By Josh Whitney | Marketing Representative
Warning: spoilers ahead.
As the famous saying goes, “No one hates Star Wars more than Star Wars fans.” Ever since the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm, the fandom has been split by every new iteration from the franchise.
But that all changed Tuesday when “The Mandalorian” started streaming on Disney+.
“The Mandalorian” explores a new side of the galaxy shortly after the events of “Star Wars: Episode IV – Return of the Jedi.” The Empire is in shambles, and the chaotic energy of disarray is present throughout this first episode.
The show opens with a brand new Marvel-esque introduction showcasing prominent characters’ helmets across the saga. Darth Vader, Captain Phasma, Stormtroopers and Kylo Ren are among the featured icons in this new intro.
The story follows an unnamed Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) who dawns similar armor to the infamous bounty hunter, Boba Fett.
After capturing a bounty and delivering via carbon freeze, the Mandalorian reports back to his guild contact, Greef Carga (Carl Weathers), who provides the bounty hunter with information of a client willing to pay big space dollars for a high-value target.
Then the bounty hunter travels to an underground bunker where he meets a man surrounded by weathered Stormtroopers only known as “the Client” who presents more information on the bounty. The catch: no bounty puck no profile, only a tracking beacon and the age of the individual — 50 years old.
The Mandalorian accepts the contract and travels off-world to what can only be assumed is the planet Ryloth. He encounters an Ugnaught named Kuiil who offers his services as a guide to the bounty in exchange for peace on the planet. Kuiil notes that several have traveled to the planet in search of the target and none have returned. He helps the Mandalorian in hopes of again establishing peace on his planet. They travel on the backs of local creatures to a hidden encampment crawling with security before the two part ways.
The Mandalorian sets his sights on the camp and notices a bounty hunting droid, IG-11, that has received similar instructions. The two bounty hunters team up for a bit before discovering the target is not a typical 50-year-old person, but rather a baby from the same species as Jedi Master Yoda. IG-11 explains how aliens of that variety age much slower than humans, and the Mandalorian blasts a hole in the droid before it can take a shot at the baby.
The soundtrack for episode one is masterfully crafted by none other than Ludwig Goransson, the same composer heard in movies like “Creed” and “Black Panther.”
Goransson strays from the traditional John Williams scoring that is mimicked often in Star Wars content such as Michael Giacchino’s score in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and Kevin Kiner’s score of the “Star Wars: Clone Wars” and the “Star Wars Rebels” television shows. The scoring in “The Mandalorian” strives for a more space western sound that combines pan flutes and synthesizers for a refreshing tone.
There is obviously a lot to be speculated from the 38 minutes of this pilot episode. The first question I had pondered was how this little alien baby came to be. One obvious possibility is that Yoda is the father to this baby. Because the baby is 50 years old, this would mean that the birth of the child happened shortly before the events of “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.” There have only been two confirmed Yoda aliens before “The Mandalorian,” Yoda as well as a female member of the Jedi Council, Yaddle.
Although it is true that the Jedi are forbidden from having relationships, this is not the same as celibacy. In fact, George Lucas himself confirms this. In an interview with the BBC, Lucas states, “Jedi Knights aren’t celibate — the thing that is forbidden is attachments — and possessive relationships.” This being the case, it makes sense that such a high price would be paid to the bounty hunter who returns the child to the Client.
Unaltered cloning is another option worth considering. We know from the prequels that Emperor Sheev Palpatine played a large role in the Clone Wars through the development of a clone army. This was done by making genetic copies of Jango Fett, another Mandalorian who agreed to the cloning for a handsome price. It is possible that Palpatine (through his close influence in the Senate and the Jedi Council) would have been able to produce a DNA sample from the Jedi Grandmaster with ease and later attempted to duplicate the force-sensitive being for an unknown evil plot.
Another question that arises from the ambiguity of this episode is what shape the Empire is in at this point in time. Although we see a handful of Stormtroopers in this episode, I think it’s a bit of an assumption to say that this indicates any true loyalty remains of Imperial presence.
Although we see Stormtrooper armor worn, this could simply be mercenaries sporting abandoned outfits — hence the weathered appearances. We also know that imperial currency is no longer a feasible means of payment as we see the Mandalorian turn down imperial credits as a reward for his bounty.
“The Mandalorian” sets new heights for the future of the Star Wars universe that may have previously been unimaginable under Disney management. The show has already managed to capture the “essence” of George Lucas’ universe with imaginative set designs, strange worlds teeming with life and fantastic action.
With the creative minds of Jon Faveau and Dave Filoni at the wheel and a budget on par with the final season of “Game of Thrones,” Disney’s flagship Star Wars show is on track to becoming one of the greatest additions to the Star Wars universe since the original trilogy.
We will have to watch the second episode to see what’s next in a galaxy far, far away.