Subject: doctorlit reviews The Mandalorian
Posted on: 2020-07-22 12:32:55 UTC

Oh, wow. This is some Star Wars!

I watched The Mandalorian with my brother. Due to his flight training being hard to schedule around, there was a several-months gap between the two viewings, which may mess with my memory a bit, but . . . here goes review.

Spoilers for Return of the Jedi, The Mandalorian and The Rise of Skywalker.

I felt like this series did an excellent job of capturing the tone of the original trilogy. Everything is a bit dingy, there’s a constant undercurrent of crime, and the aliens and droids are so unique-looking, and act in ways that are simultaneously understandable, yet very clearly foreign from any culture on Earth. And yes, I appreciated how much practical effects were used over CGI (and the CGI was excellent, because there are some scenes that had to be, yet . . . it sure didn’t look like it?)

I was wondering how the series would square the continued existence of Mandalorians with the original trilogy’s assertion that Boba Fett had been the last one. Making them a secret society that hides underground works, especially since the Star Wars universe, despite spanning a galaxy and having all kinds of science fantasy technology, has always felt like a series of very enclosed environments to me. Ships may be able to transmit signals through space, but on a planet’s surface, it seems like little information travels from town to town. So it makes sense that the Mandalorian population has managed to hide itself from general knowledge. I love that the survivors have maintained so reverently the heavy focus on battlefield honor and the significance of their armor.

As much as I disliked the use of the First Order as an Empire knock-off in the sequel trilogy, I didn’t mind the presence of Imperial stragglers in this series. It makes sense that the entire power structure wouldn’t collapse immediately following Return of the Jedi, and local groups would impose power over whatever local areas they found themselves in. We also get further reinforcement from, uh, slow-talking British bad guy that the Empire is a highly fascistic sacrifice freedom-for-safety-and-peace sort of ideology, following up from the recruitment advertisement in Solo. The last episode’s opening was also a hilarious, but horrifying, look into the Empire’s structure from the grunts’ points of view, where the abuses and dangers of the leadership are literally life-threatening.

With how openly the Force was discussed throughout the sequel trilogy, I was surprised that everyone seemed shocked when the child started using Force powers. I guess they’re working off of the “superstition” and “ancient religion lines from the original trilogy. I was even more shocked that no one recognized Yoda’s species, as Yoda is such an iconic and recognizable character for us, and had such a major history in-universe, I figured his name, at least, would be well-known. My brother says Yoda was the last known member of his species, but I don’t recall hearing that anywhere before.

The Ugnaught’s death hit me pretty hard, I won’t lie. He was such a down-to-earth and dedicated person . . . I don’t really have more to say than that, I guess. One more example of the Empire destroying a life in the name of resources and power.

And speaking of resources and power . . . in light of Rise of Skywalker, it seems likely the Emperor is the one who ultimately wants the child? It’s hard to say at what point in his reconstruction process he would be, this close to end of RotJ, but I think it’s reasonable to assume he would be seeking out other Force-sensitive characters to “feed on,” the way he did to Rey and Ben. O the other hand, I don’t know if the show would feature a character quite that well known. And the fact that Moff Gideon appears to have a lightsaber or lightsaber-like weapon makes things interesting, too. Is he Force-sensitive as well? Is he the actual big bad of the series, or is he working for the Emperor or someone else?

Oh, one last fun observation from my brother: the knife-happy Twi’lek in the prison break-out episode is basically Harley Quinn reskinned for the SW universe!

—doctorlit has spoken

“You have earned your spoilers.” “You have earned your spoilers.” “You have earned your spoilers.” “You have earned your spoilers.” “You have earned your spoilers.”

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