This was a big episode for fans of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (which means everything outside the movies). Star Wars Rebels, the long-running narrative cartoon that ended in 2015, set a pattern that The Mandalorian is apparently following — a first season dedicated to the new characters and challenges, with a second season that gradually integrates those new characters into the existing universe. Season 2 of Rebels brought in characters from the previous Clone Wars show, including Clone Commander Rex and former Jedi Ahsoka Tano (who is mentioned in this episode of The Mandalorian!).
Later seasons of Rebels introduced the actual Mandalorians and the internecine conflicts on their home planet, Mandalore, eventually resolving the plot by giving Bo-Katan Kryze, a good Mando, the Darksaber and the throne. Fans knew Bo-Katan couldn’t be far away when we saw Moff Gideon wield the Darksaber at the end of last season of The Mandalorian, and lo and behold, here she is — portrayed pitch-perfectly in live action by Katee Sackhoff, her long-time voice actress. Dreams come true.
What a rush! I hope it’s as exciting for fans who don’t follow the other shows.
Still, this episode is another example of why I’m glad The Mandalorian follows a more traditional serial structure, with Mando on different adventures meeting colorful new (or old) characters each week with a slowly developing overarching story. I think that long-form narratives are total bullshit and way, way overdone. It’s a reason why I just do not watch prestige television anymore. So I’m glad that we’ve had three separate adventures so far this year on different planets with different foes. I’ll admit I was a little nervous this story would be about yet another Giant Monster Hunt, so when said giant monster was quickly dispatched, I was relieved. I love giant monsters, but three episodes out of eight would be a little much.
Very stoked to see Moff Gideon and his Imperial Remnant return! One of my favorite eras of the old Extended Universe was the period directly after Return of the Jedi, when the fledgling New Republic had to deal with Imperial warlords and finding their way as a political body. It seems the new era of Star Wars storytelling will explore those stories, too. I hope we can see some old characters make a comeback, particularly the Rogue Squadron bunch, but we’ll see what Lucasfilm has up its sleeves.
Gret to see Titus Welliver as a low-ranking Imperial! Character actors making small cameos has become a pleasure of The Mandalorian, and I hope that continues in the Cassian Andor and Obi Wan Kenobi shows. Speaking of which, I would really like Guy Pearce to star in one of these …
I Spend Too Much Time in Star Wars Land
I only bought one Star Wars figure this past week: Darth Nihilus from the classic RPG Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. I was a big fan of those games and I’m always happy to see one of their characters released in plastic form, particularly because they’re now technically considered non-canonical.
On the reading front, I finished the first book of the old X-Wing series of novels. It was pretty OK. Great-fun characters, but the writing was a tad boring. Hopefully the later books are a little more electrifying. Like I wrote above, I love the period of time when the Rebels were still trying to rebuild the Republic, so I’m into the concept of the book series as a whole. I also started a re-read of the old Star Wars: Legacy series, which was set 130 years after Return of the Jedi and stars Luke Skywalker’s bad-boy frosted-tips drug-addicted bounty hunter-gray Jedi great-grandson. It’s dumb as hell but super enjoyable nonetheless.
This week, Hasbro announced a few new black series figures I have already pre-ordered: Asajj Ventress from The Clone Wars (I’d love her lightsabers someday!), as well as Hunter & Tracker, two Clone Troopers from the upcoming The Bad Batch series. Amazon may be an evil company, but they don’t charge pre-orders until shipping, so why not hold my spot in line? Very excited for all three of these.
But … what would I buy from this episode of The Mandalorian?
6” Koska Reeves — $20
6” Bo-Katan Kryze — $20
6” New Generic Mando Dude — $20
6” Quarren Sailor — $20
6” Mon Calamari Mechanic — $20
6” Captain Smoke Monster (aka Titus Welliver) — $20
Another A+++++!!!!! Episode