Since last month’s D23 Expo, and well before that, interest has been growing in the new series The Mandalorian, which debuts November 12 on Disney +.
It is Lucasfilm’s first foray into live action television, since, well, The Star Wars Holiday Special—in which, by the way, the first character ever to wear Mandalorian armor, Boba Fett, debuted. However, this new series takes place after The Return of the Jedi, and Boba Fett is no more. Basically, a sci-fi Western (which is how George Lucas first conceived his Star Wars saga, as a Western with laser guns and light swords), The Mandalorian concerns a bounty hunter on the fringes of the galaxy as the Empire falls and the Republic tries to rebuild.
Why has Lucasfilm picked The Mandalorian as its first television series? This is further puzzling with the recent announcement that an Obi-Wan Kenobi series is now planned for 2021. Ben Kenobi is part and parcel of the original 1977 Star Wars film and the character recurs in both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Further, he is one of the lead characters in the prequel movies, Star Wars Episodes I through III. A series about such a major character is more than understandable (and long anticipated). Also clear is why Disney+ will feature doomed lead character Cassian Andor from the Rogue One movie in a second upcoming series. But why has a character based indirectly upon a bounty hunter who only briefly appears in Episode V and VI, and then gets some backstory in Episodes I through III, inspired an entire new series?
It’s mostly because of the iconic look of that armor. Boba Fett’s armor has interested generations of Star Wars fans and has more appeal, at least in my opinion, than the character of Boba Fett itself. Originally Lucas hinted that there was once a great war between the Mandalorians and the Jedi during the early days of the Old Republic. More Mandalorian lore, and the planet Mandalore, was developed in season two of the animated series The Clone Wars. In fact, the animated series Rebels also featured a Mandalorian character in the artistic young rebel Sabine Wren. Both series were developed by Dave Filoni, who also directs the debut episode of The Mandalorian.
Mandalore is a planet that remained neutral during the Clone Wars. Devastated historically by its ancient war with the Jedi, the planet is largely uninhabitable, but its population continues to live in biodomes. Its main export to the Republic and later to the Empire is beskar, an iron that is highly resistant to light sabers and easy to work, and the same material used for the armors of Jango Fett and son Boba, Sabine Wren, and now for The Mandalorian lead character. What further facts about Mandalore that will be revealed by the new series remain to be seen.
The visually appealing, identity concealing armor that The Mandalorian wears presents a mysterious character that we will only get to know over the series of episodes as the story unfolds. Filoni is quick to point out that this character is NOT Boba Fett, however. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Filoni claimed George Lucas would say:
“Boba Fett is not Mandalorian, not born on Mandalore.”
Showrunner Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and his many directors, including Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones) and Bryce Dallas Howard (actor, Spider-Man 3), will explore this fascinating character, who is a deliberate echo of the “man with no name” Clint Eastwood played in three great Westerns directed by Sergio Leone (in A Fist Full of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). The series may also establish some linking information about how the First Order arose from the ashes of the fallen Empire and grew to become a threatening military power in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
Whoever The Mandalorian (played by actor Pedro Pascal) ultimately turns out to be, fans will eagerly be anticipating the series debut on Disney+ on November 12.
Check out the newest trailer and poster HERE.