High profile Disney+ series The Mandalorian will have Star Wars fans smiling, and wondering why the universe had never been showcased as an old-fashioned western until now.
While a helmeted bounty hunter criss-crosses the planets shootin’ ’em up and taming grotesque alien horse monsters, you can hear the twang in the soundtrack and very nearly see a tumbleweed rolling by.
Set five years after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order (for those of you who have been counting), this is big screen fun on the small screen. Most of the Star Wars hallmarks are there: action, a little humour, barren outposts, weird creatures, technology, heroes and orchestral music.
In the title role is Pedro Pascal as bounty hunter Dyn Jarren -though he remains entirely helmeted through the first episode. That’s an interesting choice given eyes are the window to the soul and our big screen heroes. He doesn’t have time for niceties when he is in pursuit of a target. That leads to plenty of shoot-ups, including one at a lunar O.K. Corral.
Without giving too much away Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) assigns our hero a rare task via a client (Werner Herzog) which left diehard fans in awe at the Sydney premiere screening.
There are moments of humour, and the odd grisly aside, although it lacks the cracking duo of R2D2 and C3PO. Supporting cast will include Nick Nolte, Giancarlo Esposito and the voice of Taika Waititi (it could help to bring in a pivotal female soon). In true Star Wars style, it also carries screen wipe edits.
While a lot of other big budget dramas dwell on character and dark themes, showrunner Jon Favreau keeps things plot-driven with action pay-offs. So while the film franchise is reaching a conclusion, this will undoubtedly please a hungry fanbase.
Two episodes will launch today with further episodes to drop weekly.
The Mandalorian begins today on Disney+.