I have not been 100% sold on Disney’s upcoming streaming service, Disney+. Mainly it’s an issue of money, with more and more streaming services coming online, the savings of cord-cutting are being wiped out. But also I don’t have kids so about two-thirds of the potential content on that platform is not really interesting to me. And then they released a trailer for The Mandalorian, a series set within the Star Wars universe, and goddammit, Disney got me. I’m going to get Disney+ just for this sh-t because they had the genius idea to cast Werner Herzog as the villain, and he’s the only person talking in the trailer, and it’s PERFECT. And I am super into the overall Western look and feel of this. Also, that shot of those stormtrooper helmets on spikes is INTENSE.
So what IS a Mandalorian? Well, it’s a person from Mandalore. More specifically, fan-favorite OG trilogy character Boba Fett is a Mandalorian. This show is not about Boba Fett, because he is f-cking stupid and got eaten by a space sand vagina in Return of the Jedi. This show is about a new Mandalorian, played by Pedro Pascal. Mandalorians tend to work as bounty hunters, which is what our new guy is up to, sometime after the events of Return of the Jedi. Another character in the show is a droid called IG-11—the tall, skinny droid who looks like a walking sprinkler—who is voiced by Taika Waititi (he also directs one episode). The cast also includes Gina Carano, Giancarlo Esposito, and Carl F-cking Weathers. (Between this and Toy Story 4, I am very excited by the dawn of the Carl Weathersaissance.)
And this might work in the way that Solo didn’t, because the average person on the street doesn’t know much, if anything, about Mandalorians. Star Wars nerds had decades of stories about Mandalorians to go off of, but all that got thrown out during the Great Canon Overhaul that happened when Disney bought Lucasfilm. So even the nerds don’t really know what Mandalorians will be like in the new canon. This is a new corner of the Star Wars universe to be explored, it’s not treading ground already familiar from the films. It will be an adventure for everyone.
The Mandalorian is Disney’s stab at “the next Game of Thrones”, and of all the potential Next GOTs we’ve seen so far, this looks like it might actually achieve that kind of success. D23 made it clear that Disney is well and truly entrenched at the heart of our pop culture right now—and, if they have their way, forever—so they’ll have the audience right out of the gate. This trailer is showing off how polished and cinematic this show will be, setting the bar for what the rest of the platform will look like as more shows get added. Disney is making it clear that they’re not just coming for Netflix, they intend to dominate home entertainment the same way they’ve come to dominate the theatrical space. The Mandalorian is the first marquee show for their new in-home platform, and it’s a helluva gauntlet to throw down.