With stunning new worlds and aliens and plenty of action-packed drama, this new series set after "Return of the Jedi" promises an exciting new chapter in the "Star Wars" saga.
With its second trailer for "The Mandalorian," the first-ever live-action "Star Wars" television series, Disney+ is finally delivering on its promise of movie-level quality coming to the small screen.
"Star Wars" fans have been clamoring for a live-action series for years, and while there have been a few empty promises or fizzled projects along the way, "The Mandalorian" is finally that dream fulfilled, and it actually looks like it may have been worth the wait.
"It's a world more peaceful since the revolution," we're promised as the camera pans over discarded and damaged Stormtrooper helmets. Right away, then, we get to see people riding exotic alien creatures, battles between humanoid aliens and even someone encased in carbonite.
And all of it has that same gritty, lived-in look that was a staple of the "Star Wars" universe -- not counting some of George Lucas' early tinkering with his OG trilogy.
There are stunning vistas of exotic worlds and even glimpses of some familiar faces making their debuts in the Star Wars universe, including Carl Weathers and Giancarlo Esposito. The series also stars Gina Carano, Nick Nolte, Ming-Na Wen, Werner Herzog and Taika Waititi as the voice of a new droid, IG-11 ... and we know how much of the success of these projects rides on the personalities of their droid characters.
It's all held together by Pedro Pascal as the titular anti-hero of the series, a lone bounty hunter of unknown motives, origin and really pretty much everything else. He's like the mysterious cowboy who wanders into town on the hunt for a criminal. Is he the hero of the story, or an even badder dude?
The thing is, "Star Wars" has been begging for a television series, as it always had so many smaller stories happening within its worlds. George Lucas created a universe so rich with possibility there was just no way to do it proper justice in the occasional movie here or there. That's why the Expanded Universe and now the canon books and comics are so popular.
There is a tremendous appetite for this type of content.
Lucasfilm and Disney may have gotten gun-shy in theaters after the poor performance of "Solo," but that was just indicative of how small they were thinking. With thousands of years of unexplored history, fans were not necessarily clamoring for Han Solo's back story. "Rogue One" was a success because it was largely new characters exploring an untold story.
"The Mandalorian" looks to continue that strategy on the small screen, and keeping within the realm of he original trilogy allows Disney to feel safe about the project. This story picks up five years after "Return of the Jedi," offering a rare glimpse into the universe after the initial fall of the Empire. Though the action will take place far from the authority of the New Republic, we suspect its influence will still be felt.
With this new project, fan enthusiasm has been on the rise with each new announcement, photo or trailer. This latest one is sure to get even more subscribers to Disney's new streaming service. And if this is the promise of what "Star Wars" can do on the small screen, here's hoping this is the first of many projects.
"Star Trek" found success by limiting its theatrical presence while continuing to expand its footprint on television. "Star Wars" may have found itself on the big screen, but that's primarily because the limitations of television budgets couldn't handle Lucas' vision. Hell, neither could the film experience, which is why he had to create so much of his own magic.
But television is there, as seen in epics like "Game of Thrones" and "Westworld" and "Star Trek: Discovery." There are no longer limits to what can be realized on television, so it's exciting to see one of the most popular space operas finally taking its first step into a new format.
"The Mandalorian" will release its eight-episode first season one episode at a time, launching with the rest of Disney+ on November 12.