I’m one of those people that prefer watching a season of a TV show in one sitting. So I took my time and waited out the recent season finale to watch the second season of the Mandalorian.
The old formula explained
The first season of the Mandalorian saved Star Wars for me. Many episodes of the show had a strong “A new hope” vibe, not just because some episodes took place on Tatooine. But generally, the show had a simple but great formula, which it followed through for almost every episode:
- the Mandalorian spends roughly a third of each episode walking around, standing in cool poses, etc.
- another third is baby Yoda looking cute or doing cute things
- the last third is some minor story progression and some action
This simple formula guaranteed straightforward entertainment without the ballast of around 11 movies and countless other media products. It also made sure, that the Mandalorians themselves were in the focus of the story and how the title giving Mandalorian gets new toys and armor parts (kind of like video game progression I guess).
A new formula
Coming from the first season I expected more of the same. Why touch a great formula? But of course, the story progression and the new mission, bringing baby Yoda to a Jedi, made that necessary. Nonetheless, the first episode of the season is very much like the first season formula, Mando needs to help some people solving a problem to get something from them. The second episode is somewhat similar and even follows the from a desert planet to an ice planet logic from the old Star Wars trilogy. But starting with the later episodes we suddenly get a lot of old Star Wars characters – which is also nice I guess. Even though the Jedi episode still follows the concept of the first season.
Too much fan service?
Embedding the Mandalorian more into the overall Star Wars Universe makes sense. Looking at the bazillion of new Star Wars shows announced recently, it’s also clear that Disney is far from giving up any MCU-like plans for Star Wars. This can be great if done correctly (like Endgame), but when it comes to Star Wars, they didn’t even deliver a consistent new trilogy.
The strength of The Mandalorian was its concentration on two characters having adventures. The second season still upholds some of those virtues but starts to cramp in a lot of fan service; something two side movies didn’t deliver very well for me. But I do hope that the Mandalorian will not lose its unique strengths. The first season – but also the second – managed to create this Star Wars feeling, strange new worlds and alien races, some mystery and its characters – and nothing more. A feeling I haven’t had in a very long time (when it comes to Star Wars) and it would be a pity to lose what they’ve built so far.
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