At the risk of committing “Star Wars” heresy, I’ve found myself sort of bored by Season 2 of “The Mandalorian.”
Although I’ll readily admit that might be at least partly my own fault, for the way I’ve watched it.
There’s no denying that the Disney+ series looks spectacular. The effects are positively theatrical — far better than what we saw in the original trilogy back in the olden days (1977-83), because the technology has advanced so much in the past 40 years.
And the action is amazing. Everything from space battles to blaster shootouts to hand-to-hand combat — and the occasional use of lightsabers — is beautifully choreographed and executed.
But the plot is … a little thin. And the episodes are … a little repetitive.
It’s oversimplifying to say that the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) lands on a different planet in every installment, fights with bad guys and/or monsters while protecting/getting help from Baby Yoda/Grogu and then heads off to the next planet — but it’s not that much of an exaggeration.
The repetitive nature of “The Mandalorian” struck me because I got behind on watching it. A couple of weeks ago, I binged five episodes in a row, and it was a bit much. The similarities stood out starkly, and I was … sort of bored by the time I hit the third of five episodes, and really bored by the time I finished them all.
I know, I know. There’s a contingent out there that got super excited when a character that had previously only been in animated “Star Wars” series, Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), appeared in “The Mandalorian.” And when a character from “Star Wars” books — Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant) — showed up, and he was wearing Boba Fett’s armor. And there are fans who positively lost their minds when Boba Fett himself came aboard.
They’re all good characters, used smartly in the series. But the number of “Star Wars” fans who were even aware of the existence of Cobb Vanth is … minimal. A lot of fans who’ve seen all the movies have never watched the animated series. And for a lot of us, the reappearance of Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) is kind of cool, but hardly a shattering event.
(I’ve never understood the obsession some have with the character. And I’ve been a fan longer than most of you — I saw the original “Star Wars” on opening night in May 1977.)
“The Mandalorian” is an action/adventure series built around a minimal plotline. Which, you could argue, is also true of the movies. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Taken an episode or two at a time, “The Mandalorian” is fun. The programmers at Disney+ are a lot smarter than I gave them credit for. Releasing “Mandalorian” episodes one per week is better than going all Netflix and dropping them all at once.
More ‘Star Wars’
Disney has announced a slew of new “Star Wars” series — but I’d advise at least a bit of caution. We can’t be sure any of these will actually happen until they go into production, and odds are that not all of them will materialize.
Two that seem most certain are “Andor,” a prequel to “Rogue One” that will feature Diego Luna reprising his role as Cassian Andor; and “The Bad Batch,” an animated spinoff of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Both are tentatively scheduled to debut sometime in 2021.
Further down the line are “Ahsoka,” with Dawson starring as Ahsoka Tano; “Rangers of the New Republic,” a spinoff of “The Mandalorian”; “The Acolyte,” a female-centric show set several hundred years before all the other “Star Wars” movies and series; “A Droid Story,” an animated show that will feature R2-D2 and C-3PO; “Visions,” an anime anthology; and “Lando,” featuring a young-ish version of Lando Calrissian. And, no, Donald Glover has not been announced as the star. At least not yet.
The one everyone is talking about is an Obi-Wan Kenobi series that will bring back Ewan McGregor as the title character and Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader. Which sounds like the worst idea since the theatrical prequels. We know what’s going to happen to both characters … so what’s the point?
Maybe it’ll be another action/thriller without a lot in the way of plot.