That disturbance in the force you felt last Friday was The Mandalorian ending its second season with a BANG. Luke Skywalker showed up. Din took off his helmet. Disney announced yet another new series via an end-credits scene. So let’s end this intro immediately and dive into everything.
1. What is your tweet-length review of Season 2 of The Mandalorian?
Ben Lindbergh: The best Star Wars made during my lifetime.
season 1 of mando season 2 of mando pic.twitter.com/0IE3OMqT91— Sean Yoo (@SeanYoo) December 20, 2020
Miles Surrey: Pretty awesome when it wasn’t a glorified advertisement for future Disney+ spinoffs.
Zach Kram: I like Star Wars, and I like this show, but I don’t want to have to watch a dozen others to know what’s going on.
Michael Baumann: Luke Skywalker better give Mando his child back.
2. What was the best moment of the season?
Yoo: As a fan of Clone Wars, it’s going to be hard to top Ahsoka Tano’s arrival in Chapter 13. Within the first few minutes of the cold open we watch a cloaked figure, wielding two white lightsabers, completely take out a squad of soldiers. No one else could’ve done the moment justice like Dave Filoni, the man who created the character and also directed this episode. The scene was an adrenaline rush of emotions—not only were we finally seeing Ahsoka Tano in a live-action role but the scene itself was done perfectly.
Adeniran: It’s a tie between Ashoka vs. Magistrate in Chapter 13 and Din vs. Moff Gideon in the finale. I can’t wait to see more of these one-on-one fights in Season 3, especially because Bo-Katan has to fight Mando for the Darksaber and the right to rule Mandalore. That’s going to be a spectacle.
Baumann: Killing the Krayt Dragon with Marshal Timothy Olyphant was pretty rad.
Kram: The twists on traditional Star Wars markers of good and evil—the X-wings giving Mando trouble, the TIE fighters coming to his rescue, and stormtroopers cheering his success in Chapter 15—were delightful inversions.
Surrey: I genuinely enjoyed the ballad of Frog Lady, a delightful addition to the canon of adorable Star Wars creatures. Nothing brought me greater joy than seeing Frog Lady reunite with Frog Man—the squeal she made when she saw him!—so they could raise their brood together in peace.
Lindbergh: Seeing Ahsoka in the flesh, followed closely by Grogu tenderly caressing Mando’s naked cheek.
3. What was your least favorite part?
Kram: Young Luke’s dialogue not syncing up properly with his mouth movements.
Baumann: Why couldn’t Boba Fett stay dead? He was a heavy with a cool gimmick in two movies and for some reason Star Wars has spent the entire 21st century building a whole mythology around him. It’s like waking up 30 years from now and learning that Badger from Breaking Bad is now a totemic cultural figure. Just let him stay dead.
Adeniran: The only nitpick I have is the Mando face reveal in Chapter 15 stepping on the Mando face reveal in Chapter 16. I would have loved that moment more if we hadn’t just seen his face a week before.
Lara: Ashoka revealing Baby Yoda’s actual name. It’s not cute and doesn’t matter because he’ll forever be Baby Yoda.
Surrey: That Baby Yoda had the audacity to eat Frog Lady’s eggs in addition to putting her life in danger by staging an homage to the Alien franchise.
Yoo: Why did we watch Baby Yoda eat so many eggs?! It was torture for us and more importantly for Frog Lady! So many casualties just because this cute, dumb baby was hungry for some eggs.
Lindbergh: The frog eggs alone were traumatic, but don’t overlook the ickiness of the ice-spider eggs.
4. Who was the MVP of Season 2?
Lara: Ahsoka played one game in the series and still won Finals MVP.
Yoo: [Carl Weathers voice] IT’S MANDOOOO! Din Djarin’s resume speaks for itself. He took down a Krayt Dragon and played peacemaker, reunited Frog Lady with her husband and took down multiple bad guys. He rescued Baby Yoda and finally delivered him to a Jedi, while also becoming the owner of the Darksaber. And he finally showed off his face! That’s a LeBron-like MVP performance.
