The Mandalorian Season 2 finale re-opens a controversial Star Wars debate
Freedom fighters or terrorists? It might be a matter of perspective.
It wouldn't be Star Wars without the Death Star, and The Mandalorian Season 2 finale delivered. In the process, Mando showrunners Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau may have re-opened one of the spiciest Star Wars debates of all time. Warning! Light spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 8.
In the opening scene, our heroes tangle with a pair of Imperial pilots who can't help but bring up the Death Star in front of Cara Dune after observing her tattoos and realizing her home planet of Alderaan was destroyed by Death Star 1.
Here's their conversation:
Pilot: You wanna know what else I saw? I saw your planet destroyed. I was on Death Star.
Cara Dune: Which one?
Pilot: You think you're funny? Do you know how many millions were killed on those bases? As the galaxy cheered? Destroying your planet was a small price to pay to rid the galaxy of terrorism—
Cara Dune: shoots pilot
There's a lot to unpack in this little scene, which mostly serves to get Dr. Pershing into Mando's custody so he can tell them how to infiltrate Moff Gideon's ship. What's really interesting, however, is getting the perspective of a grunt who was on the Death Star. From his point of view, they were fighting against a terrorist organization led by a cult priest (Jedi master Luke Skywalker).
In a nutshell, this is what makes The Mandalorian so great. In a Star Wars movie, this character might get one generic line before he's shot by Han Solo. But in Mando, a background character becomes three-dimensional, adding new depth to the entire franchise in the process.
It also resurrects a classic Star Wars debate: When the Rebel Alliance blew up the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi, did they kill a whole bunch of innocent people in the process? What about the construction workers who were still finishing up the base when it went kablooey?
If you've ever watched Clerks, you know where I'm going with this. Unapologetic Star Wars fan Kevin Smith wrote an entire scene devoted to this very question, though his ultimate conclusion was that everyone on Death Star 2 (from Palpatine down to the janitors) knew what they were getting into.
The Mandalorian doesn't do much to change our minds. This Imperial pilot is clearly a huge jerk who doesn't feel bad about wiping out an entire planet or even killing his co-pilot in cold blood. Still, the more Mando reveals to us about the inner workings of the Empire and the everyday people who were part of it, the more we have to wonder:
Did Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance commit mass murder, not just one, but twice, in the original trilogy?
The Mandalorian is streaming now on Disney+.
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