The second episode of The Mandalorian may be the most accomplished fan film ever made.
That’s both a compliment to the show for taking on an idea seemingly snatch from the mind of a fanfic writer and to fan films for often fulfilling big what-ifs that, until now, only unofficial Star Wars media could accommodate. Continuing directly from the premiere, the second episode sees The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) attempt to take his quarry back to base. But getting there proves more difficult than he hoped. That simple plot synopsis leaves out the rich, fanfic details and the action centerpiece of the show: The Mandalorian fighting a Sandcrawler full of Jawas to get most of his ship back.
Realized with aplomb by episode director Rick Famuyiwa and his crew, the scene comes from one of those great fanfic questions: what if Boba Fett had to fight Jawas? The answer is both something you never knew you needed from Star Wars while also instantly becoming an essential part of the lore. The sequence is funny, occasionally tense, and everything we want from this show.
Of course, the battle — which ultimately resolves amicably thanks to the intervention of Kuiil (Nick Nolte) — obscures the key detail which will no doubt impact the program’s ongoing plot: the asset’s clear connection to the Force. While we merely speculated that the creature (another example of Yoda’s species) might have a high midichlorian count, this week confirmed it with the asset’s attempts to heal a cut on The Mandalorian’s arm and his successful blocking maneuver when it and The Mandalorian went hunting for an egg to appease the Jawas.
All that said, we’re not entirely sold on the pace of this show. In terms of usual Star Wars storytelling, this is a mere five-minute scene in a 2-to-2-and-a-half hour movie stretched out to episode-length. But that disconnect may just be our expectations of both Star Wars and television as a format. More plot normally occurs in forty minutes of a show like this, but The Mandalorian seems to be playing by new rules.
Hopefully, that means we’ll getting a meatier plot next week, but if it also means the program can spend time creating fan film scenes like the ones we saw this week, we’ll learn to live with the pace.
The Mandalorian streams Fridays on Disney+.
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