The following is a spoiler-free review of the second-season premiere.
One of the most impressive aspects of the first season involved the show’s ability to tap into “Star Wars” nostalgia while charting its own creative path. Another hinged on executive producers Jon Favreau (who wrote and directed the premiere) and Dave Filoni possessing an innate feel for the way those early films mixed cinematic genres, adapting that into a series format imbued with the same combination of old and new.
The second-season opener particularly reflected the franchise’s western roots, with the Mandalorian (voiced by Pedro Pascal) and his young sidekick coming to a remote town on a familiar planet, where he’s forced into an alliance with the local marshal (guest Timothy Olyphant, adding another lawman to his resume) to face a very big threat.
That framework draws upon everything that fans have come to enjoy — and frequently miss and grouse about when it falls short — regarding “Star Wars,” including theatrical-quality visual effects, bountiful action and humor.
“The Mandalorian” has also proven adept at crafting largely self-contained episodes while gradually advancing the larger story line. The same goes for focusing on these specific characters while delivering references and moments immersed in “Star Wars” trivia, in a way that surely would elicit whoops and hollers were it presented to an assembled audience.
“The Mandalorian” is currently streaming on Disney+.