First and foremost, let me be upfront and say that I'm more of a casual watcher of Star Wars. I grew up with the original trilogy of course, I saw the first two movies of the prequels but didn't really see the third, and only saw The Force Awakens of the sequel trilogy but not the rest, alongside seeing Rogue One. That's it. It doesn't get any deeper than that surface level. I have absolutely no further additional knowledge of the canon or lore of Star Wars, not from the books, the extended universe, or the animated shows.
So believe me when I say that I was actually taken by genuine surprise that The Mandalorian somehow managed to grab a hold on me the way it did, to the point where I'm fully invested in researching and looking things up regarding Mandalorian culture and lore. I never did this with anything else Star Wars related, at all. I didn't expect it, but I'm not complaining either. It's as though this show was created to specifically cater to my interests.
Like, the faceless lone bounty hunter who is just an introverted socially awkward mess and a massive softie who is polite and has manners and a moral code? Who helps and protects innocents? Who risks everything to save and protect a baby and is on the run and is constantly worried about said baby? How he officially became a father to that baby by the end of the season? The fact that the entire show is centering around the found family trope, a trope that is my absolute weakness? Honestly, I don't need anything else extravagant in terms of a plot, this is all the content I want.
There's a lot to appreciate about this show, from the setting and the beautiful cinematography and the music to how it feels like old school Star Wars from its tone and presentation since it goes back to the roots of westerns and samurai movies, but one of the things I greatly appreciated was how they kept everything to a smaller scale. It was a very simple story that was entirely character-driven and not focusing on a bigger plot to go towards for whatever shocking twist or revelation. Because I think we're all kind of burnt out by those? I'm not saying the story shouldn't progress, because it obviously will given how the season ended there is a goal in mind, but I would rather it be a slow burn rather than immediately jump right into a complicated or convoluted plot, y'know? The first season was well-paced, allowing us to marinate in the characters and the journey and the growing bond between Din and the baby, giving us little bits and pieces of the world and the lore. I know it's been stated that the second season will probably have important characters from the movies pop up, but I'm hoping those will just be brief cameos or easter eggs and not a grand production because we really don't need that distraction. The show is doing just fine without there being a Big Name character taking up screentime. I also just mostly want to keep the show separate from the movies while still being part of the same universe, if that makes sense.
I'm going to make a separate post talking about the Mandalorian himself, Din Djarin, because I love him so much and could talk for hours about his character in the first season, but I do want to say how much I appreciate how well the show did with making us love and feel so much for a character who never shows his face. He's covered head to toe in armor, and yet his personality shined through with his body language and his voice. Just the slight tilt of the helmet can say so much, and it's so good. Much kudos to not only Pedro Pascal, but also his two stunt guys who helped shape and mold this character throughout the show.'
Also, kudos for the show for having Baby Yoda be an animatronic puppet instead of going the easy route of going all CGI. Smart move, makes him even cuter and more tactile, especially since there's been reports of people on set talking to the puppet like he's real.
It's also interesting how this show was marketed, which is not at all what was advertised, and yet it still worked because we were all hoodwinked in the best possible way. Like, the Mandalorian in the trailers was shown to be this silent badass warrior effortlessly doing cool badass stuff when that is the opposite of what he is in the show, and they barely marketed Baby Yoda at all. Perhaps it was for the surprise element for the reveal at the end of the first episode, but still, they really could've used Baby Yoda as a marketing ploy and yet they didn't. Though now I'm worried that that's all the merchandising will be from now on, instead of the other characters including the main character of the show. Yes, everyone loves Baby Yoda, but the show isn't just Baby Yoda, y'know?
Overall: The Mandalorian was an unexpected surprise for me, since never in my life was I ever this interested or immediately obsessed with a part of this particular franchise. It awakened something inside of me for something I didn't realize I needed until now. I love it, and I love how it made me so interested in learning more about Mandalorian culture. And I'm very curious what is going to be explored next season in regards to Mandalorian culture and lore, since obviously we got the Darksaber which definitely opens a lot of opportunities to where that part of the story will go. But yes, this show is everything I want. A space spaghetti western found family story about a soft bounty hunter protecting a tiny green baby. I love it. Gimme more, please.
I do have more to talk about regarding this show, this is just a brief overview of my thoughts, but trust me more posts will be coming in the future.