Review: new Star Wars shows

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Rubymarie McCann ('22)

Like The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett offers an interesting glimpse into the Star Wars universe for new and longtime fans alike.

Chance Ababa

This article contains spoilers for both seasons of The Mandalorian.

For most people, the Star Wars series is either something they love or haven’t seen. I’m in the camp of not knowing a thing about the lore or characters. Except for the lightsabers, Death Stars, and everything else that Disney loves to slap in your face when you visit their shops, I am completely blind to the series. Having only seen The Force Awakens when I was seven, I figured I might as well take advantage of my Disney+ account and finish some of the new shows and even some of the movies.

I just finished the first season of The Mandalorian and I’m really liking it so far. I really enjoy the mystery surrounding Grogu. While I obviously know about the force and Yoda and all, it’s cool to see it’s mystery and power in the show. And another thing is the callbacks to the movies. Not knowing anything about the Empire and seeing an officer’s brutality and killing his own subordinates in the finale is something that really makes me just want to watch the movies and learn what they’re talking about. 

Next, the bad. Some of the episodes in the first season just feel like filler to me. The Gunslinger and The Prisoner don’t do anything other than showing off how cool the Mandalorian is. They aren’t bad episodes, but you could really do without them. And some of the scenes too share that filler tone. The scenes at the small town don’t do much other than introduce someone who would help with the finale of the show. They show that she can fight well, has experience leading people, and has something against the empire, some traits that would be useful in the finale but not much else.

I think the finale has some really strong points though. The buildup in the episode prior was horrifying. Seeing the Mandalorian’s plan break down as his escape gets killed is something that had me so ecstatic to see the next episode. But the finale itself keeps trying to bait you into feeling something bad is about to happen. When the group escapes through the tunnels, the Mandalorian looks like he’s about to die but he’s then healed by the droid and they just keep moving out of the town, the final scene with the droid is the only one that really does affect the cast. And the “death” of the villain also seems kind of odd to me. They make it seem like he dies after his ship crashes, but then decide to just keep him alive. Even though I know they needed to make sure that there’s still a looming threat over the Mandalorian, I don’t get why they wouldn’t save it for later on in the next season.

I also feel that they kind of just did nothing with the finale. The Mandalorian had to basically leave the whole cast of the first season behind and didn’t really gain anything except for not having hunters chase him anymore.   But despite all that, I’m still excited to see where they go in the next season, leaving a new, powerful villain in pursuit of the Mandalorian.

Now onto the second season. I think they really did clean up what I felt was wrong about the first season. The Mandalorian has an actual goal to get to in the second season instead of just laying low and hiding out as he did in the first. And all the episodes are important to the story now and have things that are important to the final episode. Actually showing a Jedi and what they can do with just a lightsaber and the force is such a leap from the fire and fistfights we’ve seen throughout the show and it sticks out. We also got to see the Empire act first hand in the show. As the main antagonists of the second season it’s really shown how fanatic and evil they were. They were even hated by those who used to serve under them, one the characters even kills one of their superior officers and looks to have abandoned their plans just because they were evil. And the superior officers themselves are so fanatic and dedicated to the empire that they’d kill themselves and others just so their enemies couldn’t get the upper hand or capture them, they’re basically the Nazis of space. 

So all in all, the Mandalorian was quite good. The Mandalorian himself was just as I expected him to be: cool as hell. All the little weapons he has put into his armor to bust him out of a tight spot or give him an upper hand during a fight makes him just as elite as how myths describe other Mandalorians. I also liked the contrast between the first few episodes and the final ones. He had worked with the Empire, didn’t trust a droid with anything, and wouldn’t take off his helmet in front of others for any reason. The finale had an entire light cruiser in ruins, had the Mandalorian have R2-D2 take Grogu, and had shown his face to everyone so Grogu would have a face to remember. 

And after finishing the show I finished the original trilogy. I can say that if you’re going into The Mandalorian with zero knowledge of the Star Wars franchise, it’ll be incredibly welcoming. The show doesn’t make you have to understand the lore to know what’s happening in the episodes. You don’t need to know what happened to the Empire in Return of the Jedi because the show puts it on display. You don’t need to know what happens to the character in any of the movies because it doesn’t affect the plot. It’s it’s own little adventure in the Star Wars universe that doesn’t need to rely on what the older movies had built up. If you want to start with the Mandalorian, it’s a short and sweet western that serves as a perfect gateway into the rest of the series. And if you think that the show was a little too short for your tastes, there’s the Book of Boba Fett, going even more into the dirtier side of the galaxy and adding a little more to the story of the Mandalorian.