Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Way of the Mandalorian



With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker concluding the epic nine-part Skywalker saga a year ago. The Disney+ live-action spin-off series continues to fill the void during the pandemic.

This contains spoilers for The Mandalorian Chapter 12 and 13 streaming now on Disney+. You have been warned, Padawan!

Following Din Djarin's (Pedro Pascal) memorable meeting with Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), Mando and The Child AKA Baby Yoda take a detour to visit some old friends on Nevarro and repair the battle-damaged Razor Crest before continuing the search for the Jedi. Kryze told Mando to seek fan-favourite Ashoka Tano (The Clone Wars) on the forest moon of Corvus.

Director Carl Weathers, who plays Greef Karga in the live-action Star Wars spin-off, dives into George Lucas' original trilogy sandbox and serves up a thrilling tale filled with 'toyetic' moments that transported me back to childhood; playing with Kenner and Palitoy action figures, playsets and accessories at Christmas.

All the while connecting the prequel, original and sequel trilogies with midi-chlorians sourced from The Child and allusions to the creation of Emperor Palpatine's (Ian McDiarmid) puppet: Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). And that's before Moff Gideon's (Giancarlo Esposito) Dark Troopers, first seen in the Star Wars: Dark Forces video game, seemingly appear aboard his Arquitens-class light command cruiser. Oh, boy!

Ahsoka lives!

Chapter 13, directed by Dave Filoni (Star Wars Rebels), sees Ashoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) immediately enter the fray in an episode that will be long remembered as it explores the grander mythological themes of the Star Wars saga, sets up a new spin-off series and rewards longtime fans (myself included) amidst scorching lightsaber and blaster fire action.

The Jedi is an emotional tour de force in which we learn Baby Yoda's name is Grogu, how he was saved from certain death in the Jedi Temple, on Coruscant, by a mysterious rescuer when the Emperor passed Order 66 as Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) turns to the dark side, becomes Darth Vader and goes on a murderous rampage (Revenge of the Sith). This is lent further poignancy in the knowledge Ahsoka was Anakin's former apprentice.

There's tragic foreshadowing as Ashoka refuses to train Grogu (he'll always be Baby Yoda to me) due to his attachment to Djarin. If The Phantom Menace is any indicator, I've got a bad, very bad, feeling about this.

If this wasn't enough to process, Grand Admiral Thrawn (Heir to the Empire) is namechecked when Ahsoka defeats the Magistrate (Diana Lee Inosanto). Wherever the Razor Crest, tracked by Moff Gideon's Imperial forces, is taking us, it's going to be the very best of Star Wars.

This is the way.

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