The Mandalorian season 2 almost upon us and here is what I think the show could improve on this year.
1. LESS BABY YODA
I know… I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out. It’s no doubt that “Baby Yoda” was the breakout star of the first season of The Mandalorian. It was a cultural phenomenon. You couldn’t escape that little guy. When you walked down the isles at target, all you saw were Baby Yoda toys. When you met a random Star Wars fan in public, the first thing that came out of their mouth is “have you seen The Mandalorian” and second “how ’bout that Baby Yoda”.
In this day in age where Disney’s handling of Star Wars has been divisive, to say the least, Baby Yoda was able to unite the fandom. But like anything, it has to be used in moderation. Baby Yoda is cute, but after a while, that gimmick will wear off and the show will have to stand on its own two, spur-fitted feet.
Season 1 of The Mandalorian set the groundwork for some great storytelling going forward. The history and culture of the Mandalorians, the mystery of “the child” and Mando’s affinity for it, and the looming oppression of the empire. And obviously, the main story revolves around “the child”, but I just don’t want it to be bogged down by the cuteness factor of it.
Star Wars is many things, and that includes cute. Ewoks, Porgs, and yes, now Baby Yoda. But sometimes Star Wars can get carried away with them, especially in the animated series’. And I’ll admit, although I enjoy Baby Yoda, I’m not his biggest fan. Maybe it’s the contrarian in me, but I’m much more interested in watching Mando blast some Jawa’s than watching Baby Yoda play with the dashboard of the Razor Crest. Either way, I trust Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni to use just the right amount of that little green dude.
2. HINTS OF THE STATE OF THE GALAXY
One of the promises made by The Mandalorian was that it would expand the Star Wars universe and depict the state of the galaxy in a post “Return of the Jedi” galaxy. Obviously, the main focus of the series is creating a new story with new characters. And in doing that harkens back to what made Star Wars special. Which means elevating film technology and by going back to George Lucas’ central influences like Westerns and Samurai films. But this series has the unique opportunity to expand on Star Wars in ways no other property has had the ability to.
Being set seven years after Return of the Jedi, a lot has changed since our heroes blew up the second Death Star. These events have been hinted at in numerous canon books such as “Lost Stars” and “Bloodlines”, both by author Claudia Gray. But not everyone is aware of those books, so it’d be great to show how the galaxy has progressed by then on a cinematic level.
Season 1 did a great job at that. We saw the empire at their lowest, crime and smuggling is starting to take over, and the resistance is small and sparse. But what else is going on? Is the Rebellion still fighting? We saw X-Wings in the trailers, and they had a small role in the first season. Where is Princess Leia and Mon Mothma? Has Leia formed the Resistance yet? Could they make an appearance? Who’s leading the Empire now that Vader and the Emperor are dead? What do they want with “Baby Yoda”? We know that Imperial scientists wanted to experiment on it. Is this part of a greater plan?
There are so many questions and we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. And judging by the ending of season 1, and the trailers for season 2, we’re about to see so much more.
3. HISTORY OF THE DARKSABER EXPLAINED
At the conclusion of season one, we saw a character named Moff Gideon, wielding the Darksaber, played by Giancarlo Esposito. For casual viewers, this wasn’t anything out of the ordinary other than a cool looking black lightsaber. But for dedicated fans, this got the gears in their heads turning. The reason being is the Darksaber has a storied past that is tied to the Mandalorians.
To briefly run through that history, the Darksaber has been held by numerous luminaries. This includes an ancient Mandalorian Jedi named Tarre Vizsla, Darth Maul, Ezra Bridger, and prominent Mandalorian figures Sabine Wren and Bo Katan. And during that time it has been used in duels against Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, and Kanan Jarrus. So this isn’t just any saber. And don’t worry if you’re not familiar with those characters, the point is, the Darksaber is heavily sought after.
The last person to hold it was a Mandalorian named Bo Katan. It was passed onto her by a Sabine Wren of the “Rebels” crew, which made her leader of Mandalore. So now that we find it in the hands of an imperial, we know that it was taken forcefully. The question is how? Was there a battle? We know the Mandalorians are in hiding at the moment. Is their a chance of another war with the Mandalorians? In Star Wars canon the Mandalorians went to war with the Jedi nearly a thousand years ago. That’s when the Darksaber was made by the first Jedi-Mandalorian Tarre Vizsla. Will history repeat itself? We don’t know yet, but that’s one of the burning questions for season 2 and I have no doubt that it’ll be explained.
4. ANSWERS TO WHAT THE JEDI ARE UP TO
One of the great things about the first season of The Mandalorian is how it was able to captivate audiences without the oversaturation of Jedi and lightsabers. It felt very reminiscent of the original trilogy, which is what Jon Favreau was aiming for. And I think he nailed it. But naturally, with the story they’re telling, it seems like it’ll be just a matter of time until we come face to face with those force wielding wizards.
In the trailer for season 2, the Mandalorian “Armorer” instructs Mando to take Baby Yoda back to his “kind”, “The songs of eons past tell of battles between Mandalore the Great and an order of sorcerers called Jedi“. To which Mando responds, “You expect me to search the galaxy and deliver this creature to a race of enemy sorcerers?”
Not only does this hint at the potential meeting between Mando and a Jedi, but it also hints at a non-peaceful relationship between the Mandalorians and the Jedi (remember that war I mentioned). And in the trailer we see a mysterious robed figure who resembles a Jedi, being played by WWE wrestler, Sasha Banks. So maybe she’s the Jedi that we’re looking for.
Also, who would Mando theoretically send Baby Yoda to? The Jedi order is dismantled. The only possible candidates are either Ahsoka Tano, who was last seen in the series finale of Star Wars Rebels. And has been rumored to appear in season 2. And then there’s Luke Skywalker, and we’re not sure what he’s up to. Has he started his school for Jedi yet? Maybe Baby Yoda can be his first padawan.
5. LONGER AND LESS FILLER EPISODES
One of my biggest surprises upon watching the first season was that the episodes ran an average length of about a half-hour. This is inherently a bad thing, but it definitely kept me wanting more. Thankfully, the story they were telling was still interesting (albeit a few filler episodes), but I wouldn’t mind longer episodes. But I don’t think that’ll be a problem considering Jon Favreau’s words on season 2.
“The new season is about introducing a larger story in the world. The stories have become less isolated, yet each episode has its own flavor, and hopefully we’re bringing a lot more scope to the show.”
Not only does this tell me that season 2 will be bigger, but that it’ll also have more focus. One thing I wasn’t fond of was the videogame-esque individual adventure feel of the first season. Which is understandable considering it had to lay the groundwork. But now it seems like the narrative of the new season will be more laser-focused, leaving no room for anything but the main meat of the story.
It’s also worth noting the budget for season one was about $100 million. Due to its success, I’m willing to bet they’ll increase the budget a bit. And since Favreau has come accustom to the new innovative technology, “The Volume“, that he spearheaded, he has probably found even more efficient ways to utilize the virtual stagecraft system.
And recently there was even a reddit leak that almost certainly confirms longer episodes. With the first episode of season 2 reportedly being 52 minutes, making it longer than any episode of season 1. If the rest of the season follows suit, this will be the most epic season of The Mandalorian yet!
ALSO ONE THE LAST THING… BOBA FETT
The Mandalorian needs Boba Fett. I know he escaped out of that Sarlacc pit. You’re not fooling me. It’s about time we redeem the greatest bounty hunter the galaxy has ever known… Plus if we’re being honest, Mando is basically Boba Fett, but since James Mangold was supposed to do a film, Favreau had to create an “original character”. Either way, I’m looking forward to their showdown.
This is the way…
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