‘The Mandalorian’ Takes On Western Tropes And Carves New Path For ‘Star Wars’ Universe

The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) in Lucasfilm's "the Mandalorian. CR: Francois Duhamel. Copyright: Lucasfilm Ltd.
The Mandalorian writer/director Jon Favreau talked about how George Lucas as well as Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth helped shape his love for storytelling. After watching The Mandalorian, once can also see how much Favreau loves Westerns. In the post below, I’ll give my brief thoughts on episode one of The Mandalorian – so SPOILERS AHEAD!

Werner Herzog is “The Client” in “The Mandalorian.” (Lucasfilm Ltd.)

The merging of science fiction and Western influences already evident in Jon Favreau’s work, as his underrated 2011 feature Cowboys & Aliens pointed to that very blend. Though Cowboys & Aliens does have its darker elements, The Mandalorian is in a class of its own.

All we know from episode 1 of The Mandalorian is that the titular character’s sole goal is to make enough credits as a bounty hunter. The highest form of currency, as witnessed by his business transaction with his go-between Greef Carga (Carl Weathers), is the main focus, even if he puts himself in harm’s way.

Many Westerns have shown us a lone gunslinger, walking into a bar and inevitably claiming a few lives in the process, and The Mandalorian’s slicing up (thanks to a rapidly closing door) of a lesser adversary is proof he simply doesn’t give a darn regarding who stands in his way. Even loyalties can turn on a dime, as The Mandalorian dispatches with bounty hunter droid IG-II (Taika Waititi) to save baby Yoda’s life. Just moments ago, the pair separately strode into the highly populated outpost easily outnumbered; and, like many a Western, these gunslingers eventually overcome their odds (at least before The Mandalorian double cross!).

IG-II (Taika Waititi) and The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) in “The Mandalorian.” (CR: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

I’m simply calling the 50-year-old creature The Mandalorian and IG-II find “Baby Yoda” as it currently has no name after episode one, and it would be interesting to see if this version of Yoda (or member of Yoda’s race) plays an ancillary role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

IG-11 (Taika Waititi) in “The Mandalorian.” (CR: Lucasfilm)

The Mandalorian could have simply excelled as a sci-fi film with B-Western intentions; each episode could have had our antihero hunt down his respective target and ultimately bring that person/creature in for a payday. But as suggested in the story, The Mandalorian is more than a bounty hunter, and he is supposedly destined for something even greater than his current state. Favreau’s decision to give the series a much more expansive scope, thanks to this profound discovery of this Yoda, signals this series may have a profound impact on the Star Wars universe. The second episode is slated for release on Disney+ on November 15th, and like millions of others, I’m definitely along for the ride.

Did you absolutely love The Mandalorian? What avenues do you think this series is headed? Feel free to comment below!