The Mandalorian Episode 1 Review

The Mandalorian is currently streaming on Disney+.

After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. The series depicts a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.

— Jon Favreau

This is the Star Wars that I’ve wanted for a while now.  The Mandalorian is a well-deserved respite from The Jedi and The Sith, Kessel runs and trench runs, lightsabers and force lightning and the ultimate battle of good versus evil.  The Mandalorian is, in the words of Jango Fett, “Just a simple man, trying to make his way in the universe.”  It’s a story about what happens after.  Five years after the collapse of the Empire, empire credits aren’t worth a damn on backwater planets, people are out of work and hives of scum and villainy are all over the place.

Enter The Mandalorian, a lone gunfighter/bounty hunter going about his way collecting bounties, just making ends meet until he is given an off the books, high paying bounty by Greef Karga played by Carl Weathers, who really isn’t given enough shine in the 39 minute runtime.  Greef is the leader of the bounty hunter guild who gives ol Mandy a high value target to recover (recover alive specifically) at the behest of his deep pocketed client played by Warner Herzog. 

The client is hold over from the Empire days.  Complete with his gigantic empire chain and dusty Stormtrooper bodyguards who look ragged and like they have missed a few meals. The client is willing to pay in Beskar. He gives Mandy an ingot of Beskar and tells him he has a cargo hold full of the stuff as payment for completing the bounty.

I wasn’t familiar with Beskar, so I looked it up on Wookiepedia and learned that:

“Beskar is also known as Mandalorian iron.  It was an alloy used in Mandalorian armor, notable for its high tolerance to extreme forms of damage. The metal was durable enough to withstand a direct blaster shot and could potentially withstand the slash or glancing blow of a lightsaber, though could be penetrated with a direct stab. The metal could also be reforged to any warriors liking.”

Read more about Beskar here: https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Beskar

After leaving The Client, we see ol’ Mandy head to his local hideout where he takes his Beskar and has it reforged into a shoulder pauldron by another Mandalorian. A pauldron is a component of plate armor which cover the shoulder area.

Here is where I feel like the show misses a key moment in storytelling.  At this point the show should try to give us some idea of what the Mandalorians purpose is within the show.  What is he seeking? Why are we watching?  What are his goals?  Is he looking to forge a complete set of armor made from Beskar?  Who knows.  We see the other Mandalorian blacksmith pound the pauldron into shape and each ring of the hammer triggers a flashback of Mandy being violently separated from his parents as a child. The history and mythos of The Mandalorians could and should have been fleshed out a bit more here. 

A representation of subtle differences in Mandalorian armors. Usually all very similar.

Again, from Wookiepedia:

“Mandalorians were a predominantly human ethnolinguistic cultural group who originated on the planet Mandalore. Mandalorians had a particularly unique role in galactic history as legendary warriors against the Jedi and could be commonly found not only on the Mandalorian homeworld and its moon, Concordia, but across Mandalorian Space and the galaxy at large on worlds such as Kalevala, Krownest, and Concord Dawn.

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic: War “A Jedi Caught in the MANDALORIAN WARS! #1 (January 11th, 2012)

Originating from the planet Mandalore in the Outer Rim, the Mandalorians’ history was one of warriors who would become feared throughout the galaxy, gaining a reputation as mercenaries and bounty hunters. They were also known to ride Mythosaurs. (which is actually referenced in the show) Even prior to the formation of the Old Republic, war dominated their way of life.

Mandalore had a largely martial history, but by the time of the Clone Wars the pacifist and reformist New Mandalorian political faction controlled Mandalore’s government, led by Duchess Satine Kryze. This led to internal conflict with other Mandalorian groups like Death Watch, who wanted to maintain the warrior ways of their Mandalorian heritage.

This life of war eventually turned to dreams of expansion, and a group of Mandalorian warriors known as the crusaders began waging war against other people to conquer their worlds. Armor-clad and wielding swords, the crusaders lay waste to many worlds during their wars. The crusaders conquered several worlds and systems beyond their own, among them the planets of Krownest and Concord Dawn. This world bore the scars of a hundred wars, as almost a third of its planetary mass was fractured and reduced to space rubble. These early conquests remained part of the Mandalore sector during the later years of the Galactic Republic and into the reign of the Galactic Empire.”

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic: War “ONWARD MANDALORIAN KNIGHTS!” #2 (January 11th, 2012)

Once completed with his shiny new shoulder guard (which hilariously doesn’t match anything else he’s wearing) Mandy trots off to the desert planet Arvala-7 to learn to ride a Blurrg (think: a much smaller Dewback), chat with the local moisture farmer voiced by Nick Nolte and collect his bounty target.

Upon reaching the bandit hideout (at this point, I was getting some serious The Outer Worlds vibes) he finds that another bounty hunter from the guild has already shown up, IG-11!

IG-11 is almost indistinguishable from the classic IG-88 from Empire.  He’s voiced by Taika Watiti (Thor Ragnarok and Thor: Blood and Thunder) and in my opinion steals the show. He’s funny, irreverent, insanely deadly and is always trying to blow himself up when cornered.

I’ll leave it there to avoid spoilers for the end of the show, but to sum it all up The Mandalorian is a good show for Disney+ first foray into additional Star Wars content. The cliff hanger for episode 1 has to be seen to be believed.  It’s incredible and I’m hooked for the next one.

 I just wished they would have fleshed out Mandy’s motivation for bounty hunting and maybe delve deeper into the history of Mandalorians.  But this is just the first episode.  The next episode comes out Friday November 15th.  (See below for the rest of the release schedule) There are a total of 8 episodes and judging by the strength of the ending for episode 1, it’s going to be a wild ride.

Mandalorian Release Schedule

  • Episode 1 – Tuesday, November 12
  • Episode 2 – Friday, November 15
  • Episode 3 – Friday, November 22
  • Episode 4 – Friday, November 29
  • Episode 5 – Friday, December 6
  • Episode 6 – Friday, December 13
  • Episode 7 – Wednesday, December 18
  • Episode 8 – Friday, December 27

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