The Mandalorian

Published August 8, 2020

The Mandalorian, or the reason I got a Disney+ subscription, is a Star Wars spinoff centred around a character known as The Mandalorian, or Mando. If you're into Star Wars lore, you'll know that the Mandalorians are a warrior people who wear distinctive suits of armour. If not, you do now. They're aggressive in the sense they fight a lot, but they see battle as their way of life. They are generally calm and easy-going outside of it. They're not quite like angry Klingons is what I'm trying to say.

Briefly, the Mandalorian is a classic western set in space. The western part of it seems to be a conscious influence. The theme tune has a slight western twang, the character is a quiet loner, but a very determined one, reminiscient of Clint Eastwood's "The man with no name" character in The Dollars Trilogy.

I see The Mandalorian get compared to The Expanse over a lot of social media. Let's be clear here: The Mandalorian and the Expanse have pretty much nothing in common except they're both modern sci-fi series. Although, calling Star Wars sci-fi after watching The Expanse seems slightly tenuous. In many ways they're polar opposites. The Expanse is a detailed and gritty series of interwoven stories. The Mandalorian, by contrast, employs a very straightfoward episodic approach where Mando (the main character) solves his problem of the week. In The Expanse, you're never quite sure who's safe and how things are going to work out. In The Mandalorian, you're always sure that Mando's going to be OK. The Expanse is quite character-rich. Mando's just a guy who wanders around and looks at things, and occasionally says "hmm". Or was that Geralt of Rivia? I get my strong and silent types confused.

Anyway, the point is that the Mandalorian is very simplistic and quite sparse in terms of characters, dialog, story-telling, well, everything really. If you're expecting a gritty, modern TV series then you're going to be disappointed. If you're expecting anything like the most recent trilogy films where everything moves at a million miles a minute then you're also going to be disappointed. It's actually quite simple and slow paced. It has a tiny bit of mystery and continuity between episodes in the form of baby yoda.

Overall it's not the most gripping TV I've ever watched, but it's certainly well made and enjoyable and I'll be watching the second series.

I have to draw attention also to the fact that The Mandalorian has done something noteable in that it has introduced a female action hero type character and made her very believable. The actress in question is an ex-MMA fighter in her late 30s, and she has the gravitas both physically and just in her general demeanour, to pull off the character perfectly. The casting here was absolutely spot on.

Filed under: star wars, mandalorian

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