Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney
As I watched through the first episode of The Mandalorian on Disney+, I had a couple thoughts echoing in my mind. “Thank God I finally got Disney+ to load.” “Ooooh, I wonder if Gargoyles is as good as I remember?” And most importantly, “Do I like The Mandalorian?”
See, there were moments in that first episode where I wasn’t sure that I liked it. It’s a weird change of pace to go from a movie like Rogue One or The Last Jedi, or even a TV series like Rebels to then see The Mandalorian. Comparatively, Mandalorian is slower. It takes a lot of inspiration from the original trilogy, and less from the more modern incarnations. And honestly, it’s exactly what it needed to be.
From the opening scene, we see a bar brawl that brings back memories of the famous cantina sequence in Mos Eisley. It’s a throwback to the things that made everyone fall in love with Star Wars. Weird aliens, weird devices, and cool ‘hunk of junk’ spaceships. I’m not going to spoil the story, or the major reveal at the end, but suffice it to say they are worth sticking around for.
What the first episode does best is world building. We get a real look at what the Outer Rim is like after Palpatine’s death at the end of Return of the Jedi. There’s a power vacuum, imperial credits are no longer valuable, and a lot of uncertainty faces the galaxy. We also learn a good bit about The Mandalorian people and what remains of their culture.
Overall, the series is a refreshing change of pace. It’s not the high flying acrobatics of the prequels, or the kitschy mass appeal of the recent movies. It’s very much a love letter to the original trilogy, but still manages to establish its own identity. It also plays to a more adult audience than I would have expected, which was a nice change of pace. I give the premiere a 7.5/10, and would definitely recommend watching it. I know I’ll be tuning for episode 2 this Friday!
Make sure to check back this weekend for our early thoughts on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order!