The Mandalorian’s first season streamed in 2019 on Disney Plus. It received positive reviews from critics, fans & viewers alike. The Mandolorian ultimately became an Emmy nominee at The 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards as the first live action Star Wars series to hit a milestone nominated for “Best Drama Series.” Unfortunately it lost to HBO’s “Succession.”
Season 2 will officially be out on October 30th 2020 a day before Halloween. To prepare for the anticipated season, I’d like to share my thoughts on Season 1. See if it’s any good from my perspective as both a fan of Star Wars and critic.
Today’s article doesn’t contain any crucial SPOILERS. If you haven’t got a chance to watch all episodes of Season 1, feel free to read my non-spoiler article. Time to get to the bottom of the barrel.
The Entire Season
Positive: Pedro Pascal portrays The Mandalorian (Mando for short) yet he did an excellent job for his performance.
Other Cast Members including Carl Weathers, Gina Carano Werner Herzog & Nick Nolte all did a fantastic job for their respective performances.
Jon Favreau developed the series as a showrunner. He did an excellent job taking full responsibility as a leader to his fellow cast & crew.
Bedsides Jon, he has a band of directors who helped him direct specific episodes.
Action Sequences were spectacular from start to finish.
Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther, Creed, Creed II, Tenet) did an awesome job composing music. The score is drastically different than John Williams’ iconic tunes. Ludwig did some homework to create Mando’s music by listening to Ennio Morricone (The Good The Bad & The Ugly, Once Upon A Time In The West, The Thing, The Hateful Eight) tunes.
The show isn’t a cheap imitation of The Original Trilogy, its unique in an organic way influenced by “The Dollars Trilogy,” “Escape From New York,” “Shoot Em’ Up” and last but not least, “Dredd 2012.”
Mando reminds me of “Samurai Jack.” Both are strong silent types, good at using their signature weapon, a master tactician & willing to take a gamble to protect an individual regardless of their main mission. Mando is also similar to Judge Dredd & V from “V For Vendetta.” Both titular character never take their mask/helmet off and their name reflects his personality.
Practical Effects was heavily used on certain things to construct creature designs, set pieces, planets, environmental details etc. Computer Animation was used sparingly.
Costume Designs are unforgettable. Mando’s costume reflects his strong silent type personality like Clint Eastwood.
The series takes place five years after the events of “Return Of The Jedi.”
Season 1 centers around Mando protecting an unnamed baby resembling Yoda’s race. So far, his identity has bent been confirmed. So the fanbase will just call him Baby Yoda for now.
I have to admit, Baby Yoda is very cute. I have no choice to give him an Extra Point per scene every time he’s on screen.
Mando and the rest of the characters were memorable to watch. They all serve a purpose factoring in pivotal roles.
Mando’s weapons are pretty cool as they come in handy during a sticky situation.
We get to know a little bit of Mando’s past.
Arc Words are “This Is The Way.” A recurring motto from Mando’s guild. Don’t forget Kuiil’s catchphrase, “I have spoken.”
Famous faces such as Clancy Brown, Bill Burr, Ming-Na Wen & Giancarlo Esposito have guest roles.
Season 1’s finale sets up Season 2.
Negative: My only complaint for the series is a few episodes have a duration of 30 minutes, instead of an hour per episode like shows on HBO and Netflix.
Chapter 1: The Mandolorian
High: First episode’s title is obviously named after the titular character.
Mando embarks on a hunt.
A laser battle reminded me of “Red Dead Redemption” and its sequel.
I can’t tell you how the first chapter ends, you’re gonna have to see for yourself.
A bounty hunter droid resembling IG-88 factors in the first chapter. He’s voiced by Oscar winning director Taika Waititi, (Thor: Ragnarok, Jojo Rabbit) known as the voice of Korg from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (MCU for short)
Low: No con spotted.
Chapter 2: The Child
Up: Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) did a decent job directing the series one episode.
Mando encounters danger in his way.
A farmer named, Kuiil who’s the same species as the scavengers from Cloud City, helps Mando on his quest to fix his ship.
Chapter 2’s title is named after somebody who’s obviously tied to the series.
A character said, “I thought you were dead.” A reference to Escape From New York.
Down: No issues discovered.
Chapter 3: The Sin
Redeemed: Deborah Chow (directed some episodes of Mr. Robot) did a great job directing the third episode.
Mando gets an upgrade.
An intense gun battle ensues.
Mando makes an important decision, making a big impact for the rest of the season.
Sinful: Nope. Not a single flaw found.
Chapter 4: Sanctuary
Peaceful: Bryce Dallas Howard follows in her father’s footsteps as director. She did a wonderful job directing the fourth episode. I would assume Ron is proud of her hidden depths.
Mando reunites with Cara Dune. An old comrade from the past.
Mando teaches a group of villagers to defend their home. An homage to Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai”. The classic film is a major influence to “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Three Amigos,” “A Bug’s Life” & “Galaxy Quest.”
Noisy: Nothing really bad happened.
Chapter 5: The Gunslinger
Full: Dave Filoni (showrunner of The Clone Wars) did a good job directing the fifth episode.
Mando’s ship is damaged. He’s forced to get it repaired. To pass the time, he goes on yet another mission to hunt down a bounty.
Ming-Na Wen (Mulan, Melinda May from Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.) makes a guest appearance as a professional sniper.
Empty: My only complaint with this episode centers around the fact a character got annihilated way too soon.
Chapter 6: The Prisoner
Unlocked: Mando reunites with his old crew to rescue a prisoner.
Rick Famuyiwa did a decent job directing another episode.
Stand-up comedian Bill Burr, Clancy Brown (Mr. Krabs) & Mark Boone Jr. (where are the other drugs guy from Batman Begins) make guest appearances as former allies of Mando.
Fun Fact: Clancy portrayed Montross from the video game “Star Wars: Bounty Hunter” as Jango Fett’s nemesis. Too bad the game is non-canon. I used to play this game on the PS2 when I was a kid.
Dave Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa & Deborah Chow make brief appearances.
Locked: Nothing went wrong.
Chapter 7: The Reckoning
Quiet: Deborah did a good job directing the seventh chapter.
Giancarlo Esposito has a guest role in Chapter 7 & 8 as Moff Gideon. A high ranking surviving member of The Galactic Empire. He did a great job for his performance.
A familiar robot comes back to help Mando.
Loud: No con spotted.
Chapter 8: Redemption
Epic: Taika Waititi did a great job directing the season finale.
Jason Sudeikis (SNL, Horrible Bosses, We’re The Millers) & Adam Palley guest star as a pair of scout troopers.
Chapter 8 closes Season 1’s story arc. Not quite the end of the series.
Mando’s fight with Gideon & his stormtroopers got my adrenaline pumping for more action.
The last scene sets up Season 2.
Clunker: No big boo boos found.
The Final Verdict: A-
The Mandalorian is an instant classic as the best Star Wars series since The Clone Wars. All the positive things I’ve listed, indicates why The Mandalorian is far superior to The Sequel Trilogy. If you want to refresh your memory before Season 2 streams a day before Halloween, I highly recommend you and fellow fans to rewatch the first season.
If you want to know more on how The Mandolorian was made, I highly recommend as behind the scenes documentary series titled, “Disney Gallery: The Mandolorian.” Selective episodes reveal coverage breaking down the course on how Jon Favreau & many made this show as passionate fans of Star Wars.