'Mandalorian' trailer offers a path forward for Star Wars post-Skywalker
It should have been like this from the start, but with the Skywalker saga coming to an end, The Mandalorian may finally provide the blueprint Disney needs to create something new in the Star War universe.
One of the great paradoxes of the world of Star Wars is that every frame promises a new universe, a new story, new characters to follow on grand adventures, yet the only stories we saw for years focused on a small cast of characters that usually tied back to one another even when they seemed to be functioning separately. There’s always been a whole galaxy to explore out there, but that galaxy has often been relegated to an expanded universe of animated series, novels, and comics (no disrespect) in service of a story that seems small in relation to the vast world in which it takes place.
When Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 and the future of Star Wars was reopened after the prequel trilogy it seemed that we’d be getting a closer look at the world beyond the Skywalker Saga in a series of promised “anthology films.” But the two that managed to make their way to theaters have focused on characters and stories still tied intimately to the events of the original trilogy.
Even those who enjoyed Solo and Rogue One would likely acknowledge the missed opportunity. There’s a galaxy full of potential in the Star Wars universe, yet possibilities that once seemed endless (A podracing film! A bounty hunter-centric flick! Entire movies that don’t feature the appearance of a single Jedi!) now seem somewhat limited, especially after the behind-the-scenes mismanaging of the core anthology.
With the Skywalker Saga coming to an official end later this year, Disney’s hand is going to be forced either way. We’re going to have to take a look at the world beyond the fight between the Jedi and the Sith and see what it has to offer. There’s reason to be confident that those days are coming for Star Wars fans — even if we’re also getting an Obi-Wan Kenobi streaming series in the not-too-distant future.
But it’s also hard to watch that new trailer for The Mandalorian and not wonder why it took so long to get here, because that trailer is something special. It marks the first time we’re seeing footage of a live-action Star Wars story that doesn’t tie directly to the events of the films and TV shows we’ve already seen, even if its a story told in the aftermath of The Return of the Jedi.
For years, we’ve watched movies about world-breaking and galaxy-defining battles between good and evil but rarely had the opportunity to see what the actual ramifications those confrontations have had on the galaxy at large. We see snippets in Rogue One and Solo but again, largely in ways that connect back to the original trilogies.
From the very first shot of the trailer for The Mandalorian we’re treated to the jarring site of Stormtrooper heads on pikes. Werner Herzog (WERNER HERZOG IS IN THIS) explains via voiceover that, “It’s a world more peaceful after a revolution.” And in that moment the trailer confronts us with the fact that we’ve never actually seen what the world of Star Wars was like in the immediate aftermath of one of the most important events depicted in its fiction: the fall of the Empire.
Story aside, the series looks to be an exploration of the galaxy in a way we’ve never seen before and with a depth the folks behind these creative endeavors have never had room for. The Mandalorian, even more than the current sequels trilogy, feels like what the Disney era of Star Wars has been building towards. The new trilogy is vital and a truly impressive feat, yes, but it’s still familiar, something we’ve seen in the world of Star Wars before. The Mandalorian takes a crucial step in a new direction.
This is, more than anything we’ve seen yet, the future of Star Wars. In order to keep the franchise as vital as it’s been for the last few decades, new ground must be broken. Star Wars is no longer the end-all-be-all of franchise entertainment. It can’t rely on simply playing the hits over and over again. New material, new worlds, and new characters are going to be the lifeblood of this series going forward.
It’s hard to not wish The Mandalorian had happened sooner, but it’s also our excitement dwarf those concerns. We’re about to see what a galaxy far, far away looks like when the camera isn’t focused on the Skywalker family. It’s about time.
The Mandalorian premieres November 12 on Disney+.