The Mandalorian is arguably the only project to come from the Disney era of Star Wars that hasn’t managed to upset the fans in some fashion. Under the watchful eyes of Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, the show’s first season hit that sweet spot between using recognizable iconography and introducing new characters into a brand new story that expands the universe instead of making it feel smaller, something that The Rise of Skywalker should have done instead of hitting the panic button marked ‘nostalgia.’
By the end of the first episode, The Mandalorian had already introduced the franchise’s new breakout star, with Baby Yoda becoming an overnight cultural phenomenon as audiences around the world instantly fell in love with the little green critter. With The Child’s popularity now assured, the upcoming second run of episodes needs to be careful that they don’t lean too heavily on the character at the expense of the story being told.
Based on the reception to the first season, Favreau and Filoni more than likely won’t fall into the same creative and narrative traps that have blighted many recent Star Wars movies, and a lot of that reportedly has to do with Kathleen Kennedy being kept as far away from The Mandalorian as possible.
The Lucasfilm President is viewed by some as a bigger threat to Star Wars than Palpatine ever was, and in a recent interview, she ominously admitted that the overwhelming popularity of Baby Yoda took the studio by surprise.
“Baby Yoda was part of this from the beginning. We didn’t know exactly what Baby Yoda was going to look like, and we didn’t necessarily call him Baby Yoda. But yes, he was a part of this. We knew when he was on the set from how everybody was reacting that he would certainly be a popular character. But I don’t think anybody quite anticipated the degree to which he would catch on. That, I have to say, was a bit of a surprise. We knew enough to keep him secret. But we keep a lot of things secret on Star Wars.”
Kennedy has already been rumored to be trying to become more heavily involved in The Mandalorian, which is something that the fans definitely don’t want to see happen. In less capable hands, we could end up with The Baby Yoda Show that exists solely to capitalize and monetize the series’ most marketable asset at the expense of everyone and everything else, but Favreau and Filoni have already shown that The Child is much more effective in smaller doses and the story always comes first.