Why ‘The Mandalorian’ season 2 is even better than season 1 (from a certain point of view)

When the first season of “The Mandalorian’” premiered on Disney+ last year, as a Star Wars fan of course I was excited. More Star Wars is always good, right?

Overall, I enjoyed the first season. It was fun to meet new characters, and Baby Yoda (now officially Baby Grogu!) was an adorable surprise. 

However, I will say that even though I really liked “The Mandalorian,” it didn’t necessarily rocket to the top of my list of favorite Star Wars stories. It helped to tide me over to “Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker,” but at least to me, “The Mandalorian” was more of a diversion than a destination.

It wasn’t until season 2 that I got really hooked on “The Mandalorian.” I was ecstatic about the first episode of season 2 — “Chapter 9: The Marshal.” It felt like a true Western set in the Star Wars universe. The cinematography was breathtaking, and I became an instant fan of Timothy Olyphant as Cobb Vanth. 

And, at least for me, season 2 just kept getting better and better from there. We got to see beloved characters from animation appear in live action for the first time, like Ahsoka Tano and Bo-Katan Kryze. Moff Gideon’s Imperial remnant became a bigger and more intimidating threat. We learned key details about Baby Yoda’s backstory (including his real name), and we finally saw the return of Boba Fett. And yes, he’s still a complete badass. 

As a Star Wars fan, I have been so hyped for “The Mandalorian” this season. I’m excited to get up at the crack of dawn each Friday to watch the next episode. I didn’t do this last season, but so far I’ve watched every new episode at least two times. This show really is firing on all cylinders for me this season, and I’m way more engaged in it now. I’m nervous and excited about the final two episodes, and what other crazy awesome character cameos are still to come. (Grand Admiral Thrawn? Young Luke Skywalker? Nothing feels impossible right now.)

So what changed about “The Mandalorian”? I know people who have been diehard fans of this show from day one, but I find it interesting that it didn’t truly connect with me until this season. It’s also fascinating because some fans have expressed concerns about where the show is heading storywise, while I’ve been loving every minute. 

Let’s dive a little deeper into the show’s second season, and examine the positive (and negative) ways it has evolved, as well as varying fan reactions. 

So far, the second season of “The Mandalorian” has featured deeper ties to the larger Star Wars universe — and depending on your perspective, that could be either a good thing or a bad thing. 

I know some fans who appreciated that season 1 of “The Mandalorian” seemed like its own thing. It featured minimal references to Jedi and appeared focused on telling a smaller-scale story. And there was absolutely nothing wrong with that. 

Yet at least for me, “The Mandalorian” season 1 lacked some of that epic, interconnected feeling I love so much about the Star Wars movies. The stakes felt lower than I was used to. 

The second season is really making me feel like the Mandalorian — Din Djarin — and Baby Grogu will be key players in the future of the galaxy. I’m intrigued by what Moff Gideon’s ultimate plan is. I wonder who will answer the Force signal that Baby Grogu sent from the planet Tython in the most recent episode. I can’t wait to see what other characters from animation will now be showing up in live action. 

The first season felt a little meander-y to me at times, and there were some episodes that felt too much like filler. The second season is much more driven and focused in terms of its storyline. The one episode that kinda felt like filler — “Chapter 10: The Passenger” — I give a pass to because I love Frog Lady and also enjoyed the “Alien” references. There have been so many mind-blowing reveals so far this season, I honestly have no idea what they have planned for the finale.

I do feel for fans who are not digging all the references in season 2 and preferred the feel of season 1. I am personally more engaged when “The Mandalorian” feels more connected to the wider Star Wars galaxy, but for other fans, the opposite may be true. 

At least for me, the second season of “The Mandalorian” has me more excited than ever for the future of Star Wars on Disney+. For a while I was bummed because I didn’t really know when I’d get to see a new Star Wars movie on the big screen (COVID has further complicated this). 

Yet even if the only on-screen Star Wars content I’ll be getting in the near future is TV shows on a streaming service, I think I’m okay with that. I honestly never thought I’d get to see an Episode 7, 8, or 9 and I dearly loved how those movies turned out. Now I’m ready to settle back and see what surprises Disney+ will bring me for Star Wars in the future. 

This is the way!

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