Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Mandalorian: For Every Character There is a Season

Every since Disney bought out Lucasfilm and announced their plans to carry on the Star Wars franchise, I've approached each new installment in the Star Wars story with a mix of trepidation and excitement. Like a junkie, part of me wanted to keep chasing that high I felt from the Original Star Wars Trilogy and the Prequel Trilogy, to recapture that same feeling of wonder and adventure and excitement and strangeness like surprise incest or random '50s-style diners. But the rational part of my brain kept trying to tell me that Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm marked the end of an era, and that the high I was chasing didn't exist, and I should devote my energies to other, more fruitful pursuits, like developing the world's first mass-produced, consumer-grade flamethrower. Unfortunately, Elon Musk beat me to this totally useful and not in any way egregious misuse of humanity's finite resources in a world where people are literally going homeless and dying from easily treatable medical conditions in the richest country in the world, so I guess I'll have to go with Plan B: miniature bidets for cats and dogs.

The Star Wars content that Disney did put out has, for me, been an exercise in diminishing returns. I'm still not completely caught up on the animated shows, but for me, Star Wars has always been about the silver screen experience: the epic storytelling, the larger than life characters and plot, the cheer of the crowd, the crushing of the enemies, seeing them driven before you, and hearing the lamentations of the women. At the time I'm writing this, there've been five Star Wars feature films released under the Disney Regime so far: Episodes VII, VIII, and IX carrying on the main movie storyline, and two spinoffs set between Episodes III and IV of the main series, Solo and Rogue One. Out of those five, Episode VII: The Force Awakens was essentially a soft reboot of Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi stands with the best that Star Wars has to offer, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker keeps getting worse the more I think about it, Solo was a decently fun galactic romp, and Rogue One was the movie equivalent of a couple of kids playing with their toys for a couple of hours.