An awesome series opener with a huge revelation at the end.
More than a small part of me wants this review to be "It is good... I have spoken", give it a score and go about my day. But I see myself as a professional reviewer who takes pride in his work and a massive Star Wars nerd who loves to chat about all things Star Wars until the Banthas come home.
Be warned, there will be spoilers beyond this point!
For most of this year we've been based in Italy, a beautiful country that sadly has to wait until the 31st of March for Disney+, meaning I've had to be very careful on social media to avoid spoilers regarding the new record breaking series The Mandalorian (I failed).
The premise is quite simple to begin with, it has been five years since the events of Return of the Jedi, the Empire has been defeated and whats left of it has disappeared. The Republic is the new dominant power but still not in complete control. But our story has next to nothing to do with them, it's all about a lone Mandalorian bounty hunter called Mando in the show (Pedro Pascal) plying his trade out in the lawless areas of the galaxy.
This opening episode sets up the series perfectly. Chapter One starts off with our still un-named hero chasing down a few smaller bounties before being offered a higher paying, but quieter job. He accepts of course. The rest of the episode follows him on this hunt for a 50 year old target. Starting with receiving some help from Kuiil (Nick Nolte), the Ugnaught moisture farmer, to battling a base full of criminals and mercenaries who are in possession of the bounty.
He is helped out by fellow hunter IG-11 (voiced by Taika Waititi), and finally find their prize, which turns out to be the best kept secret of the year: Baby Yoda!
Now of course the child isn't Yoda, he died 5 years previous, but the name of this species has never been revealed, so it has been going by Baby Yoda, The Child, Bright Eyes and many more.
This came as a huge shock to the series' fan base, we were told this was going to be a Space Western about a Mandalorian bounty hunter, then right at the end of the very first episode they drop this bombshell! But next to no one is complaining (there is always a couple), and it's not just Baby Yoda that is making this show must see TV, the story is quite gripping, the casting was done extremely well, and the soundtrack is exceptional, within minutes of finishing the episode I was on Spotify listening to the opening and closing credits.
Speaking of the closing credits, not content to just show the hard working men and women who made The Mandalorian possible, they've taken key moments from the episode and made them look like art.
At the end of the day, we were promised one type of show, and received something a little bit different, but better than we could have thought of, even the teasing flashbacks to the Mando's past are intriguing and I'm patiently waiting for that storyline to be fleshed out.
Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau have a certified hit on their hands with The Mandalorian, with a second season being ordered by Disney before the first had even been released to the public. Something tells me we'll be watching this show for years to come.