Before I watched a minute of Chapter 10 of The Mandalorian, I had already read a couple of messages and seen enough Twitter comments to know presume that the episode was going to move a bit slowly. Then, less than 10 minutes into the episode, the characters themselves made it clear. To me the conversation between Peli Motto and Din Djarin about how to best transport those eggs was more than instructions on how to move those eggs; to me it was a message from the show’s creatives that this show is going to move slowly and that they believe that slow-moving pace is the best way to develop their baby. And those eggs…they’re not just eggs.
Traveling sub-light is a bit dicey these days…
As our own, talented Joao Pinto wrote here, The Mandalorian goes against the grain by refusing its viewers the instant gratification that we’ve become used to. Creators Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau have a story to tell in this world but they have repeatedly proven that they are in no hurry to tell it. Their deliberate and restrained pace has caused some frustrations for fans, but they don’t seem too rattled by it, as this episode seems to prove. Favreau is playing with ideas that are in the same sandbox that George Lucas built in 1976. We’ve spent a lot of time on Tatooine exploring and expanding that “rock” that Luke Skywalker himself couldn’t wait to escape and I think that’s telling. Favreau’s growth as a story teller over his career has been nothing short of remarkable and now he’s doing something that many mature story tellers have done over the years: finding value in things that others have overlooked.
As for Filoni, we already know he’s probably the world’s biggest Star Wars fan and that pretty much nobody alive loves their job as much as he does but there’s more to the story there, too. Filoni has LIVED Star Wars not just as a fan but as one of its most prolific creators. Dating back to his work on Clone Wars, Filoni has spent thousands of hours developing and curating the universe that Lucas built and, in that time, has developed a love affair with the most minute of details. The pair of them working together on this show was never going to go any other way.
Their partnership dates back to The Clone Wars where Favreau voiced Pre Vizsla and first wielded the Darksaber, an artifact we saw reemerge in Season 1 of The Mandalorian, and as someone who is currently watching The Clone Wars as a companion to The Mandalorian, it seems evident to me that Filoni and Favreau are still exploring themes and ideas they first tinkered with over a decade ago. If you think they’re going slow now, stop and think about that: in some cases they’re still telling a story that began in 2008 and they are in no rush to get to the last chapter.
Moving fast is the only thing keeping me safe…
Once the realization above sinks in, it’s much easier to sit back and enjoy The Mandalorian for what it is: the live-action Star Wars version of Kung Fu with Din Djarin out fighting for justice, protecting the underdog but, most of all, walking the Earth (ok, the galaxy) all while avoiding all those other bounty hunters out to get him. While Kung Fu was a martial arts Western, The Mandalorian is a sci-fi Western. Westerns are a lot of things: they’re nostalgic, exist on the border of civilization and wilderness and, most of all, typically move at an almost glacial pace. For this reason, their popularity has waned over the last 30-40 years despite a handful of very well-made Western films. Filoni and Favreau know this. They know that modern fans have the “I wanna go fast” mindset of Ricky Bobby, but if you paid attention to this episode, they told us all loud and clear that they’re going to continue telling this story their way and continue the homage to Akira Kurosawa that Lucas began in 1976. They believe in the long game, a game they’ve not only been setting up episode by episode but before that and they are going to continue narrating this tale in that way because just like those frog eggs, story telling like this is becoming more rare by the minute but, by taking proper care of the story, by avoiding the urge to jump into hyperspace, they believe they’ll save what’s almost a lost art of storytelling.