The Mandalorian Could Use a Watson
The new Star Wars TV present The Mandalorian follows the adventures of a ruthless bounty hunter named Din Djarin. It has a robust Western vibe, one thing science fiction writer Rajan Khanna appreciated instantly.
“One of the things I’ve always wanted to see from the Star Wars universe is them tackling other genres, so not just space opera, but Westerns, thrillers, spy stuff, whatever,” Khanna says in Episode 395 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “I think the universe is broad enough and deep enough to handle that, so to have this Western feel worked really well for me.”
Din Djarin is a man of few phrases, and for just about your complete present his face is hidden behind an expressionless steel helmet. Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley says that’s applicable, for the reason that character is clearly supposed to capitalize on the recognition of one other Star Wars bounty hunter, Boba Fett.
“[Boba Fett’s] appeal is basically that he’s so mysterious, and you don’t know everything about him, and there’s not a ton of character development,” Kirtley says. “So I feel like maybe it would not be true to that whole character or that whole appeal if [Din Djarin] had a lot of character development and you knew his backstory in extreme detail.”
But science fiction writer Matthew Kressel discovered the dearth of characterization irritating, notably over the course of an eight-episode TV present. “You get tiny little glimpses of who he is, but every time they give you a glimpse, it’s a cliché,” Kressel says. “Who is he? What are his values? What does he think? Does he have any great desires? I never got any of that.”
Fantasy writer Erin Lindsey says the answer is likely to be to pair Din Djarin with a extra relatable sidekick, just like the dynamic between Sherlock Holmes and Watson. This would permit Din Djarin to stay aloof and mysterious whereas nonetheless offering alternatives for richer characterization and emotional connection.
“We don’t have to understand him, but we do need to attach to him somehow, even if it’s via a third party,” she says.
Listen to the entire interview with Rajan Khanna, Matthew Kressel, and Erin Lindsey in Episode 395 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And take a look at some highlights from the dialogue beneath.
David Barr Kirtley on nostalgia:
“This was actually bringing again reminiscences of watching The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. with my dad. I don’t truly keep in mind the present that nicely. It’s a Western—I believe form of a Weird Western or Steampunk Western or one thing—however I simply vividly keep in mind the sensation of watching that present with my dad, and this actually introduced again these reminiscences, as a result of it does have this very distinct Old West type of vibe to it. … What this present is doing is it’s a aware repudiation of all of the advances that TV storytelling has made within the final 20 years. Particularly within the center, it’s very episodic. It’s easy and simple, and the characters are pretty simple, and it’s simply enjoyable. I believe a lot of your response to it’ll be whether or not you discover that return to a easier period of tv to be refreshing and nostalgic or simply retrograde.”
Matthew Kressel on unhealthy writing:
“I see this a lot in unhealthy storytelling, the place the storyteller desires a particular factor to occur, in order that they manipulate the fact of the world to make that occur. And in [the episode called] ‘The Prisoner,’ it’s this silly beacon. It’s like, ‘Oh, if you press this beacon then X-wings come and blow you up.’ And I’m like, ‘OK? I guess?’ So apparently you might simply take that beacon and put it wherever, and the X-wings would come and be like, ‘Well, that’s the beacon, I suppose we should always blow it up.’ What actuality is that this in? And why is that this jail ship not touring by hyperspace? Why is it touring by house at a gradual pace? I don’t get that. So there have been simply actually bizarre, silly plot decisions.”
Erin Lindsey on Giancarlo Esposito:
“Giancarlo Esposito is one of my favorite television actors. He’s played one of the most chilling television villains of all time. So they have some great raw clay to work with there. Clearly their intention with this season—at least I think so—was just to introduce him and let us know that he exists, and presumably he’s a recurring big bad in the next season, which is one of the reasons I’m excited. But one of the things that makes Giancarlo Esposito so amazing is that he’s such a subtle actor, and how do you really get the best out of a subtle actor in a black cape and Darth Vader outfit surrounded by stormtroopers? That’s about as subtle as a sledgehammer. So it’s going to be really interesting to watch how they blend those two things.”
Rajan Khanna on bounty hunters:
“I’ve all the time wished extra of a bounty hunter ‘scum and villany’ focus, so I believe that was nice. It harkens again to the ‘Han shoots first’ period of Star Wars. There’s a level at which the Mandalorian disintegrates a couple of Jawas proper off the bat, and nothing is product of it. He doesn’t really feel tremendous responsible or no matter. And I type of favored that focus. … I actually favored the truth that the large unhealthy [in episode 4]—the large factor that was so troublesome and harmful—was simply an AT-ST Walker, which we’ve seen many occasions earlier than, and Ewoks are in a position to kill them with two logs, however on this scale it’s one thing that’s devastating, and it takes this massive effort to convey it down, which I appreciated. I favored seeing that smaller scale.”