The man behind The Mandalorian, creator Jon Favreau, has basically confirmed my worst fears about the show. And while some of the folks who love Grogu will probably think he's got great news, I'm firmly feeling like Bo-Katan, wondering how this could be the way.
Currently, we're in the midst of The Mandalorian season 3 (which feels like almost its fourth when you consider the connective tissue of The Book of Boba Fett), The Mandalorian is already reportedly sagging with audiences. But it sounds like the series won't have any trouble living on for a while.
When Entertainment Weekly asked Favreau about how much longer The Mandalorian will soar, they got an answer simply summarized with the notion "As long as Favreau enjoys making The Mandalorian, he'll continue making it." Which makes me wonder where it's all going.
Specifically, Favreau declined to offer any notion of how long the series would last and also said "I don't know what would make me not enjoy doing it, especially as long as the audience is connecting with these characters. This feels like a really enjoyable moment. And I love this format of telling one chapter at a time and keeping the audience guessing, but also fulfilling certain expectations."
I'm sure Disney Plus execs are happy to hear this, but it doesn't feel like a good idea. And that makes me remember a line from Philip Seymour Hoffman's character in The Big Lebowski: "This is our concern, Dude." Below this lies spoilers about The Mandalorian season 3 episode 4.
The Mandalorian season 3 episode 4 reminds me why I'm frustrated
In today's latest instalment of The Mandalorian (Chapter 20: The Foundling), we get what amounts to yet another side mission that serves very little purpose. Sure, the mission to save Paz Vizsla's kid gave Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) a higher place in the clan and the respect of The Armorer. But "Mandalorian kids get abducted and rescued" felt like the biggest waste of everyone's time.
The episode also focused a little on Grogu's training with the Mandalorians, and featured a more fleshed-out flashback to his escape from the Jedi Temple during Order 66. Here, we learned that a human Jedi Master named Kelleran Beq (Ahmed Best) saved Grogu from the slaughter.
Star Wars experts may have recognized Best as the man who played Jar Jar Binks. For those who know, it's a "Leo points at the TV in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood" moment, and for the rest of us, it's an "okay, who's this guy? Ah, that's cool I guess," moment.
Right now, The Mandalorian’s leaned too far into the side missions and small bites of stories. While the groundwork may be laid for future episodes (particular with Dr. Pershing’s story last week), it all feels like we’re staring at the whiteboard in the writer’s room. And nobody should be able to watch a plot build. It should feel natural, and not intentional.
From talking with my Tom's Guide colleague Tom Pritchard, and friends I chat with frequently in a Discord, I know that a lot of what The Mandalorian season 3 is delivering is just missing with me because I don't know the right lore. And, sure, it's Star Wars. It's supposed to be fun, and for kids (and adults who are still kids at heart).
But right now, I can't help but shake my head as I watch new episodes of The Mandalorian every Wednesday morning, and think "this isn't the way."