The Mandalorian

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The Mandalorian
The Mandalorian logo.jpg
GenreSpace Western
Created byJon Favreau
Based onStar Wars
by George Lucas
Written by
Directed by
StarringPedro Pascal
Composer(s)Ludwig Göransson
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Production location(s)Los Angeles, California
Cinematography
Editor(s)
Running time31–46 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorDisney Media Distribution
Budget$100 million (s. 1)
Release
Original networkDisney+
Original releaseNovember 12, 2019 (2019-11-12) –
present (present)
External links
Website

The Mandalorian, also known as Star Wars: The Mandalorian, is an American space Western web television series created by Jon Favreau and released on Disney+. It is the first live-action series in the Star Wars franchise. Set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi and 25 years prior to the events of The Force Awakens, it follows the title character, a Mandalorian bounty hunter named Din Djarin, and his exploits beyond the reaches of the New Republic.

Favreau also serves as head writer, showrunner, as well as executive producer alongside Dave Filoni, Kathleen Kennedy, and Colin Wilson. The Mandalorian premiered with the launch of Disney+ on November 12, 2019, with its eight-episode first season. The series has received positive reviews from critics, earning praise for its acting, directing, writing, musical score, and visual effects, although it received some criticism for its pacing.[1][2] It was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. The series received 12 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards nominations, including nominations for actors Giancarlo Esposito and Taika Waititi, and composer Ludwig Göransson.

A second season is scheduled to premiere in October 2020. In April 2020, pre-production on a potential third season had begun.

Synopsis[edit]

After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order.[3][4][5][6] The series depicts Din Djarin, a lone bounty hunter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.[7]

Cast and characters[edit]

Starring[edit]

Co-starring[edit]

The following actors received co-starring billing in the main end credits of the episodes they appeared in:

Guests[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Horatio Sanz played a Mythrol bounty,[23] and Brian Posehn played a speeder pilot in "Chapter 1: The Mandalorian".[24] Series creator Jon Favreau voiced Paz Vizla, an infantry Mandalorian featured in "Chapter 3: The Sin", physically played by stunt double Tait Fletcher.[25] Adam Pally and Jason Sudeikis played two bike scout troopers in "Chapter 8: Redemption".[26] Mark Hamill who plays Luke Skywalker in the original and sequel trilogy films has a voice cameo as the bartender droid EV-9D9 in "Chapter 5: The Gunslinger".[27] Additionally, members of the 501st Legion fan organization were used as stormtrooper extras.[10][28][29]