Kram: Composer Ludwig Goransson, but really everyone involved with the visual and auditory production of this show, who make it feel like a grand new cinematic experience every week.
Baumann: Ludwig Goransson, man. Not only does The Mandalorian’s score live up to the extremely high standards of a Star Wars soundtrack, it’s very close to knocking Nicholas Britell and Succession off the top of the TV Theme Tune Pyramid.
Adeniran: Lots of competition for sure, but Mando is the clear winner. He wasn’t without his faults (ALWAYS KEEP YOUR JETPACK ON DIN) but he was the beskar wearin’, staff wieldin’, cryin’ hero we needed in 2020.
Lindbergh: Despite the scene-stealing guest verses from several Star Wars icons, Clan Mudhorn continued to carry the show. I can’t narrow that down to Din or Grogu. Where Din goes, Grogu goes—so far, at least, but probably not next season.
5. Finish the sentence: “De-aged Luke Skywalker was…”
Baumann: … extremely well-introduced. Though, seeing a Jedi with an X-wing made me think of Corran Horn before I remembered that Mickey Mouse de-canonized the EU. Those bastards.
Lara: ... kind of predictable. You knew it was a Jedi, and Luke made the most sense given the timeline.
Lindbergh: ... distractingly blank-faced, but pretty awesome anyway. I didn’t mind The Mandalorian crossing streams with the Skywalker saga. At this point in the timeline, it makes perfect sense that Luke would be the one to answer Grogu’s call, and the Rogue One homage—which didn’t overshadow the emotional moment between Din and Grogu—let us see him at the peak of his powers, trashing dark troopers as easily as he used to bullseye womp rats.
Adeniran: ... fine. It wasn’t anything close to being as awful as Grand Moff Tarkin from Rogue One, but it didn’t look completely natural either. Maybe Favreau got help from the homies down the hall at Marvel Studios.
Yoo: … pretty bad! The only good de-aged character in the history of media is Robert De Niro in The Irishman.
Kram: ... disturbing. I have the same question as with Leia in Rogue One: Couldn’t they have just left the cowl on? (More controversial, probably, is that I didn’t care all that much for the preceding scene of Luke destroying dark troopers, either—we’ve seen Jedi cut through evil droids with ease before, whereas the parallel hallway scene in Rogue One was much more novel and thrilling, with a captivatingly powerful Darth Vader.)
Surrey: ... way creepier and less convincing than the digitally recreated Peter Cushing in Rogue One, a movie that came out four years ago. Still, I can’t deny his appearance (and R2-D2’s!) was thrilling.
6. Let’s talk about it: What was your snap reaction to the post-credits scene?
Lindbergh: Bib Fortuna really let himself go. Why couldn’t he get some of that sweet CGI de-aging?
Kram: Exhaustion. For the entire season, I wasn’t sure why Boba Fett was still alive, narratively speaking. But now I know: Fans thought Boba Fett was cool, so The Mandalorian became a show, so that Boba Fett could eventually get his own separate show.
This is an ouroboros of content. While I like Star Wars, the back half of this Mandalorian season combined with the flurry of Disney Investor Day announcements fills me with fear of oversaturation. (And we all know where fear leads in this universe.) One of the problems with the recent slate of films was how quickly Disney churned them out, which made the likes of Solo feel less special. Check back next December, but the same standardization could befall this new set of stories.
Lara: I loved it. You think Disney is going to pass on more Stars Wars content? The check is too big!
Surrey: If Boba is off to do his own thing, how is a suddenly shipless Mando going to get around the galaxy? Do bounty hunters hitchhike?
Yoo: My question is: Is this a separate spinoff show or will Season 3 of The Mandalorian be solely focused on Boba Fett and his journey within the underworld?
Adeniran: As much as I would enjoy watching Boba and Fennec run rampant, Din and Grogu better still be there. It’s a testament to the show how attached we’ve become to Mando and the baby; a season without them would be deeply disappointing.
