Caution – you’re about to enter spoiler territory – only enter if you’ve seen it!
Disney+, you have our greatest thanks for this masterpiece; The Mandalorian. Scoring an 8.9 and 94% rating on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes respectively, it’s been a huge critical and popular hit.
If you are late to the party – the finale, titled Redemption, was aired on Dec 27. This means all eight episodes are out, so if you haven’t had the time to sit down and enjoy this, you can still binge-watch the entire series at one go.
Now, for fellow viewers who have waited patiently week by week (like in the bad old days) to watch some juicy bounty hunting – let’s wrap it up with some key takeaways!
The Rise of Skywalker & The Mandalorian: Are they related?
The Mandalorian may be over – but the Star Wars series? Not if Lucasfilm can help it.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, you should know that The Rise of Skywalker has just hit the theatres.
And of course, you might be asking, “Are the two in any way related?”
Disappointingly enough, it’s a yes and no, and a little more towards the no.
Ultimately, the two are set in different timelines. According to Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Jon Favreau has explicitly stated that The Mandalorian takes place five years after the fall of the Empire in Episode V1: Return of the Jedi (1983).
That’s nowhere near the Skywalker timeline. It solely focuses on the Resistance’s final stand led by the trio, Rey, Finn and Poe Damerson against the First Order and Kylo Ren. And surprise, surprise – the revival of the deceased galactic emperor, Palpatine.
Besides that, it’s pretty clear-cut that The Mandalorian’s pace throughout the series was spot on. While it was almost impossible to cram in all the action, character development, and plot in one-go into The Rise of Skywalker.
Still, there was one small connection.
On episode 7 of The Mandalorian, Baby Yoda made use of ‘Force healing’ – a rarely seen Force power which he used to heal Greef Carga’s poisonous wound, even causing him to reconsider his betrayal scheme.
He wasn’t the first, however, to invent ‘Force healing’. Numerous Jedi such as Barriss Offee and Mara Jade managed to meditate and channel the Force to heal themselves and others.
In The Rise of Skywalker, Rey encountered an injured sand serpent in the caves of Pasaana. But this life-saving move had his own share of consequences; to use the Force to heal another, something had to be taken away from the wilder; be it energy or pure life force. In her case, she had to transfer a portion of her life essence to the creature for it to heal.
Later on, Rey heals Kylo Ren from a fatal lightsaber wound through his midsection during their fight on the ruins of the second Death Star.
However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a regular wound either – when it seemed as if Rey had passed on whilst expending all of her energy after defeating Palpatine (MAJOR SPOILER) – Ben managed to transfer all of his life essence to her, willingly giving up his life to save hers.
So, that’s about it; the ‘connection’ that ties the two together.
The internet sensation: Baby ‘Yoda’
The countless theories of Baby Yoda’s origins are off the charts; many are absolutely keen to know where he came from, his true identity, and of course – his real name.
For now, probably the best theory out there is Baby Yoda is from a species known as The Whills, credit to the original title for Star Wars, The Journal of The Whills. If you take a look at Star Wars canon, it’s pretty much known that the Ancient Order of the Whills is a higher order of beings strongly connected with the Force. And perhaps that could be Baby Yoda’s actual identity; considering that Yoda is the strongest Jedi out there with his intellect.
But we all know that just about no one is coming close to unfolding the mystery – at least not until Season 2 of The Mandalorian airs.
Right now, all we know is that it is a 50-year-old (a pretty mature) baby pursued by numerous bounty hunters.
Remember when Baby Yoda met humanoid droid, Zero? Even he was not a friend at all – Poor Baby Yoda!
While none of us is fond of the idea of anyone harming the galaxy’s most adorable, green, lil creature – we completely understand how the client must have felt; we too, would do anything in our power to acquire information regarding his species.
Just look at this adorable creature!
I guess all we can do is simply wait in anticipation for the facts to pop up.
The VFX evolution
The Star Wars franchise will always be known for its impressive special effects; no one can deny that they’re definitely out of this world.
But for The Mandalorian – Jon Favreau decides to take a different route. Instead of the usual CGI – the show takes on the approach of practical effects.
Seen in recent blockbusters such as Avengers: Infinity War and Ready Player One, Favreau and his team decided to experiment with some contemporary technology as well. In an interview with Collider, actor Giancarlo Esposito who appeared in the series, explained that the new The Mandalorian technology took place in a “Volume”; a large empty room comprised of LED screens and filled with its own set of cameras
Obviously, picturing the whole thing is a complete blur – so here’s a better idea:
Combining “Volume” with technology, it seems like The Mandalorian VFX team – none other than Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) – intends to bring physical sets into this space, blending CGI backgrounds with real, practical props.
Basically, it seems like an elevated technique to ‘control the physical atmosphere’ – for example, the digital backgrounds are either programmed or controlled to react to the environment and lighting.
Case in point? Besides the gripping plot delivered by Favreau – the VFX is not lacking in any sort of way either.
What to expect in season 2
Season 1 of The Mandalorian contained eight full episodes of Baby Yoda’s cuteness and Space Dad Mando’s efforts to keep his fellow bounty hunters at bay. Talk about a lack of professional courtesy.
It was an adorable and exciting journey – but viewers are looking for more. Well, Favreau has heard the call of the masses, and has explicitly stated that Season 2’s official debut is set to take place in Fall 2020.
Now, why did Favreau decide to release the announcement with this mutated pig, ogre – or whatever the hell this creature is?
Before we go into the details, let’s give a little insight into this dude’s species. First off, that’s no random alien. He’s a Gamorrean, and this isn’t his debut appearance; at least not in comics or animated series such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
However, a live-action version of the species has not yet been seen anywhere – so Season 2 of The Mandalorian marks its first-ever appearance. Their role is either set to be a guard or mercenary, as seen in Jabba the Hutt’s palace on Tatooine. Personality-wise, they aren’t the most intriguing character out there – they’re pretty much dirty and dumb; a combination that doesn’t invite much excitement.
It’s predicted that they’re either going to be an enemy of ‘father-son’ duo, or there’s going to be some kind of plot element that will add more flavour to the story.
And the rest of the plot is pretty much obvious. Space Dad Mando is going on a search for Baby Yoda’s home planet, and the appearance of Star Wars original trilogy characters will further explore the Star Wars universe like taking a peek at Jabba’s criminal empire after his passing.
The Mandalorian has been hands down, one of the most brilliant series there is in 2019.
All the effort put into research, filming and post-production deserves a round of applause.
Coming up with a film or an animated video is never an easy task. Just compare a TV series to an explainer video – there’s always a challenging road ahead. The former requires you to come up with a gripping TV programme which attempts to keep every viewer’s attention until the curtain falls, while the latter requires capturing your audience’s attention within the first 3 seconds.
Similarly, visual effects and motion graphics have to tie in smoothly with the rest of the post-production components; be it acting or sounds selection.
So, there you have it – an adorable character like Baby Yoda can only take you so far (but we must say, Baby Yoda provided quite a bit of mileage) – you’re going to need some expert help where research and writing is concerned.
So why not reach out to a professional animation service and get them to give you a hand?