Season 2[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Season 1 (2019)[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Chapter 1: The Mandalorian"Dave FiloniJon FavreauNovember 12, 2019 (2019-11-12)
Five years after the fall of the Galactic Empire[37] a Mandalorian bounty hunter hands his latest bounty to Greef Karga. Then he accepts an under-the-table commission on the outpost world of Nevarro from an enigmatic client with apparent Imperial connections, directing him to track down and capture an unnamed fifty-year-old target. While the Client is indifferent to the target's well-being, his colleague Dr. Pershing insists the target be brought back alive. The Mandalorian is given a down payment of a single bar of Beskar steel, sacred to his people. He takes it to a covert Mandalorian enclave where an armorer uses it to make him a pauldron. Arriving at the planet of the target's last reported location, the Mandalorian is aided by a vapor farmer named Kuiil. Tired of the chaos that bounty hunters bring to the area, Kuiil leads him to the target's location and departs. Entering the remote and heavily defended encampment, the Mandalorian reluctantly teams up with bounty hunting droid IG-11 to clear the camp and find the quarry: a child of Yoda's species. When IG-11 attempts to kill the infant per its bounty orders, the Mandalorian shoots and destroys the droid, taking the Child alive.
2"Chapter 2: The Child"Rick FamuyiwaJon FavreauNovember 15, 2019 (2019-11-15)
While returning to his ship with the Child, the Mandalorian fights and kills a group of rival bounty hunters who ambush him. Nearing his ship, he finds it being stripped by Jawas for parts, and violently confronts them. When he tries to attack their sandcrawler, the Jawas stun him and drop him from its roof. The following day, Kuiil helps him locate the Jawas and negotiate for the return of his ship's components. The Mandalorian agrees to retrieve the egg of a rhinoceros-like Mudhorn in exchange for the stolen parts. He enters the Mudhorn's cave only to be hurled out by the angry beast inside, which attacks him repeatedly, damaging his armor. As the Mudhorn rushes in for the kill, the Child uses the Force to levitate the beast, allowing the surprised Mandalorian to stab and kill it. He collects the egg and takes it to the Jawas, who crack it open and eat its yellow insides. With the trade complete, the Mandalorian and Kuiil work together to repair the ship, allowing the Mandalorian to leave the planet with the Child.
3"Chapter 3: The Sin"Deborah ChowJon FavreauNovember 22, 2019 (2019-11-22)
The Mandalorian delivers the Child to the Client on Nevarro and collects the bounty of 20 bars of Beskar steel. Uncharacteristically, the Mandalorian asks about the Client's plans for the Child, but is told that it's none of his concern. He leaves before conflict arises. Returning to the Mandalorian enclave, the Mandalorian has his damaged armor replaced and weapons upgraded by the Armorer, who forges a full cuirass from most of the Beskar steel, while the remainder goes to support Mandalorian foundling children. The Mandalorian accepts a new job from Greef Karga and prepares his ship to depart. Feeling guilty for abandoning the Child to the Empire, he turns back to attack the Client's base, killing most of the stormtroopers guarding it. He rescues the Child from Dr. Pershing's laboratory where it was being experimented on, but chooses not to kill the doctor. On the way back to his ship, the Mandalorian is ambushed by other bounty hunters and Greef Karga, who demand that he hand over the Child. He refuses, and a firefight breaks out. Outnumbered and cornered, the Mandalorian is able to escape only when other Mandalorians arrive from the enclave, attacking the bounty hunters and allowing him to reach his ship with the Child.
4"Chapter 4: Sanctuary"Bryce Dallas HowardJon FavreauNovember 29, 2019 (2019-11-29)
Arriving on the sparsely populated forest planet Sorgan, the Mandalorian encounters ex-Rebel shock trooper-turned-mercenary Cara Dune. Following a short brawl, Dune explains that she is hiding after taking "early retirement", and asks the Mandalorian to leave. While he prepares his ship, two desperate fishermen approach, offering to hire him to drive off a band of Klatoonian raiders. He accepts the job in exchange for lodging, using their credits to enlist Dune's help. At the village, they are housed by Omera, a widowed mother. The Mandalorian confides in her that no one has seen him without his helmet since childhood, when his tribe took him in as an orphan. Despite discovering that the raiders have an old Imperial AT-ST, the villagers refuse to leave, so the Mandalorian and Dune train them to defend themselves. They provoke the raiders at night, with Dune luring the AT-ST into a trap for the Mandalorian to blow up and forcing the remaining raiders to flee. With peace restored, the Mandalorian plans to leave the Child in the village, but a Guild bounty hunter tracks it down and is killed by Dune. Realizing that neither the village nor the Child would be safe, the Mandalorian departs with the Child.
5"Chapter 5: The Gunslinger"Dave FiloniDave FiloniDecember 6, 2019 (2019-12-06)
The Mandalorian defeats a pursuing bounty hunter in a dogfight. He lands his damaged ship at a nearby repair dock, run by mechanic Peli Motto in Mos Eisley on Tatooine. He seeks work in a cantina to pay for the repairs, meeting aspiring bounty hunter Toro Calican, who is tracking elite mercenary and assassin Fennec Shand. Calican needs to catch Shand to join the Guild, and the Mandalorian agrees to help when Calican offers to let him keep the money. They capture Shand in the desert, but she destroys one of their speeder bikes, so the Mandalorian goes to get a dewback they passed for transportation. While Calican watches Shand, she tells him that the Mandalorian betrayed the guild, making the bounty on him and the Child worth more than hers. Shand offers to help Calican capture the Mandalorian if he sets her free, but he shoots her instead and rides the remaining speeder bike to the repair dock, taking Motto and the Child hostage. The Mandalorian arrives, uses a flare to disorient Calican, and kills him. He takes Calican's money to pay Motto for the repairs, thanking her before leaving Tatooine. Out in the desert, a mysterious figure approaches Shand's body.
6"Chapter 6: The Prisoner"Rick FamuyiwaStory by : Christopher Yost
Teleplay by : Christopher Yost and Rick Famuyiwa
December 13, 2019 (2019-12-13)
The Mandalorian contacts his former partner "Ran" Malk for work. Ran welcomes him to his space station and informs the Mandalorian that he needs his ship for a five-man job. He is joined by ex-Imperial sharpshooter Mayfeld, Devaronian strongman Burg, droid pilot Q9-0, and Twi'lek knife-expert Xi'an for a mission to rescue Xi'an's brother Qin, a prisoner of the New Republic. After infiltrating the prison ship, they fight through security droids and make it to the control room where the ship's security chief triggers a security beacon before being killed by Xi'an. The crew rescues Qin but double-crosses the Mandalorian. He escapes and defeats each crew member, then captures Qin. Q9-0 finds the Child after deciphering the archived transmission from Greef Karga, but is shot by the Mandalorian before he can harm him. The Mandalorian delivers Qin to Ran and departs with his payment. Ran immediately moves to launch a fighter to kill the Mandalorian, but discovers the New Republic beacon had been placed on Qin, leading a trio of X-wings to Ran's station where they attack. In the final scene, Mayfeld, Burg, and Xi'an are revealed to be locked in a cell on the prison transport, having been spared by the Mandalorian.
7"Chapter 7: The Reckoning"Deborah ChowJon FavreauDecember 18, 2019 (2019-12-18)
The Mandalorian receives a message from Greef Karga, whose town on Nevarro has been overrun by ex-Imperial troops led by the Client. Karga proposes that the Mandalorian use the Child as bait in order to kill the Client and free the town. In return, Karga will square things with the Guild, which would allow the Mandalorian and the Child to live in peace. Sensing a trap, the Mandalorian recruits Cara Dune and Kuiil to assist him, and Kuiil brings a rebuilt and reprogrammed IG-11 to protect the Child. They meet Karga and his associates but are attacked by flying creatures during the journey to the town. Karga is injured, but the Child uses the Force to heal his wound. In return, Karga kills his associates and confesses his original plan to shoot the Mandalorian and take the Child to the Client. Karga pretends that Dune has captured the Mandalorian, while Kuiil returns the Child to the ship. During the meeting, Moff Gideon's troops open fire on the building and kill the Client and his bodyguards, trapping the Mandalorian, Karga, and Dune inside. Gideon arrives, demanding the Child. In the desert, two scout troopers intercept the Mandalorian's communications and track Kuiil, killing him before he can reach the ship and taking the Child.
8"Chapter 8: Redemption"Taika WaititiJon FavreauDecember 27, 2019 (2019-12-27)
IG-11 rescues the Child from the scout troopers. Gideon warns Karga, Dune, and the Mandalorian that they face certain death unless they agree to assist him. IG-11 arrives and breaks the standoff but Gideon injures the Mandalorian. The Child uses the Force to deflect an attacking stormtrooper's flamethrower back on him. The Mandalorian sends the others through a sewer grate with the Child to find help from the Mandalorian enclave, while IG-11 removes his helmet to tend to a head injury. Joining the others, the Mandalorian finds the covert group of Mandalorians dead or escaped, except for the Armorer. She tasks him to care for the foundling Child like his own, discover its origins, and return it to its kind. The Armorer fashions the Mandalorian his own signet and gives him a jetpack. The group is ferried down an underground lava river, but when they are ambushed by stormtroopers, IG-11 self-destructs to eliminate the enemy. Gideon attacks in a TIE fighter and the Mandalorian uses the jetpack to bring the craft down, but the Moff survives and cuts himself out of the ship with the Darksaber.[a] The Mandalorian leaves with the Child, while Karga and Dune stay behind.

