“The Mandalorian”, which airs episodes every Friday on Disney+, is two things – a wild west homage and love notes to old Japanese series’ such as “Lone Wolf and Cub” and acclaimed films by Akira Kurosawa. The later films were also inspiration for George Lucas’ original Star Wars films so this seems to fit.
The first season of “The Manalorian” had its faults and came out of the gate a little clunky in my opinion, but no one else seemed to notice when a little green guy popped up on screen and was cute as can be. In the show he’s called “The Child”, but everyone affectionately knows him simply as “Baby Yoda” who may or may not be a clone of the titular Star Wars character.
The big issue I had with the first season was the directing. Showrunner and director creator Jon Favreau vowed to bring more women into the fold as directors (the show is also produced by Lucasfilm, LLC powerhouse Kathleen Kennedy, mind you), and it loses some of it’s western vibe when it does. I’m not saying women shouldn’t be directors – far from it – but I don’t know many that are fans of the western genre – from which this show gets the majority of its inspiration.
Imagine having to choose between someone like Quintin Tarantino, who’s directed two westerns and is a huge fan of the genre, or actress Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World”) who has only directed a handful of short films. I applaud the sentiment but feel it needs to be thought out more.
When season two of the hit show kicked off Oct. 30, it was all western with a little bit of space thrown in for good measure.
Episode one continues The Mandalorian’s mission to keep Baby Yoda safe as he attempts to get him back to the mysterious “sorcerers” from “the songs of eons past” aka the Jedi which everyone has seemed to have forgotten about after a mere five years of essentially saving the galaxy (the show takes place after “Return of the Jedi”).
The Mandalorian, aka Mando, is on the search for more rogue Mandalorians to help him on his quest and hears about the famed Boba Fett living in isolation on an unmapped area on the desert planet of Tatooine. When Mando arrives, what he finds is Fett’s armor being worn by a man Cobb Vanth known as The Marshal played by none other than Timothy Olyphant (“Justified”, “Deadwood”). The whole scene plays like your basic saloon showdown and is about to turn into a proper shoot ’em up when a massive sand worm tears to the small town, wreaking all sorts of havoc.
The two men strike a deal – if Mando can help get rid of the giant space work, the armor is his. If not? Then he’ll most likely die.
Every episode of “The Mandalorian” is like this. Mando shows up, a mission presents itself, and he must complete it in order to move along on his mission. It’s very akin to western shows like “The Rifleman” and “Bonanza” ... but in space.
Sadly, Baby Yoda doesn’t play a big part in this but does bring the laughs early on. Oddly, the Sand People play a pretty big part, and we get to see that they’re not all that bad after all.
Season two shows promise and looks to possibly explore the Star Wars universe even further. There are rumors abound of characters showing up this season that have only been seen in the animated series’, some returning fan favorite aliens and characters and more.
With a whole new list of directors, including Austin native Robert Rodriguez (“El Mariachi”), it looks to be another awesome season to an already stellar show.
Just give us more Baby Yoda next time, please.