The following contains modest spoilers about “The Mandalorian’s” third episode.
“The Mandalorian” has become a breakout success for Disney+, and not just because of the mountains of merchandise that “Baby Yoda” is going to move when it hits shelves.
The first live-action “Star Wars” series continues to impress through three episodes, employing a savvy blend of different genres, niftily mashing up the qualities of an old TV western with sci-fi special effects and the action-filled pacing of an animated show.
The latest wrinkle, in which the bounty hunter with no name (and so far no visible face) acquires a conscience, underscores the deft way in which producers Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”) and Dave Filoni (a veteran of the “Star Wars” animated shows “Clone Wars” and “Rebels”) have combined those elements. The 30-something-minute episodes are built for basically nonstop action, in a manner rarely seen in most live-action TV programs.
Disney+ wanted to make a statement out of the gate with its new streaming service, and by delivering a show that’s generating oodles of social-media buzz, it’s hard to think of anything that could have better suited those purposes. And before dismissing that as “Well, it’s ‘Star Wars,'” given the high expectations, there was no assurance fans would respond as favorably as they have.
Beyond inspiring people to sign up now, the series serves as a strong ambassador for those to follow, including series from Marvel and the eagerly anticipated Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series that will feature Ewan McGregor reprising that role. (Deborah Chow, who is working on that show, directed “The Mandalorian’s” third installment.)
“Such a large bounty for such a small package,” the shadowy character played by Werner Herzog says in the newest episode.
He’s referring to “Baby Yoda,” but based on the initial response, he could just as easily be talking about the show itself.