‘The Mandalorian’: The Real Reason Disney+ Releases the Episodes Weekly

The Star Wars sequel trilogy might not be every fan’s favorite part of the “galaxy far, far away.” But Disney+ has accomplished what once seemed impossible. Thanks to its adorable breakout character, The Mandalorian has at last united the fandom.

The series recently topped Stranger Things as the most popular digital series. So the approach Disney+ is taking to market The Mandalorian is clearly working. Let’s take a closer look at the show’s continued rollout, namely its release strategy.

Jon Favreau at the premiere of 'The Mandalorian'
Jon Favreau at the premiere of ‘The Mandalorian’ | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

So much for binge-watching

With its Star Wars series (and other original content), Disney’s new streaming service opts not to release an entire season at once. Rather, unlike competitors like Netflix, Disney+ only releases shows one episode at a time. For viewers, this has come as something of a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, fans eager to see The Mandalorian as soon as possible do not have the option to binge-watch. With DVD box sets and then Netflix, consumers almost expect to spend their weekends catching up with TV. Conversely, Disney+’s decision not to follow suit could be an asset in one more ways than one.

Disney+ is off to a great start

In its first day, Disney+ already locked down 10 million subscribers. That number still has a long way to go to compete with Netflix. After all, Disney is betting big on Disney+, laying down film-level investment on talent and production values. But the fact that The Mandalorian — the marquee original Disney+ program — is taking its time to release certainly helps.

Although Disney+ is playing the long game, Disney shareholders likely want to see that pay off quickly. The Mandalorian isn’t only available at launch but also going live just one chapter at a time. To this end, new subscribers are more likely to give the streaming service a longer test run before deciding to keep it. In the meantime, Disney+ has an extensive library they can engage with.

‘The Mandalorian’ builds over time

Aside from the business side of things, The Mandalorian release schedule allows the show’s audience to build over time. Much like the water-cooler television of the “must see TV” era, fans need to show up week after week. Rather than the conversation surrounding the show burning brightly and then flickering out, Disney+ manages to keep Star Wars fans onboard for a longer period.

Consider the internet chatter that has already emanated from the show since its debut. “Baby Yoda” became a cultural phenomenon, spawning memes and unofficial merchandise. The character might not have had such an impact if everyone had seen the entire season in a single weekend.

Moreover, The Mandalorian‘s slow rollout allows the series to harken back to old serials like Flash Gordon. These programs — which similarly play out in small chunks — inspired George Lucas to create Star Wars in the first place. So, in a manner of speaking, The Mandalorian brings the saga full circle.