A New Season of The Mandalorian

Mando and Grogu return for more intergalactic escapades on Disney+. How do the first two episodes of the new season stack up to the show’s prior success?

Brady Crow, Staff Writer

Classic movie genres, such as western and sci-fi, have commonly been regarded as polar opposites.  One revolves around simple plots, tension-filled duels, and historical technology.  The other contains futuristic marvels from a world we can only dream of.  Although a western sci-fi sounds impossible to create, the beloved franchise Star Wars seems to have cracked the code.

In 2019, Star Wars released its first spin-off series on Disney+.  Titled The Mandalorian, this “space western” took the entertainment world by storm.  Star Wars fans and haters alike gave the series glowing reviewsThe Mandalorian utilized groundbreaking visual effects, cast an impressive array of actors, included an instantly recognizable score, and introduced the world to an adorable new face. 

Despite The Mandalorian’s gritty atmosphere, the series has become most recognizable for its secondary character Grogu, aka “Baby Yoda,” the endearing, (and very marketable) sidekick to the Mandalorian. 

The Mandalorian centralizes around a Mandalorian bounty hunter named Din Djarin/Mando (Pedro Pascal), his sidekick Grogu, and the many odd personalities the duo finds throughout the Star Wars universe.  So far this franchise has two critically acclaimed seasons under its belt. To capitalize off the tremendous success of  The Mandalorian, writers and directors shared The Mandalorian’s most prominent characters in another Star Wars spin-off, The Book of Boba Fett. By doing so, the franchise executives wisely filled the production gap between seasons of The Mandalorian thereby maintaining the intrigue, interest and momentum created by this fascinating sci-fi western. Now, in 2023, Mando and Grogu return for another season of epic adventures. Episodes of The Mandalorian drop every Wednesday on the Disney+ platform.  As of now, only two of the eight episodes have been released. 

Episode One of Season Three, “Chapter 17: The Apostate,” saw the Mandalorian and Grogu embark on a new quest to redeem Mando’s Mandalorian brotherhood and affiliation, which had been stripped from him due to the removal of his helmet, on the ravaged planet of Mandalore.  Avid Star Wars fans may recognize Mandalore from another one of the amazing spin-off series, The Clone Wars. The first of these new episodes sends fans right into the action with an electrifying combat scene.  From there, the Mandalorian embarks on his quest, all the while re-visiting old friends.  Although it’s a short and slow episode, at just a little over 30 minutes with a decent bit of recapping, it masterfully sets up the tension and awe-inspiring worlds The Mandalorian traverses, setting the stage for thrilling adventures to come.

In Episode Two, “Chapter 18: The Mines of Mandalore,” Mando and Grogu set out on their mission to Mandalore, but danger lurks beneath the planet’s tarnished surface.  Episode Two spares no expense infusing a healthy amount of action and suspense, perfectly launching from the slower start of Episode One.  The writers created an extensive and focal role for Grogu in this episode, which is fascinating for a non-speaking puppet.  Given the time to shine as more than a side character, this installment exposes Grogu at his most powerful, and most endearing.

While waiting for the rest of the season to drop, Mandalorian fans are filled with anticipation for what will happen next. 

While waiting for the rest of the season to drop, Mandalorian fans are filled with anticipation for what will happen next.  The community has questioned whether fan favorite characters, such as Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), or Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) will make a reappearance in the third season of the show.  Bo-Katan, (Katee Sackhoff), has already made her presence known in the third season of The Mandalorian, playing large roles in both Episode One and Two. The inclusion of Star Wars characters from other shows or movies in The Mandalorian has almost always been met with fantastic fan reception, so any character reappearance will most surely be welcomed. 

In addition, many wonder whether Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), will make a reappearance.  Moff Gideon was the central villain in the first two seasons of the show.  Thanks to Esposito’s masterfully intimidating acting style, Moff Gideon is established as a despicable foe, worthy of both admiration and fear.  Although he is supposedly in captivity, Gideon’s larger-than-life screen presence and impact on the show’s plot is difficult to ignore. Maybe the western and sci-fi genres really aren’t as different as many may think. Although stylistically different in a multitude of ways, the successful premise of good vs. evil stands the test of time regardless of the era.

The Mandalorian “broke the internet” after its Season Two finale aired.  Only time will tell what fantastic surprises the third season holds in store.  Will a fan favorite character return?  Will Grogu unlock his full potential as a young Jedi? Who will ultimately claim the dark saber and rule Mandalore? The answers will be revealed each Wednesday on Disney+, so until then, may the force be with you.