After Andor, The Mandalorian Is The Cozy Blanket We Need

I will say this upfront; I love the Disney+ series "Andor." It was a beautiful departure from the nostalgic tone of "The Book of Boba Fett" and "Obi-Wan Kenobi." It was very dark, making us consider the varying reasons people fight for freedom and the sometimes less-than-ideal methods they resort to. It gave us a window into a different side of the "Star Wars" galaxy, with some brilliant performances (Stellan Skarsgård's season 1 episode 10 monologue is one of the best I've ever heard) and powerful scenes. When I say that I need "The Mandalorian" season 3 after "Andor," it is not because I was unhappy in any way with what the more recent series offered up. 

I love that we have a variety of stories to see in the "Star Wars" universe. Having a range of tones and emotions is important if you're going to tell stories from the same universe for decades. "Andor" was just the departure we were missing in the same way that "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" — which "Andor" leads into — was to the film side of the galaxy far, far away. 

All of that said, I'm ready for a trip to Mandalore with Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and his little cookie-stealing buddy as he tries to redeem himself for the "unforgivable sin" of taking off his helmet.

Get the child some frogs, stat!

I don't mean to imply that there aren't dark elements to "The Mandalorian." There certainly are. From the trailer, it appears that we're going to learn at least a little bit more about how Grogu escaped Order 66, and considering the mass murder that happened, it won't be a light tale. The idea of never getting to show your face, even to the people or unnamed species of adorable little snuggle bears you love, is menacingly odd to me, and I'm dying to see if this repentance trip will change Din's mind about it all. That's not exactly light fare, either. This is a Western, space setting or not, and full of everything we expect from the genre. There is a redemption arc, gun (laser) fights, robberies, violence, outlaws, death, and destruction. 

However, there is a sweetness in this father and son tale that never becomes cloying. Grogu tilts his head to the side, and no matter what is happening on screen, I become a puddle of cooing goo. Mando — who somehow manages to convey buckets of emotion without facial expressions — gestures at his tiny ward with love or, like a dad, stops him spinning in a giant chair and stealing candy with the Force as he does in a recently released clip, and boom; I'm dead of cute on my floor. 

The brilliance of "The Mandalorian" is that it has balance. For every battle, we have Grogu giggling while playing with the little silver ball from Mando's ship. For every death, there is a moment of levity. For every serious character like Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), we have an effervescent one like Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris). 

Bring me my snicky-snacks and my Grogu doll and let's go!

Forgive me for getting a little maudlin, but I need this show right now. I doubt I'm the only one who spends far too much time doom-scrolling news sites and social media. We've got spy balloons, dark doings in the halls of power, inflation, war, natural disasters ... the world is frightening. The contrast between the nefarious events in "The Mandalorian" and the cuddly little Force-wielding baby reminds me to look for points of light in the darkness in our own world. It lets us feel like there are things to fight for instead of being swallowed by sadness and despair.

I do know how that sounds. Grogu isn't going to save our world, but there is something to the idea of the power of entertainment. Sometimes the truths we need to hear are more easily conveyed through a medium like television or film — especially in sci-fi. When things are going well in society, we are reminded that work is still to be done. When things go south, it can give us hope or at least remind us what hope looks like. It can tell us that in a sea of chaos and evil, fighting for one little creature, one shearling-coated, soup-drinking, frog egg-stealing, bunny-eared little friend can save the world — at least one tiny corner of it. 

"The Mandalorian" season 3 will begin streaming on March 1, 2023.