Spoiler Warning! This article discusses details of The Mandalorian's premiere.
The Mandalorian lives up to its mammoth expectations. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have crafted a slow burn, blaster-firing space western. In the vein of Sergio Leone's iconic sixties loner "The Man With No Name", The Mandalorian is a character shrouded in mystery. There are mere hints of his past and motivations in the premiere episode. He never removes his helmet, says very little, but is all business when it comes to retrieving bounties. The Mandalorian is a much needed change of pace in the Star Wars universe.
The series is set in the galaxy's lawless outer regions after the Empire's fall. "Chapter One" begins with a Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) bounty hunter following the signal from a tracking fob on an ice world. He enters a bar where two trawlers are shaking down a blue skinned Mythrol (Horatio Sanz) for his glands. One of the trawlers spills his drink when the door opens and foolishly confronts the helmeted warrior. He scratches The Mandalorian's Beskar steel armor with a knife and pays the price with his life. When the other trawler attacks, he's cut in half as the bounty hunter drags him through the closing door.
The chatty Mythrol's delight at being rescued is short lived. The Mandalorian drops a bounty puck in front of him, then puts his hand on his blaster. The Mythrol can come dead or alive. The Mandalorian leads the handcuffed Mythrol through the ice to a trunk-nosed Kubaz,who summons a speeder with a flute. The bounty hunter waves off the first one, no droids. A second speeder with a human driver takes him to his ship, the Razor Crest. The Mythrol laughs at the seemingly dilapidated transport and offers to buy another vessel. The speeder takes off with a warning about Ravanax, they lurk below.
The speeder is devoured by the monstrous creature smashing out of the ice. The Razor Crest takes off, but is snagged by the beast. It let's go after a shot from The Mandalorian's rifle. In space, the Mythrol asks to evacuate his thorax. Snooping around in the cargo hold, he sees other bounties frozen in carbonite. The Mandalorian grabs the Mythrol and he gets the same treatment.
The Razor Crest lands on a more hospitable planet. The Mandalorian meets Greef Carga (Carl Weathers) in a seedy bar to collect his money. He refuses to take Empire credits and settles for Calamari chips. Carga has a big payout bounty that can only be offered in person, no pucks. The Mandalorian accepts the offer. He walks through the sketchy settlement to an innocuous door.
A droid leads him to The Client (Wernor Herzog), who's being guarded by four ex-stormtroopers. Everyone draws their guns when Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) enters the room. The Client calms down the situation. He throws a piece of Beskar steel on a table. He wants the bounty alive, but if necessary, proof of termination. He gives The Mandalorian two things, a tracking fob, and piece of information. The bounty is fifty years old.
The Mandalorian takes the Beskar steel to an Armorer (Emily Swallow). She says the extra metal will help foundlings with no crest. He solemnly replies he was also a foundling. As the Armorer fashions his new shoulder guard, The Mandalorian has a flashback to his childhood. He watches as his parents are gunned down by Separatists.
The Razor Crest flies to a desert planet. He disembarks and pulls out the tracking fob. As he surveils the scene through his rifle, The Mandalorian is attacked by a vicious Blurrg. The two-legged, lizard-like beast grabs his arm and thrashes him from side to side. He tranquilizes it with a dart, but another Blurrg attacks. The creature is subdued by a dart from off screen. The Mandalorian is saved by an Ugnaught.
Kuiil, an Ugnaught farmer, offers to help him find the bounty for half of the reward. Many others have tried before The Mandalorian and been killed. At Kuiil's moisture farm, he shows The Mandalorian how to ride the testy Blurrg. He cannot take a speeder to where the bounty is held. The Mandalorian struggles with the beast, but gains its confidence after a few falls.
They arrive to a cliff overlooking a compound. The Mandalorian is stunned when Kuiil does not accept any payment. Kuiil wants these mercenaries off his planet. Peace will be his reward. The Mandalorian watches as a bounty droid, IG-11 (Taika Waititi), walks directly into the compound and loudly demands the bounty, per guild rules.
IG-11 and a horde of mercenaries trade fire. The droid's arms spin around delivering lethal blasts, but the baddies keep on coming. The Mandalorian joins him and offers to split the bounty. IG-11 accepts, but they are pinned down. The mercenaries bring a laser cannon to the party. IG-11 cannot be taken alive and begins to self-destruct. The Mandalorian asks it to distract the mercenaries while he commandeers the cannon. He turns the weapon around and mows down all of their attackers.
They use the cannon to blast down the compound's door. They follow the tracking fob to a small round container. The Mandalorian is shocked by its contents. Inside lies a baby alien with long green ears and large, curious eyes. It is a member of Yoda's species. The Mandalorian wonders how could this creature be fifty years old? He shoots IG-11 when the droid threatens to kill the infant. The episode ends with The Mandalorian reaching out to its little green finger.
A baby Yoda, wow, what a twist. Chapter One revealed almost nothing, but still delivers a whopper of an ending in its relatively fast, forty minute runtime. Dave Filoni directs an action-packed, yet measured premiere episode. Jon Favreau, who writes and produces, lays the groundwork for a truly intriguing story. Everything is wide open, the setting, period, and characters are still undefined. I can't wait to find out why Dr. Pershing wants the baby, and what The Mandalorian's true intentions are. Star Wars fans will be chomping at the bit for Chapter Two. It will premiere Friday, November 15th on the new Disney+ streaming service.