Tatooine is more than just a generic desert planet. But not every Star Wars story lets that come through.
Star Wars has a complex relationship with worldbuilding, for a franchise so invested in it. It often jets between planets, creating only rough sketches of them, giving the impression of some worlds that are, broadly, relatively generic—a desert planet, an ice planet, a salt planet, another desert planet. But The Mandalorian is often a compelling exception, using its television format to paint deeper histories and more complex tableaus of the places that the Mando visits. That’s what this video essay, by captainmidnight, explores, looking specifically at the first episode of this second season to dig into the ways the show characterizes Tatooine in a deep, interesting way that harmonizes with everything that came before.
It’s a fantastic little essay, exploring how a lot of what could just come off as fan service works here because it’s situated in a deeper context, creating a sense of real history for Tatooine that gives the planet character. Tatooine is one of the most-visited locations in the series, but it could be pretty easy to just explore it in its most shallow aspects: sand, Tusken Raiders, weird alien bars. Instead, The Mandalorian here adds information and makes choice that affirm and complicate the history we have with the planet without being too self-indulgent. Also, the krayt dragon is really cool. It’s hard to argue with that.
The Mandalorian is currently airing its second season, streaming on Disney Plus. Baby Yoda is there, it’s a great time.
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