Season 2[edit]

Famuyiwa,[42] Favreau,[43] and Howard returned to direct in the season,[44] along with Filoni who also wrote an episode.[45] New directors in the season include Peyton Reed, Robert Rodriguez,[46] and Carl Weathers.[43] The season will premiere in October 2020.[47]

Production[edit]

Background[edit]

A live-action Star Wars TV series entered production in early 2009, with over 50 scripts written by 2012, but they were deemed too expensive to produce due to their complex content.[48] Its title was to have been Star Wars: Underworld.[49] In January 2013, following the October 30, 2012 sale of Lucasfilm to The Walt Disney Company, ABC television network president Paul Lee spoke to the current status of the series commenting that "We'd love to do something with Lucasfilm, we're not sure what yet. We haven't even sat down with them. We're going to look at [the live-action series], we're going to look at all of them, and see what's right. We weren't able to discuss this with them until [the acquisition] closed and it just closed. It's definitely going to be part of the conversation."[50] In June 2014, more details regarding the series were revealed, including that Boba Fett would have appeared.[51]

Development[edit]

Jon Favreau initially pitched the idea for The Mandalorian.

In 2019, Jon Favreau revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that he had first pitched the idea for what became The Mandalorian to Kennedy during the summer of 2017, while directing the photorealistic remake of The Lion King for Walt Disney Pictures.[52] Kennedy put Favreau in touch with Filoni, and when the two men met, Filoni began to draw doodles on napkins of what would become The Child.[52] After each day of work on The Lion King's virtual reality set in Playa Vista, Favreau would then stay late and work a few more hours developing his secret television project for Lucasfilm.[52]

On November 9, 2017, Walt Disney Company chairman and CEO Bob Iger, while on a quarterly earnings call with investors, announced that Disney and Lucasfilm were developing a new live-action Star Wars television series for Disney's then-unnamed upcoming streaming service.[53][54] On February 6, 2018, it was reported that Iger had revealed during another financial report conference call with investors that multiple Star Wars live-action series were actually in development by Disney saying, "We are developing not just one, but a few Star Wars series specifically for the Disney direct-to-consumer app. We've mentioned that and we are close to being able to reveal at least one of the entities that is developing that for us. Because the deal isn't completely closed, we can't be specific about that. I think you'll find the level of talent ... on the television front will be rather significant as well."[55]

On March 8, 2018, Lucasfilm announced that Favreau was the writer and executive producer of the forthcoming series.[56] In May 2018, Favreau stated that half of the scripts for the first season had been completed.[57][58] On October 3, Favreau announced that the series had been titled The Mandalorian and revealed the show's central premise.[7][59] The following day, it was revealed that additional executive producers would include Dave Filoni, Kathleen Kennedy, and Colin Wilson with Karen Gilchrist acting as a co-executive producer. Filoni was also expected to direct the series' first episode with additional directors including Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, and Deborah Chow.[60] The first season cost $100 million to make.[61]

On July 12, 2019, during a press conference for The Lion King remake, Favreau revealed that he had written scripts for the second season and that pre-production was underway.[62] Favreau plans to direct an episode of the second season, and stated that he was too busy with the production of The Lion King to direct any of the series' first season.[63] By the end of April 2020, Favreau had been working on season three "for a while", along with additional pre-production work also underway.[64]

Casting[edit]

