THE MANDALORIAN – Review by Susan Granger

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The second season of Jon Favreau’s blockbuster live-action Disney+ series, a sci-fi spin-off from George Lucas’ Star Wars, begins on October 30, so you have plenty of time to stream the first season.

Set five years after Return of the Jedi – meaning the Empire has fallen and the New Republic is in its ascendancy – this intergalactic adventure revolves around the mysterious, perpetually helmeted bounty hunter Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), an orphan who was rescued and raised by Mandalorian warriors.

When he refuses to relinquish a mysterious prize, the powerful infant known as The Child (Baby Yoda), to The Client (Werner Herzog), Mando becomes its protector, aided by a pig-faced Ugnaught (voiced by Nick Nolte).

Mando’s principal adversary is The Empire’s Warlord Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), who possesses the Darksaber, a weapon popularized on the franchise’s animated incarnation, along with the droid assassin IG-11 (voiced by Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi) and tricky Fennic Shand (Ming Na Wen)

In the second season, Mando launches a search for The Child’s origin and species, perhaps with the help of ‘loner’ mercenary Cara Dune (former MMA fighter Gina Carano).

Meanwhile, there are eight episodes in season #1, each a separate encounter, tied together by Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed in the “Rocky” franchise), who plays Bounty Hunter Guild Chief Greef Karga.

Showrunner Jon Favreau was determined to create a saga steeped in the lore of the past while introducing entirely new characters, much as he did directing the first “Iron Man” (2008), launching the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Filming utilizes the new LED video wall technology, first introduced in last year’s The Lion King. Instead of navigating strict social-distancing requirements while shooting with a full cast and crew, each scene is captured visually by effects supervisor Robert Legato, a three-time Oscar winner.

Unlike the traditional “green-screen,” actors can now see the background and cinematographers can match perspectives and camera parallax to look like they’re on-location.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Mandalorian” is an action-packed, exciting 8, streaming on Disney+.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.