Submitted by Bad Billy Pratt
If you got caught up in the opening minutes of “The Mandalorian” thinking Disney finally got something even half-right, you’re not entirely wrong. Turns out, third time’s a charm with the Boba Fett character after not getting enough of him in the original trilogy, and way too much in the prequels. The mouse has righted these wrongs and given the plebs a cool, respectable, bad-ass bounty hunter in the new Disney+ streaming series… well, at least for a little bit.
Taking a page out of the Netflix playbook for getting guys to agree to watch shows made for their girlfriends by loading up the first episode with something they’d actually want to see (for Netflix, this means nudity), you’re only getting the icy, cold hearted bounty hunter in the first half of the Mandalorian’s series premier.
Straight out of a western, the bounty hunter storms through the doors of a cantina in time to save a nerd alien from getting bullied. After killing the bullies, the bounty hunter asks the nerd if he wants to be brought in “warm or cold.” Ah-ha, twist, the nerd is actually the bounty and our anti-hero is only out for himself- in other words, exactly what Star Wars fans wanted all along, a character with balls, especially after Han Solo was neutered by Lucas twenty years ago. This is the grey, the edge, the dirty side of a distant galaxy that the originals worked with so well. This is Disney’s version of Netflix nudity- a trick to get you to buy-into the series- and it’s not built to last.
“The Mandalorian” will ultimately become a lesson in toxic masculinity, taught by a mouse who will, again, learn the hard-way that Star Wars fans aren’t looking to be lectured. Disney’s playing things closer to the vest this time, however, and hedging their bets that fans will be too stupid to notice.
You may think the as-yet-unnamed bounty hunter is the first comfortably masculine character out of Disney’s rebranding, but, twist, you’ll be reminded repeatedly throughout the eight-episode series that he’s really just an insecure little boy playing dress-up. He will accept his losery short-comings and learn to have a heart. Along the way he’ll meet a #badass girl who will never need such a lesson.
In line with stripping the hero of respect and dignity, it’s implied that the bounty hunter isn’t a true Mandalorian– he seems to have been adopted by the tribe as a child. Bent on proving himself true cult, the bounty hunter spends all of his earnings on Mandalorian armor… playing dress up like a good cosplayer, indeed.
Taking a gig from what remains of the Empire, the bounty hunter’s next job is ambiguous until his tracker leads him to a baby Yoda. Here, the bounty hunter faces the moral quandary of committing baby murder. Instead, he reaches a finger out to the baby Yoda and we fade to black- so much for icy and ruthless.
With this inflection point, we get to the heart at Disney’s lesson for the plebs- tribal authenticity is contrived. With another layer of baggage added to the attack on their audience, Disney imagines the pseudo-masculine man-children who hated “The Last Jedi” are likely also Trump supporting, ethno-nationalists who need a lesson on the definition of identity. Even if the species-diverse cantina is a violent hellhole- a hilarious blindspot in the worldview Disney is attempting to establish- the bounty hunter will learn that chasing a sense of blood and soil pride is a dead end for self-satisfaction, something that will ultimately be found through taking care of somebody else’s Yoda.