Season 1 of The Mandalorian was a pleasant fresh take on the Star Wars universe, offering hardcore fans a moment of relief and that maybe Disney buying Star Wars hasn’t been the worst thing to happen to the franchise since Jar Jar Binks after all. However, Season 2 takes the show one step further, tying itself up with both the mainline films and the animated TV shows whilst delivering eight more thrilling episodes.
Din (Pedro Pascal) returns with “Baby Yoda” after being sent on a mission by The Armorer to locate the Jedi so that The Child can be trained and looked after. Due to the show being set after the events of Revenge of the Sith, the Jedi are now in hiding which means they will be incredibly difficult to find.
As usual, each episode feels like a side quest to a video game – really enhancing the show’s Western vibes. Wherever the Mandalorian goes, people are willing to help him on his journey at the cost of his help in whatever they need. This really opens up the show to introducing a variety of unique and well-written characters, including a frog-lady needing to reunite with her husband so they can hatch the eggs she’s laid and potentially save their species.
As well as this, The Mandalorian taps in more than ever into the rest of the Star Wars franchise, including beloved characters from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels and the original trilogy. Despite this, the nostalgic references are not overbearing and The Mandalorian still maintains its original storyline without having to rely on references to the rest of the franchise. By the end, we have had plenty of questions answered though there is enough left to explore within the storyline to justify another season.
The Mandalorian is as beautifully filmed as ever. The visual effects are pretty much flawless despite the budget limitations of a television show and the fact that sets were used rather than location filming. In fact, the filming is very stylish and experimental in some parts, using changes in Aspect Ratio to reflect certain situations. However, the choreography of certain fight scenes is a little shaky, albeit at least better than the fight scenes in the sequel trilogy.
One of the biggest changes in this season from the previous one would be Din’s relationship with The Child. In season 1, Din saw The Child as another mission though still withheld a moral stance on not handing him over to the Empire who wanted to perform experiments on him. Now, after discovering his force ability, Din has been instructed to find the Jedi so that The Child’s abilities can be trained to their full potential. However there is certainly a lot more warmness from Din towards The Child in this season and the character has grown much more into a father figure role (which we love to see).
Pedro Pascal has really outdone himself this season as Din, in a way if it wasn’t for the way he convincingly portrays an animatronic doll as his own child, we wouldn’t have such an attachment to the pair. That being said, the team behind Baby Yoda’s practical effects really deserve high recognition. The Child’s facial expressions are absolutely remarkable for practical effects and the transitions from the doll to CGI during the more complicated scenes are almost seamless and barely noticeable unless you’re looking out for them. The Baby Yoda fad would not have happened if it hadn’t been for the talents of the practical effects team.
Joining Din are Cara Dune (Gina Carano) and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) who return to aid him in his journey to find a permanent home for The Child. During their adventure they are yet again avoiding Moff Gideon, played brilliantly by Giancarlo Esposito who never fails to create a fantastic villain, who aims to recapture The Child in order to continue whatever experiments he had planned in the first season.
Ludwig Goransson has really delivered a tremendous score this season, especially in the final episode where he really experiments with mixing Star Wars’ more traditional score sounds with modern styles. It works out really well by still sounding like a Star Wars soundtrack whilst also bringing in his own personal take.
Season 2 of The Mandalorian has proved to be just as good as the first, if not better. It brings in new touches to The Star Wars universe as well as bringing back old favourites and finally doing the original trilogy some justice. After the sequel trilogy finished on a disappointing note thanks to the mess that was The Rise of Skywalker, it was refreshing to return to The Mandalorian which manages to do a better job in pretty much every aspect despite being on half the budget. Jon Favreau was the same person who both saved and started the Marvel cinematic universe over 10 years ago with the release of Iron Man, and now he’s the man keeping the Star Wars universe alive by the hang of a thread after the overwhelming sea of disappointment J.J Abrams has caused.