Why does the Mandalorian Work so Well?

D23.com

George Scully, Staff Writer

George Scully

By 2018, people thought Disney had ruined modern Star Wars. They had canceled the universally loved Clone Wars TV show and made movies that heavily divided fans and audiences. All hope seemed lost for the franchise until a little show came out in 2019 called “The Mandalorian.” Everything was against this little show, being Disney’s new streaming service and being live-action. Nobody thought this show would work. But… it did and is now being hailed as one of the greatest TV shows of the generation according to the National Research Group. So what happened? Why does the Mandalorian work?

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One of the reasons this little show worked so well was because of the atmosphere the writers created. The TV show feels oddly familiar with characters, settings, and stories all feeling like they’re from classic western movies, such as, “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” or “A Fistful of Dollars.”  But the show also feels like Star Wars in its own, unique way. The show, unlike the rest of the Star Wars franchise, isn’t super connected to any of the films, so old characters that have been beaten to death like Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia aren’t in the show. While there are storm troopers, imperial walkers, and even tie fighters roaming around the galaxy, as well as force-sensitive creatures and even lightsabers, the show manages to feel different. This is because the show has an entirely new cast of loveable characters with the stand-out characters being the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda. Through these characters, the writers have been able to make interesting backstories, as well subtlety hint at bigger themes in life such as a father-son relationship like the one shared between Mando and Baby Yoda. By doing this, they are able to make the characters who fly around in spaceships and use mind powers feel incredibly human and relatable.

Another reason why this show was so successful was the action. In the Star Wars universe, the Mandalorians are a clan-based group composed of multiple species bound by a common culture, creed, and code. They are the most feared warriors in the galaxy with combat being a cornerstone of their culture. So it was obvious that action was going to be a big part of the show from the beginning. The execution of the action is stellar. Fights, unlike most modern action scenes, are very clear and easy to understand. They engage with the viewer by being suspenseful and tightly shot, giving the viewer a sense of excitement like no other. However, while the blaster action/fist-to-cuff fights are amazing, where the show really shines is in its ship combat. With millions of dollars being pumped into the CGI budget, every fight feels/looks very real. One stand-out scene was when Mando fought off three tie fighters and was able to outmaneuver them to take them all down by pulling off serval tricks in mid-air with the highlight easily being when he does the classic top gun move to turn his ship around and destroy the last tie fighter. All in all, the action in this show is a visual treat worth every second of screen time it gets.

Without the Mandalorian, Disney may have driven Star Wars into the ground, but thanks to incredible writing and outstanding action, the tiny show with almost no hope saved the Star Wars franchise.