Better is the way – How to improve The Mandalorian for Season 2
I think we can all agree that out of all of Disney’s Star Wars offerings, The Mandalorian bears the closest resemblance to the Luke/Lucas originals. A true Space Western, it gave us memorable heroes (Baby Yoda, Kuiil), dastardly villains (Moff Gideon, ‘The Client’) and morally wavering bounty hunters (‘Mando’, Cara Dune).
Yet, as the title suggests, there’s always room to develop. After all, it’s only in keeping with the originals that The Mandalorian pulls an Empire Strikes Back: delivering a superior follow-up season. How does it do that? With all of the recent announcements in mind, here are three key areas that I think showrunners Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni should focus on.
1: Don’t rely on references
On those announcements, the most attention has been drawn towards the return of familiar faces. Boba Fett will return, played by Attack of the Clones and Clone Wars actor Temuera Morrison. Katee Sackhoff shall reprise her Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels role of Bo-Katan Kryze, another Mandalorian. And the biggest news of all – Rosario Dawson being cast as fan favourite Ahsoka Tano.
Fan favourite is a good term to sum up my concerns: Favreau and Filoni must steer clear of overindulging us with faces that we already know. After all, we can all agree that Disney’s sequel trilogy suffered from a Palpatine lightning overload of in-your-face nods - characters and story arcs ripped straight out of the originals.
Instead, focus on the fact that The Mandalorian is set during an unexplored timeframe: the period between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. We’ve got new characters that we’ve come to care about (I mean if you don’t care about Baby Yoda, pretty sure you’re getting evicted from your family home). If you’re going to use characters that we know, at least utilise them in a way that brings out more from the newer characters and settings.
2: Make good on the mysteries of the first season
We certainly had character development, but The Mandalorian still left a breadcrumb trail of mysteries leading into the second season. What is the extent of Baby Yoda’s powers? How did the show’s villain, Moff Gideon, find himself in possession of what fans will know as the Darksaber? Did Mando’s leader, The Armourer, survive the end of the show?
The shadowy Imperial - Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) wielding the 'Darksaber'
It’s the mark of a good show if it makes the wait for these revelations worth it. Why not link in some of the new characters: two Mynocks, one thermal detonator, if you Star Wars fans will. Ahsoka could help Baby Yoda control his powers, for example. Mando, while trying to learn more about his clan, could run across Boba Fett, a darker reflection of our faithful gunslinger.
Whatever way it resolves its mysteries, the second season can’t dilly-dally: use the answers to act as the thruster fuel for this season’s story, rather than dragging them out just to give us a forced excuse to tune in.
3: It needs a narrative throughline
This dilly-dallying relates to the core criticism of the first season: The Mandalorian lacked a strong narrative throughline. While it hinted at one in the first few episodes, it abandoned this mid-season for a pit stop plotline that led our leads on a couple of standalone adventures. While this narrative style is in keeping with the Space Western vibe of the show, casting Mando as the Lone Wanderer made famous by films like Clint Eastwood’s ‘Dollars Trilogy’, it does conflict with the show's initial structure.
Episodic, standalone series exist everywhere: X-Files is a model of this. But, The Mandalorian works best when it's carrying its characters and story forward to a singular goal or end point. Season 2 can remedy this. With Mando and Baby Yoda travelling together at the end of the last episode, why can’t they go on a journey of discovery?
Father and son time - Let's see where these two end up, without the unnecessary side plots
Use the mysteries of the first season to lay the foundations for a stronger narrative: I can’t be the only one that wants to put a creative Star Wars race name to those Yoda ears. Then, build from there. The first season hinted at a darker side of Baby Yoda: could his race and the origin of his powers weave into this? Let’s get some meat on The Mandalorian’s bones – simple isn’t always best.
What do you want to see in the second season of The Mandalorian? More of the Empire? Mando teaching Yoda how to take Death Sticks?
If you need more Star Wars content, why not click here for my ranking of Disney’s Star Wars films? Or click here for my argument on Revenge of the Sith being a great Star Wars movie?
If you liked the article, subscribe to the website! I'll keep you updated on all of the latest posts. And follow The Film Foyer on social media! All of the links can be found in the feedback form at the bottom of the page.