THE MANDALORIAN. New season, good old STAR WARS

Review of the first episode of the third season of The Mandalorian, available on the Disney+ platform.

Jakub Piwoński

2 March 2023

This is the way – comes to mind as the most appropriate comment to the first episode of the third season of The Mandalorian. The serial adventures of a certain Din Djarin and his green ward already seem to be a production with a fully formed character. We know perfectly well what “custom” this world was built on, what we can expect from its heroes. It remains to shrug, disregarding the inconvenience, letting yourself be carried away by this compelling, Star Wars fantasy.

Previously, such voices could be received with a great deal of reserve, but today I am not surprised at all – Star Wars fans are increasingly making it clear that they would like to hand over the reins of the film franchise to Jon Favreau. If we accept what was hard to talk about some time ago, that despite the attendance success, the entire new film trilogy can be considered an artistic failure and a significant failure to meet the needs of fans to popularize hackneyed motifs and political correctness, then yes, Favreau’s persona he comes across as a potential knight on a white horse. I doubt that Disney’s decision-makers will be able to take a chance, and we don’t know how well the creator’s ideas are compatible with the series, and they wouldn’t necessarily work in a larger format, but one thing is certain – Jon Favreau understands Star Wars.

Even in 2019, when The Mandalorian had its premiere, no one expected it. Today, in turn, we can talk about a phenomenon, because apparently it is a production that, first of all, opened the eyes of people from Disney, because its success contributed to the creation of subsequent series from this world, while resigning from the production of cinema shows. And two, The Mandalorian changed the balance of power in other ways as well, because it showed that the measure of freshness in this universe does not have to be doing something completely new, in line with the times, expanding mythology, etc., but creating Star Wars in a balance between old and modern, without flying away with messages into the far depths of space, sticking to simple, proven motifs and fully transparent plot lines. The Mandalorian is a Star Wars creation as traditional as possible – it contains elements of western, samurai cinema and other fascinations of George Lucas, the father of the brand.

What is the series returning with after two years of absence? Actually, not two years, but after a year, if you consider The Book of Boba Fett series not so much as an autonomous entity, but as something like a spin-off of The Mandalorian. Well, he comes back with exactly what he left us with. Cool armor, cute Grogu and a cosmos of adventure. Once again, we set out with Din Djarin on a cosmic journey, this time exploring the thread of the main character’s honor, his attachment to the rules of tradition and customs of the community of which he is a member. It turns out that the innocent removal of the helmet has negative implications for the hero. The Mandalorian once again has to answer the question of whether he wants to continue to be part of the “church” of warriors and adhere to its strict principles, or whether he is closer to an apostate. Grog’s tender gaze draws Din Djarin to act as the father of the Baby Yoda, and this often conflicts with the clan’s commitments and previously chosen directions of development.

The opening episode of the third season is a short pleasure (it lasts about 37 minutes), but intense. It has good and bad moments. The whole spectacular opening sequence (largely symbolic, because it refers to the hero’s journey, his return to his sources) serves here primarily as a reminder to us, the viewers, how much fun it is to be with The Mandalorian. However, it’s hard not to get the impression that this is another flashy filler, which was created only to emphasize the awesomeness of the main character, i.e. to do something we already know very well. In the later part of the episode, it is much more conservative, but at the same time less revealing, because the creators are in no hurry to reveal all the cards. We learn, therefore, what the possible directions of the hero’s journey will be, but we will have to wait for further developments. The creators will have to reveal a few more Easter eggs to us, a few more locations and characters will be visited by the hero (here Greef Karga returns) before the threads interlock properly.

As I started, so I will finish. This is the way – it seems that this sentence, which is also the motto of The Mandalorian, also guides the work on this Disney production. You can see that Favreau is having a great time creating this series, especially since he floats on the approval of fans. You can see that the creator is also fully reconciled, familiar with the world, which he deftly explores. And apparently he intends to stay true to his principles, because this consistency and sticking to the framework affects The Mandalorian exceptionally well. Let’s leave the answer to the question of how long the magic of this series will work on us for later.

Jakub Piwoński

Jakub Piwoński

Cultural expert, passionate about popular culture, in particular films, series, computer games and comics. He likes to fly away to unknown, fantastic regions, thanks to his fascination with science fiction. Professionally, however, he looks back more often, thanks to his work as a museum promotion specialist, investigating the mysteries of the beginnings of cinematography. His favorite film is "The Matrix", because it combines two areas close to his heart - religion and martial arts.

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