By November 2018, Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, and Nick Nolte had been cast in starring roles.[65][66][67][68] After meeting with Favreau, Pascal initially thought he would be playing Boba Fett,[69] but he plays a separate Mandalorian named Din Djarin.[9] On December 12, 2018, LucasFilm announced that Giancarlo Esposito, Carl Weathers, Emily Swallow, Omid Abtahi, and Werner Herzog had joined the main cast.[11] On March 21, 2019, Taika Waititi was revealed to be recording a voice for the series, speculated to be bounty hunter droid IG-88,[70] but which turned out to be a new character named IG-11.[8] Footage shown at Star Wars Celebration in April 2019 revealed that Bill Burr and Mark Boone Junior were in the series, with Burr portraying an outlaw.[71] At the D23 Expo in August, it was revealed Ming-Na Wen would appear in the series.[17] Julia Jones's casting was announced in September.[19]

In March 2020, Rosario Dawson was reported to be appearing as Ahsoka Tano in the second season, which would be the character's first live-action on-screen appearance. Having previously appeared in the Star Wars animated media The Clone Wars (film and television series) and Star Wars Rebels, Ahsoka's voice was briefly heard in the live-action film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker; she was voiced by Ashley Eckstein in these appearances.[31] Shortly after, Michael Biehn joined the cast as a bounty hunter.[30] In early May, it was revealed that Temuera Morrison would reprise the role of Boba Fett. Morrison previously portrayed Boba's father Jango Fett in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and has also voiced Boba Fett in various Star Wars media. Boba Fett was previously teased as returning in the season one episode "The Gunslinger".[33] Shortly after, Katee Sackhoff was revealed to be reprising her role as Bo-Katan Kryze, having previously voiced the character in The Clone Wars and Rebels,[34] and Timothy Olyphant was revealed to also appear in the season,[35] as Cobb Vanth.[36]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography for the first season began during the first week of October 2018 in Southern California,[72] under the working title Huckleberry.[73] On October 19, George Lucas visited the set of the series as a birthday surprise for Favreau;[74] it was later revealed that Lucas had some level of involvement in creating the show.[75] On October 25, it was reported that police were investigating the grand theft of several unspecified items from The Mandalorian's set at the Manhattan Beach Studios campus in Manhattan Beach, California.[76][77] Filming for the first season wrapped on February 27, 2019.[78]

According to Favreau, the first season was filmed on a large soundstage with a 360-degree video wall at Manhattan Beach Studios, supplemented by limited location shooting around Southern California.[79] It was later revealed that the video wall was actually built to form a 270-degree "volume", with optional panels that could be dropped in when needed for 360-degree coverage.[80] The series sent camera crews to shoot distant locations like Iceland and Chile, the resulting digital assets were integrated into virtual sets built with the Unreal game engine from Epic Games, and those sets were displayed on the video wall.[79] In Favreau's words: "So, there is real photography being incorporated, but the actors aren't brought on location. The location is brought to the actors."[79]

What made the series' virtual sets appear so immersive (as opposed to flat images on a video wall) was the ability of the Unreal engine to accurately simulate parallax in real time based on where the camera was currently pointed. To do that, small motion capture cameras were mounted on top of the video wall to watch infrared markers on the main camera (and in turn, the motion capture cameras had to be digitally removed in post-production). Once the Unreal engine knew the exact location and angle of the camera, it could update parallax within a small patch of the video wall currently visible to the camera.[80]

Dave Filoni, who is mostly renowned for his work on other Star Wars projects, and Bryce Dallas Howard were given individual freedom on directing their episodes, which was surprising to Howard's father Ron Howard, who directed Solo: A Star Wars Story.[81] When Pascal would become unavailable for filming, the Mandalorian would occasionally be portrayed physically by stunt actors Brendan Wayne and Lateef Crowder with Wayne having worked closely with Pascal to develop the character.[82]

Filming for the second season started in mid-October 2019,[83] and concluded on March 8, 2020.[43] Sam Hargrave was hired as the second unit director for the second season. He said Favreau was "looking for someone... who has experience with action" and that "they wanted to build on" what was done in season one, while bringing in "a new perspective and [taking] it to another level" for season two.[84]

Visual effects[edit]

Visual effects studio Industrial Light & Magic, a subsidiary of Lucasfilm, opened a new division in November 2018 targeted for streaming and episodic television called ILM TV. Based in London with support from the company's locations in San Francisco, Vancouver, and Singapore, it is expected that the new division will work extensively on live-action Star Wars television series, starting with The Mandalorian.[85]

Unreal Engine 4, a game engine developed by Epic Games, is used to create the digital backgrounds. It makes the rendering of the visual effects faster than would normally be possible for a live-action series, and Favreau said the technology can be applied to a variety of challenges. So rather than using sketches on a whiteboard to map out scenes, the storyboarding was done on the game engine.[86][87][88] However, only about 50% of the shots were actually rendered through Unreal and captured in-camera. The other 50% were created through ILM's traditional visual effects pipeline and rendered with V-Ray.[80] Image Engine also created visual effects for the series, particularly in "Chapter 3: The Sin" and "Chapter 6: The Prisoner".[89]

Music[edit]

On December 19, 2018, it was announced that Ludwig Göransson would compose the musical score for the series.[90][91] Each chapter has its own soundtrack album, released the same day.[92] For the score, Göransson played many of the key instruments himself, and then added a 70-piece orchestra. He wrote four hours of music for the eight episodes.[93] Göransson will also be writing the music for the second season of the show.[94]

