Creatures and Carbonite
Maybe it's because I'm a bit of a fanboy … maybe it's because it's true: The Mandalorian is one of the best new additions to the Star Wars universe.
The effort to shoot scenes in a way that makes you feel like you're watching the original 3 (Ep. 4-6) is very much appreciated. The dim cantinas with their shady crowds, the door security eye, the ship interior, even the screen cuts are reminiscent of the beloved trilogy to start it all!
With nods to creatures and carbonite, it constantly pulls at your nostalgic heartstrings. But these callbacks are not the only reason it's so good. The pilot sets up a storyline that has so many cool possibilities! The main character is from a proud race with deep history, and although they seem to have dwindled in numbers, they still hold a level of fear and respect.
Most viewers will be reminded of Jango and Boba Fett, which is sure to make him a controversial center for this new story, but I think that's exactly why many will be excited to see how this new adventure unfolds. I, for one, can't wait!
-Taylor Plimpton, Senior Developer
Carrying the Weight
A Star Wars TV show has an unavoidable problem. It has to deal with historical weight in ways comic mythologies (Joker) or literary series (Lord of the Rings) never really have to deal with. It’s a miracle The Mandalorian is able to carry that weight, plus the weight of Disney+ expectations, so well.
The oft-referenced price tag of the series made its way to the screen, that’s for sure. The show looks fantastic, and it’s not just the special effects. The background detail in set design and costuming, hallmarks of the original trilogy, deliver in almost every scene. Also, the Bounty Droid IG-11 (voiced by Taika Waititi) is a wildly inventive take on the "droid sidekick."
The franchise works best when it embraces being a western, knowing when to shift the pace between action and dialogue, or wide shots and cockpits. The Mandalorian doubles down on the Eastwood, and while that pacing deliberately calls back to 1977 … I’m not sure how compelling it all is?
Riffing off the recent Scorcese-fueled rants on what counts as “cinematic,” a friend of mine mentioned that “the stakes feel like TV stakes.” I agree, and I feel like the show will need to do something transgressive to raise those stakes.
-Matt Brown, Head of Marketing
Blurry Past, Amazing Future
After a few minutes of The Mandalorian, I was asking myself if I was watching one of the first three Star Wars movies, a Sergio Leone western, or a new Favreau masterpiece. I think the answer is a bit of all.
I love Star Wars, but I was really afraid to watch a TV show after the huge disappointment that was Last Jedi (Flying Leia, space casinos, the slowest chase scene in movie history…) and the meandering, pointless Solo. This pilot gives us the franchise ingredients that have worked so well: a lone hero with a blurry past, no parents, trying to find a balance between good and evil. We can even enjoy some good old-fashioned comic asides from droids.
The “Michael Bay experience” — a barrage of noise and pointless action felt so much in the recent movies — seems behind us. The plot also seems really open with the amazing final scene. That gave me chills, and brought me back to being the 10-year-old fan I was (and still am).
-Julien Morin, Producer
About the Music...
I need more before a conclusion. Looks great, opening scene was great, last scenes were great. I’m on the fence with the music because I found it slightly distracting, but Pedro Pascal as an old school sci-fi gunslinger from an old order of magical assassins? It’s gonna be hard to screw up the premise for me.
I like the new direction of the sound, but I found the cut-up nature of it just too much after a while, like all I was thinking about was the music, instead of what was going on. That very rarely happens to me, which is why it’s noted. But I can’t wait for more. I can’t help but feel that the Solo movie would have been better in this format.
-Sean Ellick, Music Supervisor