We are mere months away from the premiere of Star Wars: The Mandalorian on Disney+, and up until now, we've had only a vague idea of what to expect. The eight-episode series takes place roughly five years after the events of Return of the Jedi, after the Empire fell, which means the entire galaxy is likely in chaos. This is the first live-action series in the franchise, which means passionate fans are even more likely to view it under intense scrutiny. Thankfully, the show has a lot going for it, including the filmmaking skills of creator Jon Favreau as well as a talented cast.
The first publicly released trailer for The Mandalorian debuted Friday at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, and it seems to be everything Favreau promised it would be: a well-balanced, grittier take on the Star Wars universe. It features new characters who are every bit as interesting as the ones fans have gotten to know and love over the years. As exciting as that already is, there's so much more to see in the minute-and-a-half trailer, so let's break it down.
The Mandalorian: NO HOLDS BARRED
There are several things that visually distinguish The Mandalorian from the rest of the Star Wars universe and one of them is the amount of violence present throughout. It's not unusual to see minor characters sliced up or major characters lose appendages -- sometimes more than once -- in the franchise; in fact, the latter is a hallmark of the series. Still, The Mandalorian takes a much less fantastical approach to it all. That is to say, people get hurt... and it's not pretty.
In fact, the very beginning of the trailer presents us with the silent Mandalorian marching past bloodied Stormtrooper helmets piled around sandy streets and on spikes in macabre displays. There is no doubt that this particular corner of the galaxy has shown no mercy to the Empire that once ruled over it.
THE MANDALORIAN AND THE WILD, WILD PARSEC
From dusty settings to nameless protagonists, it has always been clear that Jon Favreau drew inspiration from classic Westerns for The Mandalorian. The trailer showcases that with shots of gun duels, lone riders, sunsets, campfires and more, but if you think that means the only settings we'll be seeing are dusty settlements, you're sorely mistaken.
Before the trailer ever introduces any of the show's characters, we see the Mandalorian's ship, the Razor Crest, soaring across lush, green forests before the mysterious bounty hunter approaches the first, desolate town. Throughout the clip, we see a string of dramatic-looking locations, each one unique and in keeping with the spirit of the old Spaghetti Westerns, only these seem much, much darker.
THE MANDALORIAN AND THE STRANGER
After our nameless bounty hunter walks into town, the trailer shows him in a Cantina, where we see Carl Weathers as Greif Marda, leader of a bounty hunting guild. It's Marda that sends the unnamed Mandalorian to track an asset of great value. Unfortunately, though the trailer subtly teases that storyline, we hear nothing from him, which shrouds him in even more mystery thanks to the brief shot that preceded him.
Just before we see Marda, the clip focuses on a set of objects, one being the light blue crystalline object on the Cantina table. In Mandalorian culture, light blue often symbolizes reliability and is a mark of the Mandalorian pacifists. The pacifist leader Satine Kryze from Star Wars: Rebels wore jewels similar in appearance to the crystal in the trailer. It could be a coincidence, or it could be a sign that The Mandalorian will show the collapse of the peaceful regime of Mandalore.
BOUNTY HUNTING IN THE MANDALORIAN
Pedro Pascal plays the titular Mandalorian. He's a warrior constantly caught in dangerous encounters with rival bounty hunters, criminals and other unsavory figures in this dark corner of the galaxy. We see him in brutal fights -- at one point decapitating an opponent with his ship doors -- and shootouts. He appears to be alone for a lot of it, but he can clearly handle himself, begging the question... Boba who?
He's not the only bounty hunter stalking the galaxy. The trailer includes a shot of Gina Carano as Cara Dune, an ex-shock trooper trying to adjust to the new world order, according to Carano. We don't get much from her in the clip other than a confident smirk, but maybe that's enough. The world of The Mandalorian is evidently unforgiving and she has more than survived. That alone says a lot about her character.
IMPERIAL REMNANTS IN THE MANDALORIAN
Few people shown in the trailer seem as menacing as the unnamed, mysterious elder, played by legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog. We know from past reports that he is playing the commander of a unit of Imperial Stormtroopers who, as you will remember, now lack an Empire to defend. The fact that Herzog's character appears to be in the midst of conducting business with the Mandalorian reminds us that our protagonist is not a hero or a villain; he's a warrior for hire. It will be interesting to see what devious task the former Imperial troops have for him.
Despite the defeat of its Sith Lords, the Empire is still a formidable organization, albeit nowhere near as feared or respected as it once was. The trailer flashes numerous droids, soldiers clad in armor -- shown to be led by an unnamed soldier played by Giancarlo Esposito -- and a functional AT-ST. Considering the time period in which The Mandalorian is set, we could either be seeing the last, desperate struggle of the Empire or the rise of the First Order. We'll just have to wait and see.
The Mandalorian, created by Jon Favreau and starring Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog and Nick Nolte, will hit Disney+ on Nov. 12. The monthly subscription will cost $6.99 with a yearly price of $69.99.