To say that there’s a lot of Star Wars content is an understatement. Just in the past year, we’ve gotten two seasons of TV (The Mandalorian and Star Wars: The Clone Wars), a feature film (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), and a behind-the-scenes series (Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian). That’s not including Star Wars-themed episodes of shows like Lego Masters and Earth to Ned—all of which you bet I have watched! And there’s even more on the way, beyond The Mandalorian Season 2. There’s a new animated series, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, as well as a pair of live-action shows starring Diego Luna as Cassian Andor and another with Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. The franchise shows no sign of slowing down—but honestly, I think I’d be happy with just one lone Star Wars something: The Mandalorian.
Maybe I’m still basking in the glow of that fantastic Season 2 trailer, but if Disney suddenly decided to make 2020 even worse by killing all further Star Wars projects other than The Mandalorian, I actually think I’d be okay. I think that’s because, of everything else in the entirety of the Star Wars canon, The Mandalorian feels like the chosen one—and not just because of Baby Yoda.
Of all the announced Star Wars projects, The Mandalorian feels like the one that can—to steal a phrase from the rivals—boldly go anywhere within the larger Star Wars mythology. The show’s throwback, episodic style allows it to hop from one planet to another, touching base with all of the disparate sub-genres that exist within the entire franchise. Season 1 gave us bounty hunting action, obviously, but it also ventured into samurai and western territory, revisited iconic spots like the Mos Eisley cantina, and featured altercations with Rebels and Imperials. It even touched upon Jedi lore with the introduction of the Child, the character we will forever refer to solely as Baby Yoda.
It’s going to be hard for other Star Wars anythings to give us that range. Just going off of what we know of the other three upcoming shows, it’s likely that Bad Batch will be a war show, Cassian Andor’s show will be a spy series like Rogue One, and the Obi-Wan series will probably be a samurai/western hybrid. That’s not a bad thing, either; the Star Wars movies have all, more or less, found a rhythm and stuck with it. It’s actually surprising that The Mandalorian Season 1 so deftly jumped from Looney Tunes action (Din Djarin vs. the Jawas) to horror (Djarin slashing his way through that squad of mercs on the prison ship). But the precedent set by Season 1 was a smart one, because it means that The Mandalorian can be everything a Star Wars show could be, and more.
The Season 2 trailer, and everything we’ve heard about Season 2 so far, just confirms that The Mandalorian is gonna keep being the Star Warsiest Star Wars thing to ever Star Wars. More Tatooine, more Jedi mythology, more characters from previous films and animated series, more original Mandalorian lore—the show’s scope is wider than anything in the canon we’ve seen since the Clone Wars animated series. The other forthcoming projects are all limited in some way; The Bad Batch cartoon as well as the Rogue One prequel show and the Obi-Wan series all have to thread various continuity needles. For example: in Kenobi’s case, we know the reclusive Jedi master can’t do a whole lot because he’s stuck on Tatooine, evading Vader’s detection and keeping an eye on Kid Skywalker.
The Mandalorian has no such restrictions. The show is set in, essentially, the franchise’s new wild west—the 30 years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. A Mandalorian bounty hunter is the perfect guide through this mysterious terrain, as he takes on random jobs and runs afoul of factions across the ideological spectrum—and showrunners Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni are keenly aware of that. They want to explore the weird, outer rim of the saga just as much as viewers do. They want to see what obscure bounty hunters can actually do. They want to know more about the background aliens only glimpsed in the widescreen edit of the cantina scene. They want to make sure that the weapons and critters introduced in the ’70s Holiday Special and ’80s Ewok movies aren’t forgotten. They treat The Mandalorian like a one-stop shop for Star Wars fans, and it works.
That’s why Season 2 feels so exciting—maybe even more exciting than the buildup to Season 1. We’re gonna get live-action versions of iconic animated characters like Ahsoka Tano and Bo-Katan Kryze, as well as the exploration of the Fett family lore. But we’re also gonna get Gamorrean wrestling and, possibly, a trip to Mon Cala. And beyond that, we’re going to get to see more fresh ideas and unexpected spins on Star Wras tropes we thought we knew. There’s absolutely nothing restraining The Mandalorian, and there’s nothing restraining my excitement for Season 2. The Mandalorian is truly the only Star Wars anything we need (but you know I’m also glad we’re getting so much more).
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