Disney? It’s me. I was hoping you could give Jon Favreau a bigger part in the Star Wars writing.
All too often in a series like Star Wars we see the events without the aftermath. The heroes fight the bad guys, get in a win, and move on to the next adventure. Nobody really sticks around to see what happens to Endor after the Empire’s big defeat, nor do we hear about what happens with the trillions of tons of debris being scattered around space after the Death Star is destroyed.
This week’s episode sees Mando and The Kid arrive on the forest planet of Sorgan after escaping from his big shootout with the mercenaries at the end of Chapter 3. Mando sees a suspicious woman and tracks her out of the cantina only to get ambushed and in a stalemate brawl only broken up by the adorable slurps of The Kid drinking a bowl of bone broth. Adorable. Our new character is Cara Dune played by Gina Carano.
The Mandalorian constantly reminds us of the disappointing reality that this made-for-internet show has deeper characters than the big budget Hollywood trilogy. Mando immediately notes the woman in the cantina because she is acting suspicious. Cara Dune recognizes Mando and assumes that he is after her, as she is an AWOL soldier from the old rebellion.
And since The Mandalorian is a Space Western, this week’s theme is drawn straight from The Magnificent Seven. The episode starts out with a small fishing village getting raided by bandits. A few villagers gather their meager coin and offer Mando the lot in exchange for his protection. True to his role as not-really-hero, Mando say no…at least until he hears that this village is in the middle of nowhere, and decides it would be a perfect place to hide The Kid.
Mando and Cara Dune help train the villagers to defend themselves, but it’s not going to be that easy. Turns out the bandits have gotten their hands on an abandoned AT-ST chicken walker from the old Empire. The crew hatches a plan to draw the bandits out of the safety of the forest and into a trap. It’s a much more successful and less tragic plan than what played out in The Magnificent Seven.
Speaking of which, Baby Yoda (The Kid) is still friggin adorable. Whether he’s slurping a bowl of bone broth, playing with the village children, or just being a pest and flipping buttons while Mando tells him not to, Baby Yoda has dug his way into the hearts of the audience and doesn’t seem to be moving any time soon. We even get an understanding on why Mando might have grown a heart and saved this little womp rat, as Mando lets slip that he was taken into the Guild after his parents were killed, and not born into it. We already know Mando has a soft spot for orphans as he makes sure his extra payment goes to the Guild foundlings.
Now that The Mandalorian is halfway through Season One, it’s hard to find a Star Wars property that the fan base has been this unified in liking since maybe New Hope or Empire. It makes sense. The Mandalorian is a show that kinda came out of nowhere. It has no strings attached, doesn’t go out of its way to burn the existing lore, and doesn’t appear to be outwardly hostile toward the fan base.
In short, nobody is buying Rise of the Skywalker toys this holiday season. Everyone will be too busy buying Baby Yoda toys as they trickle onto store shelves.