Costing a reported $US15 million per episode, this splashy new TV show is the signature piece of Disney’s new streaming service.
Costing a reported $US15 million per episode, this splashy new TV show is the signature piece of Disney’s new streaming service.

Biggest show on new streaming service

There's no doubt that among Disney's launch catalogue for its streaming service, The Mandalorian is the shining jewel sitting atop its extensive library.

The Star Wars series is the most high-profile of its original offerings and it's likely a big reason why more than 10 million people signed up to the service in its first few days after the US launch.

Did those people waste their money? And do you need to be a Star Wars fan to get a kick out of it? Those are the key questions.

RELATED: Full list of movies and TV shows on Disney+

The Mandalorian, of which the first two episodes of its eight-episode first season are now available, is a solid sci-fi adventure TV show with a western vibe. It's also unmistakably a Star Wars series, not that you need to be obsessed with the franchise to make heads or tails of it.

Having said that, there are obviously many Star Wars fans out there - The Force Awakens remains the second highest ever grossing movie in Australia, only behind Avatar. Even Avengers: Endgame couldn't knock it down a rung.

You don’t get to see his face, but Pedro Pascal plays the Mandalorian Picture: Francois Duhamel/Lucasfilm
You don’t get to see his face, but Pedro Pascal plays the Mandalorian Picture: Francois Duhamel/Lucasfilm

Those fans are going to like what they see. The Mandalorian is classic Star Wars fare, and that's thanks to creator Jon Favreau and writer and director Dave Filoni - the latter is a George Lucas protégé who has been deeply involved in the Star Wars universe for years and years.

So this is a show coming from fans, and made for fans - expect a load of easter eggs. Bet you never thought you'd see a Kowakian monkey-lizard again.

Set a handful of years after the fall of the Empire, the series centres on an unnamed Mandalorian (people from Mandalore), fashioned after fan favourite Boba Fett and his enviable costume.

Played by charisma bomb Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones, Narcos) from behind a helmet he never takes off, the Mandalorian is a bounty hunter on the outskirts of the now-disbanded Empire.

Like any good Western, that frontier space in the wake of a civil war is a lawless land where characters are different shades of grey, which includes our titular (anti?) hero.

The creators and Pascal have referenced Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns as the inspiration for the character, but the series itself also has strong Firefly or Akira Kurosawa vibes.

The Mandalorian is sent on a mission by a mysterious client and former Empire officer (Werner Herzog) to collect - or kill - a package that many have failed to attain. It's a job that pays big.

In the process, he meets Kuill (Nick Nolte), an Ugnaught moisture farmer, and an IG-11 bounty droid (Taika Waititi).

 

Nick Nolte lends his voice to Kuill
Nick Nolte lends his voice to Kuill

 

Other recurring characters will be played by the likes of Giancarlo Esposito, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi, Bill Burr, Natalia Tena and Ming-Na Wen.

The Mandalorian is more gritty and less polished than its recent big screen counterparts - like the character, the show is kind of scrappy. That's going to appeal to long-time fans who first fell in love with the world with A New Hope.

It's light-footed and while it's not laugh-out-loud hilarious, it can be funny at the right moments.

The action scenes are also fun as those blaster beams fly through the air. Yet, it still has scale. Within the first few minutes, a giant creature erupts from below the ice - it's the equivalent of Game of Thrones throwing a dragon at you in the first episode.

It's a strong start to an expensive series with the world of expectations. It's also, quite a lot of fun. What more can you ask for?

The Mandalorian is streaming now on Disney+ with new episodes released weekly on Fridays from 7.01pm AEDT

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