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  • Writer's pictureNoah Yard

Can You Watch the Mandalorian If You've Never Seen 'Star Wars?'

Being able to avoid Star Wars these days is a special skill. Used to be you just didn’t watch a couple of movies, now with Disney at the helm, and with the completion of a ninth film in the main saga, and two spin-off films, it’s harder than ever to say you’ve never seen Star Wars.

Well, I haven’t! But I’ve heard and seen so much about the franchises latest smash hit

The Mandalorian, and baby Yoda is just so gosh darn cute, that I had to give it a go. But could I really enjoy a show that is so heavily connected to what is already a well-established universe without knowing any of it? I wanted to find out, and let people, who like me are Star Wars virgins, know if they could too.

Firstly, what’s it about, and what makes it so appealing?

Best in the Parsec.

The best way I can describe the Mandalorian is like an old western. Everything about the show screams of the old Westerns of Hollywood, from the lone gunslinger narrative to the masterful score. Oscar-winning composer Ludwig Göransson uses woodwind and heavy beats, along with weird synthesised sounds to create such an environment that you would swear you were watching a cowboy in a saloon, not an armour-clad warrior in an alien bar. The similarities are endless. The lone gunslinger roams from planet to planet, picking fights and searching for bounty. There are villains who encroach on peaceful civilisations with big guns, and with big gangs. It’s up to Mando (a nickname for our leading man) to beat them, much to his annoyance.

A Galaxy Far Too Well Known.

Even someone completely disinterested in Star Wars knows that when there’s one stormtrooper knows there is a fifty more nearby. A legion of faceless soldiers clad in white armour, sworn allegiance to a dead empire. They’re just one piece of the star wars puzzle, one reference that is clearer the more you know about the franchise. There are lots of little things that hint to previous stories and characters in the Star Wars universe when watching the Mandalorian. Stormtroopers are just one. There's also certain races of aliens, certain space ships, mentions of previous battles. But none of this is so intrusive on the story that it would put off a newcomer to the series. Most of these little tidbits can be understood through the context of the show’s story, and those that can’t either go over your head or can be ignored. Certainly, the more information you have going in enriches the story, and the easter eggs will make you smile undoubtedly. But that does not mean you need an encyclopaedic knowledge of the galaxy to fully enjoy the show.

About Mandalore.

One thing the show does a great job of is filling in the backstory and culture of it’s main character, however, this aspect of the show is complicated. If you know nothing of the Mandalorians of Mando’s clan as a group, you will find out over a satisfying first season. Those who have seen the Clone Wars or Boba and Jango Fett will already have some understanding of mandalorians, but the show does a pretty good job of filling the audience in on Mando’s origins.

Everybody Loves Mando.

The shows titular character, the Mandalorian/Mando. Played by Pedro Pascal, but you might not know it, because he never takes his helmet off. Bound by his code, he’s surprisingly charismatic for a man with no facial features. Seemingly only interested in pursuing bounty at first, he actually has morals and ethics that lead him to accomplish great heroic feats. These acts of extreme bravery make Mando a hero to everyone he meets essentially. Especially women, who seem inexplicably drawn to the gunslinger even though he never shows his face.

So, There’s This Baby.

Finally, we get to the thing everyone cares about. The whole internet went into hysterics with the reveal of a little green alien dubbed only as Baby Yoda when the show first aired. The name is a reference to one of, if not the most iconic Star Wars characters, master Yoda. However, despite its green skin and big ears, the baby has nothing to do with his namesake. Watching this little, weird baby, under the protection of Mando is one reason enough to get into the show. It’s cute as hell and can move things with its mind. It’s not a CGI, poorly rendered alien either, it is in fact a very cute puppet, are most of the beasts in the show I believer and the aliens are all done with SFX makeup. The child’s story, to find his origin, is completely separate from any other’s in the franchise, so it’s easy to follow and enjoy.

To Sum Up.

While any previous knowledge of the Star Wars universe will enhance your viewing experience of the Mandalorian in different, everybody has to start somewhere with their Star Wars viewing journey. Some purists would have you watch the original trilogy first, but I believe, if you’re a casual viewer, the Mandalorian is just a good a place as any to jump into the action. Each episode has within it it’s own separate story/adventure with Mando and Baby Yoda, with an overarching plot developing in the background, all of which are great to enjoy regardless of your Star Wars knowledge.

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