As the Star Wars universe expands, as does its lore, and with its lore, come more intriguing characters that deepen the intensity of the beloved space saga. Meet The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), a stark drifter of little words. After the fall of the Empire, prior to the First Order, the solitary gunslinger searches for his bounty in a galaxy far, far away.
Announced back in October of 2018 and then later put into the spotlight in Chicago, Ill., by show creator Jon Favreau and friends during Star Wars Celebration 2019, the anticipation for Lucasfilms’ most stirring production yet is well-deserving of the pythonic praise that plumpens its reputation. Those who were so lucky to find themselves in the Wintrust Arena attended a surprise screening of the pilot episode’s first fifteen minutes. Broken up on a week-by-week “spoonfeeding” basis, The Mandalorian ropes viewers into their Disney+ subscription.
The first episode of The Mandalorian is thrown to the mercy of desolation while squeezing in as much information that can worm its way into the pilot. The titular character carries himself with gruff idiosyncrasy. Not only is he blunt, but the refusal to remove his helmet wallops the secrecy of identity into his nature. His straightforward, jaded poise may be “edgy,” but evermore the curious as he allows breaks his tired front to let emotion peak through, whether he likes it or not. The urge to admire him is hard to suppress, let him be a man of that confronts his woes with declinatory patience. The wandering bounty hunter may take after Clint Eastwood, yet there are a few moments of sympathy; the ‘killing’ of the IG-11 droid (Taika Waititi), and the sparing of an infant Yoda. The initial episode is worth the ride to reach the cliffhanger. Trekking into uncharted territory, seeing the familiar green face is a delightful surprise, even if he may have committed war crimes.
The Mandalorian is undeniably an intergalactic Italian Western. Dusty, worn, and consistently jaded, there are resounding nods to 60’s style. Chapter One sets the tone and defines this story as one that can stand out in the Star Wars universe. It boldly treads forward towards a new breed of Star Wars storytelling, hoping to catch traction, and this step is a gutsy one in the right direction. The pacing stumbles, where parts of the first episode overstuff itself with information that can easily be woven in at later points, the rapidness of the debut ebbs and flows. Visually, The Mandalorian sticks to its elaborately detailed roots, but the episode battles with itself when it comes to usage of time. The history behind the Mandalorian armor is important, and yes, the lone gunslinger should learn how to break a Blerg, as it contributes to his development, but however, these scenes seem to buy out time rather than to propel the plot onward. The Force may be with this Disney+ Original, but it doesn’t feel one-hundred percent forced.
Verdict: 7.7/10- This Western aspirant breathes life into a franchise that is in need of gracious rejuvenation. The first episode drops the line with a hook that opens the series up for a plethora of possibilities. There’s thrill buried in this headily tense adventure.