‘The Mandalorian’ Just Went a Long Way Toward Legitimizing ‘Star Wars’ TV Future

Depending on who you ask, the Star Wars saga didn’t really need saving before The Rise of Skywalker hit theaters. Sure, The Last Jedi was divisive, and Solo underperformed. But both movies turned a profit globally. So Lucasfilm seemed in good shape as The Mandalorian premiered on Disney+.

But the relative failure of The Rise of Skywalker — which earned the saga’s worst reviews amid less-than-expected box office — cemented the need for a new direction. After all, the movie was supposed to be the grand finale of the Skywalker saga. Yet, some fans believed director J.J. Abrams’ movie ended the tale on a sour note.

More than ever, it now seems The Mandalorian will shape the future of Star Wars. And at the moment, the series is in a very good position to do so.

'The Mandalorian' premiere
‘The Mandalorian’ premiere | Getty Images

‘The Mandalorian’ is the first breakout hit of Disney+

When Disney+ launched, it did so with a number of original programs. But The Mandalorian was very much its marquee project. For years, a live-action Star Wars TV series had been in development. And the combined creative forces of Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) promised something special.

For the most part, The Mandalorian didn’t disappoint. The series was instrumental in putting Disney+ right in the middle of the streaming wars. And thanks to “Baby Yoda,” the show exploded into a bit of a pop culture phenomenon. The Mandalorian even unseated Netflix smash Stranger Things as the top digital series upon its debut.

RELATED: ‘The Mandalorian’ Season 2: Will the Prequel Trilogy’s Daniel Logan Finally Wear the Armor?

The first live-action ‘Star Wars’ show just landed 15 Emmy nods

Already The Mandalorian proved to be a more widely beloved addition to the Star Wars saga than many of the recent movies. But the show also turned out to be a legitimate awards contender as well. For its first season, The Mandalorian earned a surprise 15 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series.

On the movie side of things, no Star Wars project has earned Hollywood’s top honor, the Academy Award, since the original trilogy. Yet, in its first time out, The Mandalorian earned a spot alongside critically acclaimed shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Killing Eve, and Succession. That marks a very significant win not only for Disney+ but for Star Wars.

RELATED: ‘Star Wars’: ‘The Mandalorian’ Might Be the Start of an ‘Arrowverse’-style Disney+ Universe

Season 2 of the series debuts in October 2020

By all accounts, Disney+ will be the sole destination for filmed Star Wars content for a while. The next movie won’t arrive until 2023, leaving The Mandalorian to set the tone for the saga’s immediate future. Season 2 hits Disney+ in October 2020, and rumors are swirling about the various other shows in the works.

Some reports even indicate Lucasfilm could use The Mandalorian as a springboard for an interconnected web of shows. Even if that doesn’t happen, the series validates the company’s direction to try something new with Star Wars. After more than 40 years with the Skywalker family, it seems fans weren’t tired of the saga, just its central family.