Marathon-watching ‘The Mandalorian’

FilAm martial artist Diana Lee Inosanto plays the morally ambiguous Magistrate. Press photo

By Wendell Gaa

Thanks to modern digital technology, home entertainment has provided us much-needed relief from all the daily hardships continually plaguing the world. 

One popular streamline series which has already made a positive impact on pop culture and has nearly entered the universal lexicon is “The Mandalorian” on Disney+. 

The first ever live-action TV spinoff series of the epic sci-fi space opera saga Star Wars, “The Mandalorian” is the story of a lone helmeted bounty hunter by the name of Mando (real name is Din Djarin) who has been tasked to retrieve and protect a young mystical being called “The Child.” The boy is believed to possess special abilities which hold the key to the fate of the galaxy, and who also happens to be the same galactic species as the iconic Jedi Master Yoda. 

Now in its second season, the heart and core of “The Mandalorian” has truly been the endearing paternalistic relationship between Mando and “The Child,” or more popularly known as “Baby Yoda.”  Each episode has chronicled the adventures of the two as they navigate the dangerous parts of the galaxy where enemies from many sides are out to eliminate them.

Even though his face beneath his helmet has only been shown once briefly in one episode of this series thus far, Chilean actor Pedro Pascal absolutely owns the starring role of the antihero Mando, with an intriguing mixture of stoic intensity towards his rivals and growing empathy towards his friends and allies.  He has already proven to fans his diverse acting range with his memorable performance as the charismatic Oberyn Martell in the hit fantasy drama show “Game of Thrones,” as well as the main antagonist opposite Denzel Washington in “The Equalizer 2.”

“The Mandalorian” has also been notable for featuring guest celebrities, and a recent episode featured one of our own, actress Diana Lee Inosanto, whose father is famous FilAm martial artist Dan Inosanto who was a training partner of the legendary Bruce Lee.  A California native, Diana guest stars as the intriguing and morally ambiguous Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth who has, to say the least, an interesting encounter and exchange with Mando and The Child.  Diana magnificently exhibits her physical prowess and combat skills which apparently runs well in her family of skilled martial artists, and I sincerely do hope we may be able to see her as a recurring character on the series.  By her looks and moves, I would never have guessed that she is actually in her mid-50s in real life! 

Filmmaker and director Jon Favreau created “The Mandalorian” series and his vision of it being a space western has been nothing short of creative brilliance throughout the entire run of the series thus far.  A director, as well an actor who truly has a passion for his craft and the entertainment industry, Favreau has already lent his talent to the Disney company by helming the director’s chair for the 2016 live-action adaptation of the 1960s classic “The Jungle Book.” He has partaken in the Marvel Cinematic Universe performing as Happy Hogan, close confidante and friend of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man. 

I remember well the first time I watched Favreau perform onscreen as the best friend of Sean Astin’s character in the 1993 football drama “Rudy.”  I’m very happy to see how he has recently made huge strides in Hollywood and his future as a top-earning filmmaker alongside George Lucas and Steven Spielberg is no doubt secured. 

“The Mandalorian,” which is now my personal favorite new series to come out within the past year, has already bagged seven Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, which is indeed an encouraging sign of its potential emergence as one of the top addictive and acclaimed series of the 2020s.  With a third season already in the works, we can all have something to look forward to as a source of home entertainment, as well as a hopeful post-pandemic future. 

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