A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… I thought I’d open with this cheesy line as The Mandalorian chose not to, which is fine because even without an opening crawl, this authentic feeling Disney+ show has exploded into the Star Wars universe in style and I personally couldn’t be happier.
This review is non spoiler, so fear not if you’re yet to get round to watching or you’re a fellow Brit who Disney apparently hates.
One of my big worries going into this eight part series was that it would feel too TV, a bit like what Agents of Shield is to the MCU. Fortunately this is far from the case as every part of this show feels like Star Wars, straight from the off The Mandalorian just looks like a Star Wars film, the sets in particular being a real stand out. Though it is worth pointing out we’re yet to see any huge locations, with most of this episode being set on desert like planets but that’s fine, in fact it was really cool. Fellow PS Pod co-host and Crewe Alexandra manager (in joke) – Javier actually said to me that it felt like a Star Wars western and I couldn’t agree more! Whether or not future episodes opens up the more hi-tech locations remains to be seen, but so far I’m loving this (dare I say..) Firefly-like look the show has presented in chapter one.
The only other fear I had was for the Mandalorian himself. After hearing talk that he never takes him helmet off, I couldn’t help but worry that he may become a hard character to connect with, especially given the character is played by the wonderfully talented Pedro Pascal who somewhat feels wasted behind a mask. Again though this was not the case, the parts of dialogue the Mandalorian does have is so well voice acted that I still felt a connection to the character, and being hid under the helmet only serviced to give me a feeling of mystery which I can’t wait to see explored in future episodes. This of course applies to his backstory as well, we’re treated to a few quick flashbacks but other than that his story is still to come and I’m all in for it.
When the main character is this dark and mysterious, the supporting cast needs to be top notch and thankfully The Mandalorian gets this spot on. During the episodes relatively short 39 minute runtime, we’re introduced to many wonderful and quirky side characters with Taika Waititi’s hilarious bounty hunter droid, IG-11 being an absolute stand out of the episode despite not having the greatest amount of screen time. Hopefully future episodes continue to introduce supporting characters like the ones they have in chapter one as their comical nature works so perfectly well alongside the Mandalorian’s more serious characteristics.
The story of this first episode is everything you’d expect from a great TV pilot. The main characters are introduced, the world is set out nicely in front of us and we’re left with a mighty cliffhanger of an ending meaning chapter two is now a must watch. Of course I’m not going to give away any actual story spoilers but I feel Star Wars fans won’t be disappointed with the direction in which writer and showrunner – Jon Favreau takes the series. The only negative I have to mention is that there were parts of the episode which I felt could have been sped up and slowed the overall pace down just a little bit, which is a little worrying when we only have 39 minutes to play with in the first place, but this was only a minor gripe and by the time we’d hit the frantic ending, I was more than pleased with how the episode had played out.
Chapter one of The Mandalorian has gotten off to a fantastic start. I’m curious about the main characters history, I’m loving the fact that I can live in an authentic Star Wars world filled with wonderfully weird characters once a week and the story has me absolutely hooked already. Aside from a few pacing issues this was a home run for Disney+, roll on chapter two!
I give The Mandalorian Chapter One a: