With some mega-Star Wars titles on the horizon, fans are excited to not only see the end of the Skywalker saga in Episode IX, but the start of a new one with The Mandalorian on Disney+. Almost two years later, the debate still rages over the merits, or demerits, of Disney-era Star Wars and the future of the space opera’s franchise. With expectations high on the value of future Star Wars stories, here’s the top five things fans should expect to get from The Mandalorian.
#5 – We Need It To Remind Fans Why We Love This Universe
Ah, the fickle fandom of Star Wars. We bicker about minute details in all these stories, but in the end, what unites us is stronger than what divides us. What unites us is a universal love for this story and all the offshoots thereof. The Mandalorian has a unique opportunity to circle the wagons and bring the fandom back into the fold. And it does so by bringing to the forefront the mysterious race of the Mandalorians. We know the armor. We know some of the lore. Fans are pretty universal about their interest in this declining warrior society and what their place was/is in the unfolding new order of the galaxy, and it all started with Boba Fett.
Fett is a conundrum among fans. He looks cool, apparently loves disintegrations, has a bad-ass reputation, but on film was defeated by a blind man with a boat paddle. Even so, fans craved to know more about him. Maybe it’s the armor. Maybe it’s the mystique. The one fact about him is that even though he wears the iconic armor of one, he was not a true Mandalorian. Boba Fett created his own niche as a ruthless bounty hunter and in doing so, introduced us to the Mandalorian race. Now fans will have a chance to dive in to their history and reconnect with this universe, and be reminded why just whispering the name, Mandalorian, can strike fear into the hearts of the bravest in the galaxy.
#4 – We Need Engaging Characters the Fans Can Love (or Hate)
Saying “Rian Johnson” to a die-hard Star Wars fan is like yelling fire in a crowded theater. You just don’t do it. It’s not that he made a bad movie. The Last Jedi wasn’t a bad film at all. What makes it the bane of the fandom’s existence is Johnson was given a rich opportunity to develop new characters and make us care about them. He didn’t. He squandered it.
Fans wanted to like Poe and Rey. Finn’s role had huge potential to explore. Unfortunately Johnson didn’t give us anything, plain and simple. He did give us two long hours of waiting for these characters to shine. Poe had a couple bright moments in his coup attempt against another wasted, static character in Admiral Holdo, but it didn’t go anywhere. It’s not the fault of the actors. They are as much the victim of bad writing in this as the fans are. The Mandalorian desperately needs to deliver on the promise that could have been The Last Jedi. Give us a reason to watch it. Not because it says Star Wars in the title sequence, but because we care what happens to the people in the show.
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What Makes The Mandalorian Different
So far, The Mandalorian has teased us with just the opposite. Gina Carano’s Cara Dune is an ex-Alliance shock trooper and bounty hunter. Ex-Alliance teases a falling out, or maybe a turn to the dark side. I’m already interested in her back story because she looks to have some mega-baggage to deal with, and a big chip on her shoulder from her experiences. Finn’s backstory could have been there, but fell short. Even though he participates in actual battle, the tale of the ex-pooper trooper of Starkiller Base doesn’t really have an interesting ring to it. Matt the Radar Technician is actually more intriguing.
Carl Weathers as Greef Carga, leader of a bounty hunter’s guild, already has backstory. Being an older mentor-type, he’s going to likely have dealt with Boba Fett, Bossk, IG-88, Greedo, Solo & Chewie, Dengar, and all the other scoundrel scum we are familiar with. Hes definitely got some stories to tell and have some sage advice for “The Mando”, as he called him at D23.
Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon. Not just yes, but hell yes! That just screams bad-ass since he’s operating after the fall of the Empire, likely trying to hold together some form of Imperial rule. Or perhaps he’s the target of our bounty hunter and is protected by a remnant garrison of Death Troopers? Either way works for me. And we already know what his acting skills bring to the table (see: Breaking Bad). Then Werner Herzog wearing his Imperial Medallion, likely playing a deposed regional governor or Imperial sympathizer. We know nothing else about these new characters since the show hasn’t debuted yet, but I already care about their story. We’ve had two feature films about Rey, Finn and Poe and, sadly, only know about the same amount.
The Rise of Skywalker will end the Skywalker saga. While I loved every bit of seven films (with a tiny amount of begrudging love for Episode VIII), Luke was right. It’s time for the Jedi to end. At least for now. Which brings us to item number three…