I understand your point of view, but I don’t feel like The Mandalorian is too edgy, or too safe. Like the later seasons of Clone Wars, it’s a nice compromise between child-friendly and adult-friendly, safe and risky. I feel like that’s the route Star Wars should go in the future.
I guess it’s kid-friendly? But I don’t remember ever feeling like they threw something in just for kids. I hate that $#*! & I was very much worried about it.
The tone feels very much like Empire to me. It’s for every age without pandering to any age.
Yeah, that’s what I meant. Star Wars is intended for all ages, and The Mandalorian really did a good job of allowing people of all ages to enjoy the show.
I can’t really explain this opinion too well but it feels different to me.
Empire didn’t pander to any age but this feels opposite. Like, they tried to pander to every age. Like they go halfway “for kids” and halfway “for adults.” It’s a show about a seedy criminal underworld but operates on very basic black/white morality. It tries to show the inherent goodness of our hero but also wants to make him a cold, ruthless badass. Baby Yoda but also, Bill Burr!
It’s how we get an entire episode seemingly endeared to the ambitions of a young hotshot bounty hunter, only for him to be quickly dispatched in such a weirdly dispassionate, cynical manner. But then how we get a mildly violent slasher-inspired “hunting for prey” scene next episode, only for every unsympathetic mercenary to be alive at the end. Together those are mixed messages. It goes back and forth between rule of cool and kid gloves.
And look, there could be an interesting discussion there, but any themes about the dichotomy inherent in all this is left only as subtext. There’s no real depth, in a way that feels like a symptom of the show being neutered from the start as something for a younger, less thoughtful audience.
It feels safe because there are new concepts and ideas here, but they just fold those back into the classical Star Wars archetypes. The Mandalorians as a violent warrior culture are treated as essentially just another honorable faction - with unique customs ofc, but - like the Jedi. These far reaches of the galaxy in disarray after a revolution, but we’re still seeing parts dominated by an evil Empire. The potential of humanizing the “simple men just trying to make their way in the universe” is forgone so that it can continue making all criminals just dishonorable scumbags; with the exception of our hero who is learning not to be (sounds familiar). I don’t care about making Star Wars “dark” - this isn’t about violence or anything - but they clearly use the interesting anti-heroism angles as a hook (esp. in the marketing), and cop out of exploring them.
If it was really like Empire, it wouldn’t pull its punches or simplify/ignore themes just because kids are in the audience. Granted, we lack the frame of reference for a “Star War” crime/western - the OT didn’t have a navigation of ambiguous morality and civilization to contend with. But it’s not like the PT dumbed down its own boring politics and trade disputes. Even if the original stories are your archetypal plucky heroes fighting evil bad guys, they existed in something far larger than that conflict. They brushed shoulders with all kinds of different exciting things that didn’t have to be the same genre/style if you were to go possibly into detail.
I guess that’s my issue with it. It still feels Star Wars-“branded” even when it posits to explore a side of the universe not connected substantially to the movies. The Clone Wars did bounty hunters and a criminal underworld with more nuance in a few one-off episodes alone. And that was for kids! The galaxy as it did when I was younger watching the OT just doesn’t feel as expansive or as full of possibility. It feels more obvious than ever that there’s stylistic/brand cap on the creativity of whatever Star Wars explores now.
I like the show, it’s certainly fun, but not in the way it is hyped up on reddit or across the internet.