The Mandalorian roars back for its second season showing no signs of a sophomore slump with The Marshal. In true Mandalorian fashion, the season premiere was full of Easter Eggs and nods to the established source material while further expanding the universe with the addition of at least one character destined for longtime fan favorite status.
It’s still crazy to think how masterfully Jon Favreau kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man and how his work in the Star Wars sandbox might have already eclipsed his MCU work. The Mandalorian showrunner is back in the director’s chair for this episode, which really does an excellent job of retaining the tone, spirit and humor of the first season.
How can I say this without throwing an eclipse level of shade at the Sequel Trilogy? While J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson thought Star Wars was a pretty cool world to explore and shake up in a new direction, Favreau and fellow executive producer Dave Filoni absolutely adore and appreciate everything the franchise is and could be in expanding upon what George Lucas originally created.
Every moment in The Mandalorian feels authentic to the Lucas version of Star Wars in the same way that Filoni’s Clone Wars and Rebels felt like they belonged in the same galaxy far, far away. So when Favreau throws in random characters from the Original Trilogy as a astromech droid or bartender it’s done with an appreciation with what’s come before.
Mando and The Child head to a gladiator fight with some familiar characters that’s just the first nod to the OT. After quickly dispatching a shady gambler in the know (voiced by John Leguizamo), Mando is off to find another Mandalorian that can help him find Jedi. His inevitably doomed to failure objective remains to give The Child to the Jedi since they’re better equipped to raise him. But it already seems highly unlikely that Mando will be able to really say goodbye to his cute sidekick.
Ironically the last place anyone’s seen a Mandalorian is on Tatooine. This checks out in a lot of ways and is very consistent with the saga as a whole. That means a stop back at Mos Eisely and a visit with Peli Motto to get her and her droids (alright for personal growth Mando!) to fix up the Razor Crest. Character growth. What a concept.
Mando’s distrust of droids ended with IG-11’s sacrifice so know he’s giving them a chance. And good thing as one of Peli’s droids is another ridiculous deep dive in Star Wars lore.
Another aspect of the show that’s so smart is the portrayal of the Tusken Raiders. They’d gotten a bad rap in the OT and prequel trilogy, but in The Mandalorian, they’re more aggressive nomads that aren’t necessarily bad guys.
At Mos Pelgo’s bar, Mando sees another familiar face to any 80s kid obsessed with knowing everything about Return of the Jedi as it’s Weequay, one of Jabba’s guards on his skiff. This show gets me. Mando doesn’t have to do a long investigation as this “Mandalorian” is the marshal, who introduces himself as Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant). That’s a fun bit as Olyphant played a marshal in Justified.
Mando demands the armor, no doubt due to “The Way,” but Cobb isn’t just going to hand it over. He explains how Mos Pelgo was celebrating like the rest of the galaxy when the second Death Star was destroyed, but the mining collective immediately shot up the bar trying to fill the evil bastards void.
Cobb stole some crystals from them and tried to find help before stumbling onto some Jawas with a very interesting item they were willing to trade — Boba Fett’s armor. I’m not the biggest Boba Fett survived the Rancor fan, but if any show can make it work for me it’s The Mandalorian. The notion that Cobb “inherited” the armor is more interesting anyway.
While he’s not keen on just giving the armor away, Cobb agrees if Mando helps him deal with another problem — a Krayt Dragon that keeps rumbling through the port and devouring livestock. Mando knows they can’t handle it alone and recruits the Tuskens to team up with the town. Seeing the Tuskens trying to work with the townsfolk was hilarious.
The big battle to kill the dragon was a reminder that The Mandalorian might be a TV series, but this is a Disney+ show that holds up incredibly well against any big budget movie. The sight of Mando and Cobb using their jetpacks for some aerial combat was a highlight and the dragon was massive.
After disposing of the dragon, everyone gets what they wanted. The Tuskens get a massive supply of meat and an egg, Mos Pelgo is safe again and Mando gets the armor from Cobb, who hopes they’ll run into each other again. Much like Cara Dune last season it’d be shocking if we don’t see Cobb later on this season. Olyphant brought his effortless charm and swagger to the role and he immediately made for a cool character we’ll need to see again.
The Mandalorian has quietly expanded the Star Wars universe to the point there’s at least three viable Mandalorian spin-offs already with Cara, Greef Cargo and now Cobb. Oh, and maybe one more.
Looking on in the distance is a man watching Mando head out. Initially it seemed like we were just going to get the tease, but it is that familiar face of a clone all grown up (Temuera Morrison) highly suggesting that in fact we may have not seen the end of Boba Fett yet.
This is how a hit show comes back just as, if not, stronger than ever. From the glorious fan service moments to an impressive action sequence and another fun new character, The Mandalorian seems poised to kick off another two months of being everyone’s Friday appointment TV.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: Disney+