After the Rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader and a bounty hunter named Boba Fett all over the galaxy.
Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the mysterious Darth Vader.
Three years into the Clone Wars, the Jedi rescue Palpatine from Count Dooku. As Obi-Wan pursues a new threat, Anakin acts as a double agent between the Jedi Council and Palpatine and is lured into a sinister plan to rule the galaxy.
After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.
This is the RIGHT way. The subtle difference between "reproducing" Star Wars and "recapturing" Star Wars. Why The Mandalorian gets Star Wars right
It's one thing to bring back elements, characters, settings and stories, and to flash them in front of the audience to cash in on the nostalgia and/or recognisable memorabilia but without using it to further the plot and other to do exactly the opposite. It was about time that Star Wars directives understood that it is too unique a product to be lend to corporate filmmakers. Star Wars needs to be understood and its uniqueness has to be acknowledged in order to make the new stories feel like they belong. This may sound too obvious but if you ever wondered why the new SW movies are so controversial this may be the reason.
Like with "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse (2018)" and their comicbook-industry experts participation, the creators behind The Mandalorian were experts of the industry, connoisseurs of the Star Wars Universe and even long time fans. So they were able to not only recapture the aesthetic of the grimy, battered Star Wars but also build upon it taking the most "subtle" things into account. Things like the predominancy of puppets and practical effects over CGI, settings you can feel and touch over green screens and the abundancy of not only known elements previously seen in Star Wars, but a whole batch of new creatures, designs and overall plot elements that felt like they belong to this universe and had always been there.
Exceeding expectations are not only the visual aspects but the narrative too. It might be too late for some story elements now, but it is of great importance that from now on you try to watch the unraveling of the story unspoiled. I was lucky to have seen the premiere of the show before the "memefication" of a certain "element" that went viral and became one of the biggest highlights of the show. But for me I saw the reveal of this element unspoiled and I was pleasantly shocked, a memory I'll always carry with me. The ability of these creators to generate such shock value and deep moments it's often baffling to me. This is proof that the creators behind the narrative are fully aware of the complexities of the universe they are tampering with and like an experienced surgeon, they are able to tweak, traverse and call back any Star Wars element as they please and with astonishing results.
It seems to be obvious that series creator Jon Favreau turns to gold everything he touches, from his influence in the MCU with the first Iron Man (2008) movie (still regarded today as a favorite among the infinite Marvel movies) to the remarkable and commercially successful live-action Jungle Book and Lion King Disney movies. He seems to understand how to treat a franchise not by exploiting the nostalgia aspects but rather use them to fuel new stories and "revive" the experience. Not to mention the contributors to this amazing show hype up the expectations and the quality of the show, from beloved names like Taika Watiti to legendary Star Wars showrunner Dave Filoni. The show today is in the most capable hands possible and away from the corporate meddling of Kathleen Kennedy.
Despite everything it does right, I have found some things that distanced me from it. It is merely one small and almost inevitable aspect I don't think a huge lore such as Star Wars can escape from. Something that makes the world-building so real: the subtle callbacks and references found on names and other elements. This is an aspect that non-Star Wars Lore fans (in which I have to identify myself as even though I have read and know some of the deeper lore) will not like or get as they are cast aside for not picking up or straight up know these references. If people don't know what a Gungan is they won't get the "you are as ugly as a Gungan" joke, for instance. But as for the rest, the story can be followed and understood because it feels self-contained and you don't need to know much about the SW status quo at the time other than (in simplified terms) an Empire ruled over the galaxy and now it's over, in this world there are mercenaries that adhere to a code among themselves, there's a magical energy flowing through all of us called The Force, there's a group of Force-wielding knights that fight with light swords, and that's about it. Anything else you need to know it is presented in the story or explained through exposition, which in a huge universe that is Star Wars it is a must in order to be able to tell a story worthy of SW.
As for the show itself, these are some of the most predominant reasons why The Mandalorian gets Star Wars right (reasons I believe stand out among many others the show has) -- WARNING: MILD MILD SPOILERS AHEAD OF SEASON 1:
The treatment of the Force -- long gone were the days when the Force had nothing new to teach us. It seemed we have seen it all and had witness it being reduced to a "superpower" the Jedis use to move objects. But perhaps the biggest aspect that seemed to bring controversy is the treatment of the force as this quantifiable and immutable force presented in the Prequels. However, the most successful Star Wars stories have not treated it as such, despite the fact that this new addition was provided by its own creator, George Lucas; in fact, the most successful Star Wars stories have expanded on the capabilities of the force still considering it a mystifying and intangible energy that lives in all of us and the binds the universe together. The Mandalorian takes place post Empire, which means the force has started to be known across the galaxy thanks to the Legend of Luke Skywalker, auguring the return of the Jedi Knights. Therefore, treating the force used by the so-called "baby yoda" as a powerful and non-understanding power but in fact recognised by some who have heard of it is a genius move as it makes it magical and uncharted still, a long lost ethereal power that exists beyond our comprehension. The force should be something we don't fully understand yet nor people in universe will fully understand either. By allowing the force to be pure and uncharted, there's room for more creative uses of it that when done right can provide of elevated moments. This are shown especially on episodes 7 and 8 of season 1 where by using terms like "a group of sorcerers called Jedi", "I have heard of this power" and "i have seen him move things with its mind" makes the force more mystified and bewildering.
The puppets -- say whatever you want about the incredible alien, prop and set designs of other Star Wars main stream media (TV shows, video games, movies with some really good exceptions of course) but I am one to believe that generally the main reason why none of the later Star Wars media released after the OT were really embraced by everyone as part of the universe is because the "feel" of the world we were seeing was not the same. Star Wars stood out from sci-fi like Star Trek and other more "clean and smooth" worlds by building a grimy, run-down and almost post-apocalyptic set and prop design with a huge contrast of advanced technology. So when The Mandalorian brought it back, not only by imitating the set and character designs and such but by expanding upon those by using new imagery and creating new alien species that fit with that new world, it was a display of world-understanding beyond any new incorporations Abrams, Johnson and even good ol' George Lucas had ever brought post-OT. By bringing back puppets and practical effects and make up it shows and it gives you the satisfaction of knowing in 30 years it will still hold up because they are physical things, tangible by the actors and even though "baby yoda" moves and when grabbed looks like a sack of potatoes, you don't mind because you know it exists, it is there, you can hold it. I'll take your fully-functioning puppet over the best CGI because truth is, in some years, the CGI will have improved so much you'll start to see the cracks when looking back.
Cinematic Special Effects for a TV show -- this may be known for those who keep up with Star Wars news or watch the Mandalorian documentaries in Disney+, but the innovative tech used for the background and other special effects is almost revolutionary and provides a high quality that resembles that of a cinematic film. Needless to say, the special effects, real-model sets design and other props allows the universe to exist and be tangible instead of rendering a scene that with tim we'll notice it doesn't really exist
END OF SPOILERY STUFF --
IN CONCLUSION, The Mandalorian is a worthy sequel to the OT, maintaining the same aesthetic, themes and recognisable elements but providing new and incredible ideas that amount to the incredible universe that is Star Wars. If they are able to keep it up it'll become one of the best SW media to come in its history. Disney Star Wars seems to know what it's doing now after stumbling a couple of time and I commend them for it. SW isn't an easy franchise to expand and continue despite the amount of stories that are left to be told. You know the saying "Nobody hates Star Wars more than Star Wars fans". But I praise the work done by everyone involved...
... This is the way.
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