Arts & Entertainment

Disney+’s ‘The Mandalorian’ is an Epic Expansion of the Star Wars Saga

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“Star Wars” has been around since the late 1970s, and most fans, new and old, already know the standard elements: the force, lightsabers, Jedi, and Jar Jar Binks. “The Mandalorian” provides a new look at “Star Wars” through the lens of a bounty hunter. 

The spin-off premiered Nov. 12 with the new Disney+ streaming service. With action and a compelling story, the series expands on the “Star Wars” universe in a way that longtime fans and newcomers can both enjoy. The show will have eight episodes. 

Despite being the first episode, the show cuts right to the chase, putting the audience at the center of the action.

The show is set after “The Return of the Jedi” in a galaxy left in ruins after the fall of the Galactic Empire. The First Order, the main antagonist in the newest “Star Wars” trilogy, is slowly beginning to rebuild itself. There’s no more Darth Vader, Han Solo or Luke Skywalker — just a bounty hunter trying to stay alive.  

Meet the man with no name: the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), a solemn assassin working in a bounty hunting guild. Not much is known about his past, other than a flashback to when a younger Mandalorian gets carried out of a war zone by his parents, but more will likely be explained in future episodes. 

The Mandalorian is always in a constant battle with bounty hunters or renegade Stormtroopers all for the sake of getting paid. While “The Mandalorian” only has one episode, it’s clear the new series is taking a few pages from classic Western films.

Shots of a lone gunman walking into a town, a bar fight and beautiful canyon scenery all point to the Western influence.

The show sets up multiple worlds without much exposition, giving the audience only the information it needs — that a bounty hunter takes on a high paying job from some shady people and there’s a lot at stake. The visuals of sand-covered or snow-ridden worlds provide enough context to where the Mandalorian is going. 

Instead of following the same path of “Star Wars” composer John Williams — who uses symphonic pieces in the movies — the show’s composer Ludwig Göransson provides his own take on the blockbuster films and uses a combination of tribal music using organic instruments, such as guitars and pianos, to have a more Western effect. 

There may be a lack of lightsabers, but the show makes it up for it ten-fold with dramatic cowboy-styled shootouts. The suspense in each fight scene, where the opponents keep their hands at their sides in anticipation, proves not every “Star Wars” spin off needs to rely on the old lightsaber trope. Suspense is key and “The Mandalorian” successfully delivers on that note. 

“The Mandalorian” is out now on Disney+. A new episode will be released every Friday. 

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