“The Mandalorian” Tell Us What Exactly About “Star Wars” Storytelling?

We have three episodes of Disney+‘s The Mandalorian now, enough to give us an idea of what the show’s tone is like. It’s essentially a Western in Space. It uses a lot of tropes from Spaghetti Westerns and Samurai movies.

As I watched each episode, I noticed that everything you expected to happen did happen in the way you thought it would. Every plot point is telegraphed way in advance so you knew it was coming early on.

"The Mandalorian" S01, Ep02: "The Child" Brings Out Your Inner Jawa (Spoiler Review)
“The Mandalorian” Episode 2 “The Child” Image Courtesy Disney?Lucasfilm

The Mandalorian walks into a bar full of scum and villainy. Of course he’s going to beat some people up and probably shoot at least one.

Of course the Mandalorian would go back and rescue Baby Yoda.

Of course the Mandalorian would piss off the other bounty hunters and become hunted.

Of course the Mandalorian would kill the stormtroopers he met early on.

Of course the other Mandalorians would come and help him escape.

Of course the Mandalorian would go full Lone Wolf and Cub with Baby Yoda.

There are no real surprises to the story. The plot points arrive like buses on a regular schedule. This is Predictable Plot as Comfort Food. This seems to be the main dynamic of Star Wars – to take every trope from nearly every genre and use them like familiar ingredients for a giant gumbo stew.

“The Mandalorian”: Predictable is Comfort Food

Star Wars stories tend to feature earnest, on-the-nose dlalogue that doesn’t include subtext, characters who stick to their moral alignments, and predictable plot points and outcomes.

This is a feature, not a bug with Star Wars. Fans come to Star Wars for the comfort food of predictable stories about Good vs. Evil. It’s the same feeling across the different movies and TV shows, from Clone Wars to Solo: A Star Wars Story to Rogue One to Rebels to Resistance.

When Rian Johnson experimented with deconstructing and subverting the tropes and expectations in The Last Jedi, fan outrage screamed across the internet. That was the most telling reveal of fan expectation and demand in a franchise I ever saw. Star Wars Fans really hate it when a story takes a major swerve in any direction. They really hate it when characters swerve in a way they don’t like. That tells me that Star Wars fans demand the story sticks to a rigid set of rules.

The Mandalorian has shown so far that it’s going to stick closely to the rules it set out for itself. Every instance of the show signals to viewers it’s going to do exactly what they expect. Of course the main character is a big softie under his bucket helmet. Of course it’s going to be him and Baby Yoda being badass against the galaxy.

No surprises, maximum praise.