Warning: Article contains spoilers!
I wrote at length about why The Mandalorian checks my boxes as a Star Wars fan last year after the first season concluded. It’s pretty simple: The show regurgitates the iconography with just enough “new” to feel nostalgic and creative enough to matter. The prequels and sequels didn’t do this, although nowadays the prequels have reached the point where nostalgia encompasses them and I’m sure the sequels will, too … someday. The Mandalorian is probably the best Star Wars product Disney has produced (though I would argue The Last Jedi is better, to my taste) . It is also the lone pop-culture bright spot in the waning days of 2020.
So although it’s not a film, I still want to write about it week to week. And I’m going to. Because I own this website. I also own a shitload of Star Wars merchandise and have purchased an embarrassing amount since the start of the pandemic and our relative isolation at home. Since March, I’ve purchased something like 45 6”-scale Black Series figures, a Galaxy’s Edge lightsaber, five comic collections, 11 paperback novels, two teen / YA novels, a tarot card deck and at least one piece of artwork. Aly has bought a couple of Star Wars shirts. There’s a lot of Star Wars shit in this house, and we average around two Star Wars-related purchases a week. We watch the movies a lot. Our son is named after them. Jeez.
My 6″-scale collection is the centerpiece of my Star Wars collecting and the object of most of my frivolous funds. They sit in my home office, and I play with them on occasion while working. When I worked in a public office, I would swap one or two out every few weeks to maintain a level of restrained professionalism. No, I don’t collect fucking Funkos. Give me the face-printed, multiple-POA figures any day. I’m not about that Vintage Collection 3.75-inch, either, except on rare occasions where they offer cool figures the 6” line lacks (like a decent Poe Dameron).
I don’t want to write that much about the plots of each episode because that sounds really boring, but I have a lot to say about the stuff I want to buy in each episode. Aly told me to stop saying “I want that in 6″ form!” while we watch the show, so I’m going to write these recaps instead. I can’t help myself. Think of this as a look at the show through the minds of a compulsive collector. That’s what it all comes down to for me, in the end: The Mandalorian is just selling me more and more shit for my shelves.
Gamorrean Fight Club
First off, everyone knows the skinny Gammorean fighters are total must-have figures. I own two of the big green piggies in 6”-scale, a fortuitous clearance find back in 2019 at the Kokomo Target. Aly said they’re “stupid,” but I would absolutely buy two of these new ones. Look how buff they are!!
The fight crowd is full of neat practical aliens who would make cool figures, but probably the biggest surprise is the appearance of infamous shelf-warmer Constable Zuvio. Zuvio was one of the first figures from Star Wars: The Force Awakens but ended up cut from the film before release. He’s an orphan figure who now has a home, so I guess I should go grab the $8 one that has sat at my local Walgreens for longer than I’ve been married.
I would also buy the stupid Cyclops guy. What can I say? He has dialogue!
Arrival on Tatooine
I was really happy to see Amy Sedaris return as Peli Motto, a Tatooine resident who helped Mando in Season 1. I’d love an Amy Sedaris figure. Her stunt casting makes me laugh. What a great cameo by ol’ R5 “Skippy” the Droid, too, whose overloading allowed R2-D2 to join the Lars Homestead crew in the original film. He’s actually available in 6” form already but not from Hasbro, and I generally stick to their products. The Bandai kit is now more tempting.
Although I’m a fan of speeder bikes, I’m not really tempted by Motto’s ramshackle speeder. This episode features a much cooler one later on anyway.
Cobb Vanth! Holy fuck! It’s Timothy Olyphant bringing his great Raylan Givens (Justified) swagger to the Star Wars Universe, decked out in ill-fitting Boba Fett armor. Aly squeed when she saw the title of the episode is The Marshal, and neither of us were disappointed. I’d love a good 6” figure of silver fox Olyphant with a removable Boba Fett helmet. The fact his armor doesn’t fit is such a great touch, presumably done so that when Boba reclaims his armor he’ll look fucking awesome.
I’d love to buy a Weequay bartender too. He seems nice. And a pack of Womp Rats. What the fuck is wrong with me?
It’s in Pelgo we first see the Krayt Dragon, a legendary beast known to fans because of the giant skeleton C-3PO sees while lost in the Dune Sea during the original Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope. This Krayt is much larger. I’d probably pay $400? Well, maybe not, but shit. I’d at least stare at a photograph of a 6” stale Krayt Dragon for a few months.
Maybe my favorite cameo this episode was Cobb Vanth’s speeder, which, like Rey’s in the sequel trilogy, is a Podracer engine with a seat on it. Cobb’s is cooler because it’s actually an engine from Anakin Skywalker’s speeder in the vastly underrated Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. I recently purchased Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lightsaber from that movie, which nobody cares about besides me.
The Tusken Raiders
It was nice to see Tusken Raiders treated as something other than savages (similar to how the first season somewhat redeemed Jawas), and I’d love a Deluxe Tusken with Bantha. Currently, the only 6”-scale Tuskens are pretty difficult to find at a decent price, so I’d love to buy a repack of those, too. They have neat weapons. Throw in one of those giant crossbows, please.
My hope is that a deluxe Krayt would be rubbery and feature the ability to shoot fluid out of its mouth — a classic play feature we’d have seen frequently in the 1990s.
(Plot Note: I didn’t like the Mando leaving Baby Yoda on the speeder during the battle.)
(Plot Note: I was pleased Cobb Vanth’s rifle was close in construction to an Original Trilogy rifle and not the lame, shitty rifles of the sequel trilogy. Our kitchen Star Wars calendar had Finn from The Rise of Skywalker featured one month and I couldn’t stop looking at the garbage gun they gave him. It’s a travesty. Love that trilogy, hate that gun.)
I think it’s safe to say that the most exciting development in this episode was the last-second appearance of Temuera Morrison as punished Boba Fett, looking pissed off that somebody stole his armor. I hope we get a full flashback to Fett’s escape from the Sarlacc. That would do a whole lot for me. I already own one 6” Boba Fett and have another, better one on pre-order for next summer. (New points of articulation! Fire for his flamethrower!!!) But I’d absolutely buy a figure that is just angry-looking, bald Temuera Morrison with scars and an angry scowl.
Most episode-to-episode guides elsewhere assign a letter grade, but I don’t believe serial media should be reviewed like that. There are obviously ideas that will play out for a full season. But given that this essay is written on the merits of how much money I will theoretically spend on toys introduced, I think I should at least tally up the amount of money the items I imagined in this episode will cost me at full price — bargain hunting is the flip-side of this hobby and one not worth delving into here — and assign a letter grade accordingly.
- 6″ Skinny Gamorrean – $20
- 6″ Cyclops Guy – $20
- 6″ Zuvio – $10
- 6″ Peli Motto – $20
- 6″ R5 “Skippy” – $20
- 6″ Cobb Vanth – $20
- 6″ Weequay – $20
- 6″ Vanth’s Speeder – $50
- 6″ Tusken Raider – $20
- 6″ Tusken with Bantha – $50
- 6″ Punished Fett – $20
I’m sure we’ll buy artwork of Cobb Vanth at some point. Maybe a shirt. If they ever write a spin-off comic or book about him … well, look the fuck out, wallet! That said, in terms of definite-purchases, The Mandalorian: Season 2 Episode 1 may cost me $250 in merchandise.