By Ellie Estrema
Unfortunately, Star Wars fans are known for disagreeing. But despite the debate over which movies are legitimate contributions to the Star Wars universe, the true nature of the Force and Hayden Christensen’s acting, “The Mandalorian” is one thing that fans across the spectrum of Star Wars fandom can usually agree on.
Hard-core fans appreciate the depth of worldbuilding and commitment to the Star Wars universe, while more recent fans are learning to fall in love with the Star Wars franchise through this incredibly popular series. However, despite numerous positive elements, I would call this first episode a bit of a disappointment to fans.
Visually, “The Mandalorian” continues to stun, bringing the world of Star Wars to life in truly delightful quality. This episode capitalizes on the gorgeous potential of the Mandalorian’s new N-1 starfighter as our main character travels across the galaxy multiple times, including a pit stop at Nevarro. This city has undergone marvelous growth since we last saw it, while still containing elements that remind us of the Nevarro we met in the very first episode of “The Mandalorian.”
The episode doesn’t remain in any one place long, however, flitting quickly from one planet to another in glorious flight. During one of these flying scenes, the episode zooms in on Grogu as he enjoys the wonder of hyperspace from the domed window of the ship. Rarely has a Star Wars show paused so long to catch a view of hyperspace, and it was visually stunning with both its color and detail. Hardcore Star Wars fans, however, are more excited about the shadow that this scene teased in the background of the hyperspace lane, an oblique reference to a well-beloved character who will finally be making his live-action debut in the Ahsoka show.
Speaking of characters, the cast for the first episode remains fairly consistent with what we’ve seen in other seasons of “The Mandalorian.” Grogu is as adorable as ever, and several other beloved characters come out of the woodwork again in this episode., including Greek Karga and a certain intelligent droid. We, of course, get a nod to the now absent Cara Dune as the show briefly explains where the well-beloved character has disappeared to. And then, we have our main character, the Mandalorian, Din Djarin, who seems to have changed almost as much as the landscape of Nevarro.
Compared to previous episodes, the Mandalorian is surprisingly chatty. He is continually talking either to Grogu or to other characters for almost the entirety of the episode. While there are two shootout scenes, one on the streets of Nevarro and one highlighting the new N-1 starfighter’s impressive aerial agility, the episode still seems light on the action and heavy on the conversation. This is especially true considering the episode’s ending.
While past premiere episodes tended to end on an action-filled note that left the audience wanting to know more, this premier wraps up with a lengthy conversation between the Mandalorian and an embittered hermit Bo-Kataan. Rarely have either character been so direct or honest on screen for this long. The conversation did leave fans with much more information than they have ever had kicking off a season, but it may have also left them missing the strong silent character who uses more bullets than words.
“The Mandalorian” has always capitalized on a sense of mystery that has kept viewers going from episode to episode, engaging with the show as they seek to understand what exactly our beloved main character is up to this time and why. In this particular episode, the Mandalorian is a bit too prone to tell the viewers everything they wanted to know without giving them the joy of finding out for themselves. Strange as it may sound, “The Mandalorian” is the kind of show that most fans have come to expect and enjoy being confused by, and this fan would have liked her confusion to last a little bit longer this time.
“The Mandalorian” is currently streaming on Disney+.
Ellie Estrema is a freshman double majoring in PWID and Spanish. As a TCK, former MK and current PK, she loves learning languages, traveling to see old friends and describing herself with weird acronyms. When she’s not buried in homework, you can usually find her curled up in a hammock: reading stories, writing poetry or laughing with her friends over steaming cups of tea.
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm