Closing thoughts on ‘The Mandalorian’ season two
A couple weeks ago for the Story Geeks, I wrote an article about how the second season of “The Mandalorian” was really clicking with me, even more so than season one. I thought the second season had a more epic feel and did a great job raising the stakes of the story. With so many mind-blowing reveals (starting with Boba Fett at the end of the opening episode), it seemed like the sky was the limit when it came to plot twists this season. I even joked about what crazy cameos could still be to come in the finale:
Well, it turns out half of my joking prediction came true: Luke Skywalker actually DID show up in the season finale, which was packed full of many epic moments, including dark troopers, a darksaber duel with Moff Gideon, and one of the most emotional moments in the Star Wars saga: Din Djarin saying goodbye to Grogu. And, on top of all that ridiculous awesomeness, we got an after-credits teaser that showed Boba Fett sitting on Jabba the Hutt’s old throne on Tatooine.
The season finale of “The Mandalorian” was close to a perfect 10 for me, so it’s been interesting to see some of the varied reactions online. I was incredibly excited to see Luke Skywalker appear in the episode, and I thought the CGI work was amazing. For others, the special effects were still a little too “uncanny valley,” and some saw Luke’s appearance as fan service.
I feel like “fan service” is starting to join the word “plot hole” as a phrase that’s getting overused in geek film discussions. There’s sometimes a very fine line between meaningful callbacks to previous material in a fictional universe, and cheap fan service that’s basically nostalgia for the sake of nostalgia.
As a viewer, I perhaps tend to be a little more forgiving of fan service than others. I approach stories through a lens that leans more heavily on emotion than logic. What I mean by that is, I can easily forgive a plot hole or two if the story makes me deeply care about the characters and their experiences from an emotional standpoint. For example, was Han boarding the Millennium Falcon in “The Force Awakens” and declaring “Chewie, we’re home” fan service? Maybe. But it hit me with a warm, fuzzy feeling, and made me tear up, so I’d say the moment read as authentic, at least to me.
Honestly, it makes sense that Luke was the Jedi to answer Grogu’s call from the planet Tython. Luke is (presumably) the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy right now, and we know he’s putting together a training academy. He’s also a recognizable name that won’t confuse general audiences.
I thought Luke’s appearance was an interesting contrast to Darth Vader’s famous “Rogue One” hallway cameo. Luke taking down the dark troopers was not an act of anger or vengeance; he was cool, calm, and collected, and he came across as a Jedi perfectly in balance with the Force and within himself.
Boba Fett’s return doesn’t necessarily read as fan service to me either. If the Clone Wars animated series can bring Darth Maul back, who was cut in half by a lightsaber, it’s not THAT much of a stretch to believe that Boba Fett could survive the sarlacc pit.
I’m very interested in the question of who Boba Fett is now, and how he relates to his father’s legacy and his identity as a clone. Plus, he’s got a totally badass partner in crime now: Fennec Shand.
I know the Star Wars special editions are controversial (then again, what in Star Wars ISN’T controversial), but one of my favorite changes was adding in the voiceover by Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett in the prequels. Regardless of how you feel about the prequels, it’s a nice bit of continuity. Though of course credit for giving the character such a cool persona also goes to the late Jeremy Bulloch, who physically portrayed Boba Fett in the original trilogy.
Bringing Morrison back to play Boba Fett this season was a great idea, because I think there’s still a lot of story to tell with this character. I’m pumped about his new spin-off series, although I hope he continues to be a major player in the events of “The Mandalorian” as well.
After the long, difficult year that was 2020, I’m thankful to “The Mandalorian” for bringing fun and excitement to my Friday mornings. I’m more excited than ever to see where Star Wars goes in the future!
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