So unless you’ve been living under a rock, or (GASP!) you don’t like Star Wars, you know that the hottest property in our favorite galaxy far, far away is The Mandalorian, a spin-off series chronicling the adventures of armored bounty hunter “Mando” Din Djarin and his ward, Grogu. Yes, Grogu. You know, The Child? Baby Yoda? Yeah, that one. The finale to season two dropped Dec. 18, so now we have time to parce the fine details provided us and ponder the future of our beloved, beskar-clad Dad and his crew before season three arrives at some point in 2021.
For those who don’t have access to Disney+ (I have kids. Of course I have Disney+), allow me to offer you a primer on The Mandalorian, seasons 1 and 2 before we get to the heavy lifting.
The Mandalorian hearkens back the feel of what the original Star Wars: A New Hope movie was: A space western. Under the helm of Jon Favreau as creator and executive producer, each of the 8-episode seasons takes us around the Star Wars universe, reconnecting with places we’ve seen or at least heard of, in addition to taking us to cities and planets that continue to broaden our knowledge of the galaxy. Din Djarin, or “Mando” as he is called (Pedro Pascal), is a bounty hunter in the outskirts of the galaxy, and he’s one of the best. All of this changes when he succeeds in securing an asset — a small child — who makes him reconsider his priorities. Mando makes it his duty to find where and to whom the child belongs, and a quest is born.
The Child — Grogu — is one of the highlights of the show during seasons 1 and 2. A small green creature belonging to the same race as Yoda (and fellow Jedi Yaddle in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace), Grogu is about 50 years old, but babbles and coos like a pre-verbal toddler. Well, that is, if your pre-verbal toddler has the force running through him and can stop large space rhinos from attacking. With large, expressive eyes and mischievous grin, Grogu is the comedic opposite to Mando’s straight-laced character. Like most toddlers, Grogu is equally hungry, and will put just about anything in his mouth: frog eggs, space macarons, spaceship parts, you name it.
The pair’s adventure leads them around the galaxy, running down leads on people or places where the answer to Grogu’s heritage may lie. Along the way, several chance meetings with people have turned into a small crew who have taken it upon themselves to help Mando return Grogu to his family.
Like any good series, the point is to elongate this initial quest, introducing us to additional characters and subplots so that the world of The Mandalorian becomes more fully developed as the series continues. This is, and perhaps with some merit, one of the criticisms of the final three movies in the Star Wars series (The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker): They lacked the depth of character and plot that we see in The Mandalorian. Any number of critics and fans (and critical fans) have wished that the type of writing and acting in The Mandalorian were more readily present in the most recent films. But that’s an article for another day.
To whet your appetite, here are short summaries of the first two seasons of The Mandalorian, firstly beginning with the first season which began streaming last November.
S1, EPISODES 1-8
Season 1 is full of introductions and exposition to Mando and his world, although there is no shortage of action. We get to see the inner workings of a pod of Mandalorians in hiding on Nevarro, including how beskar armor and weapons are forged. It’s also a fantastic imagining of what the post-Return of the Jedi world was like, decades before the rise of the First Order.
As a lone bounty hunter, Mando seeks out criminals and other individuals of interest to earn money for himself, as well as to recoup as much beskar as possible. In the pilot episode, Mando’s target turns out to be a child, a foundling much like himself. We see through flashbacks that Mando lost his own parents, but was taken in by the Mandalorians who raised him as their own. This tiny green child, now just as helpless as Mando once was, clearly needs to be protected.
The remnants of the Empire seem to have nefarious plans for the child, so Mando reneges on his contract and escapes with the child. The rest of the season sees Mando taking odd bounty hunting jobs and trying to evade the Empire, as well as fellow bounty hunters looking to cash in on Mando himself, now a target.
Slowly, Mando and we viewers come to understand that the child is no ordinary toddler. He his clearly strong in the Force, which must be why the Empire is determined to get their hands on him for experimentation — or worse. Mando and the child hop from planet to planet, and when called back to Nevarro, Mando comes with reinforcements in the form of allies he had made during his travels.
The season ends with an epic battle between a seemingly out-gunned Mando and his crew and Moff Gideon. Of course, Mando and the child escape, but not without first receiving his orders to return the child to someone who can properly train him — the Jedi, an ancient enemy of the Mandalorians.
This, of course, sets us up for Season 2, which I will share my thoughts on next week.