The Return of the Mandalorian

 After a well received first season with a plethora of new characters and planets, The Mandalorian delivered once more with three new episodes, each as interesting and enjoyable as the one before. 

Episode One, or Chapter 9, “The Marshal,” starts from the end of season one with Mando, played by Pedro Pascal, continuing his quest of delivering the Child to the Jedi in a Post-Empire galaxy. The episode is centered in the familiar desert planet of Tatooine and brings back familiar species like the Tusken Raiders and Jawas, along with one very familiar bounty hunter any Star Wars fan would immediately recognize, though not in their 3-iconic costume. Considering the director, Jon Favreau, and other producers behind the show are devoted Star Wars fans, they never fail to instill some deeper meaning into the plot of each episode. The recurring theme in this episode is cooperation, forgiveness, and sacrifice to reach a goal or face a common threat. 

Photo by Disney

In Chapter 10, “The Passenger,” we are introduced to a new planet and species, the icy and eternal winter world of Maldo Kreis, an ant/ mantis like creature, and for the sake of the plot, a frog species. Staying true to the public’s perception of him, the Child has another adorable scene that gets him in trouble with Mando. For the first time in the series, we are introduced to the New Republic in the form of X-Wing Fighter Pilots – one of them director Jon Favreau himself – who are presented in a morally ambiguous way. This ambiguity persists; though the Empire has fallen, the Rebels/ New Republic are presented as the new indifferent galactic government. In doing so, Jon Favreau provides a new perspective that challenges the black and white lens through which the original and prequel films were viewed and structured on, as he’s so often done in previous productions like the Clone Wars series.

Chapter 11, “The Heiress,” takes place on the ocean planet of Trask and introduces a different concept, one of trust and learning where to place it. After years of being on his own, we see Mando’s beliefs challenged by other Mandalorians, one of which is a familiar character from the Clone Wars series. The Empire also reappears and those hilariously horrible sharpshooters, the Stormtroopers. Furthermore, the hunt on the Child is not the threat the dynamic duo faces but rather the interest in Mando’s armor, especially by a squid species called Quarren. Other non-predatory species that make an appearance include the Mon Calamari, the species of Admiral Ackbar from the original three movies, who seem to live on this planet as well.

Photo by Disney

For Chapter 12, “The Siege,” Mando and the Child return to Nevarro and meet up with their friends from season one, the former rebel soldier turned marshal, Cara Dune, and once traitorous guild leader turned mayor, Greef Karga. Though they and Mando head out on a mission against the Empire, the Child’s interaction with other characters is shown as he’s left at a school in the town where he grows an appetite for some other kid’s food, using his Force powers in the process. If one main lesson can be extracted from this episode, other than lore, it would be that there is much more going on in the shadows than one might think. Likewise, we see the Empire and the villain of the series, Moff Gideon, devising an unknown plan which involves references to the events of season one and possibly characters of the main Star Wars movies and non-canonical legends stories. Continuing with ties back to the original movies, the New Republic/ Rebels are once again showcased as the new sheriffs in town and events from the original trilogy are called back into memory.

All in all, this season has so far delivered amazing story lines with each new episode, successfully connecting this side story to beloved characters and the main Star Wars universe while maintaining itself as a spin-off. For this reason it’s widely adored by long-time Star Wars fans and new audiences alike, always leaving the viewer anticipating the next episode’s release each Friday.