The internet’s favourite adopted daddy and cutest child just returned in the third season of The Mandalorian, which premiered on Disney+ Hotstar today. The show — starring Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin and the adorable Grogu, or Baby Yoda — retains its crown as the most entertaining corner of the live-action Star Wars universe. We saw the first two episodes and we’re happy to report that although they play out as more of a slow burn than the openings of the previous two seasons, they are never not engaging.
With a two-year gap from its last airing, season 3 of The Mandalorian kicks off with a recap of events from Season 2 and The Book of Bobba Fett. In the first episode, titled “The Apostate”, we learn that while there is no imminent threat to Din Djarin and Grogu, Din’s latest mission is to redeem himself in the eyes of his creed, for removing his helmet. He seems to be on a journey inward, perhaps to find his place amongst the Mandalorians, his former (devastated) home, and with his adoptive son. Din is convinced he must move forward with his redemption, even if that means giving up on a chance of a happy life. He is curious to go back to his home world, to see whether it is still "cursed". This marks a welcome reset of sorts, taking us back to familiar places and faces.
Din is, of course, a far cry from the lone warrior of the first season. He is no longer afraid to get an assist from old faces and allies – including Greef Karga (Carl Weathers), Armorer (Emily Swallow) and Bo Katan Kriz (Katie Sackoff). His dynamic with Grogu has matured as well. From an overprotective father, he is now caring but also respectful of Grogu. This evolution is evident later in the season, when Din doesn't shy away from seeking Grogu's help (something that would be out of place in the first two seasons). Meanwhile Grogu’s hijinks are as adorable and hilarious as before and there is more for him to do in Mando’s adventures. It also seems like his character has matured. There is a sense of Grogu coming into his own, as a Force-sensitive being – and that plays for some interesting situations in the second episode.
It’s a triumphant and promising return for The Mandalorian. The first two episodes suggest the story will go deeper and it's performed by actors who have settled into their roles. The space-western sensibilities are maintained to deliver great action, and the pacing is just about right. What stands out most this season is the visual imagination, which seems to have had a serious upgrade. Directors Rick Famuyiwa and Rachel Morrison along with writer/creators Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni try to ramp up the visual imagination and creature design quotient. The newer character designs and visuals are both classic Star Wars in their look, but also weaves in modern sci-fi and horror sensibilities. There’s also some Lovecraftian monster imagery thrown in. There’s a scene in which Grogu watches monstrous space whales moving in unison as their spaceship moves in hyperdrive — certainly awe-inspiring and new for Star Wars.
The verdict? Even if you’re not part of the fandom, The Mandalorian works and Season 3 opens strong, delivers for its fans while evolving its narrative and characters. If the first two episodes are any indication, we are in for a deeper, action-packed ride focused on the Mandalorian legacy and history, one that’ll be a welcome addition to the overall Star Wars canon.