The Mandalorian: Season 2

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Sci-Fi;
Not rated.
Stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen, Katee Sackhoff, Mercedes Varnado, Rosario Dawson, Timothy Olyphant, Bill Burr, Carl Weathers, Horatio Sanz, Giancarlo Esposito.

The eight episodes of the second season of “The Mandalorian” offer the kind of “Star Wars” moments the franchise’s fans have been clamoring to see for decades.

Series creator Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni are drawing from nearly all aspects of “Star Wars” lore for inspiration — not just the original trilogy, but also the prequels and animated spinoffs as well.

Instead of trying to reinvent the universe the way the sequel trilogy seemed to be trying to do, “The Mandalorian” unmistakably wants to play in George Lucas’ sandbox. The episodes have all the fun and joy of what it’s like to play with “Star Wars” toys as a kid, and imagine all the adventures possible in that galaxy far, far away.

It’s not fan service. It’s fantastic.

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Picking up from last season, bounty hunter Din Djarin, the Mandalorian of the title, embarks on his quest to return to the Jedi the child everyone refers to as “Baby Yoda” (whose name is finally revealed to be Grogu). But doing so will require a great deal of compromise and sacrifice. Along the way he encounters Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff), a Mandalorian from the “Clone Wars” and “Rebels” animated shows who desires to reclaim her home planet from the chaos of the Empire’s wrath. She leads Mando to another animated character brought into live-action, the former Jedi Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), who needs his help to free a village from a warlord in one of the season’s standout episodes.

Another great episode sees the return of Bill Burr, who has to help Mando on a mission to locate the menacing Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). Their infiltration of an Imperial base leads to some of the tensest moments on the show, culminating in the “Star Wars” version of the great basement shootout from Inglourious Basterds.

And if that weren’t enough, we get the return of Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), last seen being swallowed by the Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi. Not only did he survive, but he’s finally living up to the potential for badassery only hinted at in his limited screen time in the movies but which has nonetheless made him a fan favorite since his introduction.

The season also has a few more surprises in store, leading to one of the most emotional and satisfying finales a fan could hope for.

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There have been some grumblings about the wide variance in running times of the episodes — ranging from barely more than a half-hour to more than 50 minutes. But this just demonstrates the creative advantages of posting content to an ad-free streaming service as opposed to needing to fill a set run time to account for a time slot and advertising. The show’s creators are telling the stories they want to tell, and they are using the time they need to tell them. No more, no less. And the results speak for themselves.

 

Disney+ Teases ‘Boba Fett’ Spinoff in ‘Mandalorian’ Finale

While Disney announced several new “Star Wars” Disney+ shows at its Dec. 10 investor day, it left one for a surprise reveal during the streaming service’s flagship series. The Dec. 18 season two finale of “The Mandalorian” contained a teaser for a new Disney+ show called “The Book of Boba Fett” to debut in December 2021.

Boba Fett is a legendary bounty hunter in “Star Wars” lore first introduced in an animated segment of the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special before playing a minor role as an antagonist to Han Solo in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983’s Return of the Jedi, with the character seemingly dying in the latter during a battle against the crime lord Jabba the Hutt.

A younger Boba Fett appeared in 2002’s Attack of the Clones, where audiences learned that he was an unaltered clone of Jango Fett, another bounty hunter who served as the template for an army of clones. After Jango’s death in that film, young Boba took up bounty hunting himself, as seen in the “Clone Wars” animated series.

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Season two of “The Mandalorian,” set about five years after Return of the Jedi, revealed that Boba survived the events of the film, and was now in league with the assassin Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). The pair agreed to help the title character protect Grogu, the child nicknamed “Baby Yoda” by franchise fans.

Fett is played by Temuera Morrison, who previously portrayed Jango and the clone troopers in the “Star Wars” prequels, and who also voiced Boba for the special-edition DVD of Empire.

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Some industry watchers had been reporting that Morrison was currently filming what they assumed was either a Boba Fett show or the third season of “Mandalorian,” and found it curious that the investor event didn’t mention anything related to the character, while other spinoffs such as “Ahsoka Tano” were touted.

[SPOILERS AHEAD]

In the preview for the new show, which plays as a post-credits scene for the “Mandalorian” finale, Boba Fett returns to Jabba’s Palace on Tatooine with Shand. Jabba’s court in the criminal underworld is now presided over by his former majordomo, Bib Fortuna, who expresses surprise at seeing Fett is alive. Fett shoots Fortuna, then takes a seat on the palace throne with Shand at his side.

Update 12/21/20: “The Book of Boba Fett,” set within the timeline of “The Mandalorian,” will star Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen, and will be executive produced by Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni and Robert Rodriguez.