Now that the second season of The Mandalorian has reached its conclusion, it’s time to determine whether it was better or worse than the first season.
Warning: There are spoilers ahead for season 2 of The Mandalorian.
Season 1 of The Mandalorian was a massive success. It managed to resonate strongly with casual fans, diehard fans, and practically everybody in between. Many hailed it as the best Star Wars story since the original trilogy films. It struck an effective balance between honoring the style of the original films while still telling a new, fresh, and exciting story.
Of course, there was also Baby Yoda (Grogu) who took the internet by storm and became a popular culture icon. His relationship with Din Djarin was a heartwarming and beautifully developed relationship that all fans became invested in.
This was a difficult act to follow, and yet, the second season managed to be even stronger than its predecessor. Season 2 took everything that worked from the first season and made it bigger, better, and more consistent, while also fixing some of the minor issues from season 1.
Season 2’s narrative felt a bit tighter as it never lost focus and maintained consistent momentum. The relationship between Din Djarin and Grogu and the development of their relationship remained the heart of the show. Din’s goal of reuniting Grogu with his people/the Jedi was reestablished from the beginning of the season 2 premiere and the show never lost sight of this. Every episode and every “side quest” was either directly serving this goal or somehow tied back to it. The season 2 finale brought an emotionally satisfying conclusion to this mission while still leaving the door open with many questions and possibilities.
Season 1 started out with a strong sense of momentum and a fairly tight narrative, but it lost momentum and seemed to briefly lose sight of the main narrative during Chapters 4-6. These episodes began to feel like isolated “adventures of the week” that were too self-contained and didn’t have enough tie-in to the main story of Grogu and the Imperial remnant hunting him.
Between Moff Gideon and the Imperials lurking on planets like Trask, Nevarro, and Morak, the Imperial remnant felt like a more consistent presence in season 2. Even when Moff Gideon or his Imperial allies weren’t the focus of an episode, fans still got glimpses of Moff Gideon that offered insight into his nefarious plans. This made both Moff Gideon and the Imperial remnant feel like more of a consistently looming and intriguing threat.
There was also a great deal of payoff from the season 1 episodes that felt somewhat disconnected. “Chapter 5: The Gunslinger” paid off by bringing Fennec Shand and Boba Fett into the story in a fascinating and meaningful way. “Chapter 6: The Prisoner” paid off as Din’s actions in that episode led to him being saved by the New Republic pilots in “Chapter 10: The Passenger” and it led to the surprisingly nuanced return of Bill Burr’s Mayfeld character in “Chapter 15: The Believer.” Even smaller characters like the Mythrol from the very first episode and Frog Lady–who can be spotted in the cantina during “The Gunslinger” episode–came back to play significant roles during the second season.
In season 1, episodes like “Chapter 3: The Sin” and “Chapter 8: Redemption” blew fans away. In season 2, almost every single episode had this effect. Every episode managed to raise the stakes further and outdo the intensity of the episode that came before.
Incorporating popular characters like Bo-Katan Kryze, Ahsoka Tano, Boba Fett, and Luke Skywalker definitely contributed to this, but it wasn’t just that these characters made grand entrances during epic action sequences. These characters were included in ways that challenged Din’s beliefs about what it means to be a Mandalorian and that strengthened the special bond he shares with Grogu.
Star Wars Rebels took a similar approach to The Mandalorian. Rebels began with an original and fairly self-contained story. Similar to the Darksaber reveal in The Mandalorian‘s season 1 finale, bringing Ahsoka Tano and Darth Vader into the season 1 finale of Rebels kicked off a second season that became more connected to the rest of the galaxy. Despite these larger connections, Rebels still revolved around the emotional crux of the Ghost crew and their relationships with one another, just as The Mandalorian continued to revolve around Din and Grogu’s relationship. Season 2 is when Rebels really hit its stride, paving the way for an incredible ending. The same approach seems to be working for The Mandalorian so far and hopefully, that will continue to be the case.
Season 1 of The Mandalorian was excellent, but season 2 was phenomenal and incredibly rewarding for Star Wars fans.
Do you prefer season 1 or season 2 of The Mandalorian? Let us know in the comments!