I still remember the day my dad rolled the old TV cart out into the cafeteria of the former school-turned-church we lived in and sitting us down to watch Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope.
I don’t remember much. Luke seemed cute, there was a Princess, a lot of desert, funny droids… *shrugs*
We discussed the movie like we always do, evaluating what was good and not so good, keying in on the worldview and messages. We even got a lesson in film history. (#homeschooled)
A lesson that eleven-year-old Kate always remembered.
My dad explained the Old West and medieval inspirations George Lucas brought together to make something entirely new.
(There’s a writing lesson in there somewhere. 😉)
I mentioned before that I didn’t grow up on SW, and while I watched the movies once as a kid, it was other things that caught my imagination.
Roy Rogers movies. The Andy Griffith Show. The Prisoner (1967). Historical movies, animated movies, old black and white feel-good movies. Secret Agent Man. BBC Sherlock (filtered). Doctor Who.
The Star Wars sequels appeared on my radar and impressed me to varying degrees. (Episode VIII… a.k.a. controversially my favorite.)
And then came The Mandalorian.
Uniquely titled “Chapter 1” and so on.
With a soon highly recognizable theme song.
Simple yet highly effective backgrounds.
A straight forward and compelling plot.
Characters you knew which side they were on immediately.
A grim, highly-skilled man willing to risk anything for the innocent.
His trusty, rescued sidekick.
The wise hermit of the desert.
A village in need of help.
All in a barren, wild world with every man for himself.
What Star Wars had set out to do (as expressed to me when I was a child) was on full, beautiful, Western display in a single, eight-episode season.
Even as I enjoyed the genre-bending, I felt a familiarity that went deeper than the setting and characters.
It reminded me of an old show with it’s short episodes, honesty of characters, theme song and filming style, and even with that weird “filler” episode where Mando runs a mission with his former outlaw gang.
As a film nerd I’m excited by mind-bending plots, unique editing, and craaazzzy advancements in tech.
But as a viewer who loves relaxing and enjoying a compelling, down-to-earth story, I will be eagerly looking forward to season 2.
• • •
(I realize this post has likely already been written. Likely by a middle-aged man. Anyway, if you want to read more about the strong Old West parallels in this show, check out this article.)