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The following contains spoilers for the first episode of The Mandalorian on Disney+, titled "Chapter 1". You're really going to want to watch it first, then come back and read this.
Without question, the most anticipated of Disney+'s original shows is the first ever live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian. Of course, beyond the fact that it was a live-action Star Wars series focusing on an enigmatic bounty hunter, we knew little about what the show actually was. Now, however, Disney+ is here, the first episode of the series is available, and we're already regretting Disney's decision to release episodes weekly instead of in a bingable format, as we may be on the verge of the answer to a Star Wars question we've been waiting 40 years to learn.
While The Mandalorian certainly feels like a Star Wars product, the thing that I was most reminded of while watching "Chapter 1" was actually Firefly. While the tone is completely different, The Mandalorian is very much a space western in that same style. It's probably not too surprising considering that our concept of the bounty hunter is forever linked with the western, but this opening of the show very much feels like we're watching Steve McQueen in Wanted Dead or Alive, in space. If you'd like to see for yourself but haven't signed up for Disney+ yet, you can use this link for a 7-day free trial.
Our main character, voiced by Pedro Pascal, I hesitate to say played, because the character never removes his helmet, it could be anybody under there, is moving quickly and cleanly from one bounty to the next in the days following the fall of the Empire in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Looking for more credits, he takes a bounty off the books, that leads him to a desolate planet. Here he meets up with a Bounty Droid, voiced excellently by Taika Waititi, who has been sent after the same goal.
And it's here where I'm going to reiterate the whole spoilers thing, because in the final seconds of Chapter 1, we gain the piece of information that will likely be the main focus of the plot throughout Season 1. The bounty the Mandalorian has been sent after is a little green alien, what appears to be an infant, but one that looks quite familiar, as he, or she, or it, is the same race of creature as Jedi Master Yoda.
We're told the creature is 50-years-old, but if Yoda reached 900, as we're told he did, then it's not shocking that the maturity rate for the race is quite different. We wouldn't know, because while Yoda was introduced in only the second Star Wars film, and was a major part of the prequels, we know essentially nothing about his race, not even its name. We've only ever seen one other member of Yoda's race in canon, and the only thing that taught us is that females exist in the species.
What's most interesting, is that, based on what the episode tells us, the people of the Star Wars universe may know about as much about this race of beings as we do. We're introduced to a Doctor Pershing alongside The Mandalorian's current employer who is very concerned with getting the specimen back alive. It seems likely that the idea is to get the infant back for study. The fact that none of this is spoken about openly gives the impression that this target is an especially big deal. If more were known about the creature, the bounty hunter would have likely received a few more details.
It appears that if anything at all is known about what these creatures are, it's that they're viewed as being quite dangerous. In lieu of bringing the bounty back alive, The Mandalorian is told he can bring back proof of death, for a lesser fee of course. Whoever sent the Bounty Droid IG-11 after the same creature wasn't even leaving it up to chance, the droid was under orders to terminate the creature and would have done so had it not been stopped.
Why anybody would want to kill anything so cute is beyond me. There must have been a pretty serious reason. Considering the only two members of this species we've ever seen were both Jedi, perhaps the race is naturally talented with the Force. It could simply be that somebody doesn't really want the Jedi to return to fill the vacuum left by the Empire. Force sensitive beings would likely also be in high demand for study by any who wanted to gain that power.
What Happens Next?
Of course, it seems like odds are neither of these things are set to happen. The only thing we really learn about our main character in The Mandalorian from a personal standpoint is that he's an orphan, a "foundling" as he calls it in the show. In the final seconds of the first episode, it seems that, since our little green alien with the big ears also appears to be an orphan, our hero has already bonded with the little guy, or girl. I would guess it's unlikely he's going to be willing to turn it over if it's going to be in any danger, and based on what we've seen, that appears likely.
One way or another, if a little baby Yoda is going to be at the center of this first season of The Mandalorian, then it's going to be difficult for the series to last for eight episodes without giving us some new information about what these creatures are. We could learn where they come from, why they appear to be so rare in the galaxy far, far, away. It would be nice to learn what they're called, if only so that I can stop referring to it as it, or creature. Hopefully, in Chapter 2 somebody will give it a name at the very least.
Certainly we will learn why somebody thought it necessary to send a droid to shoot it in the head. Whether the reason for that is something specific to this creature or simply because of what it is, we'll have to wait and see.
Luckily, we won't have to wait quite as long as we normally will for some of those answers. Chapter 2 of The Mandalorian will air on Friday November 15. Most subsequent episodes will land on Friday's after that.
It's certainly exciting to learn that there are, in fact, more members of Yoda's species out there. What that means exactly, we'll just have to wait for the next episode to find out. Why couldn't Disney+ have just dropped all the episodes at once?