TV Review: The Mandalorian – Chapter 1 (Spoiler Free)

I’m going to start by letting you know that I will not reveal any spoilers in this review as many around the globe will have to wait a little while longer to be able to view The Mandalorian for the first time.

Since 1978, all I have ever wanted is a live action Star Wars TV series. After watching A New Hope shortly after it’s original UK release at the cinema and then seeing programmes like Flash Gordon, Star Trek, Buck Rogers, Space: 1999 and Battlestar Galactica grace the small screen, I had hoped this day would come. And finally, on 12th November 2019 I saw my dream come true with the premiere of The Mandalorian on Disney+.

Hype is everywhere for the imminent release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker next month and rightly so, but the fervor created by this Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau team up has been just as highly anticipated. I am a huge fan of what Netflix has done with the ‘lesser’ superheroes with Marvel’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Punisher, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. This content has been raw, gritty and definitely more adult than it’s MCU counterpart. So, can Disney+ deliver this type of content set in the Star Wars universe?

I’ll start with the soundtrack. Now, it’s different and I know some love it and some loathe it. I must say, I’m in the former for this. I love John Williams and the music he has created, but this is something different and the soundtrack sets The Mandalorian apart from everything that has gone before cinematically. Ludwig Göransson has come up with something that reminds me of spaghetti westerns for some bizarre reason.

The atmosphere set through the visuals really is stunning. For me it is of cinematic quality and a joy to behold. It shows a seedier part of the universe and has a similar feel to the Marvel Netflix collaborations that I wanted. I really loved the range of characters and species that we see in ‘Chapter 1’, but this doesn’t just stop there. It’s the locations, the droids, the vehicles and everything else in there, it’s all just so good. I will admit that I had some minor doubts about the casting when I heard the cast list, but those fears were allayed quite quickly in to chapter 1.

Now it’s all well and good having a great soundtrack and being visually stunning, but there is something else that we need to bring this all together and that is the storyline itself. The pace was perfect. There is enough character and plot development in there to introduce the pretext to what I can see is going to be a story that has a major impact on the Star Wars Universe. Saying that, there is a huge surprise of biblical proportions at the end of chapter 1 and this alone is enough to grab your attention and whet the appetite for chapter 2.

There is so much in there that also pays homage to all the movies. Now, you haven’t got to be a Star Wars fanatic to see most of these, yes there are some hidden in plain sight and others that are buried that I possibly haven’t seen yet. But the respect shown to the original concept art of Ralph McQuarrie, Doug Chiang and many others is there to see on screen.

After gushing so much over Chapter 1, I do have a negative point to make, but it’s not anything to do with the chapter, but down to distribution and availability. There are so many out there that will have to wait for an inordinately long period before they can see this via a legal source. I have been fortunate enough to have access to watch via a VPN service, but I can only imagine how frustrating it is for so many to try and avoid spoilers until they get chance to see it.

On another positive note, my wife sat and watched this with me. This is the first time that she has actively sat and watched anything Star Wars. She is not a fan, but is a huge MCU and Marvel Netflix fan. When I explained what this was to her, she agreed to watch with me. After viewing, she asked when the next chapter is available and when could we watch it. For me that speaks volumes to what we had just seen. I think many more fans will be drawn into the universe and this will create an expansion in the fan base and spread the lore of Star Wars further than ever before.

There are so many things I want to blurt out and talk about, because this is so spectacular on all counts. But, one thing I can say is, it’s been such a long time waiting, but oh my word it’s been worthwhile!

Steve Galloway
Steve was 5 years old when he saw Star Wars for the first time during its first UK cinema release. He considers himself a first generation Star Wars fan and in his own words is a ‘Child of 77’.