The Purpose of "The Mandalorian": What are Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni Up To?
Though the Skywalker Saga ended in 2019, Star Wars fans still have plenty to talk about with the release of Season 2 of The Mandalorian. Releasing a new episode each week (like old school television) The Mandalorian is revealing more and more secrets of the Star Wars universe. [For more info on the show up to this point, check out Vincent Quaranta's article on it here]. But what is the true intent of the show? What is the overall purpose of adding a new show to the Star Wars franchise? Especially a show about characters that seemingly have nothing to do with any of the events that fans know and love. Of course, it could just be a money grab by Disney. But looking at the creators of the series, and what they do best, one can find a different, more important, reason.
The brains behind the operation are none other than Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, which have become household names in the world of geekdom. Favreau is an actor, writer, director, and producer, known in films such as: Rudy, Swingers, and Chef, as well as directing: Elf, The Jungle Book, and The Lion King. But what he might be best known for is starting up the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, directing Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and producing many more of the MCU films. Meanwhile, Dave Filoni rose the ranks in animation working on projects like Kim Possible and Avatar: The Last Airbender before turning to Lucasfilm. There he created The Clone Wars, Rebels, Forces of Destiny, and Resistance; all of which are Star Wars based television shows. By joining forces, Favreau and Filoni are taking the world by storm, but their aim can sometimes be misconstrued. Many think they are doing The Mandalorian just because they can. And while that is true, they are doing it because they love it, there is something deeper to the reason of the show.
Before the MCU existed, the canon of the comic books were all over the place. Naturally, with rotating doors of writers in charge of the different superheroes, and with special guest appearances in many issues of the books, the canon got messy quite quickly. So much so that Marvel created the multiverse, where there are multiple different versions of each character and they are all true from a certain point of view. But for those that do not have the time or the will to read every issue, the Marvel world began to be intimidating. Enter Jon Favreau. Not only did he help launch the MCU with Iron Man and executive produce the Avenger films, but by doing so he tied everything together creating one canon. While, yes, the MCU is technically just one of many dimensions in a multiverse world, Favreau metaphorically pointed to the movie franchise and told everyone, “This is the way.” It made it less messy. It made it approachable. And it made over $22 billion.
Before The Clone Wars, there were holes in the story. There were many questions to be answered about what transpired between Episodes I, II, and III, in Star Wars. And with Filoni's help, many of those questions were answered. And it's something Filoni did with great care. He made sure to consult George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, in every big decision he made of the show to make sure it fit within the parameters of the world that was created. He cared about the franchise, he understood what it meant underneath the surface of laser swords and cool acrobatics, and he never wanted to mess it up. Dave Filoni was able to introduce Star Wars to a whole new generation and make it their own.
And as far as canon, Star Wars has one of the worst. It is extremely messy. Part of this is due to the way it was created. For those that do not know, George Lucas created the films out of order: IV, V, VI, I, II, III. Why? Well in a world where movie franchises were not done, there was initially only supposed to be one film. But when there was more to the story, Lucas decided to create a trilogy. However, to complete the story more fully, he decided to go back and, with another trilogy, explain how the galaxy got to the place that it was at the beginning of the newly deemed Episode IV. On top of that confusion, there was a sixteen year gap between the trilogy release dates. In other words, sixteen years where additional stories were being made for all of the characters that then were retconned (retroactively changing the continuity) with the new trilogy. Then there was another ten years until Disney released a sequel trilogy, Episodes VII, VIII, and IX; meaning additional stories were again being retconned, even between their own three movies. Confused yet? This meant that by 2019, there were two different continuities: Legends (the stories before Disney bought the franchise) and Canon (the stories after Disney bought the franchise). Enter Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni.
The Mandalorian is meant to tie the story together. Favreau and Filoni are doing what they do best and are creating one consistent canon with a show that makes sure the films, books, video games, shows, and everything in between; comes together to create one whole Star Wars universe. FROM HERE ON OUT THERE ARE SPOILERS. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO AVOID SPOILERS STOP READING. In Season 2 of The Mandalorian, fans already have seen the return of Boba Fett and are getting ready for the first live action reveal of Ahsoka Tano, connecting the original trilogy with the animated shows. But recently in Season 2, Episode 4, viewers got a new insight. Granted this is speculation, but it is highly probable- the Child (a.k.a. Baby Yoda) was initially taken by the Empire to run tests with blood transfusions. Scientists were trying to transfer the Child's blood, that is filled with midichlorians, into bodies meaning that they are trying to bring Emperor Palpatine back to life. Favreau and Filoni are taking something from the prequels that was left in mystery (midichlorians) and something from the sequels that was left in mystery (the creation of Snoke and how Palpatine came back to life) and are putting it together in their show. They are taking characters that had nothing to do with major events of the franchise and having them stumble upon the answers to all of the questions that fans of the series still have.
Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni are masters at cleaning up messy stories. They have a track record of connecting multiple canons in the past and they are doing it again with The Mandalorian. It is exciting to see where the show will go from here. Rumors suggest the next episode, written and directed by Filoni, will be the one to reveal Ahsoka Tano which will mean that many questions will be answered and many more questions will probably appear. But like old television, the world must wait and watch to see what happens next week.
(Cover Photo: Lucasfilm/Disney via Gamesrader+)