So I had started writing this post a few weeks ago and I was very excited about it, but I delayed writing for a while – during which there was a major reshuffle in the casting of the series with the resignation of Gina Carano. I want to make it clear from the outset that this post has nothing to do with that.
But, this will contain spoilers for the second season of Mandalorian.
The finale of season 2 of The Mandalorian wasn’t exactly perfect, but it was a lot of fun. Some condemned it for focusing too much on serving the fans, others said it was the best thing for Star Wars in the 21st century. Yes, I thought Luke Skywalker’s presence was worth it for the good visuals, but there was also some exciting action and an incredibly emotional ending to this season – and probably to what preceded it.
The best moment was when Grogu and Dean said goodbye together while Dean took off his helmet in front of everyone. This was a beautiful moment shared between the found father and son and was the perfect end to the ongoing discussion in the series about the Mandalorian habit of not taking it off. In this scene we see that he loves Grogu so much that he symbolically and literally reveals himself to everyone. There are no words to describe him other than “deeply personal,” which impresses a character whose character was largely impersonal and cold. And this makes the separation of the Mandalorian’s child a beautiful and heartbreaking moment.
This brings us to the question of what the separation of the two main characters of the series might mean for the overall quality of the series. My concern is that if the series does not reunite Grogu and Din later, it could run into major problems in the third season. These two characters are the heart and soul of the show. Almost every major moment of genuine emotion is due to these two characters, or their personal connection has been involved in some way. So far, the story has focused almost exclusively on the relationship between these two elements; if we separate them, what do we have?
It’s a delicate balance: what kind of character development could a Mandalorian have without children? Or what kind of series could a child have without the Mandalorian?
Yes, the two were separated at the end of season 2 – but it was different because the two characters were focused on finding a way to find each other. It was always about the relationship they shared. So their reunion in the final episode was a logical emotional push. On the other hand, the separation of the two characters takes that away.
I’m afraid there will be a fairly long separation between our main characters in season 3. Almost all genre stories, regardless of the medium, do this, but it can often seem monotonous. How pointless does it seem if in one of the Harry Potter books or movies Ron or Hermione are sidelined for much of the story because they are angry with Harry or the other? Are the Avengers movies better if the Avengers have to break up? If there is one franchise that can be accused of that, it is Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back, which has proven that you can separate the characters and still tell a good story if you play your cards right.
It worked then, but the previous trilogy suffered a lot, so much so that I could write an entire post about it. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan arrive on Tatooine in The Dark Threat and head to the city where they will meet the most important character of the trilogy: Anakin. Obi-Wan stays on the ship for literally no reason – after all, Obi-Wan’s relationship with Anakin is more important than his relationship with Qui-Gon, so why wasn’t he there to meet him? And that goes on until the end of the trilogy, which is almost seven hours long – and although I haven’t counted the number of scenes they share, Anakin and Obi-Wan probably share about an hour of screaming – and when the whole tragedy of The Revenge of the Sith ends with these two people who had such a strong bond breaking up and being in direct conflict with each other, it would be more emotional for these two to share even more screaming. In Attack of the Clones they are barely together, and in Revenge of the Sith they are separated most of the time.
It’s going to be hard to compare The Mandalorian to these three films, because in sixteen episodes they’ve already far exceeded the total length of the trilogy, and the main duo have been together almost the entire time, so they’ve already gotten off to a better start. Let’s hope that the relationship between these two characters does not lose sight of the leading role of this series.
Should the kid go to Jedi school and the Dean go on a bounty hunt so they never see each other again? Like I said, many Star Wars fans probably don’t think it’s a bad idea, and I’m sure it would be fun to watch, but it lacks the deeper moments of character development that the first two seasons may have hinted at. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in what the training of the Jedi children would look like, but I don’t want that to be the topic of the entire series – just as I don’t want Mando’s bounty hunt to be the main topic. One of the weakest episodes of Season 2, in my opinion, was Chapter 12: The Siege, in which Dean went after the bounty hunt with Kara Dune and Griff while Baby Yoda went to school and ate noodles; I wasn’t attracted to any of the stories, none of them interested me. And yes, in the end, that story had more to do with the main plot than the second episode of the season with the frogman character – but I felt like there was something missing from “The Siege,” I just couldn’t figure it out.
All of this is eloquent enough to say that I think the bond these characters share is the series’ greatest strength. By separating them, theoretically for an extended period of time or forever, the series is moving into uncharted territory. By doing so, they risk their biggest asses. Even though the official name of the series is “The Mandalorian,” for fans the series has always been “The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda.”
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