A lone gunslinger travels a lawless territory, operating far from the reaches of any governing authority. Collecting coin and weaponry through the various outlaws he captures, this mysterious bounty hunter finds themselves caught in something much bigger. But this isn’t your typical western, as least not in the setting.
Replicating the classic tropes of the western genre, Disney’s “The Mandalorian” follows the morally ambiguous Mandalorian (Played by Pedro Pascal) as he travels the outer reaches of the galaxy. The long-anticipated Star Wars spin-off premiered Nov. 12 along with Disney’s brand new streaming service Disney+.
Written by Jon Favreau and directed by Dave Filoni, the first episode had to meet a lot of high expectations from fans. Undoubtedly, returning to the Star Wars universe meant bringing fans, old and new, back into the world of this beloved franchise. But the debut of this gunslinging bounty hunter not only met fevered expectations, it exceeded them.
Set five years after the credits rolled in “Return of the Jedi,” the rule of the Empire has ended and the rise of the New Republic has just begun. But in between this transition of power, law and order no longer hold the galaxy together as it once did. Operating far from the eyes of the law, the Mandalorian bounty hunter silently wanders the cosmos, tracking outlaws and collecting bounties.
Well attuned viewers will immediately see parallels to classic western movies like “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” a lone cowboy (or space bounty hunter in this case) traveling the frontier. A vagabond with no place to call home, he is a recluse who works alone and keeps others at a distance. Yet underneath the cold, shining Beskar helmet is a man haunted by tragedy, hinted at in a brief flashback. With only his wit, blaster and view of the galaxy, the Mandalorian fights only for himself and his beliefs.
It’s not just the tropes that call back to gritty Westerns, in the first 10 minutes alone a bar fight scene introduces the tone of the series. The rest of the episode builds on the Mandalorian’s persona and skills as he confidently shows the audience his fighting ability and bounty hunting skills.
Disney is pulling all the stops to make “The Mandalorian” a truly unique viewing experience, with immaculate costume and set design, gorgeous wide shots of the planets and landscape and a well-paced narrative the promises more. If there had to be any part of the first episode that felt misplaced, it’s the music. This may change in future episodes, but the choice in the soundtrack doesn’t feel like it meets the grand scope and ambition of the rest of the show.
Overall, “The Mandalorian” promises an adventure worth waiting for, with the final minutes of the first episode revealing what is bound to be the focus of the series at large. Fans who’ve already viewed episode two “Chapter 2: The Child” (Directed by Rick Famuyiwa) are waiting with bated breath to see the next leg of the Mandalorian’s journey to release on Nov. 22 with episode three.