After months of (mostly nonsense) rumors following Solo: A Star Wars Story‘s disappointing box office, Disney CEO Bob Iger recently announced a “slowdown” of new Star Wars movies. The decision is an understandable one, and it’s difficult to argue that we’ve been a little overloaded with new Star Wars in recent years. However, this was hardly the proclamation of doom many supposed fans were hoping for, and we’ve still got plenty more to come.
One of these upcoming projects has had us particularly intrigued: Jon Favreau‘s live-action TV show, set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. This is an exciting prospect for a number of reasons, first off because it deals with a time period we’ve seen very little of in the Disney era. Much of the spinoff material so far, from Rogue One to Rebels to Solo, has focussed on the pre-A New Hope setting. And it’s easy to see why. This gives filmmakers a chance to play around in the most familiar part of Star Wars without stepping on the Original Trilogy. But the chance to see an unexplored part of the timeline is enticing, something which this and the upcoming Resistance are both set to deliver on.
Another reason to be excited is Favreau’s varied filmography, from his sharp Swingers script to being Disney’s current go-to guy for live-action remakes of animated classics. Not to mention launching the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man. And he’s no stranger to Star Wars, either, having been seen a minor role in Solo and before that, voicing the Mandalorian warrior Pre Vizsla in The Clone Wars. Now, after much speculation on what his show would be about, Favreau has confirmed via Instagram that he’ll be returning to his Mandalorian roots once again.
As stated in the post, the new show is called The Mandalorian, and follows, well, a Mandalorian. More specifically, a “lone gunfighter” in the “outer reaches” of the Galaxy. On the one hand, the Mandalorians are a beloved part of Star Wars, with their iconic armor and warrior culture. While Boba Fett and Jango Fett may have had very little in terms of characterization, their eye-catching look made them instant fan-favorites. And the exploration of Mandalorian culture and politics in Rebels and The Clone Wars only cemented that position. The decision to base an entire show around them may seem like a no-brainer then.
Giving us an all-new protagonist from a popular part of Star Wars lore to explore this unknown time period could be the ideal way to go. This “lone gunfighter” character can experience all manner of adventures, giving us an insight into where the galaxy is currently at. And the vagueness of the description leaves plenty of room to create a unique new character.
On the hand, doesn’t this trope feel played out? How many “badass loner” types do we really need to see in these new Star Wars projects? The Han Solos and Jyn Ersos of the Galaxy are fine in small doses, but not every lead character needs to follow this path. Part of what makes the protagonists of the new trilogy so appealing is the attempt to actually challenge character archetypes and not have them fall into all the same boxes. Whereas the spinoffs seem content to keep to the same basic character types, to the point where they just feel interchangeable. I don’t know about you, but I have trouble telling apart a Tobias Beckett from a Cassian Andor.
Furthermore, what makes the two Fett characters so appealing is their mystery, their cool design, but hardly the characters themselves. These types work well in supporting roles, as part of a larger ensemble, but there’s a reason the announcement of a Boba Fett movie was met with a collective shrug. And if that movie is still on the table (which is uncertain at this time), it’s hard to imagine people being too excited about what I imagine would be very similar stories.
While a show like Resistance is aimed more at younger audiences than say, me, what we’ve seen so far at least offers something different in terms of setting and characters. And the idea of another “loner who only looks out for themselves, until they don’t” narrative is less interesting. Especially since the best Mandalorian stories often revolve around Mandalore as a whole and not just a single character.
Of course, this all comes down to execution and there’s still a lot to be positive for where The Mandalorian is concerned. Whether this falls into familiar conventions or does something new remains to be seen, but here’s hoping Favreau’s guiding hand makes this a fresh, exciting adventure.