Season 3 of 'The Mandalorian' Gets Lost in Space

Created by Jon Favreau

Starring Pedro Pascal, Katee Sackhoff, Carl Weathers, Amy Sedaris

Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm

BY Alex HudsonPublished Mar 1, 2023

Liam Neeson recently complained to Variety about the quantity of new Star Wars content: "There's so many spinoffs. It's diluting it to me, and it's taken away the mystery and the magic in a weird way."

They're ironic words coming from one of the stars of the famously bad prequels, but he has a point nevertheless: unlike the days when fans had to wait years (or even decades) for new films, now barely a few months go by without a new Star Wars release. And for every excellent Andor, there's another series that feels inessential (Obi-Wan Kenobi) or phoned in (The Book of Boba Fett).

The Mandalorian has been one of the bright spots in the Star Wars universe — but after Season 2 nicely brought the show's main arc to a conclusion, where's the show supposed to go from here?

Based on the first two episodes of Season 3 made available to critics, creator Jon Favreau and his team don't have a particularly clear idea of that themselves. While the first two seasons were snappy and entertaining, with a structure that made each episode feel like a stand-alone quest, the start of Season 3 is more focused on a broad arc.

Hopefully viewers made it all the way through The Book of Boba Fett and didn't get bored and trail off halfway through (ahem...), since Season 3 of Mando picks up right where Boba Fett left off: Grogu (a.k.a. Baby Yoda) has abandoned his Jedi training with Luke Skywalker, while Din Djarin (a.k.a. the titular Mandalorian, played by Pedro Pascal) has been been banished by his people for removing his helmet in the prior season.

"I'm confused," Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) says when he sees Mando and Grogu together again, surely echoing the thoughts of many viewers in a moment in which the show seems to acknowledge the sloppiness of its own plot. Apparently, Star Wars didn't learn its lesson from Palpatine's return in The Rise of Skywalker: having major plot points occur in other parts of a cinematic universe drains them of their emotional power.

This poor setup reflects a general lack of focus from this once quick-paced show. In the first two episodes, the Mandalorian displays a confusing fixation on resurrecting an inactive droid before seeming to forget about that plan completely. There are a series of new baddies who are abruptly dispensed with, including some poorly designed plunderers who look like they wandered off the set of Pirates of the Caribbean. Storylines used to play out as serialized one-episode arcs, but this season careens from one micro-crisis to the next.

The Mandalorian's third season might not be a total bust: Carl Weathers and Amy Sedaris bring their usual charm in small parts, and an increased role for Katee Sackhoff as Mandalorian leader Bo-Katan Kryze hints at the new directions the show could go in. And it's fun to see Baby Yoda display an increased control over the Force while looking as cute as ever. Andor took a few episodes to properly get going, so The Mandalorian isn't beyond hope.

But it's hard not to compare the start of Season 3 unfavourably to the zippy past episodes of The Mandalorian; hopefully the show is able to streamline its chaotic pacing into the low-stakes fun it's usually known for.

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