Yeah It’s Gonna Suck: The Mandalorian Season 3The Dark Herald
The start of the new season is no better than lackluster. This isn’t a surprise given the state of the trainwreck that is LucasFilm.
The second season ended with a huge bang. Luke Skywalker, the real Luke Skywalker, not the broken-down hobo from Third Trilogy, made a cameo that blew the doors off. People were actually signing up for Disney Plus on the basis of it. It looked like Star Wars was starting to turn itself around.
Which ended the second Gina Carano was fired and canceled by Kathleen Kennedy. A rather malignant announcement by LucasFilm’s social media department obliterated whatever good feelings had been flickering like candles in a high wind within the Star Wars Fandom.
The Carano Incident set off a cascade of story problems inside Jon Favreau’s Gollum Creations. The story arc for the next couple of years were revolving around Rangers of the New Republic’s storyline whatever that was supposed to be. Baby Yoda and Mando weren’t supposed to be reunited for the next couple of years. Grand Admiral Thrawn was going to be introduced as the main villain and the talk of the town was that a big-name actor was being signed to play him, (possibly Robert Downey).
All of that changed when Kathleen Kennedy made it clear her little corner of Clown World would still be running the circus.
The Big Name Actor bailed. Favreau didn’t recast Carano, because he knew it was pointless. The fandom wouldn’t accept a replacement. Rangers of the New Republic was quietly shitcanned. This left a gaping plot hole where there should have been a plot.
Into that absence was placed the Book of Boba Fett. The opening scene from the last episode of The Mandalorian was very promising, with Fett ruthlessly murdering Bib Fortuna and taking Jabba’s old throne (minus the scantily clad slave girls). Then we saw the disaster that was Spy Kid’s Star Wars. Robert Rodriguez has a very mixed track record and he brought his C-game to Boba Fett.
It was so bad that Jon Favreau was forced to shave off at least one (possibly two) episodes of the Mandalorian Season 3 and cram them into the Book of Boba Fett. Two important plot points were exported and forcibly injected into a show that most Star Wars fans had given up on. Namely, that Baby Yoda has chosen the Way of the Mandalore and not the Jedi, and rest of the hardcore Mandos are Big Mad at Din Djarin for showing his face to others.
Unfortunately, this is proving to be a source of confusion to the fans of Mando who had stopped watching Boba Fett when it became unwatchable. I’m willing to bet that this episode was a minimum-effort salvage operation of the first script for Rangers of the New Republic because Favreau had to shoot something as an emergency replacement for the two episodes that were put into the Book of Boba Fett.
This brings us to the present.
I won’t say “nothing” happened in the first episode of season 3. But that said, nothing happened.
The show starts with the Armorer making a new helmet. Then we see it being used as part of a Mandalorian ceremony where a boy takes the Creed. It was something new, I have to give it that. Then a kaiju crocodile-turtle breaks up the ceremony. The assembled Mandos give it what-for but it looks bad for them until Din shows up in his retro-themed fighter and blasts it.
They still aren’t speaking to him because of the showing his face thing. He finds the Armorer and repeats the plot point about bathing in the sacred waters beneath the mines of Manadalore. Which we already knew about.
Then Mando heads off to Carl Weathers planet. It’s now a thriving local metropolis because Mando and friends killed enough people there?
They find a statue of IG 11. Which is why he came there in the first place, for some reason he wants his old droid back even though he hates droids?
I missed the contrivance; I really don’t know why he needs a droid bounty hunter to help him bathe in the Sacred Waters of Mandalore. However, IG 11 is popular and sells toys, so he needs to go back in the show. What also apparently needed to go into the show (for the same reason) was Babu Frik. This thing from The Rise of Skywalker.
I admit to it being more tolerable than anything else in that movie, but I wouldn’t call that a recommendation. Anyway, Babu gives Mando a fetch quest so he can go get something to make the droid work, so he can go bathe in the Sacred Waters of Mandalore?
So, his first stop is to see Bo Katan?
Bo is feeling glum even though Katee Sackhoff is now listed with Pedro Pascal as a costar. She had an army following her without the Dark Saber but now that Din has it, the rest of the Mandalorians have ghosted her. Mando says that he has come to join her and how does that get him the droid MacGuffin? Why is he joining her army? He didn’t seem interested before and I’m not certain that there is any reason he can’t just go to Mandalore with or without her permission.
Also, why isn’t Bo Katan challenging him to a dual for the Dark Saber? She needs it, he’s got it, and it has to be taken in combat according to their laws. Sounds like an easy choice to me. Given her culture, there is no reason she shouldn’t unless it is out of personal cowardice, and she isn’t a coward. But the duel is going to have to come later, I guess.
There is another solution but it’s a horrifying anathema to Kathleen Kennedy and the rest of Woke Disney.
Bo Katan could marry Din Djarin. Even if she doesn’t have the saber, her husband does. She can run things while he’s off leading the army. Then there is the whole producing an heir thing which she kind of needs to do if she’s going to start a dynasty. Regardless, that isn’t possible in 2023 Disney show unless they were both women.
Bo tells him that her old army will follow him since he’s got the Dark Saber.
He says he’s not interested and flies off with Baby Yoda. Credits roll.
Stuff happened but nothing happened.
There was no progression in the saga of Din Djarin. You could in theory say that it was functioning as a first act, but it wasn’t. It was really just an extended flashback retracing plot points from the Book of Boba Fett and the last episode of the previous season. There was an action scene and a decent dog fight but who cares? Other than a need to cover this show there is no reason for me to tune in next week.
Honestly, the only reason most people were watching The Mandalorian in the first place was in the dimmest of hopes that the show would officially retcon the Reyloverse out of canon, (if not existence).
With Bob Iger’s return, that hope is now dead. He is as deeply invested in Rey Skywalker as Kathleen Kennedy. In his biography, The Ride of a Lifetime, he goes on at length over how he micromanaged the creation of Rey and her world. He green-lit all of the ensuing failures that it was built on, up to and very much including the failed Star Wars Galactic Cruise. He is personally invested in Rey. He has to try and make her a success, or he himself is a failure.
Daisy Ridley is now being frequently seen around LucasFilm. There have been leaks about Rey headlining the next Star Wars movie. As well as leaks that Baby Yoda, R2-D2, and Chewbacca would be joining her. This wasn’t because of any plot points that were needed for whatever plot Damon (are you fucking kidding me?) Lindelof is penning but rather these were the most popular characters in test surveys. Favreau’s Gollum Creations is now signed with this new movie which is strong evidence that Baby Yoda is committed to the project. In case you are wondering about C-3P0, he appears to be out. When asked about his future with Star Wars Anthony Daniels made it pretty clear he doesn’t have one.
And Adam Driver has suddenly made it very publicly clear that Star Wars is behind him. Unless Kylo is recast he won’t be coming back from the grave. Reylo is done and that was the only reason that Rey’s fans had for showing up.
Why is Disney pouring all these resources into such a terrible idea? How has Kathleen Kennedy kept her job when she has easily proven herself to be the most incompetent brand manager in the history of Hollywood? Why was Bob Iger rehired if he is simply going to double down on the projects that helped get turfed in the first place?
These separate questions actually do have a unified answer.
Black Rock and Vanguard.
Kennedy could only have survived in the face of her horrendous track record with the unflagging support of the board seats they control. So long as Star Wars is spreading THE MESSAGE, they will continue to support her no matter how much money Disney loses.
As for the future of the Mandalorian, he probably doesn’t have one. The rumor is that this season is the last one. Jon Favreau has clearly and obviously just given up.
If this is the way, yeah it’s gonna sucks.