Is Season 3 of ‘The Mandalorian’ better or worse than its predecessors? A review.

Nathan Turoff, Reporter

The third season of the hit Disney+ series The Mandalorian was finally released this spring, over two years after the second season was released in the fall of 2020. In the meantime, we have seen multiple live-action Star Wars series releases, but does the third season of Disney+’s flagship series hold up to these newer releases and its own past seasons? Well, not exactly.

The second season of The Mandalorian ended very strongly, with the Mandalorian himself taking off his helmet (an act amount to heresy, but more on that later), as Grogu, also known as Baby Yoda, is taken away by Luke Skywalker to be trained as a Jedi, setting up many potential plot threads to explore. Some of these plot points would resolve in the Mandalorian’s spin-off series, the Book of Boba Fett, which was intended to focus on the titular character. 

(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.

Speaking of that series, the other two Star Wars Disney+ series released between seasons two and three were Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor, with the latter receiving widespread acclaim on par with the first two seasons of The Mandalorian. While the Mandalorian Season 3 isn’t bad by any means, it is far less exceptional than its previous seasons and the aforementioned Andor.

The story felt like a natural progression of themes and plot points set up in previous seasons, such as the Mandalorian redeeming himself after the dishonor of removing his helmet in the season two finale, but it ends up trying to juggle too much at once. 

The series tried to bring focus on many characters along with the Mandalorian himself. There is nothing wrong with bringing attention to other characters, but this season did not particularly treat its titular character as the main focus.

For example, one episode barely features the character at all, with him only showing up in the last five minutes of its runtime. In a similar vein, The Book of Boba Fett was criticized for two of its seven episodes solely following the Mandalorian himself. That was two whole episodes of Boba Fett’s series where he is not the focus or even appears. 

Part of me wonders if the decision to not heavily focus on the Mandalorian himself in that episode was in response to the feedback of Mandalorian taking the focus from Boba Fett during his show. However, as the age-old saying goes, two wrongs do not make a right.

Mandalorian helmet from a scene in Lucasfilm’s THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Much of this season felt like it didn’t know what it wanted to do with the Mandalorian himself, and it unfortunately shows. Far too much of this season’s priority seemed to be developing side characters, resolving previous plot threads from the past seasons and setting up future projects. It is totally fine for a series to feature these elements, but not at the expense of its titular character.

While the Mandalorian is in the forefront in the first few episodes, he definitely takes a back seat in the middle portion of the series and only really reclaims the spotlight in the admittedly emotional ending. However, the majority of the series did not handle the character well. If examining this season in a vacuum without the context of the first two seasons, the title would honestly work better as The Mandalorians.

Mandalorians in a scene from Lucasfilm’s THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

In my personal opinion, it appears as if this lapse in proper character prioritization will not be repeated again. The season finishes off with an ending that clearly lays the groundwork for future seasons to be returning to a focus on the Mandalorian himself, so as another saying goes: “A lesson learned the hard way is a lesson learned.”

Another common criticism of all the Star Wars shows, including Mandalorian’s previous seasons, was the presence of “filler” episodes. Filler episodes are episodes that don’t add much to the overall narrative of a series over the course of the season and are often seen as taking up valuable runtimes of episodes. This season of The Mandalorian seems to have tried to actively avoid that criticism, as it only features one episode that feels like “filler”, and it tries to make up for its presence by featuring several notable guest stars, but I’m not sure it balances out.

The action, cinematography and visuals of the series are still as stellar as ever, with large-scale Mandalorian jetpack battles never looking more awesome. Grogu is also adorable in every scene he’s in, so the series is worth the watch for those two aspects alone. However, a series shouldn’t coast by on the fact that it’s pleasing to the eye.

One thing to keep in mind when criticizing this series is the context behind it. The first two seasons of The Mandalorian were received incredibly well, as was Andor, which was coincidentally the last released live-action Star Wars project before the third season of Mandalorian. 

I think an unfortunate fact is that any season of The Mandalorian will always be held to the high standards of the aforementioned projects, which is a high bar to match. Now that doesn’t excuse this season’s shortcomings, but it is important to remember what it’s being compared against.

While all this criticism may give off the impression that the season is bad, that is not the case. It is still enjoyable to watch and should be watched. It still remains a good show despite some noticeable flaws this season.

Spinnaker rates this season 4 out of 5 Spinnaker Sails.

4 spinnaker sails


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