The “Star Wars” spin-off, debuting today on Disney+, features several new characters, a few twists and turns, and of course: Baby Yoda.
When The Mandalorian premiered last November on Disney+, it rejuvenated the Star Wars franchise, which at that point was contending with continuing criticism of the reinvention-oriented The Last Jedi, and on the precipice of inciting significant fan backlash over the underwhelming The Rise of Skywalker. A modestly scaled affair that rejected operatic save-the-world spectacle in favor of lean samurai-Western action—think an intergalactic version of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo or Sergio Leone’s “Man with No Name” trilogy—the eight-episode series was all the more engaging for stripping down its stakes in service of lone-warrior adventure. As envisioned by Jon Favreau, it was an endeavor less interested in the Force and the fate of the galaxy than the plight of a solitary mercenary on a journey of self-discovery.
Plus, it had Baby Yoda.
Thus, today’s return of The Mandalorian (Oct. 30) has been eagerly awaited by both die-hards and Baby Yoda meme devotees. While Disney hasn’t provided advance screeners to press, the maiden installment in the show’s sophomore run sets up a new laser-blasting odyssey for its nomadic hero (Pedro Pascal), who’s been tasked by his Mandalorian Armorer with returning Baby Yoda to his kind. That promises to be an epic quest full of mystery, combat, and surprises. Certainly, bombshells are delivered by the show’s debut, given that it’s not long before Mando runs into a man wearing the very same armor that once belonged to the Star Wars universe’s most famous bounty hunter: Boba Fett.