Why The Mandalorian is still the best live-action Star Wars show

(L-R): Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

The Mandalorian premiered in 2019 and since then, Star Wars fans have been blessed with lots of content, including animated and live-action series.

The Mandalorian Seasons 1 and 2 were followed by The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor, and Ahsoka, being the latest in line of several live-action series released over the past few years.

None of these shows would’ve been possible without the success of The Mandalorian, which paved the way for everything that’s come out since. However, The Mandalorian remains, by far, the best live-action Star Wars show.

The question of which Star Wars live-action show has been the best so far is a hot topic of discussion all over social media, but the numbers don’t lie. The Mandalorian is the only show that’s received audience approval, and critical recognition, and amassed the viewership numbers needed for a show’s longevity.

The Mandalorian has topped Nielsen, Parrot Analytics, and Samba TV’s ratings multiple times. Compared to shows such as Andor, The Mandalorian is still a juggernaut. Apart from the high viewership, it has been nominated for 48 Emmy Awards and won 14 in total. Fan ratings for the show are outstanding overall even though they dipped somewhat for Season 3, which wasn’t as well received as its previous seasons.

But what makes The Mandalorian such a big success is its wide appeal. The show appeals to fans of all ages, young and old. Anyone can watch the show and connect to it, even if they haven’t seen a Star Wars series or film before in their lives. That’s been one of the biggest reasons for the Mando’s massive audience appeal. It’s been able to bring new fans into the fandom, and many of them have become interested in Star Wars as a result of the series. It’s quintessential Star Wars, but not so lore-heavy that a casual fan can’t watch it.

The parent and child relationship which is at the heart of the series is another reason the show is so relatable. A lot of single parents have connected to Din Djarin’s struggles to balance fatherhood with his career. Din often finds himself in situations where he needs a babysitter for Grogu, so he can go out and do bounty hunter stuff.

The idea of a man with a tough exterior slowly coming out of his shell because he has a child to raise is endearing. It’s hilarious watching Din Djarin trying to understand Grogu’s incredible abilities, and endearing to see how much he encourages Grogu to use them. Even though he’s a Mandalorian, and Jedi and Mandalorians have been enemies throughout history, Din doesn’t seem bothered by it. He’s completely committed to his duties as Grogu’s guardian, and now as his father and master.

Star Wars has always focused on the themes of family and hope and so does The Mandalorian, but it does it in the simplest way possible. This has made it popular with long-time Star Wars fans and those who are new to the franchise. For the series to continue this incredible run, future seasons should continue to focus on Din and Grogu’s relationship, as well as the journey of the titular character, Din Djarin.

So far, none of the new live-action series has been able to challenge The Mandalorian’s numbers or appeal to new fans in the way it has. Din Djarin and Grogu have become iconic characters within a short amount of time, and hopefully, Season 4 of the show will be just as well received as the show has been overall.

But although The Mandalorian is the most well-received live-action series, there’s still room for improvement. Season 3 is proof that the show suffers when Jon Favreau takes on writing duties on his own. Dave Filoni’s involvement is necessary, and contributions from more writers wouldn’t hurt. The Mandalorian has always been a series with contributions from various directors and it has made a difference in the quality of every episode, and adding more writers to the team may have a similar effect.

Take, for example, The Mandalorian Chapter 15, “The Believer.” It’s written and directed by Executive Producer Rick Famuyiwa, and it’s one of the most intense and well-written episodes of the show. It focuses on Din Djarin’s inner struggle to balance his love for his child with his devotion to the creed. It perfectly illustrates why the Empire poses such a threat to the galaxy and highlights the scars they’ve left on people like Migs Mayfeld, who appear to be fine on the surface but are haunted by atrocities committed by the Empire. This Andor-like episode shows how great a series like The Mandalorian can be if more writers are brought on board.

Overall, the other Star Wars live-action series can learn a thing or two from The Mandalorian’s outstanding critical and audience appeal. Writing characters that are relatable works, focusing on the journey of one character from his point of view works, and a series that gives you a taste of the larger issues in the Star Wars galaxy coupled with the tender moments between its main characters is the way to move forward. It ensures that Star Wars can be enjoyed by everyone, even those unfamiliar with the franchise.

The Mandalorian is streaming on Disney+.