The Mandalorian, the show that helped launch an entire streaming service, is coming off that streaming service for one night only. With the third season of the hit Star Wars show quickly approaching, the very first episode will make its broadcast debut, airing on ABC, Freeform, and FX on February 24.
So, if you’re a person who reads a site like ours and doesn’t subscribe to Disney+, or who hasn’t gone to a friend’s house who has Disney+, and has no idea who “Baby Yoda” is... well, in a few short weeks, you can find out. Spoiler alert: the character debuts at the end of the episode that’s airing: “Chapter 1: The Mandalorian.”
This broadcast debut is happening to ramp up some easy promotion for The Mandalorian season three, which debuts on Disney+ the following week, March 1. The 41-minute episode will air from 8-9 p.m. so expect some commercials, one of which you have to imagine will be for season three. Is it too much to ask for some new footage?
Either way, it might be fun to go back and revisit the first episode of the show now, just to think about the many, many ways it has impacted not just Star Wars, but pop culture in general. For Star Wars, the show fulfilled a years-long ambition by creator George Lucas to bring his franchise to live-action television, and it gave fans a new place to discover the stories they know and love. In fact, right now, Star Wars is almost certainly a brand more tied to streaming than it is to theatrical movies. Since the last movie, 2019's The Rise of Skywalker, Disney+ has debuted four live-action shows and multiple animated series. By the time there’s another movie (which is maybe 2025 but it’s not clear?), there are likely to be at least two to three more. We’re talking hours and hours of storytelling.
Culturally, from the moment he popped up on screen, the character referred to as “Baby Yoda,” real name Grogu, instantly became an icon. He was a balloon in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, for crying out loud. There are few characters in pop culture as a whole, let alone just Star Wars, as recognizable or popular.
And all of it began on November 12, 2019 with the launch of Disney+ and the series’ first episode—which, in a few weeks’ time, will make its debut on broadcast TV. “Chapter 1: The Mandalorian” will debut at 8 p.m. February 24 on ABC, Freeform, and FX.
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