Disney may be slowing down the freight train of STAR WARS movies, but if you’re itching for more content from a galaxy far, far away, have no fear: there’s a lot to love. Now, there’s even more, with information about Jon Favreau’s THE MANDALORIAN coming to whet our appetites.

Set to premiere on Disney’s streaming service sometime in late 2019, the series will follow a lone gunslinger type patrolling the outer reaches of the galaxy after the fall of the Empire. The story seems to be heavily Western-inspired, with a “hero with no name” flair and a Wild West aesthetic.

But it also seems… kind of boring. There’s a huge, wide galaxy to go off of, and they pick a lone-gunslinger Western? It seems like a cop-out, a safe bet, which is disappointing from Disney and especially Favreau, who gave us the MCU when he went with the decidedly unsafe bet of Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark.

There’s a lot to get excited about with THE MANDALORIAN. But I can’t help but feel like it’s a letdown from what could have been.

The Road to THE MANDALORIAN

Since purchasing the rights to STAR WARS in 2012, Disney has put a lot of effort into revitalizing the series. They have given us a new trilogy and a couple of stand-alone movies, in addition to new animated TV series similar to THE CLONE WARS that Lucasfilm had already been working on.

It’s been a wild ride at times, this STAR WARS renaissance, but despite a lot of backlashes, it’s been mostly enjoyable. THE FORCE AWAKENS and THE LAST JEDI have made massive amounts of money at the box office, and ROGUE ONE is easily my favorite STAR WARS movie. But after the lackluster success of SOLO, the powers that be have decided to slow down the STAR WARS push.

the mandalorian
Courtesy of Jon Favreau.

That seems to be mostly focused on the big screen, however. On TV, we’re still getting a renewed CLONE WARS and the already-announced Favreau series. Favreau is a smart-choice to produce the first STAR WARS live-action series. His work on the IRON MAN movies almost single-handedly started the MCU, so Disney knows he’s capable of producing top-notch work.

Favreau’s show was announced earlier this year, though details were sparse. We only knew that he would be executive producing and writing a live-action STAR WARS show for Disney’s new exclusive streaming platform. Now, more details have emerged. Titled THE MANDALORIAN, Favreau’s show will follow a lone Mandalorian warrior in the Outer Rim and takes place three years after RETURN OF THE JEDI.

In the aftermath of the Emperor’s death, the Outer Rim is even more lawless than before. The first season of THE MANDALORIAN will feature 10 episodes, and big names (like Bryce Dallas Howard and Taika Waititi) are on board to direct individual episodes. Pedro Pascal (GAME OF THRONES) is rumored for the title role.

Initial Thoughts

When it was announced that Favreau would be producing a live-action STAR WARS series, I was floored. I love Favreau and he has produced some of my favorite pieces of media. Plus, he has a great range and excellent humor, so I knew the show would be able to tackle STAR WARS with nuance.

But my initial hope was that Disney would return to the no-longer canon Expanded Universe novels for inspiration. Some of what was in the EU has been returned to the new canon (see: Thrawn), so this seemed like a good time to bring back some of the excellent material Disney threw out. Instead, it seems like they’re going with something brand new.

the mandalorian
Courtesy of Lucasfilm.

It’s a fair choice to go with something new. Disney can’t keep relying on the old canon. If they wanted to do that, they would have never restarted canon in the first place, so I understand starting fresh. But if that’s the case, why did they pick such a bland topic?

STAR WARS is a massive universe. They could have gone in any direction with a new series. And they picked more Mandalorians? I get it. Mandalorians are cool. Boba Fett has long had an inexplicable reputation for being a cool outlaw. Mandalorians play a big role in the animated series, and a warrior race is always fun. But it’s starting to feel overplayed.

With countless planets and species, we’re getting a human-focused show. Where’s the exploration? Where’s the sense of wonder? Effects are greater than ever, so it would be the perfect time to play around and get a little freaky, not rely on a safe, human-centric story. And while a lone-gunslinger does pay homage to STAR WARS’ Western roots, it feels like a cop-out. It’s 2018. Live a little.

What Could Have Been

Disney has a lot that’s more interesting than space western. They shouldn’t be so fast to discount the EU — it has a lot of great information and a dedicated fanbase. It’s unlikely that casual fans are going to reject EU material just because it’s from the old canon — Thrawn is proving popular, isn’t he?

I personally really wanted to see Favreau adapt the X-Wing books. The novels tell the story of Wedge Antilles and the New Republic military trying to restore order after the death of the Empire. The transition from Empire to democracy isn’t smooth, so there’s a lot of work to do.

the mandalorian
Courtesy of X-Wing Miniatures.

The novels feature amazing stories, great new characters, alien species, exotic locations, and a lot of humor. Favreau would have done amazingly with them. They fill the same space as THE MANDALORIAN — post-JEDI, changing political climates, social unrest — while giving us something new and fresh.

There’s plenty else in the EU that would make for an amazing story, and a lot of it wouldn’t contradict the new canon. Make a series about the Force-witches of Dathomir. Give me amazing, Force-sensitive, female warriors who band together, not strike out on their own. Show me more of the criminal empires we see hinted at in SOLO. Give me aliens, not humans. Give me female characters.

If you don’t want to go with the EU, there’s a lot of open space in the new canon. I’d love a series centered around Maz Kanata’s cantina on Takodana and all the strange people she must encounter. Or how the First Order steals children. I would die for more Enfys Nest. Who the heck are the Knights of Ren? Where is my Lando movie? There’s room to play.

That Being Said

I’m a little let down by the news about THE MANDALORIAN. I had high hopes for one of my favorite directors potentially adapting some of my favorite books of all time. Favreau getting his hands on the X-Wing books would have been a dream come true. But that doesn’t mean I’m not excited.

Sure, there’s a lot I’m not thrilled about, even disregarding the fact that I’m disappointed it’s not the X-Wing books. I think THE MANDALORIAN is going to play things safe. I’m over male main characters. Mandalorians are starting to feel overplayed. I’m not excited about a lawless Wild West and a man with no name.

the mandalorian
Courtesy of StarWars.com.

But all that being said… if you don’t think I’m going to gladly hand over however much the Disney streaming service will cost solely to watch THE MANDALORIAN, think again. I love STAR WARS. It’s my original fandom. It’s been a foundation of my whole life. I have a STAR WARS tattoo. So any new STAR WARS content is worth a shot in my book.

Add in the fact that this show, boring as the concept may seem, has so many good names attached and you can count me as reluctantly excited. I’m willing to put my trust in Favreau and Waititi. They haven’t let me down yet. Pedro Pascal is interesting enough to carry the most boring story, so if his casting is true, I can get with it.

When THE MANDALORIAN premieres, I’ll be eagerly watching it. And who knows? Maybe THE MANDALORIAN will pave the way for more STAR WARS live-action shows. If playing it safe gets me more content, I’m willing to play along.

One Comment

  1. Jesse Mitchell Lindsey

    Jesse Mitchell Lindsey

    October 10, 2018 at 7:30 am

    I feel like this is a case of John Favreau being given free reign to tell the story he wants to tell. He’s apparently been outspoken about interest in Mandalorians having played Pre Vizsla on Clone Wars. Even if it isn’t something we “really need”, I really want to watch a Star Wars show that John Favreau is excited to make.

    Reply

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