WARNING: Spoilers for Seasons 1 and 2 of the Mandalorian.
In November of 2019, Disney launched its own streaming service, Disney+, equipped with decades of movies and television series along with some new additions that were released along with the new service. Without question, the most notable of these new early releases was The Mandalorian.
In the first two weeks following its release, The Mandalorian, stocked with eight episodes, was listed as the most in-demand series in the US, surpassing Netflix’s Stranger Things who held the top position for a 21-week streak, according to Parrot Analytics.
One year later in 2020, the long-awaited second season has not lost the original hype from the first season. “Chapter 9: The Marshal” was the first episode released Oct. 30th.
The ninth episode of this popular Star Wars spin-off served as an important transition from the first season to the second. After the Mandalorian defeats Moff Gideon, he journeys to the Outer Rim in search of other Mandalorian to find much-needed guidance in locating the Child’s home planet and people. Landing in Tatooine, Mando encounters the besksar-sporting marshal of Mos Pelgo, Cobb Vanth. In return for the armor, Mando assists Vanth and the Tuskan Raiders to kill the dreaded Krayt Dragon that has been terrorizing Mos Pelgo. After their success, the marshal returns the beskar armor, and Mando bids him farewell and continues his mission, the Child at his side.
In such an expansive world—or galaxy, it proves a difficult task to properly show it to audiences. However, Episode 9 already starts out in an interesting atmosphere, opening in the graffiti-ridden slum with flickering lights. At first, it was strange that the screen was displayed something similar to downtown LA. Despite some initial confusion, this was an excellent introduction: it was unexpected and it served its purpose. It’s dark and gaudy mood makes the viewer suspicious. Then five minutes in, Mando has already handed justice to the scum of the galaxy. Here, we see the darker side of the Mandalorian: watching Mando progress from stoic and elusive to emotive and impassioned.
Although I touched on this episode’s initial variety, Star Wars really isn’t Star Wars without that cliche return to Tatooine. It was diverting to see Peli Motto make a reappearance and gave the audience a few relatable and unforgettable quotes.
Speaking of memorable character, we have a few to discuss. First, the obvious: Cobb Vanth, the marshal. Jon Favreau wasn’t kidding when he said he described this show as a western in space. A fan of old Eastwood westerns myself, it was thrilling to point out the gunslinging parallels. This new era of Star Wars has truly perfected a combination of the older trilogies’ nostalgia with refreshing, new storylines.
The episode also puts importance on small details, most notably the Tuskan Raider communication. In light of ongoing fights for equal representation in Hollywood, it was exciting to see a form of communication similar to sign language used by the Sand People. According to the Looper, Troy Kotsur, a deaf actor who speaks ASL, played one of the Raiders and assisted in designing TLS, or Tuskan Sign Language.
It would be shameful to end this before discussing the visual effects. Most importantly, the krayt dragon was both creative and well-made. Although giant, CGI monsters are anything but new to the film scene, the filmmakers were able to create something unique with the krayt dragon. Avid movie fans see a fire-breathing dragon with teeth like swords, claws like spears, and wings like a hurricane, but a wingless, clawless worm that can travel through sand like a fish through water is quite different than the more popular version of a fictional dragon.
WARNING: Major spoiler for the end of Episode 9 below.
The ending scene, featuring Temuera Morrison, left fans speculating. There has been much theorizing speculating who Morrison is playing—an old Republic clone or perhaps the once thought to be deceased Boba Fett. The mystery has left fans excited for the next episodes to come.
There are so many different types of Star Wars fans from loyal parents born in 1969 to their kids who grew up with Anakin and Rey. Movie fanatics love it for the nostalgia of old-style films, and Star Wars fans love it for the new and fresh take on the Star Wars Universe. As the newest Star Wars production, Season 2 of The Mandalorian will hopefully continue the legacy of this adored franchise.