Despite decades as one of the world’s most popular and well-loved brands, Star Wars still managed to surprise us with The Mandalorian.
It was a program that was enjoyed by both casual and die-hard fans, a show that could be either an easy watch as Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu went out on their adventures, or a chance to dig into the deep backstory that the authors hinted at with each episode.
From enormous fights and twists and turns to peaceful moments that made us fall in love with the characters (climaxing in that wonderful reveal at the conclusion of season 2), it cemented its proper place as an obsession for every type of Star Wars fan. To be honest, it seemed tough for showrunner Jon Favreau to screw it up.
Yet the issues started very quickly after season 2. We’re not simply talking about Grogu tampering with Razor Crest’s controls.
Inexplicably, Favreau and company decided to cut what could have been a deeply gripping and emotional arc for The Mandalorian season 3 – Grogu ultimately deciding to leave his Jedi training with Luke Skywalker to reunite with Mando – and paste it in the middle of a completely different show, The Book of Boba Fett – and paste it in the middle of a completely different show, The Book of Boba Fett.
That was largely seen as an odd decision. Of course, from LucasFilm’s point of view, the ideal audience will be up to speed on every single Star Wars item, and many are – but a sizable fraction isn’t. Even as someone who watched and appreciated Boba Fett, turning it into The Mandalorian season 2.5 seems like a major cop-out.
When it comes to The Mandalorian season 3, Favreau stated that the choice allowed him to take the tale ahead. In practice, though, it appeared that a significant portion of Djarin and Grogu’s connection – the heart of why people enjoy the program – was absent. In one incredibly perplexing move, Favreau even encouraged those obviously befuddled viewers to go for YouTube recaps to help them catch up. Rather than simply making the show make more sense.
Yet, for the many audience members who remained on board, hopes remained high. The teaser generated quite a commotion when it revealed that we were finally traveling to Mandalore, with Djarin on a worthy quest for atonement.
After seasons of building up the Mandalorians’ homeworld, the history of the Great Purge, and the issue of whether the planet might actually be cursed, surely that was the big journey we were going to embark on this season and the main reason why Djarin and Grogu had to be reunited before it began? Nope. It was completed at the conclusion of episode 2.
Favreau revealed just before the season 3 debut that he had no idea how The Mandalorian would conclude. Such comments really hit home at this time, when the series began to drag. Seasons 1 and 2 worked brilliantly without Favreau having an endgame in mind – it’s not really necessary when you have neatly confined storylines with an overall narrative.
Nonetheless, Season 3 has struggled. Favreau needs to find out where this tale is going to conclude shortly, because else, where are we headed? And how exactly are we going to get there? He claims that season 4 is already planned to tie in with other series such as Ahsoka and Skeleton Crew. Four seasons without a clear finale seems quite hazardous to me.
To break up the rant, there have still been moments of enchantment in the pandemonium. The mythosaur at the end of episode 2 was a true jaw-dropper, while episode 3 was a refreshing new approach to the program, returning minor characters in a well-thought-out fashion and extending the universe in the way that Andor did so effectively. Katee Sackhoff (Bo-Katan Kryze) has earned her proper place as a co-star with Pedro Pascal.
Nonetheless, the season has been wandering along, with some critics arguing that it lacks a storyline. I wouldn’t go that far, but I believe the tale should have started before episode 5. That begs the question, have we all grown tired of The Mandalorian?