Themes[edit]

Parenting and fatherhood[edit]

One of the primary themes of The Mandalorian is parenting and fatherhood, particularly through the father–son relationship dynamic between The Mandalorian and The Child.[95][96][97] Ryan Britt of Fatherly wrote that this is unusual in Star Wars stories, and that past examples of parenting in the franchise have tended to be poor ones, from the murderous Darth Vader (father of Luke Skywalker) to the neglectful Galen Erso, father of Jyn Erso in Rogue One (2016).[95] Britt wrote: "For years the Star Wars franchise avoided depicting a parent-child dynamic. With Mando and Baby Yoda, that's finally changing."[95] The dynamic between Kuiil and IG-11 also reflect the childrearing theme in The Mandalorian. The two have a relationship similar to that of a father and son, as demonstrated in the scene in which Kuiil teaches IG-11 how to operate and function after the droid is reprogrammed.[98]

Vulture writer Kathryn VanArendonk argued that parenting has been the subject of past Star Wars stories, but almost always during later stages of parenthood, rather than an infant in early stages such as the Child. As examples, she cited Obi-Wan Kenobi serving as a mentor to the adolescent Anakin Skywalker, Princess Leia lamenting over her grown son Kylo Ren, or the absence of Rey's parents.[99] Britt argued strong parental examples in Star Wars are important because the franchise is so often associated with the childhoods of its fans.[95] The Mandalorian particularly highlights the challenges of being a single parent,[96][97] and a working parent, as the Mandalorian struggles to continue his day job as a bounty hunter and mercenary while serving as the sole caretaker of the Child.[99][97] Richard Newby of The Hollywood Reporter described the show as "the adventures of a single dad looking for a job".[100] Several reviewers have compared the dynamic between the Child and the Mandalorian to Lone Wolf and Cub, a manga about a samurai warrior and his young son.[101][102][103][104] Favreau acknowledged Lone Wolf and Cub as an influence in an episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian.[105]

The Mandalorian's parental role in the series makes him a softer and more relatable character;[106] he changes in a positive way because of raising the Child, becoming less selfish and self-absorbed.[107] He risked his life and drastically changed his career as a bounty hunter to accept his responsibility as the Child's caretaker and guardian,[96][97] marking a significant parental sacrifice.[97] When the Mandalorian seeks work to earn money, he is now doing so to provide not only for himself, but for the Child as well.[96] We see several examples of the Mandalorian parenting the Child throughout the series, such as when he stops the Child from pressing random buttons in the cockpit of the Mandalorian's spaceship, ultimately by holding him in his lap.[95] In another example, the Mandalorian establishes a car seat for the Child in the cockpit of his ship, so he can be seated safely and comfortably during their travels.[108]

The relationship between the Mandalorian and the Child is an example of unexpected fatherhood.[99][107] The Mandalorian feels a connection and parental bond with the Child because of his own childhood, when he was orphaned upon the death of his parents and was adopted by the Mandalorian culture as a "foundling".[99] Nevertheless, fatherhood was not a role the Mandalorian was initially seeking, and he makes repeated initial attempts to avoid this responsibility.[107] He first does so in "Chapter 3: The Sin", when he first leave the Child with the Client.[107] He does so again in "Chapter 4" Sanctuary", when he plans to leave the Child with Omera, a protective mother on the planet Sorgan, who is willing to take the Child into her own family.[99] The Mandalorian does not fully commit to the role of fatherhood until the first-season finale, "Chapter 8: Redemption", when the Child himself is also adopted into the Mandalorian culture as a "foundling" and the Mandalorian is formally declared to be his father figure.[99]

Several writers suggested the fact that the Mandalorian's face is concealed has a tabula rasa effect and his anonymity allows viewers to see and imagine themselves as parents.[95][96] Britt said this "allow(s) us to dream about what arsenal we might deploy to protect our children".[95] However, Singer said the show's setting in space make the challenges of child-rearing seem more exciting and exotic than they might otherwise be.[96] Anthony Breznican of Vanity Fair has noted that none of the day-to-day difficulties of parenthood are portrayed in the series: "There is no shrill squawking from Baby Yoda, no tantrum, no spit-up, no uncontrollable shrieking that burrows into a parent's psyche like a dentist's drill shredding a soft, pink nerve."[109] Likewise, Vulture writer Kathryn VanArendonk said the show ignores or does not address many parenting details that make fatherhood difficult, such as what the Child eats, when he goes him to sleep, and whether he wears diapers. She wrote: "The Mandalorian is uninterested in diapers, and so Mando gets to be a very particular image of fatherhood: the guy who doesn't have to sweat the small stuff."[99] VanAnderonk described this as a wish fulfillment fantasy for parents or prospective parents: "a vision of parenting stripped so thoroughly of all detail and specificity that all that's left are archetypes: the parent, the child".[99]

