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Books & Culture

‘The Mandalorian’ Is
Must-See TV

The Disney+ series serves up the Old West in a new format.


- December 3rd, 2019
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The gust of wind. The glare of ice. The glint of metal. Between the elements outside and the forces inside, between the opening of a door that dilates like an iris and the turning of a camera that acts as an eye—between panning the room and focusing on a stranger with his back to the door—stands a masked man. The man is a bounty hunter.

The bounty hunter is a Mandalorian.

He holds deadly weapons and shoots flaming arrows. He wears the armor of his tribe and bears the trials of exile. He lives not by the sword, but by the dagger, the rifle, the pistol, the full arsenal of his devotion.

He lives in a galaxy far, far away. . . .

“The Mandalorian” is his story. 

The story is a space Western, free from the machinations of its nominal creator: George Lucas.

The story succeeds because it honors what Lucas refuses to accept, that less is sometimes (oftentimes) more. 

The less we see, either because of storms that whip across the plains or the plainness of what runs from the mountains to the valleys, because of the appearance of nothingness or the sight of something out of nothing, because of what vanishes before us or lurks beside us—we see what the Mandalorian sees.

We see the Old West in a new format.

We see science fiction as it ought to be, with a patina of age and mystery. We see bandits and bondsmen. We see scavengers and scofflaws. We see warlords and weaponsmiths. 

We see Werner Herzog say his lines with the certainty of Death

We see the creature he covets: a baby in a basket.

We see the child in a desert without a Nile. We see intimations of Moses and the Nazarene. We see innocence and love.

We see the makings of a classic.

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