The Mandalorian: is this the Way to Star Wars?

The Mandalorian: is this the Way to Star Wars?
The latest episode of the second season of The Mandalorian, The Rescue, broke free from the physical limitations of the Disney streaming service and poured into the world ofa> social media. A real collective sharing, made up of emotions chasing each other in enthusiastic comments and shots of reaction that demonstrate how Jon Favreau's creature has become that adventure that Star Wars fans have been waiting for for years. Especially after the disappointment of the last film trilogy.

Two seasons, for a total of sixteen chapters. This was enough for The Mandalorian to establish itself as the starting point for a new emotional dimension of the saga set in the galaxy far, far away. One would hardly have imagined a future for Star Wars within the world of seriality, yet The Mandalorian has undermined this perplexity, demonstrating that the format chosen for the story does not count, but knowing how to grasp what is the right emotional figure to give to viewers what they expect: an adventure set in Star Wars.

ATTENTION: The following contains a series of important spoilers about The Mandalorian

From cinema to seriality: the new course of Star Wars

Who would have ever bet on a figure like Din Djarin as the new symbol of Star Wars? When Disney's newborn streaming service presented itself to the world with the Mandalorian helmet as a reference point, there was immediately a lot of curiosity, but the fear of being faced with yet another disappointment was perceived. A handful of episodes were enough to understand how the Mandalorian epic was the Star Wars story that fans disappointed by Abrams and Johnson have been waiting for years.

It is understandable that over the years we want to address a different audience. The boys of the 80s have become parents, and their children, initiated into the ways of the Force, although fascinated by this adventurous galaxy are still attracted by different stimuli. It was therefore inevitable that an attempt was made to give a new tone to the saga, a task that fell on Abrams' shoulders in the first place, who with The Awakening of the Force had tried to fulfill this arduous task. Partially succeeding, leaving Johnson a beautiful challenge: to complete this path of renewal.

Unfortunately, The Last Jedi proved to be the collapse point of the saga. Taken as individual films, the films of the latest trilogy can also be interesting, they strive to create a mythology that fits into the Star Wars Canon, but in doing so they do not maintain a linearity with what was previously told by the saga, but rather get to the point to demolish some of the essential points of the Star Wars myth, even going into contradiction within the same film. Inevitably, therefore, that the passionate spectator, capable of going beyond the blind veneration of the call of the brand, perceives a dissonance with respect to the Star Wars tradition. And we speak at the level of content, not of form. Because if it is right to bring these sacred monsters of cinema into a new modern narrative dimension, it is still necessary to take into account their past and respect it.

A dogma that has been received and respected by The Mandalorian.

The Mandalorian: return to Star Wars

The beauty of The Mandalorian is that it has brought the fans of the Lucas saga back to that emotional climate that has always distinguished it. Since its genesis, Star Wars has been set up as a story that condenses different ideas, from science fiction to fantasy, from westerns to samurai films. In giving life to his series, Favreau has returned to the origins of the saga, distancing himself from the path of unbridled renewal that characterized the last film trilogy.

Where Abrams and Johnson wanted to tell a handover between the old generation and the new heroes, closing the Skywalker saga, with The Mandalorian it was instead decided to tell a traditional Star Wars, but from a different point of view. Din Djarin and his fellow adventurers represent the other side of the saga, the unknown faces that live in a galaxy deeply marked by the events unleashed by the heroes we loved. In most of the episodes we relive the salient moments of the saga (as in The Sheriff, with the explosion of the second Black Death) only to be able to then understand how this society has had to adapt to a new social order. In comparison, The Mandalorian has a similar purpose to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. : showing the consequences of the great events of a saga in the everyday life of normal people.

And in this the seriality is perfect, as already demonstrated in the past in Star Wars. The Clone Wars and Rebels, although animated series, have paved the way for this broad vision of the saga, which thanks to the Canon, that is an official chronology of events, can insert different characters and adventures at will, as long as only one principle is respected: continuity.

An iron rule that in The Mandalorian is respected thanks to the presence of Dave Filoni, the one who traced the path of the new Starwarsian continuity, being the creator of the two aforementioned animated series. In fact, Filoni was responsible for the creation of the narrative bases of The Mandalorian, considered as in The Clone Wars and Rebels the Mandalorians are treated as culture. Favreau, in this sense, has inherited the task of expanding what was previously told, combining it with an exciting story and which, let's not ignore it, has been able to skillfully play with the nostalgia effect and perfect management of quotes.

