Oscar Isaac may have recently claimed that he’s feeling less pressure to get Star Wars: Episode IX right than he did for the last two episodes, but you can imagine that a good section of the Lucasfilm team is currently feeling the burden of expectations. And while it’s clear that next year’s trilogy-closer will play an important role in the future of the franchise, it’s now being speculated that Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian is being banked on to restore balance to the Star Wars fanbase.
After the polarized response to The Last Jedi and the underwhelming box office returns of Solo: A Star Wars Story, a property that once seemed unstoppable has started to show its limitations, prompting Disney to put some of its planned projects on ice. One endeavor that’s evidently survived the purges, however, is The Mandalorian. In fact, it was reported just yesterday that the Star Wars live action series will benefit from a huge merchandising push, with trademarks being filed for “toys, games, hand-held units for video games, books, school supplies, temporary tattoos, clothing, and footwear.”
This development lends credence to the idea that the studio really wants this to be the project that wins fans and the general public back on their side. And seeing how all this online tension around the current movie trilogy is unlikely to have cooled down by the time Episode IX comes out next year, this may not be the worst approach.
There’s some debate to be had around how big of an issue the alleged phenomenon of ‘Star Wars Fatigue’ is, but there’s no denying that the release of a new film from this franchise is no longer treated as the generation-defining event that we used to see it as. If people aren’t feeling so obligated these days to make the trip to the cinema, perhaps The Mandalorian is the shift in approach and change of medium needed to get audiences excited once more.