I don’t think it’s a particularly revolutionary statement to say that homeworks sucks, it’s an opinion that pretty much everyone seven and up has because we all just find it a bit pointless and would rather spend our evenings watching movies and eating chicken nuggets. I’m what they call an “adult” now, so I don’t have to do homework anymore, unless you count taxes as such. The problem is though, with big IP-focused franchises taking up most of the big and little screens, homework is seeping into the media we watch, and it’s getting a bit boring. And now, The Mandalorian & Grogu, just announced this week, is the latest film you’ll have to study for to even remotely fully appreciate it.
The Mandalorian, for the unaware, is a Disney+ series that started back in 2019 featuring a specific Mandalorian, Din Djarin, played by Pedro Pascal, and it’s pretty fun! Obviously massively inspired by Lone Wolf and Cub, it’s a series that to start is pretty self-contained, the first season offering an adventure-of-the-week kind of deal that is often pretty fun due to the “grumpy, unwilling warrior forced to look after a baby, and also this baby has psychic powers?” dynamic it has going on.
After that, the show kind of took a turn for the worse, as it began to build up a bigger narrative arc that ties into the broader Star Wars universe, bringing back characters from animated series The Clone Wars like Bo-Katan. It’s fine, sometimes bad even, but it’s not really what I signed up for with the first season. What makes matters worse is that in between the second and third season, The Book of Boba Fett aired, a wholly mediocre show that had an entire two episodes focused on Din that barely had anything to do with the green-helmeted bounty hunter. Which, in order to see more of my moody space dad and his terrible son, meant I had to suffer through The Book of Boba Fett.
Worse still, the events directly lead into season three of The Mandalorian! But if you didn’t care about Boba Fett, and take a casual approach to Star Wars, how would you even know? And now, Lucasfilm wants people to go watch The Mandalorian & Grogu in cinemas, a film that requires you to watch at least four seasons of television? When did entertainment turn into homework? Oh, right, it started when Marvel started making Disney+ shows.
The hyper-capitalistic pull of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is quite clearly waning, with films like Ant Man 3 and The Marvels struggling to bring in the numbers seen pre-Endgame, being so bad as to be outright failures – a possible sign of a growing super-hero fatigue, on top of all its other problems. Ant Man 3 of course introduced a Kang variant, the new big villain in the multiverse phase of the MCU, though if you wanted to see his actual introduction, you’d have to watch the first season of Loki.
Then there’s The Marvels, a film where two of the main characters were first seen in two different TV shows. Methinks there are some people at the very top of the food chain at Disney that think people are happy to make every part of their life either Marvel or Star Wars, but the truth is most people going to the cinema just go for the sake of seeing a new blockbuster. Why else is James Cameron’s Avatar series thought of as wholly mediocre by cinephiles/ film bros, but an absolutely box office sensation? People don’t care if things are bad, for the most part, they just want a nice time at the movies – and requiring people to do homework, that they have to pay a monthly fee for to even access, is not how you get bums in seats.
Post Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker, Lucasfilm clearly hasn’t been sure what to do on the film side of things. We still don’t have any real sign of The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson’s Star Wars trilogy, and Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi’s Star Wars project hasn’t been heard from either. Outside of The Mandalorian & Grogu, three other Star Wars films were announced last year, one of which will feature Rey, but these obviously appear to be the future of Star Wars over Johnson or Waititi’s works.
There’s just too much you have to do before you even get to the cinema though, and it’s clearly one factor in the MCU’s declining popularity, so why is Lucasfilm trying to do the same with Star Wars? It’s just a chore, and unless Lucasfilm does some kind of marketing magic, I don’t see it working out for it. Just give me a Glup Shitto movie and we’re square.