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Lucasfilm’s ‘The Mandalorian’ season 3 blasts itself in the foot

Lucasfilm’s ‘The Mandalorian’ season 3 blasts itself in the foot

Lucasfilm’s ‘The Mandalorian’ season 3 blasts itself in the foot
April 27
15:00 2023

After two seasons of masterful storytelling, “The Mandalorian” season three falls flat in character development and narrative progression.

“The Mandalorian” season one, Disney’s debut “Star Wars” live-action television program, saw the introduction of one of the best paternal bonds in modern television history in Din Djarin and Grogu. In those first eight episodes, fans were given an isolated, heartwarming storyline with hints and Easter eggs of the surrounding galaxy.

The second season expanded the world, but still held onto the important relationship between father and son. The introduction of fan-favorite “Star Wars” characters like Boba Fett and Ahsoka Tano enhanced the developing storyline rather than distracting from it.

Despite the first two seasons setting the path for a potentially great third installment, “The Mandalorian” season three is unable to live up to its great potential.

In season three, Din and Grogu continue their adventures with an added weight, as the Mandalorian bounty hunter is now in possession of the Darksaber, an ancient relic of importance to his people. Coming along for the ride is Bo-Katan Kryze, another Mandalorian introduced in “The Clone Wars,” who made multiple appearances in season two.

Actress Katee Sackoff, who plays Bo-Katan in both live-action and animation, is a glimmer of quality throughout the season. The familial relationship between Bo-Katan, Din and Grogu makes for cute moments of levity and gives weight to the finale when the three work together.

Bo-Katan’s journey throughout the season is another bright spot. In the animated shows “Rebels” and “The Clone Wars,” Bo-Katan’s journey of leadership is a myriad of loss and suffering, as her inability to keep hold of the throne led to the abandonment of her home world. In “The Mandalorian” season three, she’s able to bring her people together and receive poetic justice for the losses she’s had to bear.

The world-building also deserves commendation. Lucasfilm executive creative director, Dave Filoni, has intertwined recent shows to keep the most devoted “Star Wars” fans satiated. The cloning plot that was first visited in the Sequel Trilogy has now been explored in “The Bad Batch” and “The Mandalorian,” and will undoubtedly continue in the coming years.

With all that in mind, several issues still persist in this season of “The Mandalorian.”

The primary issue is the feckless role that Din and Grogu have this season. Once the titular characters that the show revolved around, neither character develops or grows based on their experiences this season. Furthermore, both characters are inconsequential for nearly the entire season until the show’s climax in the final two episodes.

Sidestepping from that point, the pacing of the show trudges until the final two episodes. Although there are important moments early in the season, the paternal duo’s lack of involvement highlights the lack of weight given to these spectacles.

Visually, the show takes an unfortunate step back. What was once a notch in cinematographer Greig Frasier’s belt has now become a bland bore that doesn’t push the limits of the technology. “The Mandalorian” was one of the early users of Stagecraft technology, and although the first two seasons used the service beautifully, the third season seems to have fallen into similar pit traps as the Marvel films.

One of the more interesting characters in the show is the villainous Moff Gideon, played by Giancarlo Esposito. Gideon’s presence throughout the three seasons is limited despite his clear importance to the overarching “Star Wars” storyline. Although it isn’t isolated to the third season, it is disappointing that the show’s main villainous force only appears in two episodes of this installment.

Perhaps the most egregious mistake made in “The Mandalorian” season three is inexplicably retracting many of the great moments from previous seasons. The sacrifices of certain characters are ignored, previous plot points are brushed over and specific interesting conflicts are de-prioritized for simplicity. The show doesn’t trust its viewers and instead reverts to what’s easy, sacrificing the show’s heart.

What makes these retractions hurt even more is the dismantling of the primary characters. Din and Grogu’s bond stays strong, but as individual characters, the story’s direction this season gives little desire for the viewer to see any more of the duo.

In a sea of great “Star Wars” content like “Bad Batch” season two and “Andor” season one, “The Mandalorian” season three surprisingly stands out as the most disappointing of the trio. With a fourth season in development, hopefully showrunner Jon Favreau has a clearer direction for what may end up being the final season of “The Mandalorian.”

Ismael’s rating: 2/5

Featured Illustration by Isabella Alva

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Ismael M. Belkoura

Ismael M. Belkoura

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