SPOILER ALERT: The Mandalorian So Far…
The Mandalorian premiered on Disney+ on November 12th. Sideshow was ahead of schedule with the Mandalorian Figures that made their debut at New York Comic-Con 2019. Check out The Mandalorian Figure prototype and IG-11 Figure prototype in the video below.
This blog will follow each episode of The Mandalorian from beginning to end and will try to unpack the show’s themes and characters. So without further ado:
The most important part of any show (in my opinion) is the opening. Authors make “promises” in the first chapter of every book, and screenwriters make “promises” in their first few episodes. Not only that, but the first episode will tell us everything about the main character and the world.
The show opens on The Mandalorian with a tracking fob in hand. He’s searching for someone or something. And he’s silent. Right off the bat, the tone for the entire series is set. Our quiet and determined hero will take us through this world, but we learn very quickly that he will not be the voice for this world.
In fact, we don’t hear his voice for quite some time. In fact, the first words we hear aren’t even in English. They’re in an alien language. What does that tell us of this world? Well first of all, it insists that this world is huge and diverse, especially with people responding in different languages. And also, it tells us, the audience, to wait and listen before we act. Just like the Mandalorian.
He hears all that he needs to before finding his bounty, and finding his mark, as he gets into an all out brawl. His actions certainly speak louder than his words, because he doesn’t speak at all for quite some time. His bounty, a fish-like species, is quite talkative though. In fact, we learn more about bounties and bounty hunting, and even about The Mandalorian himself, from this nameless blue character than from our hero.
This all tells us that The Mandalorian is constantly being defined by others. And what’s more? Throughout the episode, we learn that he’s truly trying to define himself, and find his own identity. We learn that our hero was a foundling, meaning that after the war on his home planet of Mandalore, his parents were killed and he was found by someone else. He was very young when this happened, and many Mandalorians were killed in the conflict.
It seems throughout the episode, whether he is trying to acquire Beskar steel, or ride a Blurrg like his ancestors rode the Mythosaurs, he’s simply trying to connect with his Mandalorian roots. He’s trying to find an identity in the past.
And yet, even though The Mandalorian might be looking to the past, the episode’s ending looks to the future. The future generation and the future story of this… well… baby “Yoda”. And so, while he spends his time fighting to identify with his past, it doesn’t seem that the future will go that way.
However, his friend, The Nameless Ugnaught, might have held the key to the show itself. When he implores The Mandalorian to think of the Blurrg as he would a Mythosaur, he forces the Mandalorian to think in a new way. He finds a way to connect the past with the present, in order to move into the future. And that’s exactly what he’ll have to do with Baby Yoda in order to succeed on his mission.
Ultimately, I was hoping that episode one would immerse me in this world, and it absolutely succeeded on that front.
Some Sideshow team members watched the first episode of The Mandalorian together, and a few of us stayed behind to review the premiere. You can see the video review and discussion below.
The episode opens with lizards trying to eat Baby Yoda. The child suddenly become the full focus of the story, and not just because the Mandalorian is taking his bounty. We are starting to see the entire world through Baby Yoda’s eyes, where cameras are low, obstructed by small things and big people, and we even look over its head a lot of the time.
And the small native lizards foreshadow the larger lizards, called Trandoshans, coming to take down The Mandalorian so they can take the baby too. That’s not the only thing that’s taken from him, because once we return to his ship, we see that practically everything has been scavenged by Jawas, who get away before he can save his ship.
All of this story is told without a single word. In fact, the first thing that’s said is, “I thought you were dead.” Guess who? It’s the Ugnaught Kuill! Kuiil helps The Mandalorian negotiate a trade — the parts of his ship for an incredibly hard to acquire egg.
And when The Mandalorian nearly fails and dies by the horn of the twenty-ton beast, Baby Yoda uses the force and completely lifts it into the air. Such raw power is clearly valuable to The Empire. After all, that’s why there’s a bounty for the child.
The last thing that’s said in Episode 2 is when the Kuiil says, “I have spoken.” When will The Mandalorian speak for himself? When will he express his own identity, ability, etc.?
This episode shows more and more being taken from him. It’s a theme in this show. His family, his planet, his very culture, all of it was taken from him. And so everything is a struggle to maintain what he already has, and fighting tooth and nail for everything new that he wants.
I spent hours thinking about the one line, “I have spoken.” And while it’s a quirky and funny line in the moment, I think it signifies something greater. The Ugnaught does not speak without action. And The Mandalorian is a man of action and action alone. It seems that he doesn’t need words to express himself, and this is prompting me to look at his actions as statements. I’m reminded of how the story opened in a way that tells us to listen, learn, and understand. So as we keep watching, I will wait for his words, and listen to his actions.
We open to the stars, with The Mandalorian’s ship arriving on the planet where he first received his assignment.
He’s making sure that Baby Yoda doesn’t get hurt, even though he’s taking the child in for a bounty. We’re still seeing the world through Baby Yoda’s eyes, as The Mandalorian takes it onto this dangerous planet, with dangerous violent people all around. The world that once seemed exciting is now extraordinarily unfriendly.
The Mandalorian exchanges Baby Yoda for an absurd amount of Beskar steel. He gets brand new armor after fighting, and then bonding, with his Mandalorian brothers and sisters. We see a bit more of his backstory, beat in with every hit of a hammer in the blacksmith’s cave. We see more glimpses of the horrors of war, and what it was like to be a foundling.
Once he has his armor, he goes to take a new job, but things take a turn– suddenly, he realizes that he and Baby Yoda are very similar. He found Baby Yoda. And in that way, Baby Yoda is a foundling. So he goes back, testing his new armor and new weapons, and kidnaps Baby Yoda back from the Client and the Empire.
It seems that whether it’s Trandoshans or literally every bounty hunter that the Empire can find, The Mandalorian will always be surrounded by hostiles. They all want to wield the power, and he simply wants to keep it out of the wrong hands. In doing this, however, he broke the bounty hunter code, and had a target put onto his head. He clearly values the child’s life over anything else. He knows that Baby Yoda, and all the foundlings, are the future and they matter most of all.
We close with him flying off that planet into the stars as his fellow Mandalorians hold off the bounty hunter onslaught.
The Mandalorian has his Beskar steel now. And he even has a conscience! And yet, with this episode, we don’t discover what it is that he wants. It is simply revealed that he doesn’t want to trust The Empire.
So what does he want? And where will he go? I think he’s going to find his old master, or the person that found him on Mandalore all those years ago.
Be sure to stay updated on our blog, as we follow each episode of The Mandalorian, and dive into theories and analysis. These are the Mandalorian figures you’re looking for.