Monday, November 25, 2019

Mondays on Mandalore: Rise of the Cuteness

I, too, would die for Baby Yoda
Welcome to Mondays on Mandalore. Unlike Mandalorians, this will not be a quiet, stoic affair. It will, however, discuss The Mandalorian, and in doing so, assume you have seen same. So there are spoilers.

Here's the million-credit question: why is Boba Fett a Thing? He pulls one clever trick in tracing the Falcon, has a handful of lines, and then gets dumped into the Sarlacc. So why is he this great cult icon?

In my opinion, it's actually due to that lack of information - we didn't know much at all about Boba, some comics and books in the old Expanded Universe aside - until the prequels came around and gave us a big ol' heaping backstory. Did this help the character at all? It did not. The grandeur lay in the mystery.

So when The Mandalorian was announced, I was apprehensive - how would a show entirely about someone akin to Fett work? Would it be able to resist the urge to tell us everything? So far, so good - and there are reasons to be optimistic that it will keep doing so.

We find this in the roots of the show - Westerns, mostly, and the modern western, Justified (which is one of my favorite shows of all time). There are numerous moments in the first three episodes of the Madalorian that are straight out of Justified, or the fabled 'Dollars' trilogy (also a personal favorite). Both Dollars and Justified relied on tight writing, stoic heroes and moral grey areas.

So if we are talking about why the mystery works, I think the morality needs to work just as well. In all these examples, there are people living in an amoral world, an are confronted with choices - sometimes cut-and-dried examples of right and wrong, but everyone around them always chooses wrong, sometimes grey, but the choice is always there.

This has been thus far my favorite progression in the show. We know our hero is a bounty hunter, and they usually just, ya know, hunt bounties, without thinking about or caring who or why. We learn in Episode 3 that he is supporting a family of sorts - his Mandalorian cadre, with him being the only one visible at a time.

So he has motivation to -as he does at first - just take the Beskar and walk away.

This is initially set against a droid bounty hunter, whose cold willingness to off the cutest thing in recorded history is to be expected. It's also not a stretch for 'Mando' to drop the droid and bring the Yodaling in alive.

But what is a little harsher is the willingness of literally every living bounty hunter to kill it, along with Mando. Again, it becomes about making the right choice, even when no one else is willing to.

Even if that choice is primarily motivated by cuteness.


 Dean is the author of the 3024AD series of science fiction stories. You can read his other ramblings and musings on a variety of topics (mostly writing) on his blog. When not holed up in his office tweeting obnoxiously writing, he can be found watching or playing sports, or in his natural habitat of a bookstore.