A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… 


These are the first words we’re ever introduced to in the Star Wars universe. Even before we learn of the title of the movie, and with good reason. Star Wars has always been at it’s best when it’s told through the lens of mythology. The original trilogy did exactly this with characters that felt immediately familiar. At least in part because we were presented with a new sense of wonder that had been sorely needed at the time.

Everyone was larger than life. It was because for what we were experiencing, they didn’t need to be anything more. Luke more or less pulled the sword from the proverbial stone, fated to leave his humble beginnings and save the galaxy. Leia was a warrior princess, clearly a born leader. Han was a dashing rogue, and one whose dangerous path made him appealing. Vader was the classic man in black, with his very presence instilling fear without a word.

And while the characters have felt like home to countless people over the years. It was scope of the universe that got the imagination of so many to run wild, and beg the question: What else is out there?

There’s Always More Out There For Star Wars

For as long as the original trilogy has existed, people have tried to recapture the magic. Whether it was in video games or novels or cartoons or even more films. And without commenting on the quality of those projects, I think The Mandalorian has done exactly that, but in its own way.

By his very nature, the Mandalorian is presented as a mythological figure in a way that no other character has been since the original trilogy. He is a man of honor and part of a dying breed. Someone whose capacity for violence is legendary even among the most violent and evil figures in the worst part of the galaxy. And his conflict comes when his ethical code conflicts with his moral core and he chooses to apply his skill for the sake of a child’s future.

More Than Meets The Beskar

Except that’s not all of it. At least in part, the success of the show comes from the familiarity of the universe. We know that somewhere out there, in the vast expanse of the galaxy are space wizards and planet destroying military bases, but that’s never the focus of the story. But we can’t ignore that it exists either, because even the child bears a striking resemblance to one of the most recognizable characters of the franchise. And the implication of the powers the child possesses are also known to us. And that’s precisely the perfect blend that The Mandalorian manages to achieve.

It’s a new mythology that we can’t know the ending of. We know what someone like Yoda could mean to the universe. We also know the dangers of being drawn to a path, either the light side or the dark side. But we don’t know the story will end, only that the journey will be difficult.

The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and the Child in THE MANDALORIAN, season two, exclusively on Disney+

This new season shows us that our hero has a clear objective. To find out where the child comes from and to return him to his people. Where that strikes the audience is that we’ve seen Mando develop in a stronger person by becoming a father figure. The same way we’ve seen this guileless child grow attached and bonded to his protector. So, selfish as it is, we don’t want to see them succeed. But more than that, we know that Mando can’t go back to the life he once lived. Not because he wouldn’t be welcomed as a bounty hunter, but because he’s become something more.

To What End For Our Gunslinger

So then, we’re left a sobering question. What is Mando if he succeeds? In a world as large as the Star Wars universe, what does it mean when there’s no longer room for what he’s become? It’s what I expect we’ll see more of in this new season. It is no longer a question of if the two of them are capable of working together and staying safe, it’s a question of how long and how far they can run, and what it will look at the end. And despite how likely it looks, I think we all hope it doesn’t end in tragedy.

Live by the sword, die by the sword. The life of a gunslinger rarely ends happily, and this one has a child to look out for. It doesn’t add up the way we want it to, and that terrifying math is the reason we can’t look away.