Star Wars is still kicking and screaming then, is it? Thought we’d have left that in the past with all our other happy memories. Never taken away on the heights of this space opera nonsense, The Mandalorian was presenting a bitesize form of entertainment. Something that wouldn’t be too difficult to sink some teeth into, like a marshmallow. The Mandalorian and marshmallows have the same nourishment value anyway. Heralding in a new way for users to yell and complain about this Lucasfilm franchise, Jon Favreau presents this debut episode, directed by Star Wars: The Clone Wars alumni, Dave Filoni.
The Mandalorian’s opening heralds the days of the spaghetti western. A stranger swaggering his way into town, cleaning up the scourge of the Earth. Pedro Pascal plays this not-so-mysterious figure, Din Djarin, a lone bounty hunter. Everything we will ever need to know about this character is summarised in the first few minutes. A man of few questions, no time for questions to be asked or answered, the traditional action hero, helmed by Pedro Pascal. Carl Weathers and Werner Herzog feature too, and under the scope of Favreau’s writing and Filoni’s adequate direction they make for interesting moments. Herzog is the clear frontrunner of quality here, his command of the screen brief, but using the man solely as a plot device gets us on the right track.
Spending no time at all on anything uniquely inspired, The Mandalorian attempts to bring up some lore of Djarin’s people, but none of it comes out as anything but blemished jargon. A problem Favreau will have to deal with, the average viewer won’t care for these bits of dialogue, and the hardcore bile of the fanbase will eventually turn on their leaders. Favreau and Pascal are competent, but their stalwart efforts here are nowhere close to enough. A basic premise, and rather bland at times, following the usual chain of plot devices. Peppering the backstory of our character with the usual Star Wars filler, but there’s no snappy dialogue or interesting angle. The Mandalorian takes a very primitive, interesting premise, and begins grinding it down rather immediately with annoying fandom concepts. At least the action is alright, the blasters drowning out much of the dialogue.
Directed well enough and sufficient for those that wish to throw themselves into the ever-expanding universe of Star Wars, this first episode provides a solid enough foundation. All the tropes of modern-day television, presented with the various novelties this Disney-era of an originally simplistic space narrative look to offer. A slow start, one that may not take off any further than this, but a safe return to this world that will give fans exactly what they want. Which, in this case, is nothing out of the ordinary.