‘The Mandalorian’ Season 1 Review: Give Us More Space Dad & Baby Yoda

With the first season of The Mandalorian wrapped, now is the time to reflect on what we’ve seen, but also consider what may be coming. The Mandalorian as a whole is the most “classic” Star Wars story to be released since… well… classic Star Wars. The look, the feel, The Mandalorian is the bridge between those that love and those that hate the sequel trilogy. Here are a few things that make the series great.

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Genre-Bending

While genre-bending is not new territory for Star Wars by any measure, The Mandalorian genre-bends more than any other Star Wars property in recent memory. While overall, The Mandalorian is a bonafide space western, complete with a desert backdrop, episode titles that could pass for spaghetti western films, and a score that’s clearly inspired by The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but it also pulls from the horror genre, heist films, war movies, among others. This genre-bending is a staple of classic Star Wars and based on The Mandalorian its a trope that is here to stay.

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Fascinating New Characters

As a kid, before the advent of the internet, I was meticulous in watching the credits of each Star Wars film because no matter how small or minuscule the part, each character had a name and a credit, rather than just “Alien #5” or not being listed at all. That little detail really drew me in. With The Mandalorian, we have several new characters with larger roles and they’re all interesting to me in some form or fashion. 

While I was most looking forward to Ming-Na Wen as Fennec Shand, by the end of this season, I became completely and utterly enamored with Gina Carano as Cara Dune. I’ve always admired tough ladies of all stripes, but Cara is the first lady I’ve seen since Brienne of Tarth that was tough and strong and actually looked like she could snap you in half. Plus with the reveal that she was from Alderaan, well, I definitely screamed when that little detail was revealed on first viewing. Plus with the overwhelming cuteness of “The Child”, the mysterious background of Mando, and more, well, it’s easy to see why the new characters really are entrancing.

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The Child

Perhaps the most truly bipartisan figure in the world at large today is The Child or as everyone else on the planet refers to it, “Baby Yoda.” Left and right, old and young, fans of all forms of Star Wars can all seem to agree on one thing–Baby Yoda is the cutest thing in a galaxy far, far away and we will destroy anyone who dares to lay a finger on that precious little child. While I know many were frustrated by the lack of Baby Yoda merch available straight away, I applaud the choice to hold back. Allowing the big reveal to happen completely unspoiled was an incredible experience. And have we mentioned the memes? Baby Yoda is a gift that keeps on giving from 2019 into 2020. 

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Truly Evil Baddies

While the Empire may have been beaten, vestiges of the Empire still exist five years after the events of The Return of the Jedi and are active in the seedy underbelly of a galaxy far, far away. The reveal of Moff Gideon towards the end of the season and especially the reveal of the darksaber he wields hearkens back to Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels. How did he get it? This is especially telling because this weapon is traditionally only wielded by the leader of Mandalore. I’m eager to see how this will play out in the second season. 

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More Ladies? This is the Way.

I think the thing that The Mandalorian has done the best so far is to introduce not only a sheer number of female characters, but female characters that are all distinct in some way. From tough, but sweet to tough, but conniving, and everyone in between, The Mandalorian offers us the most diverse array of female characters seen thus far in the live action Star Wars universe. My favorite actress and Star Wars alum, Gwendoline Christie said that she wanted to always play “interesting” women. Not necessarily strong women. We have a lot of those already. I think The Mandalorian has done a great job bringing us several interesting women, as well as the first female directors of Star Wars anything, Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. I’m eager to see those women, and more, come back in season two. 

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Season Two?

We were barely into the first season when season two of The Mandalorian was confirmed. I’m curious to see where we will go. New territory? Familiar Star Wars stomping grounds? Some combination thereof? We will see. While I have no real speculation for season two, I do have a few hopes. I am eager to see Mando be “as a father” to Baby Yoda. I am extremely hopeful that we will see Cara Dune again. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a little more affection blossoming between the two of them. It was pretty clear that she was soft on him in that finale. I expect nothing less for the next season. Also, I am incredibly curious to see more of The Child’s capabilities and if he’ll truly become the tiniest Mandalorian in existence. 

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with this series, and it seems like the collective Star Wars fandom feels the same way. It’s a nice change of pace to have less bickering about Star Wars and more gushing over Star Wars. I’m here for it. This is the way.

Until next season.

I have spoken. 

The Mandalorian will return for season 2 on Disney+.

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