The Mandalorian – Simply Star Wars *spoiler free review

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If I tell you that the first episode of The Mandalorian – the new high profile, live action Star Wars series helping to launch the Disney + channel – is simple, I trust you’ll understand that I’m complimenting it.

Set five years after the fall of the Empire, as seen in Return of the Jedi, the extremely straightforward storyline of this premiere episode follows the adventures of a Mandalorian bounty hunter (played by Pedro Pascal, though so far he remains firmly under the helmet) hired to round up or exterminate a mark. And for the first 38 minutes, that’s pretty much it.

Carl Weathers crops up, as does (in a much-ballyhooed, sublime piece of casting) existential German film director, Werner Herzog, who appears to be having a blast in his role, plus we meet (sort of) Nick Nolte and Taika Waititi (director of Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit). It’s a heckuva cast for what amounts to a little spaghetti western in space.

What you really want to know is: does it feel like Star Wars? Yes, it does, and it feels like exactly what I had hoped for, Star Wars without the Skywalkers, or Jedi, or the Force (at least so far), and what a lot of fun it is. The Mandalorian comes across as if show creator Jon Favreau and pilot director Dave Filoni are just kicking back and enjoying themselves in the Star Wars universe. They even manage to throw in a deep-cut gag taken from the infamously reviled Star Wars Holiday Special TV show from 1978.

The Mandalorian looks and sounds totally Star Wars too, with some really top notch VFX and creature FX (many of which, I’m overjoyed to say, are practical). Whoever thought we’d live to see a weekly Star Wars TV series with movie level special effects? Not this kid who saw the original movie more than twenty times at the cinema in 1977 and 1978, that’s for sure.

There’s no great human drama, so far, but we get a lot of world-building in just over half an hour (with no necessary Star Wars knowledge needed, but plenty of nods to fans), events are set neatly in place and some intriguing threads are left dangling. We’re offered just enough of what might make the title character of interest (he’s a bounty hunter with a heart of gold), but the main point here is to make us want to come back for more. And if the showrunners can ensure this level of pure enjoyment for the next seven episodes then that won’t be a problem.

Simply put, The Mandalorian is uncomplicated fun.

Time To Get Excited About Star Wars Again – The Mandalorian Trailer Has Arrived

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The trailer for Jon Favreau’s new live-action Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian, has arrived, and it looks amazing:

So much to unpack from this: bounty hunting in the Star Wars universe, movie quality special effects, a wonderfully gritty look and, yes, Werner Herzog. This thing looks crazy and crazy good. Even if you’ve found your enthusiasm for all things Star Wars waning in recent years, you have to admit there’s a weirdness to this that Lucas’s (and Disney’s) universe has been calling out for.

Creator, writer, and director Jon Favreau (that’s Happy Hogan to YOU, sir and Madam) has promised The Mandalorian will dig into the “darker, freakier” side of Star Wars and it doesn’t look like he was kidding.

Set after the fall of the Empire (in Return of the Jedi) and before the rise of the First Order (in The Force Awakens), the series stars Pedro Pascal (in the title role), Gina Carano, Nick Nolte (really!), Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Carl Weathers, and Omid Abtahi. Yes, and Werner Herzog appears.

Disney have a lot of faith in this show, so much that they’ve already announced Season Two will begin shooting this autumn.

As noted in many other pieces here, because this autumn Disney will take over our viewing habits entirely, the new Disney Plus streaming service launches on November 12.

Your New Star Wars Live Action Series Is… The Mandalorian

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Jon Favreau has just announced the title of the new live-action Star Wars series and, yep, as revealed in our headline, it’s The Mandalorian.

For those of you not versed in Star Wars-speak, fan-favourite character Jango Fett (from the trilogy we don’t talk about) was a Mandalorian, and he adopted his clone son, Boba Fett (from the trilogy we do talk about) .

According to Favreau, the series will feature “a lone gunfighter” hailing from the same planet as the fan-favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett and his father, Jango Fett.”

“After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe,” Favreau announced in an Instagram post. “The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.”

So we have a series taking place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens leaning heavily on the legacy of a pair of secondary characters from the first two trilogies. My immediate reaction is that this concept doesn’t overly thrill me, seeming to be a bit too-fan fiction heavy for me, but your Star Wars mileage may vary.

Either way, The Mandalorian bound to be a huge draw for the nascent Disney Play streaming channel and the news of this, plus other shows such as the previously-announced live action Marvel shows (featuring the likes of Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch), plus shows based on High School Reunion and Monsters Inc., are certain to have Netflix execs feeling a little uneasy right now.

Disney Play (or whatever it ends up being called) launches late 2019.

The Star Wars TV Series Will Cost Big Bucks (And Other News)!

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Details have been thin on the ground since the announcement late last year that Disney’s new streaming service will feature a live action Star Wars TV series.

But a new report by the New York Times has revealed a couple of interesting titbits about the show, currently being developed by Iron Man’s Jon Favreau.

First up is the news that the show, running to ten episodes, will cost around 100 million dollars. That’s, um… about ten million dollars an episode, according to my trusty financial advisor, which might sound like a lot of moolah to you and me, but actually comes across as kind of cheap when you consider the final six episodes of Game of Thrones will cost a staggering $15 million apiece.

Secondly, Favreau has confirmed that the series will take place after the events of Return of the Jedi, (also the timeframe for the upcoming animated series Star Wars Resistance – why, it’s almost like there’s such a thing as corporate synergy in the world). According to a comment made by Favreau back in May, his series will take place seven years after the fall of the Empire, while Resistance will cross the bridge in the timeline and depict the rise of the First Order, which leads towards The Force Awakens.

It’s entirely possible we’ll be hearing more about the Star Wars live-action TV series and I’ll bring you more news as it lands.