Last night we watched the first episode of the new Star Wars series, The Mandalorian. So far, color me . . . profoundly unimpressed.
The thought that kept running through my head as I watched it was, “This feels like it’s trying to soothe all the guys who are upset that somebody’s gotten girl cooties all over their Star Wars.” The episode is thirty-nine minutes long; two of those involve a female character. I guess it never occurred to Jon Favreau that this might be a problem? I know Gina Carano’s been cast in a major role, but a) we haven’t seen her yet and b) uh, this is 2019. Having a Smurfette does not really solve anything. Why wasn’t the guild official our title character is working with written as a woman instead? Or the mysterious person who hires him? Or the alien who guides him to where his target is? (That alien points out that the creatures they’re riding are all female. Maybe I was supposed to count that as representation.)
Meanwhile, the nameless protagonist is a full-on Clint Eastwood expy, now with bonus helmet so you can’t even see his facial expressions. (I pity Pedro Pascal; even the best actor in the world is going to have a hard time making a character interesting through a sheet of steel.) He is laconic and badass, and with those five words I’ve basically summed up his entire personality thus far. He shoots people a lot. A quote from an Entertainment Weekly article describes him as having “questionable moral character” — because yeah, that’s what I need more of in my life right now. Maybe he’ll grow and change over the course of the series, becoming a better person . . . but see above re: feeling like the mission here is to reassure Star Wars dudes that they need not fear being contaminated with any girl cooties.
I will give it this much credit: of the eight episodes in the first season, three are directed by women, and five by people of color. But since none of the scripts are written by women, and six of the eight are Favreau’s work — well, if this is a sample of what I should expect, then I’m not at all sure I care to continue.