Disney+ has its new Star Wars TV series called The Mandalorian taking place five years after Return of the Jedi. The Mandalorian, a renowned bounty hunter in the style of Boba and Jenga Fett, is working far away from the Galactic Core, and getting by collecting low-value bounties. It was a no-brainer to predict renewal.
I don’t normally give a full recap of the episode, but it is relatively necessary here to explain the plot. A new client offers a large sum to retrieve a 50-year-old package, and other than coordinates, they provide little else in the way of details. Upon arrival, the bounty hunter receives help from a local who wants the group of mercenaries who protect the package removed from the area. The mercenaries are many, he is just one, but the odds are evened out by another bounty hunter who shows up first — a droid with super fast gun reflexes. They end up working together, get to the package, and there are two surprises. The droid bounty hunter has been paid to kill the package, while he gets more money if it is brought back alive; equally, the package turns out to be a young creature of the same species as Yoda, a relative infant. The Mandalorian kills the droid, and the episode ends.
The show has been accurately described as almost a Western, and it has a very strong Western feel to it. Lone gunman rides into town, doesn’t say much, does his job, and rides out. And while that is a great premise, it is really hard to bond with the protagonist if all he does is look blankly at the audience. This is a problem for The Mandalorian because he doesn’t take off his helmet the entire time.
You might be thinking, “But there have been lots of characters with no face that have bonded with their audiences”, including androids and robots. True, yet in almost all cases, they give them other ways to communicate. Heck, even R2D2 had whistles to convey changes in emotions.
For me, it was a challenge in the episode. I like the plot, I like the action, but I find it really hard to care about the Mandalorian. Not that it matters, the show is already renewed for Season 2, and I have no doubt Disney will milk it for several seasons. I just hope there is more than a helmet to react to in the future.