Mandalorian Episode 5 Runtime Finally Fixes Season 3's Biggest Flaw
Season 3 of The Mandalorian has always had a runtime pattern. It looks like the back half will fix it.
The streaming model is a double-edged sword when it comes to runtimes: it allows freedom from the strict timing restraints of a network TV airing schedule, but that freedom can also mean overly sparse and overly stuffed episodes. There’s no better example of this than The Mandalorian Season 3. But next week’s episode runtime may just fix everything.
The Mandalorian never had any issues with runtime before: over the course of the first two seasons, episodes typically hovered around a 35-minute runtime, making it perfectly reasonable to throw on during a meal or before leaving the house in the morning. But while Season 3 started with an average-length 35-minute episode, Episode 3 stretched the limits of runtimes with an episode that topped an hour after accounting for end credits.
But Twitter leaker @Cryptic4KQuality, who correctly predicted the massive runtime for Episode 3 and the 30-minute runtime of Episode 4, claims Episode 5 will have a runtime of 41 minutes.
This may seem on the long side to the average Mandalorian fan, but it’s probably the perfect runtime for the show from a television history perspective. Back in the olden days of network TV being the only way to watch TV, shows came in two runtimes: 22 minutes and 44 minutes, which accounted for a half-hour and an hour of screentime after commercials were factored in.
Fourty-one minutes is finally a return to the form that birthed this series: the hour-long adventure show. The Mandalorian loves to pay homage to different genres like Western shows and samurai movies — this runtime is essentially a homage as well.
Fans may not have loved the whiplash in runtimes throughout this season, but hopefully Episode 5 will set a new precedent of a nostalgic 45-ish minute runtime that still is longer than your average episode, but not long enough to bore a viewer or bloat the storyline.
With Season 3 now in its back half, now’s the time to establish a bigger plot, bigger stakes, and bigger reveals. Maybe that means a longer “normal” runtime — but it’s the runtime that’s worked for decades before — now’s the time to bring it into streaming TV too.
The Mandalorian is now streaming on Disney+.