The second season of The Mandalorian ended last week, surprising viewers with de-aged cameos, more Grogu, and the reveal that yet another Star Wars series is in the works. With so much happening in “Chapter 16: The Rescue,” it’s no wonder that the episode currently has a 9.9 audience ranking on IMDB, the highest for any episode of The Mandalorian so far.
Currently, “Chapter 16: The Rescue” has over ten thousand more votes than any other episode of The Mandalorian on IMDB, so it’s possible this could be fans trying to boost scores, or it could also be that so much news about the episode has led more people to check it out. The previously highest-rated episode on IMDB also came from Season Two’s “Chapter 13: The Jedi,” which introduced Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka Tano. That episode only received 20,700 ratings as of this writing.
But The Mandalorian usually receives pretty solid ratings on IMDB, as the average episode ranking for Season One is an 8.5, while Season Two has received a 9.0. The Mandalorian currently has an 8.7 average for all its episodes. This rating places it as the 73rd highest-ranked television show on IMDB, ranking it slightly higher than Arrested Development, BoJack Horseman, and such classic HBO series as Oz and Curb Your Enthusiasm. As of right now, The Mandalorian ranks as the most popular TV show on IMDB, above Netflix’s The Queen Gambit and The Crown, as well as The Stand and HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant.
But despite fan reaction to The Mandalorian’s season finale, the love isn’t universal. In an article for Vulture, Matt Zoller Seitz argues that by introducing Luke Skywalker into The Mandalorian, the show is “hedging bets on any property that dares to take even a modest risk” by tying everything together through characters that we already know and love. Many others have said that by expanding into tons of new television shows and upcoming movies, Disney is Marvel-ifying the Star Wars universe, and that “Chapter 16: The Rescue” is emblematic in how much Disney has changed this massive piece of fan culture.
Looking at these IMDB rankings, Seitz’s argument might be proven. While The Mandalorian does tend to get uniformly high scores on IMDB, the show does hit peaks from the audience when the show does introduce a known character. As previously mentioned, the two highest-ranked episodes, “Chapter 13: The Jedi” and “Chapter 16: The Rescue” center largely around characters that people already know. While The Mandalorian might have started as a unique Western-like series starring new faces, this latest season hints that maybe audiences would prefer what they know, rather than being tested with something new.
With Disney delving into the deep roster of known Star Wars characters for other television properties, it’s easy to see that the company wants to draw in audiences with characters that are already known entities. The Mandalorian at first seemed like a unique way to tell stories in the Star Wars universe without relying on the Skywalkers and Solos of this world, but now, it looks as though that lineage has once again snuck its way into a Star Wars property. If it’s what audiences want, Disney will likely continue to give them what makes them happy, but that might not be as challenging or interesting as trying something unique and fresh.