With the conclusion of the season finale of the television series The Mandalorian, it is without a doubt one of the best examples of visual storytelling in the Star Wars universe since Return of the Jedi. But it is not just the aesthetics and attention to detail that make this series an instant classic, but the morality behind the protagonist’s character that makes it a force to be reckoned with.
Before you proceed to read the rest of the article, please note that there are major spoilers ahead. So if you haven’t already watched seasons 1 and 2 of The Mandalorian just yet, stop what you’re doing and watch them both before proceeding any further.
Din Djarin’s back-story is a tragic one. When he was young, his parents were killed by Trade Federation droids while attempting to hide him from the invasion. Din was found and rescued by a group of Mandalorian warriors who later accepted him into their fold as a foundling. As an adult, Din became a fearsome bounty hunter whose questionable morality was driven by his profession and unwavering adherence to the Mandalorian creed. That is until one job he takes on leads him to the capture of a young, orphan creature whose species is similar to that of the late Master Yoda.
Given the trauma of losing his parents at a young age, Din is suddenly motivated to protect the child, regardless of the generous payment he would receive from the client. He risks his life and his reputation as a bounty hunter to re-capture the child and attempt to reunite it with its own kind. With the help of other Mandalorian clan members, he manages to escape with the child with both bounty hunters and the Imperial remnant hot on his tail.
The series is beautifully written with many callbacks to other Star Wars films and stories as well as introducing characters from the Expanded Universe for the first time on screen. But what especially stands out to me is how the character of Din Djarin developed from a traumatic childhood to an admirable father-figure. The bond he develops with the child (whom we later learn is named Grogu) is an emotional journey that any parent can identify with. With every dangerous encounter from stormtroopers to other bounty hunters to otherworldly beasts with relentless appetites, the titular Mandalorian continuously finds himself in somebody else’s crosshairs while our beloved ‘baby Yoda’ habitually dives into mischief.
From a father’s perspective, I find The Mandalorian to be a relatable story. There are some episodes where Din finds himself weighing his own principles in the face of moral dilemma. Though his creed forbids him to remove his mask, he is eventually placed in a scenario where he must choose what is more important: his willingness to adhere to tradition, or to risk an innocent life being lost. In how the story of both seasons have unfolded, I would dare say that The Mandalorian is one of the most authentically pro-life television shows out there.
In another light, The Mandalorian also reiterates the definition of what true virtuous masculinity really is. With all this talk about toxic masculinity in today’s political climate, The Mandalorian uses an unconventional story arc to communicate what it means to be a male father-figure in spite of living in a universe of scum and villainy. While Din Djarin’s profession may be dominated by greedy and murderous gangsters and mercenaries who only care for their own survival, he finds himself having to reconcile with his own losses when he realizes that an innocent life is something to be defended rather than exploited for personal gain.
Be sure to check out The Mandalorian on Disney+