‘THE MANDALORIAN’ CHAPTER 11: Welcome to the STAR WARS Cinematic Universe

There are times when expectations can make certain moments pale in comparison with what was initially envisioned. Even though The Mandalorian‘s storyline was leading to this (with trailer footage helping connect the dots) CHapter 11 managed to surpass what we expected of not only the moment in question but also improve the idea behind the show itself.

Even though we’ve already had several connections to other Star Wars events and characters through the previous ten episodes, this chapter felt like a pivotal point for the franchise. It was reminiscent of the post-credit scene of the first Iron Man when Nick Fury shows up at Tony’s Malibu mansion to say: “Mr. Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe; you just don’t know it yet.”. From that moment on, everyone knew things would change, not only for the Iron Man movies but for the idea of what we now know as the MCU could grow into one day. And that’s what Chapter 11 might mean for the Star Wars live-action universe going forward.

We already had a fairly prominent character introduced in The Clone Wars (and later appearing on Rebels) show up in a live-action project in Saw Gerrera. He even cameoed in the game Star Wars Jedi: The Fallen Order. But the level of connectivity this episode brings to overarching storylines from other media that haven’t yet been completely disclosed, the weight of the characters now introduced in the overall Star Wars lore, the way it shifts the focus from the movies and the boundaries they set on themselves to what we could now be getting through Disney+ is a whole new ballgame

What’s also of notice is the way the minds behind The Mandalorian managed to make it all seem so effortless, in a way, validating the choices made and the possibilities ahead. The idea of introducing characters with a massive backstory to new audiences might seem daunting to say the least, but they understood that there was no need for an exposition dump, where the audience had to endure a 5-minute crash course in 10 years of Star Wars content. Everything flowed naturally, with the interactions not being more than they had to be, making this one of the series’ best episodes yet in terms of pacing. Another hurdle surpassed was the consistency in taking cartoon characters and bringing them to live-action. There was no need to make things more grounded or more flashy. Trusting the source material was enough for everything to work, and the respect shown for it was palpable. If the series and, its future spin-offs, manage to keep the introduction of characters coming in from other corners of the universe so efficient, really adding to the story and then leaving the show equipped to lead their own show, the future is bright.

By hitting it out of the park in more ways than one, Chapter 11 has shown the way for what Season 2 could end up becoming, with the certainty that what got achieved in this episode can and will be a focal point of what Star Wars can aspire to accomplish in the coming years. Long live (this) Star Wars.

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