With the hilariously flawed and downright disappointing sequel trilogy already forgotten, the Star Wars franchise needed to prove itself worthy of being watchable again. Disney betted heavily on a live-action series rather than films to repair its reputation, and thankfully for them and their fans, they might have just struck lucky.

The Mandalorian, which premiered its second season on Disney+ over the last months of 2020, has successfully managed to recapture the “space Western” feel of the original trilogy whilst at the same time incorporating the CGI and expanded universe of other works. The result is a plot that flows well and which is obviously designed to bridge the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Filming finished just days before coronavirus restrictions were implemented back in March, meaning the series had to be completed remotely, which shows just how determined Producers were to get it released.

Pedro Pascal, who starred in the Netflix drama Narcos, also leads this show as well, and does so very successfully. His performance is limited by the fact that he wears a helmet most of the time, and so his character Din Djarin is portrayed mainly through his physical prowess and voice alone, without facial expressions. Pascal has a careful balancing act to play, as although he must convince the audience his character is a tough guy, he must also on the flipside show compassion to the Force-sensitive child he has been entrusted to protect as well as show intelligence to solve the complex problems that he encounters.

As with all space Westerns, actions sequences are a dominant theme of the series, and they are for the most part well-thought-out, although there is always a feel of the ridiculous from time to time. There is also certainly repetitiveness in the first part of season two, when Din is battling one monster after the next. The first four episodes of the first season are also a bit thinly served, as there are no sub-plots involving supporting characters. My advice would be to push yourself through the first half of season one, and then you’ll thoroughly enjoy the rest.

One of the standout features of the plot is its determination to bring characters from the wider franchise into the series and give them more mature roles. The first example of this is the Jedi Ahsoka Tano, who was a teenager in the Clone Wars series, and Boba Fett, who was a popular character in The Empire Strikes Back. Unlike in the sequel trilogy, where the misuse of old fan favourites raised serious questions about Hollywood’s competence, this series incorporates them well and they provide some much needed detail.

The soundtrack, composed by Swede Ludwig Goransson, has brought a completely new angle to the already extensive Star Wars playlist, with a much more diverse mixture incorporating both classical and futuristic elements whilst also paying homage to the wild west and the Japanese samurai. The ending credits of each episode are also set against the back drop of very stylish artwork depicting scenes from the episode, which makes a welcome change to the starry background featured after the ending of the films.

For Star Wars fans, this series will be an ideal remedy to the last few years of releases, which have induced a backlash of well-deserved criticism, as the franchise repeatedly fell victim to bad writing and social justice politics. Even the presence of Emilia Clarke as the love interest in a Han Solo spin-off film failed to meet expectations, which just shows how bad things had become. If there’s one thing to take away from The Mandalorian, it’s that it will save Lucasfilm’s reputation in the medium term and give them renewed confidence to invest in future projects.