By Sean Keane ’23
(Please Note: This article contains spoilers!)
Season two of the Star Wars spinoff series The Mandalorian is finally here! Many people, Star Wars fans or not, found sentimental value in the first installment of the series last fall. The show rose to the top of streaming charts before its season premiere aired on Friday, October 30 and according to multiple rankings, The Mandalorian has more weekly viewers than popular Netflix shows such as Stranger Things and Cobra Kai.
The series is set right after Return of the Jedi with remnants of the fallen Galactic Empire scattered throughout the galaxy. Din Djarin, more commonly known as the Mandalorian or “Mando”, is the protagonist characterized as one of the galaxy’s most successful bounty hunters. He is tasked with the capture of a target that many hunters have failed to apprehend. When he finally acquired the asset, he couldn’t bring himself to hand it in because it was only a child, but this was no ordinary child.
Known to many viewers as “Baby Yoda,” this child has the ability to use The Force, which has become a fabled trait following the fall of the Jedi Order. When the mandalorian refuses to hand in the child, he went from being the hunter to becoming the hunted, and he soon realizes that the opposition forces he faces are much more extensive than he originally thought. The collector of the bounty is actually an ex-Imperial Officer who still leads a group of stormtroopers even though the Empire has fallen, and it turns out that he isn’t even the chief of this operation.
While watching his back for this radical sect of the fallen Empire, Mando must also keep an eye out for other bounty hunters trying to steal the asset. He encounters beasts, fights his enemies, and embarks on side jobs all while protecting The Child. Throughout the first season, you may also notice that there is a progressive improvement of Din Djarin’s armor and weaponry, and those who watched the movies know that this is not just any type of protection. Made famous by Boba and Jango Fett, this armor is made from beskar, a Mandalorian metal, and can withstand almost any attack against it. In addition to being superior on the battlefield, Mandalorian armor also has a deeper, religious significance. Some devout Mandalorians, such as Din Djarin, take an oath to never willingly take off their helmet in front of any other living being from adulthood through death.
At the end of Season One, Din Djarin obtains a jet pack, a high honor in Mandalorian culture. He also learns that the man who wants The Child and is behind the whole plan is high ranking ex-Imperial Officer Moff Gideon. At the very end, the audience is left on a cliffhanger when it is revealed that Moff Gideon has possession of the precious pdarksaber. Similar to a lightsaber, the dark saber is a powerful weapon, but there is only one in existence which traces back to an ancient Mandalorian.
The Season Two premiere opens with the Mandalorian continuing his journey to find and reunite Baby Yoda with his population. Having nowhere to begin, he decides to search for another Mandalorian to possibly guide him. He hears of one on the planet of Tatooine but finds out that the man is Cobb Vanth, a protector who bartered with Jawas for the armor. Keen audience members would have noticed that this is, in fact, Boba Fett’s armor, one of the many Easter eggs found throughout the series.
According to Mandalorian code, Din Djarin must take his armor either peacefully or, if necessary, through brute force. However, they strike a deal that if Din helps him kill a monster terrorizing the village, Vanth will hand over the beskar. After the victory, the closing scene presents a silhouette of a mysterious figure watching on from afar. When the figure reveals his face, it is seen that Temuera Morrison, the actor who played Jango Fett, was watching the conquest. Since Boba Fett was a clone of Jango, the viewer can assume that Morrison was assuming the role of his original character’s son.
After watching the season premiere, Mr. Michael Bruno ’90 shared his thoughts on the series: “Honestly, it took me a couple of episodes to really get into The Mandalorian. The episodic format was weird; I just wasn’t used to one-hour quests that seemingly didn’t connect to the bigger picture. I grew up on full-length feature films and not television episodes. I also really missed the John Williams score because it just didn’t feel like Star Wars without it. The new stand-alone films blend new music with the traditional score, but The Mandolorian used little if any of Williams’ score. As the season progressed, however, I started to appreciate the whole show on its own merits. They throw in just enough fan service without it being manipulative and have begun to take the story in its own direction. It’s really just a fun, almost western-like show set in the Star Wars universe. I look forward to the rest of season two.” With Chapter 10 stranding Mando and his new travel companion on a desolate, icy planet, this week’s episode will hopefully provide some closure to a rare multi-episode storyline.