The Child encounters a handful of other protector figures throughout the first season, including Omera, IG-11, and Peli Motto.[99] Some observers have criticized the series for the fact that the Mandalorian repeatedly leaves the Child alone or in the hands of relative strangers,[96] as well as for making decisions that place the Child in danger. One example is in "Chapter 6: The Prisoner", when he allows a team of dangerous mercenaries to use his ship while the Child is on board, nearly resulting in the Child's death.[96][110] An interaction the Mandalorian has with Peli Motto in "Chapter 5: The Gunslinger" is one of the most overt discussions about the challenges of caring for the Child. When the Mandalorian accidentally wakes the child, who had been sleeping in Peli's arms, she chides him: "Do you have any idea how long it took me to get it to sleep?"[99] She also condemns the Mandalorian for leaving the child alone on the ship, saying: "you have an awful lot to learn about raising a young one".[111] ScreenCrush writer Matt Singer argued the Mandalorian's parenting errors makes the show that much more appealing because making mistakes is a large part of being a parent.[96] Eileen Chase of Today echoed this: "He is not an ideal parent, just like the rest of us who have to balance parenting and work."[97]

Good and evil; nature versus nurture[edit]

The nature of good and evil and the question of nature versus nurture is raised repeatedly throughout The Mandalorian, perhaps most overtly through by Kuiil's reprogramming of IG-11 from a bounty hunter to a nurse droid and protector.[112][113] Even after IG-11 is reprogrammed, the Mandalorian does not believe he has truly changed, because he believes droids have an essential nature and that IG-11's nature remains murderous and untrustworthy.[114] But in reprogramming IG-11, Kuiil nurtures him and helps him to change; Kuiil feels that in the process of learning how to function again, IG-11 gained a new personality.[115] Kuiil insists to the Mandalorian: "Droids are not good or bad — they are neutral reflections of those who program them."[113] Keith Phipps of Vulture wrote of IG-11 and the nature versus nurture theme: "He's not bad. He's just programmed that way, and with care and change he can do a lot of good in the world."[112]

The Kuiil and IG-11 scenes also demonstrate that the way in which the "child" character is raised makes a significant difference in whether the child becomes an asset or a threat to those around him. The droid was a dangerous assassin before Kuiil reprogrammed him, but thanks to the Ugnaught's parenting, he becomes a protector and helper instead.[98] Some writers have likewise suggested the Child is not inherently good or evil,[113][116] but that instead, like all children, he is impressionable and does not fully understand the events occurring around him. He is learning about the world around him and needs guidance as he develops his abilities.[110][113][117] It will largely fall to the Mandalorian to provide this guidance,[110] as when the Mandalorian stops him from strangling Cara Dune.[113]

However, multiple writers have questioned whether the violent acts the Child has repeatedly witnessed throughout The Mandalorian are having a negative impact on his development, and that he is learning to become violent himself as a result.[113][118] Phipps wrote of this: "That look of wonder in the Child's eyes as IG-11 kills and kills again is hilarious, but also a little chilling."[112] One particular scene in "Chapter 7: The Reckoning" led many reviewers and fans to question whether the Child may be demonstrating evil tendencies. During a scene on the Mandalorian's spaceship, the Child observes as the Mandalorian and Cara Dune engage in a friendly arm wrestling match. During the contest, the Child uses the Force to choke Cara, nearly strangling her before the Mandalorian intervened.[116][117][118] Throughout the Star Wars franchise, that ability has been most commonly associated with the Dark Side of the Force, particularly Darth Vader.[118][119][120]

Sarah Bea Milner of Screen Rant wrote: "The moment is genuinely shocking — and more than a little disturbing."[113] Some reviewers noted, however, that the Child likely mistakenly believed the Mandalorian was in danger and intervened to help.[120][121] Additionally, in the same episode, the Child uses Force healing to save Greef Karga, a power typically associated with the Light Side.[113][116][121] Nevertheless, some writers have suggested viewers had been underestimating the Child's capacity for evil because he is so adorable.[120][119][122] Fans speculated the Child could be presenting a false personality or using the Force to manipulate people into caring about him to help ensure his survival.[118] However, Caitlin Gallagher of Bustle suggested rather than building toward making the Child evil, the show could be suggesting the Mandalorian needs to find a way to raise the Child in a less violent environment.[118]

Marketing[edit]

On October 4, 2018, the first promotional image from the series was released, featuring a Mandalorian with a rifle.[60] About a week later, Favreau released a photo through his official Instagram account featuring a rifle with a two-pronged barrel, an apparent callback to Boba Fett's weapon in The Star Wars Holiday Special.[123][124] Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, and the main cast hosted a panel for The Mandalorian at Star Wars Celebration Chicago on April 14, 2019, where the first footage premiered to fans in attendance.[125] The first official poster and trailer were released at the D23 Expo on August 23, 2019.[126][127] A second and final trailer was released on October 28, 2019.[128] On November 11, a sneak peek was released during Monday Night Football.[129]

Release[edit]

The Mandalorian premiered on the streaming service Disney+ on November 12, 2019 in the United States.[130] It is available in 4K HDR, though analysis found its luminance to be well below typical HDR standards.[131][132] Disney+ releases The Mandalorian episodes on a weekly basis, with the first two episodes released only a few days apart on November 12 and 15, 2019 respectively.[133] The seventh episode was released on December 18, 2019 instead of December 20, in order to attach a sneak preview of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which came out on the latter date.[134] When Disney+ became available in several European countries in late March 2020, episodes of The Mandalorian were available weekly, opposed to having all season one episodes available at the start,[135] the first two episodes were available at launch on March 24, 2020, followed by the third on March 27, after which each episode were released weekly.[136]

