One of the few bright spots in 2020 was Season 2 of The Mandalorian, which recently aired on Disney+. Fantasy author Erin Lindsey had mixed feelings about Season 1, but thought that the new episodes were a big improvement.
“They showed a lot more narrative patience in this run than the last one,” Lindsey says in Episode 448 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “So some of the more dramatic moments felt genuinely dramatic because they had been leading up to them, and building up to them, and earned them. Whereas I think they didn’t really do that as well in the first season.”
Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley was particularly impressed with the show’s visuals, which often had a more epic, cinematic feel compared to Season 1. “In Season 1 The Mandalorian felt to me like ‘the scrappy little show that could,’” he says. “Obviously it’s been a big success, so I would assume they put more money into it this season. Stuff like the Krayt dragon was visually so amazing for a TV show. I just couldn’t believe how awesome it looked.”
Star Wars properties have struggled in recent years to create characters who have the same chemistry as the original cast, but science fiction author Matthew Kressel says that the friendship between Din Djarin and Grogu may be his favorite Star Wars relationship to date. “There were these little tender moments, and I was like, ‘Wow, I’m really affected,’” he says. “I don’t think I was ever quite affected like that in any of the films. So I thought that was a service to the writing and the strength of the characters.”
The Mandalorian owes much of its appeal to the way it taps into fan nostalgia. Science fiction author Rajan Khanna acknowledges the danger of going back to the well too many times, but can’t deny the joy of seeing familiar characters and story elements.
“The minute that Slave I appears, flying through the sky, I had some internal reaction that I can’t even describe to you,” he says. “It was like something opened up inside of me and I felt more whole as a human being. I know that sounds way over-the-top, but it was this visceral kind of thrill. The fact that this show can have moments like that, to me, is magical.”
Listen to the complete interview with Erin Lindsey, Matthew Kressel, and Rajan Khanna in Episode 448 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below. (Warning: Spoilers ahead.)
Rajan Khanna on the future of Star Wars:
“I don’t think that they can make series and movies that just explore other aspects of the world geographically. I think what they need to do is create series and movies that have different tones to them, and maybe explore different genres. I’ve always wanted to see the world cracked open—again, not so much so that we see what was happening on Hoth before they settled the base there or whatever, but it’s more that I want to see the political intrigue Star Wars series; I want to see the Star Wars equivalent of a Regency romance or a thriller. … I’m hoping that this Boba Fett series, for example, is going to be more crime boss-oriented, with elements of mob movies, in the Star Wars universe, and let’s see that side of things.”
David Barr Kirtley on CGI characters:
“I’ve had a whole thing about how they should have handled these CGI characters like Tarkin and Leia in Rogue One—basically I thought Tarkin should have been a hologram, and with Leia they should have just shown the door closing as the guy goes in, and then her word ‘hope’ should have just been a voiceover over the ship jumping to hyperspace. With this scene they needed Luke to say a couple more things. … If they were going to go the CGI route, I thought it should have been that he comes in, and it’s focused on everyone’s reactions to him, and their awe, and you just hear his voice. And then maybe when he says ‘May the Force be with you’ there’s a quick shot of his face, and then he leaves. That was the best way I could think of to handle it.”
Erin Lindsey on Moff Gideon:
“I wish that our big bad wasn’t a Moff with a cape. What I want is to keep the chicken man, but have him be much more subtle, manipulative, and conniving. I want to see the chicken man in space. He’s such an amazing actor, he’s so subtle in his delivery—Giancarlo Esposito. His performance in Breaking Bad is just so stunning, and to me, when you give him this really unsubtle role, you’re not playing to his strengths. He does as well as anyone would do in that role. I think he’s still a chilling character, he’s a good villain. But he’s too much of a Darth Vader redux for me. I just think this is a waste of a tremendous acting talent, when you could have a much more complex and layered villain.”
Matthew Kressel on TV vs. movies:
“I think one of the reasons why, for me, The Mandalorian works better than the last couple of movies is that they’re taking their time. They’re slowly building stuff, and I find this is a problem with a lot of blockbuster movies these days, where they just try to cram in everything, and then you only have a few seconds where you get to introduce the characters. And then of course two-thirds into the movie, one of them dies and you’re supposed to feel this emotional connection to them, but we only met them 30-40 minutes ago, and they had maybe one or two scenes. I’m not feeling it. Whereas when you have a series that can take its time building characters, you can have more of an emotional connection. I don’t think that if Grogu showed up in a movie, at the end of the movie we would have the strong emotional attachment to him that we do after 16 episodes of a series.”