The (possible) mistakes of The Mandalorian

I’ll be slaughtered for the text here, but I’m sure my questions are genuine. SPOILERS everywhere.

In one episode to the end of the third season, it bothered me that the protagonist had a heroic moment of facing a battalion alone, being captured by the villain, Moff Giddeon (Giancarlo Esposito), and still being overshadowed. Makes me go back and list the pitfalls of The Mandalorian.

Fans celebrated when, in 2019, Disney launched extremely original content, designed and directed by Jon Favreau, featuring an actor like Pedro Pascal, who has a large fan base in the title role, and, in addition, presented another original character who would come to steal the spotlight: Baby Yoda, still unnamed then.

Following an intergalactic western premise, the action of the new series takes place five years after Return of the Jedi (which marked the death of Darth Vader) and has Din Djarin, the Mandalorian of the title, as a lone bounty hunter on the run to protect a baby of Yoda’s species, which is the object of desire by supporters of the former Empire.

Already in this first phase, some problems showed the first signs, even with all the nominations for awards and critical acclaim. Starting with Pedro Pascal never showing his face, always hidden by a helmet, kind of making the role something like Darth Vader (who was voiced by James Earl Jones in post-production). Why do they have Pedro Pascal in the cast if he’s going to hide his face? His voice isn’t especially powerful or striking, it’s his ability to express emotions with his face (which we don’t see) that makes him known.

On the voice’s theme, we have the baby Yoda who still doesn’t speak a word, which is cute and beautiful, but it left him unnamed until the second season when an alternative was found so his name was Grogu. And even more, with each episode being an almost independent adventure, not always (or a few times) the protagonist was with the character who gave the series its name. Pedro was more in an ensemble cast than a series of his own. To make matters worse, if audiences aren’t well-versed in the Star Wars universe beyond the movies, they don’t understand most of who comes in and out of the adventures.

Even so, it engaged, moved, and sold. So much so that it spawned spin-offs like The Book of Boba Fett and the future Ahsoka and Skeleton Crew, and even the project of a movie to conclude the interconnected stories.

Many wonder why they still hide the face of Pedro Pascal and have not placed him on the side of the Mandalorians who are not of the radical line of never taking off his helmet. He “broke” the oath by Grogu and instead of having his turn, when he returned in the third season, he did everything to “recover the right to be among those who hide his identity”. In just two episodes he managed to complete the mission. This is a dry arc, isn’t it?

Since then, we’ve been following the dramatic trajectory of Princess Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), the likely “Mandalorian” of the title now. Or would it be Grogu, who is half-Jedi and half-Mandalorian? We do not know. The name of the series is in the singular, but there are multiple Mandalorians that are presented to us. To the point that, as I said at the opening of the post, even when finally Din is the great hero of the battle, he is overshadowed by another companion. The death of Paz Vizsla (Jon Favreau) is far more dramatic and prominent than Din’s capture. Seriously?

Unsurprisingly, rumors of behind-the-scenes conflicts have been circulating since Season 2 that Pedro has been disaffected and is unlikely to return for the final part of the story (the movie). Hence now it is considered ‘purposeful’ to have more than one Mandalorian to have alternatives to the crisis. Egg or chicken effect, right? Din’s capture could signal a “Han Solo moment in Star Wars The Force Awakens”. (Google it so I won’t spoil what it means even more).

Obviously, it’s a personal guess. I was hoping his servitude to Bo-Katan was a blossoming romance (I’m always for burning hearts!), but we come to the season finale next week with this unlikely-looking relationship.

In addition to hiding its star and taking the spotlight away from it, The Mandalorian created a problem with Grogu as well. At this point, his childlike attitude and cute grunts are those moments when our reactions outweigh our reasoning, but he doesn’t master the Force, he doesn’t fight, he doesn’t speak, and he doesn’t trust almost anyone. Finally, we saw the great trauma of his life (having witnessed the massacre of Order 66, which determined the extermination of the Jedi), but, without communication, that was it.

They have missed opportunities that we regret and traded for amazing action sequences (which we also love). Grogu’s connection to Din Djarin, himself an orphan also traumatized from having witnessed his planet’s massacre, is left to be suggested. And the leadership of the same Din Djarin, a potential Jon Snow species in the Star Wars universe, is irrelevant next to Bo-Katan.

While I seem to be hating it all, I’m actually lamenting that it could be even better. Grogu’s first words, with a method only delivered in the penultimate episode of the third season, reflect a lot of what we feel. Two repeating words: Yes, Yes, Yes. No, No, No. Binary like everything in times of algorithm. I’m in the crowd hoping to swallow my fears and my criticisms with the season finale next week…

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