‘Star Wars’: Fans Should Be Excited About How ‘The Mandalorian’ Expands the Universe
It’s a rough time to be a Star Wars fan. Whether you love or hate it, The Last Jedi has split the devoted fanbase into two distinct camps. Some fans love the current sequel trilogy, while others believe that Disney’s 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm was the saga’s death knell.
In any case, it’s probably a good thing that Star Wars is about to make some major changes. Fans expect The Rise of Skywalker to serve as the definitive end to the Skywalker saga, finally concluding the tale of Anakin’s legacy. As it turns out, The Mandalorian might light the way for the future of Star Wars.
‘The Mandalorian’ provides a new hope
The upcoming Disney+ series is set a few years after Return of the Jedi and follows the titular bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal). Notably, The Mandalorian doesn’t rely on any established characters or narrative threads. Rather, it takes advantage of a mostly unexplored period in the saga.
In that regard, The Mandalorian is in stark contrast with most of the live-action Star Wars projects to date. Perhaps the closest we’ve gotten is Rogue One, which similarly focuses on a group of heroes unconnected to the Skywalker side of things. And even that film features appearances by key figures like Darth Vader and Princess Leia.
Sure, The Mandalorian may eventually dovetail with more familiar elements of the Star Wars saga. However, the mission statement here appears to be to step aside from all that to weave a richer tapestry into the existing mythos. For the first time ever, The Mandalorian imagines a world where not everything revolves around Jedi, Sith, and Skywalkers.
The saga’s fandom menace
It’s become almost a running joke at this point how seemingly sensitive Star Wars fans are about the “galaxy far, far away.” Fans could identify the adorably fierce Ewoks as the original sin of the saga. But the prequel trilogy ultimately deepened the rift, perhaps irreparably.
Suddenly, Star Wars fans could be divided into purists and those willing to, as Palpatine once put it, “embrace a larger view of the Force.” Every project since has alternated between being too different (e.g., The Last Jedi) and too familiar (e.g., Solo). Undoubtedly, series creator Jon Favreau hopes to cut all that baggage loose with The Mandalorian.
With a talented creative team and cinema-level production value, the series could prove to be a step in the right direction for the collective Star Wars fandom. Naturally, that means there will be a certain level of resistance, at least at first. But if there’s one thing Star Wars knows all too well it’s civil wars.
‘The Rise of Skywalker’ and beyond
Director J.J. Abrams promises a satisfying conclusion to The Rise of Skywalker. Yet, the cinematic future of Star Wars beyond the Skywalker saga has yet to be determined. Rian Johnson’s trilogy may still be technically in the cards, but who knows at this point?
What we can look forward to is a growing number of Star Wars projects over at Disney+. In addition to The Mandalorian, the streaming service is developing a six-episode limited series focused on Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. Then, of course, Diego Luna will reprise his Rogue One role of rebel spy Cassian Andor.
But, as the first Disney+ Star Wars project, fans can’t underestimate the power of The Mandalorian. If the show works, Lucasfilm will take this as a signal that fans are ready for new heroes and unexplored new worlds. If it doesn’t, then the Star Wars saga might slip into a far more permanent dark period.