Disney+ Launches With ‘The Mandalorian’


The Verge

The first two episodes of "The Mandalorian" are available on Disney+ now.

Gabriel Anton, Staff Writer

Ever since Disney announced its contestant in the streaming wars with the new Disney+, fans of highly popular blockbuster films in the Star Wars or Marvel cinematic universes began expecting a new era for each franchise on television. 

With new shows like “The Falcon and Winter Soldier” and “Loki,” popular characters from the films get their storylines continued and explored in more depth as they span across several episodes in a season, rather than just a two-hour window. 

The service premiered with the highly anticipated live-action debut of Star Wars in “The Mandalorian.” Disney+ and the series were released on Nov. 12.  

The space western sci-fi adventure set in the iconic Star Wars universe chronicles a lone gun-slinging bounty hunter only known as the “Mandalorian” (Pedro Pascal) as he takes a high paying, yet mysterious job from some familiar Star Wars villains. It takes place after the events of “Return of the Jedi,” the sixth film in the franchise, after the Rebellion defeated the Empire, leaving the galaxy in disarray without a central governing force. The first two episodes dropped last week on launch day and Friday the 15th. 

For fans of the franchise, the series provides many great moments that harken back to the original trilogy films. There are certain characters, weapons, vehicles and aesthetic qualities that will please the fans very much. The storyline is enticing and expands the franchise’s lore. The episodes are short and concise, each with a runtime of about half an hour. Each episode slowly takes us along the journey of this “Mandalorian” as he deals with this mysterious bounty, while also peppering in some backstory as to why he is called the “Mandalorian.” 

For average film-goers that may not know much about the franchise or about any details regarding the title, the series does a fine job slowly filling in more details about the main character’s background. The more you get to know about him, the more you also get to know about this specific part of Star Wars mythology. The series’ aesthetics and tone complement the character while also capturing the classic look and feel of the original film “A New Hope,” giving the audience a great introduction to the universe in general. 

Although the episodes are short, they are dense with great scenes and new interesting characters. There are many great actors in supporting roles such as Carl Weathers and Werner Herzog, while some provide voice work for the non-human characters.  

The budget per episode is about $12.5 million according to businessinsider.com, which is comparable to the $10 million for the “Game of Thrones” season eight episodes. And this translates very astutely to the screen. The two episodes released so far have had large scope; beautiful, cinematic-release standard special effects give the series a very authentic feel. The designs for the costumes, set pieces, characters and weapons over a vast, mesmerizing desert backdrop are all layered together perfectly to match the distinct feeling of a gritty wild west picture.  

The music is electric and fresh, taking a more western spin on Star Wars themes. It is wholly unique music for the series created by Swedish composer Ludwig Goransson, who won a Grammy and an Oscar for his work on the “Black Panther” score, as opposed to the legend John Williams. For big fans of the franchise, it is not too jarring, but can take a little while to get used to.  

Episodes are slated to release every Friday on Disney+. A subscription to the service costs $6.99 a month for access to all of the films and TV shows from Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar, while Hulu and ESPN+ comes with it in a $12.99 bundle, including all of Disney’s Fox properties. “The Mandalorian” is proving to be a great launch accompaniment as Disney announced that Disney+ had signed up over 10 million users within the first day, according to Variety.com. With this type of buzz around Disney+, it seems like it is going to be one of the frontrunners in the streaming wars to come in the upcoming decade.