By Nathan David
Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved everything to do with Star Wars. Whether it be the games, shows, or movies, Star Wars has been my most favorite media franchise. However, some and even myself can agree that the recent Star Wars media being released have not only tarnished the brand itself, but also drove away old and new fans alike. Personally, I think the new movies lacked the originality and the heart the old movies had. Questionable writing in the new trilogy leads to the characters acting without common sense and making bad decisions. The most recent movie, “The Rise of Skywalker,” received a 51% Rotten Tomatoes score showing how much the franchise has been failing for the past few years. With the new “The Mandalorian” television series airing last year and its second season releasing recently, some see it redeeming the brand by bringing back old characters and ideas while also offering a fresh new take on the story.
The show is being streamed exclusively on the “Disney+” streaming service, which has seen some backlash due to it being a separate subscription. It has recently received even more regarding a female character’s frontal chest armor in the show, describing it as “sexist.” The actress Gina Carano, who plays the character Cara Dune, has also gotten backlash from fans. It all stems from her controversial tweets on Twitter about her political ideals. Because of this and the current political climate now, the hashtag #FireGinaCarano has been gaining traction on the social media platform with many actively criticizing her.
With all the controversies being talked about in this show, there is also an equal amount of people giving praise to it as well.
“The Mandalorian” gives off a western vibe with the many standoff scenes, songs, and camera work invoking an old western film. The main character of the show Din Djarin, played by Pedro Pascal, almost reminds me of a sci-fi Clint Eastwood. Both are skilled gunslingers that do more shooting than talking, while also wearing a flashy and iconic outfit.
This combination of an old western film and sci-fi refreshes the Star Wars saga. Instead of having the same old Jedi protagonist saving the galaxy by destroying a planet-killing weapon, we follow a regular person that doesn’t have any fancy powers or a lightsaber but still manages to be as popular and memorable as Luke Skywalker or Rey.
The new trilogy movies brought back old characters such as Luke and Lando, but they lacked satisfying character arcs. On the other hand, “The Mandalorian” has brought in fan-favorite characters with fully fleshed out development. The transition of characters like Bo Katan and Ahsoka Tano to live-action has gotten fans, including myself, excited and hyped up. Both characters were originally from the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated television series and was a childhood staple for many. Seeing them in live-action brings back a lot of nostalgia and also creates hope for Star Wars in general.
Some hardcore fans have also pointed out many references and easter eggs in the shows that call back to old Star Wars media. One example that has fans geeking over are mentions of the planet Tython and the HK-87 droids in Chapter 13. Both come from the “Old Republic” series of games that first released over seventeen years ago and still have fans that continue to play them. The purchase of LucasFilms by Disney in 2012 made most media up until that point “non-canon,” which outraged many. However, the references being included have made these same fans excited again, as it reintroduces the characters and places they love back into the main story and lore.
I played said games and watched the animated shows when I was young so seeing characters come back or get mentioned got me excited seeing them in live-action and brought some nostalgia. As for the new characters such as Din Djarin and Grogu, also known as Baby Yoda, they are an excellent addition to the show and franchise. Din is a badass gunslinger who is trying to protect Grogu at all costs, while Grogu himself acts as a comic relief character, which in turn has made him a crowd favorite for his cuteness, silly moments, and naivete.
With all these points being said, I would have to recommend this show to any fan of the franchise while also people who have never experienced any piece of Star Wars media. The addition of old characters and themes will appease fans of the franchise who grew up with them while the western feel to the show makes it more accessible to people who are not familiar with the sci-fi genre. The showrunners are hardcore Star Wars fans, which is clear in their attention to detail when making this show. Overall, “The Mandalorian” has truly revitalized my interest in Star Wars.