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[TV] Star Wars: The Mandalorian


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I hope they stick to a more standalone format with some minor plot progression.  Star Wars has so much to explore it would be a waste for them to turn this show into something focused on Jedi. 

Spoiler

I know we're going to see Ahsoka Tano but I hope she doesn't become too major of a character.  I'm also mildly worried that they could go full nuts and start pulling other characters from clone wars / rebels like Sabine Wren, especially considering Moff Gideon currently holds the darksaber, and it's heavily implied he got it from crushing Mandalore and possibly even took it from Bo-Katan Kryze. 

 

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Season 2 wrapped up and I have thoughts. 

I still think Favreau and Filloni have done a tremendous job.  You can tell both of them have serious passion for star wars and even if individual episodes or plot elements are flimsy they have a much firmer grasp on this universe than anyone who worked on the sequel trilogy. 
They've managed to still keep mostly to a formula of a weekly adventure with some loose overarching plot.  While I normally prefer longer form storytelling to episodic structures I think the episodic nature of the show works because it allows for different types of stories and makes the star wars universe seem more lived in, rather than just focusing on space opera elements from a few characters' points of view.  That being said, there are definitely times when it feels like we're retreading old ground (oh look another "heist" style episode) and I hope they can keep it fresh, or know when to end the show gracefully. 
Overall I've been enjoying the show like many people, but I don't think this is some 10/10 masterpiece.  It's good, not great. 

Spoiler

I have mixed feelings about the significant increase in fan service this season.  I enjoyed parts of it, and feel that the last 2 seasons have demonstrated the showrunners know how to handle bigger characters without going overboard - but I still have a suspicion that they might overuse these cool moments, relying on nostalgia instead of creativity.  I really hope stuff like Luke showing up is a one off that never happens again.  I also hope they don't go overboard with the new spinoff Boba Fett series. 

It seems like they're doing something different from the MCU.  Instead of building to a major event (Thanos/Infinity Stones) they're doing the opposite and continuing to show fallout from major events - giving a peek of what happens after the credits roll on the main movies.  It's one of the reasons why I loved the first 30 minutes of infinity war, that dark tone and showing the aftermath of a cataclysmic event was really cool. 

I'm glad to see they've done a good job tying into the clone wars series and some of the old expanded universe because there are absolutely cool elements available.  With at least one series announced to take place in the old republic, I'm interested to see if they decide to go way back in history and show new elements like the sith empire or if they'll decide to finally show the Chiss empire beyond the outer rim and the enemies they've been fighting.  There are plenty of big awesome storylines that they could create new movie or television from and I hope they can find those elements without having to tiptoe around the trashfire of the sequel trilogy. 

I have significant issues with how they ended this season regarding the darksaber.  Bo Katan was literally handed the darksaber by Sabine Wren and used it to consolidate her power on mandalore.  They could try and make the case that the last time Bo Katan took the darksaber without earning it in combat everything went sideways, something about how not respecting the traditions bit her and now she feels immense regret and wants to do it the right way.  But even if we grant that, the dark saber has been stolen several times, first from Darth Maul by Sabine Wren, second by Gar Saxon, where it was won in combat by Sabine and then gifted to Bo Katan and then stolen(?) by Moff Gideon.  So it doesn't exactly make sense why she would want to win it from Moff Gideon if he stole it from her and if he did win it in combat (I have a hard time believing this considering Djin kicked his ass so easily) why she would respect his ownership if she didn't receive it properly from Sabine.  This all feels like a fruit from the tainted tree. 
tl;dr - none of this shit with the dark saber makes sense unless you do some convoluted mental gymnastics - welcome to mandalore

 

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Sidenote: We DID have a thread for this! Whatever. This is the new thread now.

Looking at the completed season 2 and taking a step back, my feelings have not really changed all that much from season 1.

Go back and re-watch the trailer for the first season (link). Does that feel anything like what we ended up getting? No. What we got was something with a lot of the same problems that ruined the movies. I'm not going to bother making a list (again) but go review some of the Star Wars movie threads and look at how many of those complaints can just as easily applied to this show.

I still strongly wish for something with the same feeling as Rogue One. No Jedi. Heroes and villains that both show some level of competence. No cute characters. I want to see some characters struggle to control their emotions and make some big sacrifices.

