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This story is loaded with spoilers for the new season of The Mandalorian**, so stop reading now if you haven’t yet watched the first episode, “The Marshal.”**
After a relatively brief hiatus, Lucasfilm’s The Mandalorian returned to Disney+ for the first episode of its season two campaign, and there were plenty of reveals dropped in the premiere that will have Star Wars fans talking. Timothy Olyphant’s fantastic new character sporting Boba Fett’s armor. A battle against a Krayt Dragon (and the reveal of a valuable pearl in its gut). And a cameo at the very end…
… which really didn’t work for me that way that the show probably hoped.
The season one premiere of The Mandalorian had a fantastic reveal in its final shot. We met The Child, a wonderous creature the world would come to know as “Baby Yoda.” The introduction of this creature sent our main character, The Mandalorian, on his current journey to first retrieve The Child on behalf of The Client (Werner Herzog), and then commit to returning him to his species.
The reveal of a very important character at the end of “The Marshal” likely will have the same impact on The Mandalorian’s journey, because he’s a massive character from the Original Trilogy of Star Wars films. And it’s a character whose presence and identity was heavily teased, even though we didn’t know when this character would show up.
In the final shot, we see Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) watching Mando (Pedro Pascal) as he pilots a speeder bike across the sands of Tatooine, in possession of the beskar armor that Fett once wore.
Now, raise your hand if you immediately recognized Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett in that scene. Because I sure didn’t. It doesn’t help that the shot itself is dimply lit, taking place around dusk as the character spies on Mando from a distance. And it doesn’t help that Morrison, who we haven’t seen on screen in a Star Wars film since 2005’s Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith – looks completely different 15 years later. If the goal of the reveal was to shock viewers with the Boba Fett reveal, and have us gasping at the fact that The Mandalorian lured this actor back for a pivotal role in the story, then the reveal was mishandled.
That’s not to say that the episode was bad (it wasn’t), or that Boba Fett being back in this universe is disappointing (it’s not). The bulk of “The Marshal” was a standard challenge-of-the-week episode for The Mandalorian, and the story dug deep into Star Wars mythology to make important use of Tusken raiders (Sand People), previously unseen Tatooine outposts, sarlacc pits, and other nods that will make Star Wars fans giddy.
In general, I really loved the episode. I thought the practical effects used to bring the Krayt Dragon to life were spectacular, and this type of longer-form Star Wars storytelling is definitely what I prefer from the galaxy far, far away. Director Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni live and breathe this world, and their attention to detail is unparalleled. But that final cameo swung and missed for me, even though Boba Fett undoubtedly will connect with audiences as the season blasts on.