Tuskan Lives Matter…For Some ReasonThe Dark Herald
Lots of spoilers below. You’ve been warned.
Mandalorian Season 1 was generally speaking; “okay, I guess.”
It was certainly better than the last three movies. It wasn’t the Breaking Bad of Star Wars but it wasn’t the Last Jedi of Star Wars either. There was certainly more respect for the OG trilogy than was seen on the silver screen a month later. There was more world-building too, and there was more respect for the Star Wars fanbase. There was even something cute for nerd girls to “coo” over in Baby Yoda.
In the first season, we meet “Mando.” He’s got a real name, but nobody ever uses it. We see his life as a bounty hunter about ten years after the Battle of the Second Deathstar. There were definitely things that I liked. The spaghetti western vibe was cool. His bounty hunter life was cool and the antagonists were decently developed. When we first see Stormtroopers, their armor is dirty, scratched, and dingy. Imperials have clearly come down in the world. It wasn’t stated, explicitly but you were wondering if they were now having to hire out as mercenaries. And it was an effective juxtaposition when Stormtroopers with clean armor showed up in the finale.
The first season was mostly single-story episodes that didn’t move the overall plot forward. Which is not to say they didn’t have an impact. For instance, I felt sad when Kuill the Ugnaught was killed. “I felt a human emotion for something made in 2019!”
It was a functional, barebones Star Wars.
But will this quest for acceptable mediocrity continue into second season?
Show opens with a recap of season one. We see the major events. A few action scenes. Darth Fring climbing out of his wrecked TIE fighter with the Dark Saber and quest the Armorer gave Mando to return Baby Yoda to the Jedi.
Now for the new stuff. We see the fight scene from the trailer, and I admit, I liked the cyclops mask. Practical effects just look better when they are done right. Mando is trying to find other Mandalorians to help him find the Jedi. He ends up going to Tatooine (again). Everything happens there despite the fact that Tatooine is a planet on the ass-end of nowhere.
Mando sees the engineer from the first season and sets out to find a Mandalorian who is supposedly at Mos Pelegos; a sleepy, one Bantha mining town.
Mando arrives on a speeder bike, goes to the Saloon and tells the barkeeper who he’s looking for. The barkeeper says, “oh, you mean the Marshall.”
The saloon doors open in the best of spaghetti western tradition and there apparently stands Boba Fett. Or at least it looks like his armor, albeit, it’s even more dinged, dented, and scratched then it was in the first trilogy. But then not-Boba Fett takes off his helmet. Which is something the Mandalorians never, ever do (in this series). And holy crap! It’s the sheriff from Deadwood! Timothy Olyphant proceeds to steal the rest of the episode. The Marshall’s name is Vanth Cobb (put a pin in that one).
Mando Is pissed as hell about a non-Mandalorian wearing Mandalorian armor, he is about to throw down on him. But then the town is attacked by a sandworm from Dune. It proceeds to leave this one Bantha town without its Bantha. And the town Marshall makes a deal with Mando, I’ll give you the armor if you help me kill the Krayt Dragon (which is what the sandworm is called).
Mando and the Marshall (coming to you this fall!) Set off into the desert and the Mandalorian makes contact with the Sandpeople. Marshall doesn’t like them, they don’t like the Marshall but naturally, they come together in the spirit of peace and understanding to kill the giant IP hopper from Arrakis. There’s a pretty decent little battle scene. The Krayt Dragon gets blown up real good. The Mandalorian gets the armor and rides off on his speeder bike. Having abjectly failed in the object of his mission which was to contact another Mandalorian.
In the very last scene, you see the back of a bald man’s head with a Tuskan rifle and gathi stick slung across his back. He turns around and it’s Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett. Since Boba was a clone of Jango, there is the very strong implication that this is finally and indeed Boba Fett (provided it’s not some bullshit rando Clonetrooper).
It was a decent show, I can’t really complain about it but I can’t really say it was all that great either. And it did reveal some fairly serious problems that Disney still has with Star Wars continuity.
As much shit as I’ve given George Lucas over the years, I’ll give credit where it’s due, once he committed something to canon, it was set in stone. Canon is important. The audience for any piece of speculative fiction wants to be able to immerse themselves in that world. Therefore, that world has to have rules that are unbreakable. George Lucas provided that in his Expanded Universe stories. He went to a great deal of trouble to make sure that Star Wars canon remained utterly consistent with everything that was published.
When Kathleen Kennedy took over Lucasfilm one of the first things she did was just take all of this background material created by a man she “honors and admires” and threw it out the window. She then presided over the creation of a new and more SJW friendly Star Wars.
The smoke signals are now reading that she’s on her way out at Disney, and she’s leaving a huge conical train wreck behind her. And the Mandalorian doesn’t look like it’s going to be cleaning up that mess anytime soon.
It’s taking what it wants from both the EU and the KK canon and then discarding both when it feels like doing something different with already established materials.
For instance, Krayt Dragons were very much established. A Krayt Dragon skeleton was the very first thing you ever saw on Tatooine back in 1977. The Sandpeople valued them for their bones (thought to be magical) and the one super-sized pearl you would find in one. Fine. That was consistent in both canons and they stuck to it. Yay them.
Vanth Cobb was part of the KK universe and was first introduced in a book penned by the reptilian Chuck Wendig titled Aftermath. In that book, (which I will never read) Vanth has an entirely different background story for getting the armor than the does in The Mandalorian.
In the EU, Boba Fett did indeed crawl out of the Sarlacc pit and went on to have a shit-ton of adventures. He was a strangely popular character considering that he didn’t actually do very much in the movies. But he was the first new action figure we had been able to buy after the first series of Star Wars toys came out, which gave him more of a reputation than he ever really deserved. Marvel Comics, (long before they sucked) did their best to make him live up to it.
The one thing that the OCD fans are really wound up about is the Banthas. In the episode, a Tuskan Raider attempts to feed a Bantha to the Krayt Dragon and gets eaten for these efforts. This is a gross violation of both canons. The Sandpeople viewed the Banthas as sacred. The relationship between a Tuskan and his Bantha was a lifelong partnership and under no circumstances would a Bantha be so casually discarded. A Tuskan Raider riding his Bantha into a Krayt Dragon’s mouth would have been fine canonically and made for a decent scene that showed how weird and brave they can be. Instead, canon was thrown out in favor of causal and obvious cheap laugh. There is a time to break canon and a failed attempt at humor isn’t it.
So there it is, the good the bad and the ugly of the first episode Mandalorian.
In conclusion: “will this quest for acceptable mediocrity continue into second season?”
Yeah, It’s still better than the movies.