Never forget that George Lucas was ripping off a lot of stuff when he made Star Wars. This is vital, and it’s a part of Star Wars’ DNA. It is also, I believe, why the first episode of The Mandalorian works so damn well. 

See, modern Star Wars seems to be interested in aping old Star Wars as opposed to taking a page from the Lucas playbook and ripping off other movies. Star Wars, to borrow a phrase, is a place, and that means you can take other films and genres and easily drop them into a Star Wars milieu, which is exactly what The Mandalorian does. In this case it’s a Spaghetti/revisionist era Western plopped right into a world of blasters and Gonk droids, and it’s the chemical reaction between Star Wars and the genre that creates the beautiful fizz that makes the episode so damned enjoyable. 

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Why THE MANDALORIAN Will Probably Be Awesome

You may have seen the announcement about Jon Favreau’s live action Star Wars show, The MandalorianSet after the events of Return of the Jedi but before The Force AwakensThe Mandalorian will follow a gunfighter in a familiar armor as he travels the Outer Rim of the galaxy. You might look at the first image released and mutter, “What a bullshit attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Boba Fett,” and I get where you’re coming from. You’re coming from the POV of someone who hasn’t watched Clone Wars or Rebels.

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The Weirder Side Of The Force

The most interesting expansion of the Star Wars universe is happening on TV, on the cartoon Rebels. And I say that as someone who absolutely loved The Last Jedi (I’ve published a whole ton of Last Jedi-related stuff on this site, like my review, my look at the Taoism of the Jedi, a piece on Rose Tico’s wisdom, and an admiration of Admiral Holdo). The new movies have brought an exciting life into the franchise on a mainstream level, but Dave Filoni and his team have been steadfastly keeping Star Wars humming – and exploring its nooks and crannies – for years on TV.

The latest two-parter of Rebels is a bad place to jump on; the show is hurtling towards its finale, and this two-parter is not just wrapping up story elements from the last four seasons but is also touching on stuff that was introduced in the old Clone Wars cartoon. Still, this is a good opportunity to talk about how deeply exciting this sort of tie-in show can be when handled by someone with a true vision, and how an expanded universe can work in absolutely stunning and involving ways.

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