Jon Favreau and Pedro Pascal’s “Space Western on Steroids”, The Mandalorian, is finally here. Where is here, you ask? Exclusively on Disney+, of course.
The Mandalorian follows Pedro Pascal as the titular character (literally, he’s only known as “The Mandalorian” for now), as he navigates the “complicated profession” of bounty hunting in a galaxy still figuring itself out after the collapse of the Galactic Empire.
The Mandalorian starts off with a bang, in a bar fight scene you’ve probably already seen in one of a few teasers released by Disney to promote their new streaming service. We get right into the titular character’s boots (and blasters), as he ropes in his first bounty of the season, and makes it known that he is eager for more work in a galaxy that suddenly has no shortage of dirty work to be done.
Indeed, it seems like the entire galaxy is short on credits these days, but Carl Weathers’ Greef Carga, a contractor of sorts, has a very special target for our hero. This covert job sends Pascal’s Mandalorian off to recover an elusive and incredibly mysterious target – being sought after by “The Client” played by the incomparable Werner Herzog.
We don’t know much about what Herzog’s “Client” wants, or what his faction’s goals are, but this first episode of The Mandalorian (directed by Star Wars Rebels’ Dave Filoni) hits the mark in all the right places. The Client and his subordinates definitely have their share of secrets, and the tones being set here imply that the rest of the galaxy does too. The planets and settings we’re taken to in “Chapter 1” are eerie, desolate, and all-around sketchy, and its enough to make even the biggest pacifists in the galaxy’s trigger fingers itch.
The pacing and cinematography are both there to reinforce these feelings, as the typical breakneck, swashbuckling pace of Star Wars’ most action-packed moments are used sparingly in The Mandalorian’s debut episode. While our hero’s special set of skills are all on display here, its his silence that often speaks volumes, especially in Chapter 1’s final, wordless moments, which were already enough to put my jaw on the floor.
Last but certainly not least is The Mandalorian’s impeccable music – composed by Ludwig Göransson. The rousing, sweeping, pulse-pounding score ties the entire package together, leaving my heart pumping and imagination racing well through the credits.
In closing, The Mandalorian is incredibly special not just as a Star Wars property, but as a film-to-TV spinoff that stands on its own as a thrilling, captivating space western. Episode 2 premieres this Friday, November 15th, on Disney+.