Disney+ has only launched in a few countries thus far, but those that still have to wait for it have something to look forward to. The Mandalorian is both Disney’s first Direct-to-Streaming and live-action Star Wars television series and it delivers.
At the time of writing, I was able to see the first four episodes of the eight episode-long first season. At this time I am fully convinced that Jon Favreau knows what he is doing and is single-handedly saving this undead franchise.
I will keep this review short and strictly spoiler-free. This series focuses on character-development and world building, rather than overt use of CGI or the pursuit of a political agenda. It also pays tribute to some of the greatest films and filmmakers, like Akira Kurasawa. But you can also find elements of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas in its DNA, which is perfect for a show set in the Star Wars universe. The story is connected to the galaxy we know and love, but is set apart from it and gives you the feeling that there are regular people living their lives, who do not participate in the great events that have shaped the galaxy and if they do, then only in their own little parts, not as grand saviours or tyrannical despots. It gives us the feeling that there is more to it than just the epic episodes we’ve seen so far. There is life that surrounds all of it and binds it together and we get to see and learn more about it in a most entertaining way.
The plot is entirely predictable, but just what we needed. It is a reminder of what makes cinematic storytelling great, a renaissance of how we used to feel about great film and great stories, like the original Star Wars. One can only hope that the Mandalorian’s success will pave the way for a new era of great Star Wars storytelling and that it is not just a fluke, a single spark of rebellion in the face of unending new mainstream darkness.