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I'll answer that in two parts.  The cynical part is that lightsabers and force users sell.  There's a reason why they're the central characters to the story, and why even in movies that don't have force users they tend to make cameo appearances (Solo and Rogue One). 
Boba Fett was an anomaly that sold a ton of toys and the extended canon that led to mandalorians being specialist that hunt jedi was sort of born out of the character becoming super popular with a bounty hunting background.  The other bounty hunters from the OT have much lower popularity and even they at this point have been milked to sell toys and make random guest appearances (fucking bossk is in battlefront 2 as a playable villain).  This is why we even have the mandalorian in the first place, they're literally cashing in on the popularity of Boba Fett and the cool armor/gadgets. 
The second part is that the OT wasn't nearly as dark as you're describing.  The darkest part of the series are alderan getting blown up (which isn't nearly as shocking as it should be) and Vader makes the only meaningful sacrifice to save Luke.  I do have to point out because the mandalorian has a small team of characters they're less likely to get killed/injured, in the OT we at least saw some rebels getting shot down or killed, this does diminish the stakes in the mandalorian and I'm not sure they can easily fix this.  The other characters have various moments of character growth, but Luke doesn't sacrifice anything or go on a suicide mission like the characters in Rogue One.  Leia doesn't sacrifice, Han basically enlists but at most he's giving up his "freedom" to run from Jabba on his own for some limited protection offered by the Rebellion. 

I think Star Wars is capable of telling darker stories, I love Rogue One's tone and focus on the more "grounded" elements of the rebellion.  I hope that the series about Cassian Andor continues that trend - I genuinely hope it shows him being a bastard and killing off informants to save his own cover, but I don't expect the mandalorian to ever get quite that dark.  It's an adventure of the week show, with some light overarching plot. 

The cute character thing is meh, it clearly sells toys and I get it - the bulk of the child's appearance is it just kinda sitting there or being carried by someone or eating stuff in a mildly gross manner.  I'd like to point out the OT literally had a teddybear planet and the teddybears managed to beat a galactic empire with... rocks, sticks and arrows.  We're also not being subjected to droids, which in my opinion are almost always overplayed and annoying, way worse than the child. 

The empire is shown as relatively competent in the mandalorian, even post collapse they have well run operations, are still capable of utilizing air support, they manage to capture the child and produce/refine super advanced battle droids.  They're continuing genetic experiments with a high degree of sophistication.  Moff Gideon has real motives and isn't a cardboard cutout.  They also had the audacity to show multiple scenes of the empire soldiers are human beings, some of which were reprehensible but not all of them are nameless faceless dudes that just wait around and get shot by the bad guys. 

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16 hours ago, Malaphax said:

The second part is that the OT wasn't nearly as dark as you're describing.

I will try not to wear rose tinted glasses but I think a rewatch of the OT may not be a bad idea.

  • In the first 10 minutes of ep4 we have a boarding action which ends with stormtroopers walking over the dead bodies, Vader interrogates and chokes a man to death with his bare hands, a no-name officer informs Vader that his actions could have long term political consequences.
  • Luke's caretakers are later killed off-screen but we do see their burning skeletons.
  • Jumping forward a bit to Mos Eisley, one person has their arm cut off in a bloody fashion and someone else is shot to death leaving a smoking corpse, both of which only earn some mild curiosity from the other patrons. This is not a nice place.

I will stop listing there for time. Ep5 would be a giant list all on its own which would definitely include Luke's wailing breakdown after learning about Vader.

Ep4,5,6 was, a lot of the time, more serious than I think you give it credit for and seemed to live up to the name of "Star Wars".

 

 

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You make some good points, I think I was mostly focusing on main characters, and it's hard to argue that Rogue One wasn't the darkest movie considering no main character lives through it - let alone the let's sit on a beach and watch our impending doom approach us. 

There's also dark elements of the prequels including: (child) slavery, torture, child murder, many amputations, a main character is literally roasted alive on screen. 

You're also right to point out that all of the mainline movies involved literal wars and showed several large scale battles.  I again want to point out that the mandalorian is more about showing some of the seedy underbelly of the galaxy and the lawlessness on the outer rim now that the empire has collapsed, with limited interest being shown by the new republic. 

I just don't expect that level of grim darkness from most television shows, let alone one that's basically pg-13 on a disney streaming service.

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