After the fall of the Galactic Empire, lawlessness has spread throughout the galaxy. A lone gunfighter makes his way through the outer reaches, earning his keep as a bounty hunter.
The Mandalorian series three review – a cracking opener full of mini mechanics and man-eating crocodiles
Mando and Baby Yoda are back in this thrillingly weird western where the gifts just keep on coming, from the wild beasts to the Taika Waititi cameos
When a Yorkshire drug dealer said “This is the way” in the final season of Happy Valley, it was a sign of the impact The Mandalorian has had since it started Disney+’s pivot into Star Wars TV shows back in 2019. Other series have followed, and some – notably the epic Andor – have been good, but none has had the sort of cultural impact that leads to BBC One dramas quoting your lead character’s catchphrase.
If you’re not fully plugged into the Star Wars universe, however, Disney+ has stitched you up by continuing The Mandalorian when you weren’t looking. The show itself has now returned for a third season, but last year’s final three instalments of the otherwise dull spin-off The Book of Boba Fett – which fairweather fans had given up on after the stultifying first episode – formed a crossover story, heavily featuring Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) AKA the Mandalorian, or Mando to his admirers.
He’s been busy! Our man acquired a reconditioned Naboo starfighter, fought to retain his frighteningly powerful new weapon the darksaber, and was reunited with his regular travelling companion Grogu (to devotees of the show, “Baby Yoda”) when the adorable little furball sacked off his Jedi training with Luke Skywalker and chose to ride shotgun with Mando instead. Hardly any of that is in the “Previously … ” montage at the start of the new Mandalorian episode, so for some viewers it’s a double surprise when Mando arrives in a sleek retro set of wings, with Grogu peeping out of a glass dome behind him as his tiny co-pilot, like R2-D2 back in the day.
The reappearance of the hero and his cuddly green pal caps off an opening sequence that adds to the show’s long run of exhilarating action sequences with impressive monsters:
some Mandalorians are enjoying a lakeside coming-of-age ceremony, but just as a boy is fitted with the armoured helmet that signifies he is now an adult, a gargantuan crocodile-like creature emerges from the water and starts eating the congregation. When all looks lost, Din Djarin zooms in and blasts the thing’s guts out.
From there, the comeback episode continues to dole out a pacy greatest-hits set, packing several signature moves into a half hour that’s chiefly concerned with setting up the new season. After confirmation from the relevant authorities that his decision to remove his helmet in season two means he is now an apostate, Mando takes Grogu to the planet Nevarro to reconnect with old pal Greef Karga (Carl Weathers). Karga tells visitors that her ally, Cara Dune, has a new job and is no longer with her, and unravels the mystery of how the actress who played Dune wrote Gina Carano. The pirates then arrive, leading to a quick firefight, which of course is won by Karuga and Mando.
The Mandalorian is straight out of an old western, with good law enforcement and bad outlaws pointing their fingers at holstered pistols before the villain reaches for his gun and seals his fate. We regularly bring up scenes. In the past, they even used the classic shot of a black man approaching a saloon in town on a dusty lone horse, shot through the feet of a sheriff standing outside the door.