Outside of the galactically acclaimed Andor, it’s fair to say that 2022’s live-action Star Wars output was a mixed bag. While Obi-Wan Kenobi certainly had its highlights, it was also criticized for its undercooked storytelling. This goes double for The Book of Boba Fett, the first spinoff for The Mandalorian which ended up being entirely taken over by Din Djarin and Grogu in its second half.
With Mando‘s own third season now premiering, thankfully it seems Lucasfilm has learned the right lessons from the flaws of The Book of Boba Fett. However, at the same time, it’s also forgotten a key trick that made the first episodes of the past two seasons such huge touchstone moments for the Star Wars fandom. In short, while turning the dial down on fan service and connections to the wider universe at large is a good thing, the season opener was the time when such a thing is not only allowed but practically compulsory.
While The Mandalorian was always going to be a popular show, it was well and truly established as a pop culture giant with its series premiere in November 2019 once the first episode shocked us all by introducing “Baby Yoda”, the adorable critter who we’d later come to know as Grogu. Season two’s premiere had a hard time topping that and yet it arguably managed it with our first glimpse at the resurrected Boba Fett.
The surprise reveals of both Grogu’s existence and the return of a legendary character like Fett ensured seasons one and two kicked off with a bang and that fans were fully energized about what lay ahead in future episodes. In contrast, while “Chapter 17: The Apostate” was a perfectly solid episode — honestly, we’d watch a full hour of Grogu cooing at space whales — it lacked the same level of jaw-dropping moment that previous premiere provided.
Considering the season two finale pulled off the single most mind-blowing surprise in Mandalorian history, with the comeback of Luke Skywalker, there’s a worry that the show has already played all its best cards and creators Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni don’t have many more aces up their sleeves. There’s bound to be some major Ahsoka crossovers coming this season, so that’s not necessarily true, but let’s just hope that fears of repeating Boba Fett‘s worst mistakes haven’t seen the duo limit their vision for season three.
Pedro Pascal will already tell you hard it is to see anything out of Din Djarin’s helmet as it is.
The Mandalorian season three continues Wednesdays on Disney Plus.