The second season is set to premiere in October 2020.[47] According to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, the second season will not be delayed despite stay-at-home mandates aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic.[137]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The Mandalorian (season 1): Critical reception by episode

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 93% approval rating for the first season with an average rating of 8.01/10, based on 33 reviews; the average episode score is 91%. The site's critical consensus reads: "Action-packed and expertly-crafted—if at times a bit too withholding—The Mandalorian is a welcome addition to the Star Wars universe that benefits greatly from the cuteness of its cargo."[138] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 70 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[139]

Zaki Hasan of the San Francisco Chronicle said the show "in essence allows the franchise to take a mulligan with Boba Fett. Take the look, take that ineffable 'cool,' and transfer it over to an entirely new character who offers an untouched canvas, while giving the audience something that feels familiar." He added, "Three episodes in, that's really all The Mandalorian is: a feeling. A good feeling, mind you, but rather than any specific storytelling quality, it's that feeling you're talking about. The visual effects, the sound effects, the overall look of the thing is all bang-on. This is a polished production that shows off every cent of its feature film budget on every frame of its run time."[140] Writing for The Ringer, Micah Peters said, "The Mandalorian may already be difficult to care about as something more than an installment that exists solely to set up the next installment. But there are still many enjoyable things about it, and also it's a Disney show with spaceships and giant sea slugs, so it doesn't need to be Citizen Kane. It might, however, be the next great TV Western."[141]

Audience viewership[edit]

Within four days of its release, The Mandalorian had stronger U.S. demand compared to four of 2019's biggest streaming originals: Netflix's The Umbrella Academy, When They See Us, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and Amazon Prime Video's Good Omens. However, it registered less than 40% of the demand of Netflix's supernatural hit Stranger Things and was behind other established shows such as DC Universe's Titans, nor was it in the top 10 for the most in-demand shows across all TV networks and digital services for the week of November 10–16. TV Time, a popular app allowing users to track shows and movies they are watching (or want to watch), stated though that the number of people interested in The Mandalorian had doubled for the following week, and noted that it had the largest gain of any TV show.[142]

Much of the social media reaction has been to the show's breakout character, a 50-year-old "infant" of Yoda's species, who was kept secret until the series' pilot episode aired.[143] The Mandalorian initially takes "The Child" (the official name for the character) for a bounty, but ends up becoming its de facto guardian in order to protect it. It has been shown to have the powers of the Force, and has been affably nicknamed "Baby Yoda".[18] The unexpected popularity of "Baby Yoda" led to an explosion of unofficial merchandise for the Christmas and holiday season, which quickly sold out.[109][144][145]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2020 Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode Richard Bluff, Abbigail Keller, Jason Porter, Hayden Jones and Roy Cancinon (for "Chapter 2: The Child") Won [146]
Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project Richard Bluff, Jason Porter, Landis Fields IV and Baz Idione (for "Chapter 6: The Prisoner"; The Roost) Nominated
Outstanding Animated Character in an Episode or Real-Time Project Terry Bannon, Rudy Massar and Hugo Leygnac (for "Chapter 2: The Child"; Mudhorn) Nominated
Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project Doug Chiang, Jay Machado, John Goodson and Landis Fields IV (for "Chapter 3: The Sin"; The Razorcrest) Won
Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project Alex Murtaza, Yanick Gaudreau, Marco Tremblay and Maryse Bouchard (for Nevarro Town) Nominated
Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project Xavier Martin Ramirez, Ian Baxter, Fabio Slino and Andrea Rosa (for "Chapter 2: The Child"; Mudhorn) Nominated
Art Directors Guild Awards One-Hour Period or Fantasy Single-Camera Series Andrew L. Jones (for "Chapter 1: The Mandalorian") Nominated [147]
Publicists Guild Awards Maxwell Weinberg Publicist Showmanship Television Award Disney+ Won [148]
Nebula Awards Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation Jon Favreau (for "Chapter 2: The Child") Nominated [149]
Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form Jon Favreau and Taika Waititi (for "Chapter 8: Redemption") Nominated [150]
TCA Awards Outstanding New Program The Mandalorian Pending [151]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series The Mandalorian Pending [152]
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance Taika Waititi as IG-11 (for "Chapter 8: Redemption") Pending [153]
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour) Greig Fraser and Baz Idoine (for "Chapter 7: The Reckoning") Pending
Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes Joseph Porro, Julie Robar, Gigi Melton and Lauren Silvestri (for "Chapter 3: The Sin") Pending
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon (for "Chapter 8: Redemption") Pending
Outstanding Music Composition for a Series Ludwig Göransson (for "Chapter 8: Redemption") Pending
Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Program (Half-Hour or Less) Andrew L. Jones, Jeff Wisniewski, Amanda Serino (for "Chapter 1: The Mandalorian") Pending
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special Brian Sipe, Alexei Dmitriew, Carlton Coleman, Samantha Ward, Scott Stoddard, Mike Ornelaz and Sabrina Castro (for "Chapter 6: The Prisoner") Pending
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series Andrew S. Eisen (for "Chapter 2: The Child") Pending
Dana E. Glauberman and Dylan Firshein (for "Chapter 4: Sanctuary") Pending
Jeff Seibenick (for "Chapter 8: Redemption") Pending
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation David Acord, Matthew Wood, Bonnie Wild, James Spencer, Richard Quinn, Richard Gould, Stephanie McNally, Ryan Rubin, Ronni Brown and Jana Vance (for "Chapter 1: The Mandalorian") Pending
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation Shawn Holden, Bonnie Wild and Chris Fogel (for "Chapter 2: The Child") Pending
Outstanding Special Visual Effects Richard Bluff, Jason Porter, Abbigail Keller, Hayden Jones, Hal Hickel, Roy Cancino, John Rosengrant, Enrico Damm and Landis Fields (for "Chapter 2: The Child") Pending
Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Limited Series or Movie Ryan Watson Pending

