After months of anticipation, the Disney+ streaming service has been made available in the US. While there’s certainly a buzz going around regarding the entire app, one show in particular has attracted many viewers.
Set after the events of the original Star Wars trilogy, The Mandalorian showcases the life of a bounty hunter who makes his living by hunting criminals in the dark underbelly of the galaxy. While the overall tone of the first episode was different from any Star Wars content before it, it may be exactly what the franchise needs to regain support from fans.
As I began the first episode, I couldn’t help but feel thrust right into this new side of things. The opening scene shows our protagonist, simply known as The Mandalorian, retrieving a bounty from a remote cantina on a desolate looking planet. In a quick and impressive display, he takes down several well armed opponents and takes their bounty for his own. This scene felt tense and even included a gritty death for an unfortunate alien. This scene exemplifies the direction the show was being taken, the right one.
As the episode progressed, I couldn’t help but notice the immense detail put into it. The planet shown is admittedly a little rough around the edges, showcasing staked stormtrooper helmets and menacing characters. The use of traditional effects as opposed to CGI stuck out to me as well. This made some of the alien characters feel more realistic.
When The Mandalorian hears word of a particularly high bounty he heads to a secret location to discuss taking the job. This is the first time we see a surviving faction of the Empire. They are vague about who exactly they want The Mandalorian to kill, but that doesn’t stop him from setting off in search of the bounty.
When he gets to the Arvala-7 for the job, we are quickly introduced to some new creatures called Blurrg. The introduction of new characters and creatures was exactly what I was hoping for with this show. Blurrg are lizard-like, two legged aliens ridden like horses by the residents of Arvala-7. After receiving aid from the owner of the Blurrg, an alien by the name of Kuiil, the Mandalorian comes close to his bounty.
Another character that was introduced was a bounty hunter droid by the name of IG-11. He is also after the bounty and eventually, he and the Mandalorian decided to split the reward. While he isn’t traditionally funny, IG-11 is so blunt in some instances that I had to laugh.
While some fans are enjoying the show, other viewers seem to not share that fanaticism. Forbes magazine called it “A mediocre ‘Star Wars’ story” while The Guardian expresses their disappointment in the “dusty disappointment.” While the show seems quite slow at times, it feels necessary. While I can’t speak for the rest of the series, this first episode was a strong start.
While Star Wars has certainly been at a low point, specifically involving the controversy surrounding The Last Jedi and the poor performance of Solo at the box office, hope for the franchise remained with the announcement of this series. The Mandalorian changes the game by being the space equivalent of a western, separating itself immediately from the previous films. Masterfully shot shoot-outs, tense moments, and jaw dropping moments of sheer spectacle make The Mandalorian a must see for any fan of the franchise.