Fan service or continuity?

One of the accusations leveled at The Mandalorian, especially after the last episode, was that of being a slave to fan service, that is, not paying attention to history but simply just give viewers what they want in terms of the presence of well-known faces. Being part of one of the most beloved sagas in the history of cinema, it was impossible to avoid inserting references and quotes from Star Wars, indeed for the writers the difficulty was just how to create a bond that was not only emotional but also visual and narrative with the context wider than the saga.

Mission achieved, considered as the feeling of being in Star Wars is not dictated only by more or less evident references, but by a spirit that takes into account the narrative tradition of the saga. Which is made not only by the presence of the Jawas or by the uniforms of the imperials, but also by the respect of some typical dogmas of the Classic Trilogy, such as the need for training to master the Force, which, if in the last film trilogy is mercilessly demolished, in The Mandalorian it rises to the narrative fulcrum of the second season.

Of course, seeing minor characters beloved by the aficionado public return to the scene is not an element to be overlooked. The entry of Boba Fett, Bo-Katan and Ahsoka is one of the most interesting components of the second season of The Mandalorian, but not only in terms of the enthusiasm of the fans, but in the demonstration that an engaging and respectful narrative can be planned. of a wider continuity. These three characters, in fact, are not catapulted into the story without any reason, but their presence is motivated, it is part of the main story while not being its slave.

Wanting to be less poetic and more savvy, these returns are also turning points from which to give rise to new series, as demonstrated in the recent Investor's Day and in the post credit scene of Il Salvavo. Does this make their presence less organic within The Mandalorian? Absolutely not, indeed it reconfirms the validity of the Canon. Favreau proves to have understood how such a complex and rich narrative universe is managed, finding (lucky him) a functional balance between his soul as a Star Wars enthusiast and his role as narrator.

He is in this dimension that the alleged fan service becomes organic. This is where the true sense of continuity materializes. Even when a 'heavy' character like Luke Skywalker enters the scene, who, once the emotion has been absorbed, becomes a logical choice, which also lends itself to future narrative implications that now begin to animate the fan community.

What for many is fan service, is actually a narrative tool that, when used with intelligence and respect for both the story and the viewer, creates an empathic bond that allows you to enjoy Star Wars to the fullest by leveraging its main point of strength: the emotion.

Seeing Luke come to the rescue of Din Djarin and his companions in the last episode was overwhelming, in the same way that Darth Vader appeared in the Rogue One finale thrilled the spectators sitting in room. It is these games of quotations and emotional reversals that characterized The Mandalorian, the bonding to the saga going to seize the sincere emotional notes of Star Wars and amalgamating them to the plot of the series, in a way that is sometimes a bit pimp if we want to be picky, but never go beyond the limit.

This is the Way

The rescue is not only the finale of the second season of The Mandalorian, but it presents itself as an ideal conclusion to a long narrative block that has begun with the first episode of the series. The idea of ​​narrating the exploits of Din Djarin and Grogu as divided into chapters, in this sense, has been successful, since it allows to treat the narration of the series as divided into narrative arcs.

With the exciting separation between Grogu and Din, a new life opens up for the bounty hunter. He is holding the Darksaber, which would make him the heir to the title of Mand'alor, yet it was his intention to deliver the weapon to Bo-Katan, who would like to use it to reclaim the leadership role of the Mandalorian people and regain their planet, under the yoke of the imperials. The already announced third season of The Mandalorian could follow this narrative cue, or push Mando towards other adventures.

To date, what we can say with certainty is that, even with some small flaws in terms of loss of narrative momentum, The Mandalorian turned out to be the best product of the new Star Wars course, managing to present a new narrative dynamic for the saga, without betraying its emotional assumptions. A merit that can, of course, be enclosed in a Mandalorian saying: this is the Way.

On Disney + you can see all the episodes of The Mandalorian and the entire Star Wars saga !! To subscribe to the Disney + Streaming service with either a monthly or annual discounted subscription you can use this link

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