The first episode of The Mandalorian has left critics and viewers wanting more despite many admitting that the first live-action Star Wars TV show was lacking a character connection.
The program was released Tuesday on Disney+ and the decision for the title character – played by Pedro Pascal – to keep his helmet on for the entire 40-minute pilot, was met with some frustration.
While some reviewers acknowledged it was likely an intentional character-building set-up for the audience, of which there wasn’t necessarily a desire to follow-up on, the surprise appearance of a young Yoda has guaranteed viewers will tune in for the second episode on Friday.
‘It’s the kind of reveal that indicates that the Mandalorian could have played a crucial role leading up to the events of present-day trilogy, particularly the concluding Rise of the Skywalker chapter that hits theaters this December,’ Variety’s Caroline Framke wrote.
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Critics said Tuesday that the lack of emoting makes the The Mandalorian character – played by Pedro Pascal (pictured) – ‘both a bold choice as an anchoring character and a frustrating one’
The first episode doesn’t give away much in the way of world-building logistics but the appearance of a young Yoda (pictured) gripped critics by the end of The Mandalorian pilot
The program was released Tuesday on Disney+ and fans mainly commented on the helmet staying firmly on the title character’s head as well as the adorable young Yoda
Except for the instance when he’s ‘when he’s frustrated with Taika Waititi’s matter-of-fact bounty hunter droid’ and ‘finally betrays some semblance of personality’, the critic says: ‘Until the very end of the first episode, the Mandalorian remains as monochrome as his surroundings.’
Jon Favreau’s new swing at the Star Wars universe picks up sometime after the fall of the Imperial Empire in Return of the Jedi and before the events of The Force Awakens, at which point the hot new fascist power of The First Order has already taken back over.
It follows a tireless bounty hunter from the planet Mandalore whose helmet stays on in front of his boss (Carl Weathers), mysterious ally (Gina Carano), and most intimidating client (Werner Herzog).
Famke called the ‘resolute lack of emoting’ both a ‘bold choice as an anchoring character and a frustrating one’.
ScreenCrush said in a review that because his eyes ‘remain completely invisible behind his helmet’s blackened visor — it’s a bit tough to get very invested in this character at first’.
Jon Favreau’s new swing at the Star Wars universe picks up sometime after the fall of the Imperial Empire in Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens. The Hollywood Reporter wrote: ‘For most of the running time, it’s just the Mandalorian bopping along from one location to another’
(L-R) Executive producers/writers Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, actors Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano and Carl Weathers of Lucasfilm’s The Mandalorian at the Disney+ Global Press Day October 19
Fans commented the helmet staying on throughout the entire first episode on the service’s launch day
The Hollywood Reporter agreed, writing: ‘For most of the running time, it’s just the Mandalorian bopping along from one location to another facing minimal jeopardy…’
The sentiment was shared by fans.
One tweeted: ‘The LOST pilot is amazing. You care about what’s happening instantly. Maybe, it’s because you can see the character’s faces and – most importantly – their eyes. Having THE Mandalorian’s titular character wear a helmet could make it hard to connect to him on an emotional level.’
Another joked: ‘The mandalorian helmet stays ON during sex.’
The Mandalorian learns at the end of the first installment that he has been hired to catch a 50-year-old Yoda. This character appears in a much smaller frame considering the Yoda who met Luke Skywalker was 900 years old.
The only other kind from his species is Yaddle, who appeared on the Jedi Council in the prequel trilogy.
Yoda’s species has never been named and it is not even known which planet he is from.
This little Yoda is seen in beige Jedi-style cloth that Obi-Wan Kenobi wore, suggesting the baby will become a Jedi.
The large-eyed child also is covered with a brown blanket.
The Mandalorian was an orphan, it is revealed, and may have sympathy for the baby.
Fans certainly did as one posted: ‘I haven’t known Baby Yoda for long, but if anything happens, I will throw hands.’
Another joked: ‘OH MY GOD I DIDN’T KNOW I NEEDED A BABY YODA IN MY LIFE UNTIL NOW IT’S SO CUTE OH MY GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD.’
Vulture’s Jen Chaney said ‘him hidden behind all that armor makes it a bit challenging to connect’ and USA Today’s Kelly Lawler complained ‘even his voice is modulated into bland evenness’
Some were frustrated that they didn’t get a glimpse of actor Pedro Pascal’s face even once
But many viewers liked the stylistic choice to cover up the actor’s face for now and made jokes on social media
THR’s Daniel Feinberg continued: ‘Then the pilot ends with the first sense of an actual mission for the series. It’s a cliff-hanger that offers a totally effective record-scratch moment and puts everything somewhat in context.’
Variety’s Famke opined that with the cliffhanger ‘even the most casual Star Wars fan will raise an “oh really?” eyebrow’.
Adding: ‘It’s the kind of reveal that indicates that the Mandalorian could have played a crucial role leading up to the events of present-day trilogy, particularly the concluding Rise of the Skywalker chapter that hits theaters this December.’
The first episode doesn’t give away much in the way of world-building logistics beyond some basic discussion of currency, the review says, suggesting that it might even be worth skipping directly to episode 2, at risk of missing out on aesthetically-pleasing scenes of ‘frozen white tundras’ and ‘sweeping terracotta deserts’.
But critics admit The Mandalorian ‘bears the burden of heightened expectations’ and considering that, the first episode ‘does a decent job’.
It follows a seemingly tireless bounty hunter from the planet Mandalore who is assigned to catch the creature resembling the 900-year-old original character Yoda. The Hollywood Reporter said: ‘It’s a cliff-hanger that offers a totally effective record-scratch moment and puts everything somewhat in context’
Social media users joked that they felt protective over the new character who is 50 years old
It was love at first sight for many of the viewers for Tuesday’s pilot episode of the show
Fans predicted baby Yoda will make millions for Disney this holiday season
It’s agreed there’s potential but one reviewer seemingly recommended more action in the eight installments of the first season, that are due to drop every Friday.
Laura Prudom from IGN predicted that ‘if it’s to survive and thrive past the conclusion of the Skywalker saga’ it ‘needs to expand into areas that are better suited to weekly, episodic storytelling, with characters and adventures that can grow right along with the audience’.
Variety summarized: ‘Someone who doesn’t care for Star Wars likely won’t care for The Mandalorian, but the setup is rooted in enough tropes that its story remains accessible enough to anyone who might be interested.’
Los Angeles Times critic Lorraine Ali seemingly proved the point, writing: ‘I have no idea what the series is about, at least not yet. But it looked cool, like a trip to Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge without the long lines and screaming children.’
New characters: Carl Weathers’ Greef Carga, Gina Carano’s Cara Dune and Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon are pictured in the trailer
Actor/filmmaker Werner Herzog appears in the new live-action show from Disney+
Stormtroopers: Ina trailer Herzog’s character is telling The Mandalorian that he, ‘heard you were the best in the Parsec’ as he opens a door to a room filled with Stormtroopers