Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian on Disney Plus has given fans an in-depth and inside look at the making behind this beloved show. While fans have known for years the genius that is Dave Filoni, they were still left speechless at his monologue in the second episode of the show when he explains the legacy of father figures that spans Episodes I-VI. However amazing that segment was, there was an equally important statement made in the series’ first episode by director Taika Waititi. A statement that let fans know the future of Star Wars films is in capable hands more than any IMDB filmography list ever could. In just one sentence, he summed up what Star Wars truly is and the type of content we hope to see soon.
“It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it does believe in itself.”Taika Waititi
Star Wars is not about blasters and space, it’s about family. It’s about hope. It has a specific style, but more than that, it has a specific feel. Every time Star Wars content has been successful, it follows Taika’s quote. Every time Star Wars content has not lived up to expectations, it has broken that formula.
Think about the Original Trilogy, the ultimate example of movies that believed in themselves. When Star Wars came out in 1977, nobody knew what to expect. There had never been anything like it before. It’s a prime display of a movie that didn’t take itself too seriously but believed in itself more than anything. Or maybe George Lucas believed in it more than anything. Either way, it featured a cast of relatively unknowns playing plucky characters fighting a space wizard. What’s less serious than that? But it didn’t matter because the sincerity of the characters and the message of hope outweighed the obstacles.
Since then, nearly every piece of Star Wars content has followed that model successfully. Clone Wars was groundbreaking in the animation world. It introduced new characters, had complex storylines, beautiful animation, and, most importantly, did whatever it wanted. And it worked. Clone Wars is a children’s show so yes, there are a few silly moments. But it wasn’t concerned with how it looked because it believed in the story it was telling. Audiences could feel that. Same with Rebels.
Other recent Star Wars films hit or missed this model, when you really think about it. Rogue One’s entire premise is about hope. While it feels different from any other Star Wars movie, it might be the most Star Wars-iest movie since Episode V. More specifically into the Sequel Trilogy, these movies were inconsistent with how seriously it took itself. Sadly, I think legacy and nostalgia hit too hard, especially in The Rise of Skywalker. The Force Awakens had the advantage of introducing us back to our beloved original characters. To make that transition easier, it leaned heavily on nostalgia. After The Last Jedi pushed audiences and characters to new places, The Rise of Skywalker defaulted back to a safe space where the story had to be bigger, badder, and flashier. In short, it took itself and its characters too seriously. And as such, made it hard to believe in.
Back to The Mandalorian. This story is all about underdogs. The best examples of success in Star Wars focus on underdogs. Not famous last names or aggressive storytelling. This is why some fans may be weary of the future of The Mandalorian with the introduction of so many established characters in the upcoming second season. But we have a team of experts at being, and understanding, underdogs. There is plenty of hope for Star Wars.
Star Wars may be in need of a reset. With new content coming, whether it be books, or shows, or movies, we can trust the team at Lucasfilm to put the right people in the right place. Afterall, look at Taika Waititi, a man who doesn’t take himself too seriously, but sure does believe in himself.