In case you've been living under a rock, or in the Degobah system, you know that Disney+ made a name for themselves with last year's breakout hit The Mandalorian. It's a "Star Wars" story, but it doesn't beat you over the head with the lore or make you feel bad if you don't know who Nein Numb's third cousin is or what "kill them all" translates to in Wookie. And yet, none of that matters like "Star Wars" fans would lead you to believe. Hot take: you don't need to know any of that to be a fan of the series. I'll even take it a step further and say that you don't even need to be a fan of "Star Wars" to like The Mandalorian.
Sound crazy? Bear with me as we dive into the world. At the heart of it, it's a western. I mean straight up John Wayne-type western with boots and hats and horses and riding off into the sunset. Yes, I realize "The Mando" doesn't exactly wear a cowboy hat, but he has a helmet, and that's close enough for me. Plus I don't think there's anything more cowboy than finding a child and just taking them with you on your journey to…wherever? Through some pretty scenic desert landscapes? The whole "wandering anti-hero" gig doesn't exactly come with a map or a clear-cut journey.
Disney knew exactly what they were doing with The Mandalorian – it's formulated to be insanely technological, stunningly gorgeous to look at, and on top of that, unlike any "Star Wars" that came before it. That's because it's written to be a western. Take the space ships, distant future-like technology, and aliens out of it and replace "The Mando" with Clint Eastwood or a ruggedly handsome cowboy of your choosing. Look a lot like any number of classic Westerns? Of course, it does. And that's not a bad thing – Hollywood has been plagiarizing itself basically since its inception; the good projects weave old ideas and concepts into something new and different. It's how art evolves, and Disney has evolved the entire western genre by flavoring it with a little "Star Wars."
It's a way to bring new fans who previously disliked the franchise (like my sisters) while still giving loyal fans something new, exciting, and filled with Easter eggs. Yes, Disney+ has a bonafide hit on their hands and the child is an absolute obsession, but at the heart of it all, it's all about a lonesome hero riding alone and picking up friends, allies, and enemies along the way before riding off into the sunset.