A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
... a little story about a farm boy who wished to get away from his desolate desert planet and had adventures in the fight against the evil Empire. That was "Star Wars" in 1977, much bigger in George Lucas' mind, but still manageable on the big screen.
The saga now includes twelve feature films, dozens of novels, comic stories, video games, the 133-episode war drama "The Clone Wars", the coming-of-age series "Rebels" and in recent years a steadily growing number of partly brilliant ones ("Andor") to just pretty good ("Obi-Wan Kenobi") TV series.
The franchise's small-screen boom began in 2019 with the first season of The Mandalorian, the Jon Favreau series that catapulted the Disney Plus streaming service to par with Netflix and Amazon Prime. The third season starts on March 1st and here, too, the initially simple story has become a complex saga. Have you lost track or want to start from scratch? We're happy to help.
Never heard of "Star Wars"?
The whole thing takes place in outer space, but it's also kind of a western. A bounty hunter ("The Mandalorian") is tasked with finding a child ("Grogu"). Because both have biographical points of intersection (orphans), they form a team, which is practical in that the child can defeat all sorts of monsters and villains via "power".
After a short apprenticeship, Grogu drops out of school and returns to the Mandalorian (though in a different series). In season three he has to go back to his home planet and have a ritual shower or something like that because he illegally took off his helmet. If that's too complicated for you, you can also concentrate entirely on the cute alien and watch TikTok videos at the same time.
They shut down The Book of Boba Fett spin-off when these kids showed up on their Vespa speeders?
Big mistake. Jon Favreau, the mastermind behind The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, is a huge fan of the early, rather quirky Marvel Star Wars comics. The series about the former bounty hunter must be seen as a homage to these magazines. No wonder it sometimes gets a bit colourful.
In any case, in the penultimate episodes, the plot concentrates on the relationship between Din Djarin (that's the name of the "Mandalorian" in the identity card) and Grogu, who decides against the Jedi and for his foster father. Friendship instead of power, very personable. But why does Favreau tell such an important part of the storyline in another series? It's Star Wars, stupid!
Don't know what "Order 66" means?
You're like little Grogu. As a child, he was a student at the Jedi Academy when the clone troopers suddenly turned against the Jedi, who were actually supposed to support them: Sith Lord Darth Sidious's nasty secret plan, which thus gained rulership over the galaxy. How Grogu survived, we learn in the third season.
Are you so looking forward to new adventures of the robots R2D2 and C3PO?
After all, R2D2 (that's the one who looks like a pedal bin) had his guest appearance in the last episode of the second season and took away the fear of the rather robust Luke Skywalker (who looked computer-rejuvenated but also pretty scary) with friendly beeping Grogu. C3PO is otherwise busy during the "Mandalorian" season - presumably traveling in the "Millennium Falcon". A guest appearance would be more of a surprise.
Are you a big fan of The Last of Us series?
Then you've come to the right place with "The Mandalorian". It's practically the same, only with a helmet and without zombies.
Think The Empire Strikes Back was the best part of the series and have only watched with one eye since?
Though it's hard, forget everything you thought you knew about Mandalorians. Boba Fett isn't one at all, it's a clone. The Mandalorians are not a race, but rather a nation that members of different species can join. For many hundreds of years they fought with the Jedi, under the rule of Satine Kryze (fun fact: Obi-Wan Kenobi's ex) the people became peaceful, but that went haywire.
A cult called The Death Watch staged a coup (with the support of Darth Maul - the red-and-black-spotted devil from Episode 1) and allied with the Empire, which is said to eventually turn the planet Mandalore entirely into glass. We'll find out what it actually looks like there in the third season.
You finally want to see as many characters as possible that you know from the "Star Wars" comics in a live action show?
And the chances are not bad at all! In both of the Favreau Mandalorian series, we've had the pleasure of starring as Wookie gladiator Santy, Lee van Cleef villain Cad Bane, and of course, the enchanting Ahsoka Tano. Conceivable in the new season: the Mandalorian princess Sabine Wren from "Rebels" and with a bit of luck the sympathetic Jack Sparrow blend Hondo Ohnako.
Are there any Klingons?
Many people confuse "Star Wars" and "Star Trek". It's very easy to tell the difference. In "Star Wars" there are cool spaceships, Jedi knights, lightsabers and the most complex film universe in history. In "Star Trek," a multicultural squad in pajamas uses glowing stones to negotiate the fate of the galaxy.
You were madly in love with Kathleen Sackhoff as Starbuck back in Battlestar Galactica?
You will definitely not be disappointed. Bo-Katan Kryze, Sackhoff's character in "Star Wars", will be one of the main characters of the third season. She has to fight with Din Djarin for the Darksaber. He would give it to her too, but legend has it that only the one who wins it in single combat is entitled to the leadership of the Mandalorians. Typical hero's journey dilemma.
You are parents and your children finally want to know what happens next with Baby Yoda?
Although George Lucas said many decades ago that Star Wars was for children, that is no longer true. The universe has become too dark, too complicated and too convoluted for young viewers to really follow the plot. And please don't say "Baby Yoda". Every time someone says that, a new Star Trek fan is born.
Can't get enough of "Star Wars" and want to get through the third season completely on the first day?
puff cake. As usual, there is only one episode each week. And the first runs just 36 minutes (including credits). There has never been such a small appetizer at the start of series production. However, to his credit, Favreau and his team of directors are masters at telling epic stories in short episodes.
Isn't there more?
But! The new episodes of Dave Filoni's excellent soldier drama "The Bad Batch" will also be running until the end of March. So: two replenishments every Wednesday.
You've been preparing for the new season in earnest, re-watching the first 16 episodes, The Book of Boba Fett and all The Clone Wars and Rebels episodes related to the Mandalorian history, stuck and, because they find Black Krsssantan so fascinating, read all the Doctor Aphra comics for the second time? Your dog won't go to the cinema anymore because he's afraid of the replica Boba Fett's helmet ("Black Series") on the window sill?
you are me