 1” of The Mandalorian is a mere tease for what’s to come, not only for the show, but for future Star Wars series’ in general. I for one cannot wait.