Following its acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, Disney has produced five movies that have met with somewhat of a mixed reception.

Rogue One and The Force Awakens were, generally, well-received critically and while The Rise of Skywalker and The Last Jedi went big at the Box Office, both have proved divisive among what is a hardcore fanbase. 

For the next few years, our new content from the Star Wars universe will come in the form of live-action series’, telling original stories and continuing others. 

A tv spinoff around the events in Rogue One and an Obi-Wan Kenobi storyline have both been slated for 2021 release, showing the studios desire to focus on long-form content. 

Back to the present, The Mandalorian has stared down a daunting task within the Star Wars canon. As the first cab off the rank, the series has attempted to replicate the core characteristics of George Lucas’ universe and stand on its own two feet. 

One of the main successes of the series is the grittier tone it evokes, reminiscent of Rogue One’s take on the universe, with enough callbacks to the original films. It still stays fairly far removed, with no Lightsabers or Jedi in sight. This is a story about the downtrodden members of a Galaxy Far Far Away.

Pedro Pascal and Horatio Sanz in The Mandalorian
Pedro Pascal and Horatio Sanz in The Mandalorian C: Disney/Lucasfilm

For the most part, the show has succeeded admirably. Set five years after the fall of the Empire, and the Ewok tinged Battle of Endor, The Mandalorian follows our lone gunslinger as he scraps for cash in the outer rims of the Galaxy, before taking on a job that changes everything.

Each episode reportedly had a budget of up to £10 million, giving every episode a cinematic sheen and quality to it. It really brings to the fore the look and feel of the originals, with the unrest following the Empire’s demise very palpable. 

It also dives deep into Mandalorian race’s lore, all without a nod and a wink to the legendary Boba Fett. We get clearer glimpses of the Galaxies underbelly, something only previously seen in Star Wars cartoons such as Rebels and The Clone Wars

The series boasts some tremendous talent both in front of and behind the camera, all masterminded by Jon Favreau (Iron Man, The Jungle Book) and Dave Filoni (Rebels, Clone Wars)

Guest contributions come from the much loved Taika Waititi (Thor Ragnarok, Jojo Rabbit) and Bryce Dallas Howard while Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones, Narcos) stars as our armoured bounty hunter, a task done admirably considering we don’t see his face (for the most part) throughout.

Taika Waitit/Rio Hackford and Pedro Pascal in The Mandalorian
Taika Waititi/Rio Hackford and Pedro Pascal in The Mandalorian C: Disney/Lucasfilm

One of the surprises of the show has been the popularity of the “Baby Yoda” character, who has become an internet sensation featuring in gifs and memes everywhere since the shows launch in November stateside.  

Although he (or maybe she?) certainly appeals to younger viewers, he never distracts the audience nor takes away from what the show is trying to achieve and is used to the best possible effect to drive the story forward. 

The head honcho’s who envisioned this fresh slice of the Star Wars verse clearly get what worked so well for George Lucas and co since their first outing all those years ago in 1977, and which was replicated to such strong effect in Rogue One

What The Mandalorian brings is an exciting, fresh and fun tale that touches upon what made the originals so special, but forges its own destiny entirely.

With season two in the works and a mouth-watering Obi-Wan Kenobi story arc to come, Disney has found a formula that is worth its weight in gold in what is a brave new world.

Verdict: ★★★★