It was a long time ago, in multiplexi far, far away since the Star Wars franchise last amazed, dazzled, and touched our imaginations. Until now. There has been a disturbance in the force, and it’s a good one. The Mandalorian has reawakened the franchise and given new hope to fans.
Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian (Disney+) got back to its lore and Jedi roots. After spending much of season two on contrived quests that were little more than wild goose chases masquerading as filler, the show got down to brass tacks, and turned out the best live action segment since The Empire Strikes Back.
Mando is quested with reuniting The Child (aka Baby Yoda) with his people, the Jedi. He tracks a Jedi down and she gives us a ton of backstory, the kind of red meat story we’ve been craving. First, it turns out the kid has a name: Grogu. I have a feeling the fandom will likely stick with Baby Yoda, but we’ll see. We already knew Grogu was 50 years old, so his life spans back to the rise of the Empire. We find out he’s already has several Jedi masters train him, and when the order was betrayed by Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, Grogu was sent into hiding.
I don’t mean the clones of Episode II. I mean that Star Wars has just been cloning itself for decades, devoid of any real ideas or imagination. I’ve said before that it takes a lot to say that a franchise guaranteed to make a billion dollars with each release was in trouble, but that’s been the case here. A Death Star. Another Death Star. A planet turned into a Death Star. Multi-generational daddy issues. The list goes on.
And while a Yoda clone may appear like going back to a dried up well once again, that doesn’t feel like the case now. This feels fresh, like a true bridge connecting the worlds of the original trilogy to the aftermath of the Battle of Endor. We also see that the New Republic is far from perfect and how Imperial remnants were able to reorganize in the chaos, which connects us to the (hopefully) final trilogy.
The series bridges an important time in the canon. Hopefully the last three episodes of this season will take us further down the road and give us more of the lore and legends we desperately miss and want to learn more about.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
I’m going with the Blue Lightsaber. With tequila and rum it’ll take you back to the good old days. Before the dark times. Before the Empire.