It's finally here. The Mandalorian is the first live-action Star Wars TV show and it's one of the biggest reasons for signing up to the Disney Plus streaming service.
News of The Mandalorian has been spreading all over the internet for months, but now that Disney Plus is finally available (in some countries), fans are digging into the first season. And boy is there a lot to love.
The premiere of The Mandalorian landed on November 12 and weekly releases from then on will be staggered – just like the old days! That means it can't be binged, but it'll certainly keep us talking about it for a while to come.
UK viewers will have a good few months to wait, sadly, with all of the irritation, Twitter spoilers and piracy that's already entailed. With that in mind, if you're in a country without Disney Plus, it might be worth looking away now. If you don't mind the series being spoiled, read on.
The show charts the story of a galactic bounty hunter who is a Mandalorian. If you've watched the Clone Wars or Rebels animated Star Wars series, you'll be familiar with this race (or is it species) from Mandalore.
If not, you'll only know of Mandalorians from Boba Fett – the iconic, if briefly appearing character from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi (though more on him below).
With a star-studded lineup that include's Narcos' Pedro Pascal in the lead role, and the massive support of Disney and the Star Wars franchise backing the live-action space western, this is already proving to be a super popular TV series.
It's not the only Star Wars TV show coming our way either. A Rogue One prequel series, following the life of Cassian Andor (played by Diego Luna) is set to come to Disney Plus down the line, while we also have word of an Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series with Ewan McGregor reprising his role.
But The Mandalorian is the first show of its kind for the platform, and all eyes will be on whether Disney manages to keep the magic of Star Wars alive in what looks like a grittier take on the universe (compared to the mainline films).
Here's everything you need to know about Star Wars: The Mandalorian, including when episodes are dropping, where you can find it, and what formats and resolutions you can expect to watch it in.
- Star Wars on Disney Plus: what others shows have been announced?
Is it worth getting Disney Plus just for The Mandalorian?
That's a complicated question. If you love Star Wars, Disney Plus has the original trilogy in 4K for the first time, so it's actually a decent proposition anyway if that universe means a lot to you.
As for the show, it makes a great first impression. The opening episode is a lean 39 minutes long, which is oddly respectful of your time, when so many shows on streaming services are bloated in length. It's a tight, Western-style story without too much dialogue. This doesn't feel like a Star Wars epic: it feels like one small story set in that universe, primarily in the criminal underworld, which is incredibly refreshing.
If you're on the fence about the service, get a 7-day trial and watch a few episodes of The Mandalorian for yourself. And check out our review of The Mandalorian if you want more thoughts on the first episode.
The Mandalorian FAQ: quick questions answered
- What is it? The live-action Star Wars TV show, created by Jon Favreau
- Where can I watch it? Disney Plus (sign up here)
- When did it premiere? November 12
- How many episodes? Eight episodes in the first season, released weekly
- When is The Mandalorian set? Seven years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and 23 years before The Force Awakens
- Is the Mandalorian Boba Fett? No, the series features all-new characters
- Who's in The Mandalorian? Padro Pascal, Carl Weathers, Gina Carano, Taika Waititi, and others
The Mandalorian was first announced in an Instagram post by Jon Favreau, who is credited with creating and writing the series. It takes place seven years after the end of Return of the Jedi – meaning this is long before Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren from the current trilogy (The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker) enter the picture.
The Mandalorians are a military people in the Star Wars universe, from the planet Mandalore, and have appeared in both the Star Wars Rebels and Clone Wars animated series. They've had a checkered history in the Star Wars canon, with the Tales of the Jedi comic series from Dark Horse seeing the Mandalorians even siding with Sith forces against the Jedi, so you can expect some gray moral areas or alliances beyond the light and dark sides of the Force.
As per Favreau's post, it will follow a "lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy", meaning we'll get a look at some brand new locales not previously touched upon in the Star Wars films – though still with some Stormtroopers to fight (as in the trailer below).
The Mandalorian release date: when can I watch it?
As a launch title for the Disney Plus streaming service, the Mandalorian is now live in the US, Canada, and The Netherlands. The service then launches in Australia and New Zealand on November 19 – with the UK and remaining European countries getting the show in March 2020. We're sad about it too.
The show will be releasing episodes weekly, too, rather than dropping the whole season at once – but you can sample the show premiere by signing up to Disney Plus here.
The Mandalorian trailers
We got our first The Mandalorian trailer at August's D23 expo, showing off the eponymous bounty hunter in action – with what looks like a robot companion joining the fight too. Are robots to Star Wars heroes what pets are to Disney princesses? We'll let you decide.
Just two weeks out from its November 12 release date, Disney Plus dropped another trailer for The Mandalorian, and this time we even get to hear the mysterious bounty hunter speak for the first time. You can check out the action-packed second trailer below.
And just one week from release, a short trailer introduced several brand new characters, including Ming-Na Wen's Fennec Shand, an assassin in the series.
The Mandalorian cast, crew, and directors
With Jungle Book director Jon Favreau – who you may know as handler Happy from the MCU Spiderman movies – at the helm, and the weight of Disney and Star Wars behind him, it's unsurprising that The Mandalorian will have some big-name talent attached to it.
Pedro Pascal, who played Javier Peña in the Netflix crime series Narcos, plays the masked bounty hunter and titular character.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Pascal described the character as a "mysterious, lone gunfighter," adding that “He’s got a lot of Clint Eastwood in him."
Other actors include Carl Weathers (from the Rocky and Predator series) and Gina Carano (Deadpool) – the latter of which you can be sure will be taking part in some kick-ass action sequences. Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), Emily Swallow (Supernatural), Omid Abtahi (American Gods), and Nick Nolte (Affliction) are also attached to the series.
Legendary director Werner Herzog has a prominent role in The Mandalorian, and in episode one hires the titular antihero for an important job.
There'll be numerous directors for the first season's episodes, including Dave Filoni (Star Wars Rebels), Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones), Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), Bryce Dallas Howard (Solemates), and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) – the last of whom will also be voicing the IG-11 droid seen busting caps in the trailer.
- Check out our guide to the Games of Thrones prequel: Bloodmoon too
So, is Boba Fett not in it?
The Mandalorian played by Pascal in the trailer isn't Boba Fett, apparently. However, since Disney clarified the characters survival after what many thought was a grisly demise in Return of the Jedi, we wouldn't be surprised to see him in some form, especially since The Mandalorian is set only seven years after the events of that film. We'll just have to wait and see...
Where can I watch The Mandalorian TV show?
The Mandalorian is exclusively available on the Disney Plus streaming service, which will come to browsers, iOS, Android, Android TV (for Nvidia Shield TV, Sony TVs, and Hisense TVs), PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV HD, Apple TV 4K, Google Chromecast, and Xbox One. After reaching a deal with Amazon, the Disney Plus app will be on Fire TV devices too.
The Mandalorian: 4K, HDR, and Dolby Atmos
Of course, if you've gone to the fuss of buying a 4K TV, or one that can support HDR (high dynamic range) for enhanced contrast and colors, you'll be wanting to know if The Mandalorian will make the most of these premium TV technologies – and it will!
The entire season of The Mandalorian will be available to stream in 4K HDR. From what the trailer has shown us, the sweeping desert landscapes and galactic skies will no doubt benefit.
Unlike Netflix, which requires a premium subscription plan to access high-resolution content, Disney will be throwing in 4K and HDR streaming for its baseline monthly price ($7 in the US). Disney Plus will support HDR10 and the dynamic Dolby Vision HDR format, though not the HDR10+ format found on Amazon Prime Video.