The Reel Review
The hot new Star Wars-inspired TV series on Disney Plus, set five years after the fall of the Empire in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, draws inspiration from a key scene in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, when Darth Vader hires a group of bounty hunters to track down the Rebel fugitives. The Mandalorian is such a bounty hunter just doing his job in a dusty, lawless world.
While the series looks and sounds VERY much like Star Wars, The Mandalorian features a completely new cast of characters, an intentional move to avoid the ire of hardcore, detail-obsessed fans not only of the prior films, but the many books, comic books and video games. The Mandalorian stars Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) as the bounty hunter who looks eerily familiar to Boba Fett, with a droid IG-11, voiced by JoJo Rabbit director and star Taika Waititi, who also directs the first season’s final episode. After the Mandalorian collects his bounty for his carbonite-clad captures, Greef Carga (Carl Weathers) offers him a much larger, mysterious prize to pursue.
Showrunner Jon Favreau’s story is an old fashioned spaghetti Western dressed up in a spiffy Star Wars suit, bedazzled with enough rhinestones to delight fans of the franchise. But not seeing the face of our main character makes it a bit difficult to connect emotionally. Even the normally engaging Waititi is a bit hamstrung. The visual effects, however, are dazzling, along with the big reveal at the end of the season’s first episode.
• Pedro Pascal is the 13th actor from Game of Thrones to take part in the Star Wars franchise. Among the more notables: Emilia Clarke in 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, Gwendoline Christie and Max von Sydow in 2015’s Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.
• Bryce Dallas Howard, whose father Ron Howard directed 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, directs one of the episodes of The Mandalorian.
• Nick Nolte auditioned for the role of Han Solo in the first Star Wars film