Baumann: Bib Fortuna deserved better than getting killed in a commercial.
7. Is The Mandalorian becoming more tied to the larger Star Wars universe a good or bad thing?
Kram: Baby Yoda appears in the very first episode of this show; it’s always been inextricably tied to the larger Star Wars universe. But I do miss the mission-of-the-week balance from the first season, as compared to the succession of backdoor pilots for spinoff shows in Season 2.
Baumann: I see the commercial utility in using The Mandalorian to hook viewers into Disney’s other Star Wars properties, and all popular art is commerce first. But—for instance—as someone who didn’t watch whatever show Bo-Katan was on, being introduced to Bo-Katan like it was a huge reveal felt like jumping into a Grey’s Anatomy episode that continues a plot thread that started on Station 19.
Lindbergh: As a fan who’s familiar with (and deeply invested in) the larger universe, it’s a great thing, especially because the preexisting characters were incorporated in ways that didn’t sidetrack the series or require every viewer to be a walking Wookieepedia page.
Adeniran: It’s a good thing for us (more Star Wars), but an even better thing for Disney (every single Star Wars property is marketing for another Star Wars property). Interconnectivity breeds familiarity and familiarity is the easiest way to get people to watch content. More Star Wars is a big win for us, but let’s not be mistaken, our Mickey Mouse overlords are the real winners here.
Lara: There are so many interesting stories and characters that are worthy of spinoffs, and Star Wars fans deserve better than whatever that final movie was.
Surrey: Expanding the Star Wars universe was inevitable, but doing so at such an accelerated clip is exactly what doomed the Disney-era movies a few years ago. If Star Wars starts to feel as cluttered and expansive as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s going to lose what made it so special in the first place.
Yoo: I’m in the camp of disappointment when it comes to the ending of Season 2. Maybe it’s because I have Skywalker fatigue given the failures of the recent trilogy, but something about seeing a de-aged Luke Skywalker took away all the good things from this fresh iteration of Star Wars. The Mandalorian was beginning to build something new and original while still being a part of this world, with the help of a few characters from Clone Wars and Rebels. But inevitably, it always has to come back to the Skywalkers—the big open galaxy we hoped to dive into continues to reveal itself to be a rather small one.
8. Which Mandalorian character (or a group of characters) who doesn’t already have a spinoff deserves one?
Surrey: Do you even have to ask?
Yoo: I need a King of Queens-type sitcom featuring Frog Lady and her husband.
Lara: I think the obvious one is one for Bo-Katan and company. Call it Mandalore. Or The War of Mandalore. They already have a good base with the story from the Clone Wars series but I’d love for them to dive deeper into it.
Lindbergh: Jeans Guy? More seriously, maybe Omera. Why is a farmer in a backwater world such a skilled marksman? And how soon will she slide into Mando’s DMs now that he’s down for helmet-off action?
Adeniran: I would watch six seasons and a movie of those two stormtroopers from the opening minutes of the Season 1 finale (provided IG-11 didn’t kill them). Just Adam Pally and Jason Sudeikis making jokes across the Empire, being lazy and taking their sweet time doing their work. Red vs. Blue but Star Wars? Sign me up!
Kram: Wait, there’s a Mandalorian character who doesn’t have a spinoff by now?
9. Make a bold prediction for Season 3.
Yoo: Season 3 dives head first into Mandalore and the power of the Darksaber. Mando must decide if he wants the responsibility it brings and we eventually get our showdown between Din and Bo-Katan.
Baumann: Luke Skywalker gives Mando his child back.
Lindbergh: Mando will realize that he probably should have asked for the name and contact information of the stranger who walked away with his child.
Adeniran: I’m calling my shot now: We will absolutely get some Kylo Ren backstory and I. AM. READY!
Kram: I spend the whole time worried that, somewhere off screen and in the future, Kylo Ren is going to kill Baby Yoda at Luke’s Jedi academy.
Lara: I hope I’m wrong but my guess is that we get zero scenes with Baby Yoda.
Surrey: Somehow, Baby Yoda returned.