In the wake of Andor sneaking a powerful critique of fascism into the Star Wars canon — and, in the process, revealing itself to be a gripping spy thriller that avoided lightsabers and The Force altogether — the current season of Disney+’s The Mandalorian has felt, if you ask me, downright small and kind of silly in comparison.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been struggling to maintain any degree of interest whatsoever in a show that, let’s face it, hooked us all at first largely thanks to the novelty of Baby Yoda. Unfortunately, it’s a show that seems determined to get duller and more excruciatingly boring with each successive episode of its now-third season. The season’s central conceit, that Mando has to go to great lengths to atone for the sin of (checks notes) removing his helmet, is just … seriously, who cares? And he’ll be fine, you say, once he takes a quick dip in some holy water somewhere? Wake me up when something interesting happens.
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Right on cue, meanwhile, in this week’s episode of The Mandalorian (Chapter 22, titled Guns for Hire), something interesting did happen (but not the good kind of interesting). I guess someone got the bright idea that what the show was really missing was unnecessary superstar cameos, because we got three of them this week: Lizzo, Jack Black, and Christopher Lloyd, three celebrities who are far more famous and recognizable than anyone else in The Mandalorian cast save for Pedro Pascal.
Consider the shark well and truly jumped.
The singer of “Truth Hurts” was on hand to play a character called The Duchess, while Lloyd and Black portrayed “Commissioner Helgait” and “Captain Bombardier,” respectively — all of them the kind of forgettable, oddball space characters that the Star Wars universe has more than enough of at this point.
In what was perhaps the strangest moment of the episode, Lizzo’s Duchess at one point “knights” Baby Yoda (aka Grogu).
Yeah, I’m done with this series.
Needless to say, this season is currently the show’s lowest-rated on Rotten Tomatoes, so maybe I get why it seemed like some big names might help bring the mojo back.
“When I was a young girl my dad introduced me to Star Wars like a rite of passage,” Lizzo wrote in an Instagram post. “The (trilogies) are his favorite movies and quickly became mine. When Jon Favreau called me and offered the role of The Duchess I cried all day wishing my dad was still with us cus he’d be so proud.”
That doesn’t change the fact that Disney+ keeps making choices related to The Mandalorian that utterly baffle viewers like me. “Ok. I don’t like the stunt casting happening in the Mandalorian,” one Twitter user opined. “That episode was horrible. Not that I don’t love Jack and Lizzo and Doc Brown – they just don’t need to be in the Mandalorian.”
Added another Twitter user, making the same point about the casting but much more succinctly: “hella random.” You can say that again.