Future[edit]

In November 2019, Walt Disney Studios chief creative officer Alan Horn stated that, if the series is successful, a film featuring the character could be developed.[154] On December 5, 2019, when asked if characters from the series will appear in future Star Wars productions, Favreau said that "There's definitely the opportunity to explore these characters beyond what has been presented on the show", and that "There's a very fluid line between what's in the movie theaters and what's on the screen at home".[155] In February 2020, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that spin-offs of The Mandalorian are being considered, stating that there is "the possibility of infusing [the series] with more characters and taking those characters in their own direction in terms of series".[156]

Tie-in media[edit]

Documentary series[edit]

In April 2020, Disney announced an eight-episode documentary series titled Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian (also known as Disney Gallery / Star Wars: The Mandalorian), which premiered on Disney+ on May 4, 2020, Star Wars Day. Hosted by Favreau, the series features interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and roundtable conversations to explore the creation of The Mandalorian. Subsequent episodes of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian aired weekly on Fridays.[157]

Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian episodes
No.TitleDirected byOriginal release date
1"Directing"Bradford BaruhMay 4, 2020 (2020-05-04)
Favreau interviews the directors of season one: Dave Filoni, Deborah Chow, Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Taika Waititi (the directors roundtable). Additional segments feature Baz Idoine and Gina Carano.
2"Legacy"Bradford BaruhMay 8, 2020 (2020-05-08)
Favreau discusses the legacy of Star Wars with the creatives roundtable (Filoni, John Knoll, Kathleen Kennedy, Richard Bluff, and Hal Hickel) and the directors roundtable. Additional segments feature Pedro Pascal and Carl Weathers.
3"Cast"Bradford BaruhMay 15, 2020 (2020-05-15)
Favreau discusses the cast and characters of season one with the actors roundtable (Pascal, Weathers, and Carano, along with Filoni) and the directors roundtable. Additional segments feature Brendan Wayne, Lateef Crowder, and Kim Richards.
4"Technology"Bradford BaruhMay 22, 2020 (2020-05-22)
Favreau discusses the technology behind The Mandalorian with the directors, creatives, and actors roundtables. Additional segments feature Idoine and Giancarlo Esposito.
5"Practical"Bradford BaruhMay 29, 2020 (2020-05-29)
Favreau discusses the practical effects in The Mandalorian with the directors and creatives roundtables. Additional segments feature John Rosengrant, Misty Rosas, Werner Herzog, Richards, Jason Matthews, Trevor Hensley, Hiroshi "Kan" Ikeuchi, Mike Manzel, Tamara Carlson Woodard, Idoine, Carano, Pascal, and Josh Roth.
6"Process"Bradford BaruhJune 5, 2020 (2020-06-05)
Favreau discusses the visualization process used to make The Mandalorian with the directors and creatives roundtables.
7"Score"Bradford BaruhJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
Favreau discusses the score of The Mandalorian with Ludwig Göransson and Filoni.
8"Connections"Bradford BaruhJune 19, 2020 (2020-06-19)
Favreau reveals the connections between various props and characters of the Star Wars franchise and the ones shown in The Mandalorian with the directors and creatives roundtables. Additional segments feature Roth, Andrew L. Jones, and some members of the 501st Legion.[b]

Books[edit]

In June 2020, Lucasfilm announced a publishing campaign of tie-in books and comics.[158] This includes an Art of book for the show's first season, written by Phil Szostak and published by Abrams Books set for December 15, 2020, as well as an original adult novel, written under the codename Sparrow, by Adam Christopher and published by Del Rey Books, set for December 1, 2020.[159][160][161] The publishing line also includes comic books from Marvel Comics and IDW, a visual guide by Pablo Hidalgo, and a junior novelization by Joe Schreiber.[158]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Actor Giancarlo Esposito, as well as Lucasfilm's official Star Wars website, have identified the weapon as the Darksaber,[38][39] a Mandalorian lightsaber that has appeared previously in Star Wars animated series.[39][40][41]
  2. ^ The featured members of the 501st Legion are Marie Gwin, Jeff Leone, Brent Wilkinson, Michael Bender, Todd Masters, Manuel Dekker, Rick Alpi, Jacko Luong, Mark Edwards, Jacob Gonzales, Chris Elguera, and Sam Newcomer.

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