Tell me if you’ve heard this one before, a bounty hunter walks into a bar…
The Mandalorian’s opening scene showcases an age-old problem with the genre of fantasy. An armoured badass walks into a bar loaded down with enough weaponry to take on an army only for three goons who are clearly out of there league to approach and pick a fight. It’s a scene that has been done a thousand times before with roots in the old westerns that “The Mandalorian” uses for inspiration throughout its first episode.
The idea of using western themes to describe the wild frontiers of space is certainly one that has been done before, shows like Firefly and Cowboy Bebop have proven that it is a formula that works very well, however both of these rely also on their unusual settings and strange rules to draw the audience into the narrative. This is where Disney’s new latest greatest show meets its first challenge. Star Wars as a franchise is surprisingly, not a draw to most people anymore. The show does try its best to distance itself from the latest group of lacklustre movies but outside of diehard fans it has become difficult to figure out exactly who the show is for.
Despite this the show makes a good first impression with a strong opening episode filled with intriguing well realized characters. From the sombre alien shepherd to the bounty hunter droid the world is filled with interesting and intriguing characters that paint the idea of a fully formed universe in a way that hasn’t been done since the original trilogy.
However, the show is not perfect, indeed its over reliance on the classic tropes of Star Wars may prove to be its undoing. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the close of the first episode where the show is unable to resist throwing a twist at us that is designed to directly appeal to the fanatic fan-base in a way that shrinks the universe rather than expanding it.