Season two of the Disney+ series resuscitates the true essence of the original trilogy and opens it up to new narrative horizons
“The Mandalorian” has already become a TV icon of our time thanks to the fact that it works on two levels. One, surely the most important, is that it would be an excellent series even if it were not part of the “Star Wars” universe. Yes, it’s full of references to the saga and some of its plots make sense due to its belonging to an expanding universe, but it’s watchable even by those who have never been initiated in the matter and who can enjoy its vocation as a galactic western packed with visual jewels to discover and filmed with contagious attention to detail. The other level is that, indeed, it is a “Star Wars” series, and not only this, but it’s “Star Wars” at its very best, with the added value that it knows how to capture the essence of the original trilogy and make it evolve towards new and encouraging narrative fronts. And that’s not all: the “Star Wars” brand can no longer be analyzed without taking into account the splendid contributions of “The Mandalorian”, which will surely be the mold from which future productions of the saga will be cast.
The second season is, in this sense, is a thrilling journey into this universe of possibilities. The series skips from airs of “Shane” to “Tremors” with a prodigious formal harmony, transitioning from an intimate scene full of humor and tenderness to a spectacular shot of monstrous arachnids without skipping a beat. In the second installment (which, significantly, lists the episodes as a continuum from the first season) the big news is how it takes to an even greater height its synthesis between being its own and an inherited personality. It continues to be “The Mandalorian” that makes “Star Wars” resonate in its most classic sense, reclaiming past supporting characters from the saga and paying homage to fans of the animated series. But at the same time, with its skillful introduction of new characters, it stands as the perfect synthesis of the fantasy genre that makes coexistence between genders its main identity feature. Once again, one of the most successful aspects of the story is the relationship between the mercenary in the title and Baby Yoda: aware that the surprise effect and the initiatory tone have already lost ground, they evolve it into a highly emotional symphony of complicities and everyday absurdities that’ll have audiences smiling throughout.
With the exception of the wonderful “Rogue One” and the unfairly underrated “Han Solo”, one of the fundamental problems with the new formulations of “Star Wars” is this permanent tension between evoking the past and thinking about the future. “The Mandalorian” shows that you don’t have to rely excessively on the past to make a product with future projection. The series is even capable of producing episodes with almost no dialogue, of squeezing the last drop out of a characters who doesn’t remove his helmet and of reminding us why “Star Wars” is key to understanding the love for audiovisual narrative. All credit to be shared in equal parts among series creator, Jon Favreau, its magnificent roster of directors, a cast that gives everything for the cause (attention to the often brief but intense appearances of popular faces throughout the second season) and the great work of the composer Ludwig Göransson, who renews the musical language of the saga without losing sight of the lessons of his predecessors.