The Best Star Wars Series Should Have Ended Years Ago
The Mandalorian should have ended with the Season 2 finale.
It may be tough to believe, but it’s been well over two years since Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) said what he believed was his final farewell to the adorable Grogu in “Chapter 16: The Rescue,” the finale of The Mandalorian Season 2. Along with a goodbye scene that squeezed rivers of tears out of fans all over the globe, the episode delivered the absolutely glorious return of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to the franchise. It was fun, it was heartbreaking, it was Star Wars perfection, and as the current season is working hard to prove, it should’ve been the end of The Mandalorian.
I know Pedro Pascal has earned all the love fans are giving him for, basically, anything the Internet’s “Daddy” does; whether it’s because of his work perfecting the role of Joel in The Last of Us, or because of his coffee choices. I know Grogu melts hearts no matter what he does, and that The Mandalorian is one of the only — if not the only — Star Wars project of the last couple of decades you could come close to calling “universally embraced” by an increasingly divided fandom.
But the reason why The Mandalorian Season 2 was so acutely bittersweet was because as difficult as it was to imagine Grogu and Din Djarin saying goodbye forever, it didn’t feel like a cliffhanger; it felt like the end of the story. Sure, it brought up questions — most urgently, if Grogu was to become Skywalker’s student, would that mean he was destined to be murdered, or recruited, by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)? But neither this, nor any other questions, needed to be answered with The Mandalorian.
How has the series’ continuation been a bad thing? Well as opposed to Mando’s show which seems to be loved by just about everyone, its spin-off The Book of Boba Fett seemed a universal disappointment. While it wouldn’t be fair to give all the blame to The Mandalorian, the fact that Temuera Morrison’s series basically became The Mandalorian Season 2.5 didn’t help things much either.
The Book of Boba Fett was billed as a miniseries and there’s so far been no official word of future seasons. Regardless, in spite of the series being led by one of the most popular Star Wars characters in the franchise — whose popularity endured in spite of exactly zero canonical projects but this one focusing on him — one entire episode out of seven almost completely cuts him out of the story in favor of squeezing in some Mando stuff so they could skip it in Season 3. And I don’t know about you, but when I think of the most memorable parts of the Boba Fett finale, Temuera Morrison never comes to mind: it’s all Grogu and Din Djarin.
So far, the uneven Season 3 of The Mandalorian doesn’t seem to be proving it was all worth it. What made the series so irresistible before was the Lone Wolf & Cub-inspired saga of Din Djarin and Grogu, and the touching and hilarious dynamic between the pair. That, at least, seems to have ended with The Mandalorian Season 2.
The show now seems to be more of a springboard for potential spin-offs (e.g. likely one for Katee Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan), and a catch-all for continuing stories started in The Clone Wars and/or Star Wars Rebels. We hardly even see Grogu and Din Djarin together anymore, much less get the kind of classic exchanges that made the previous seasons so memorable.
A good, emotionally powerful ending like the one offered by The Mandalorian Season 2 is increasingly difficult to come by, particularly in a media environment that is becoming less friendly to streaming originals. Disney+, Netflix, Paramount+, and more are jerking the streaming content throttle back hard, and as a result, fans of series like 1899, American Gigolo, and Willow will have to be satisfied with story threads dangling forever.
I would love for the current season, or subsequent ones, to eventually prove me wrong. But for now, failing to end The Mandalorian with the Season 2 finale seems like a missed opportunity.