My two major complaints with The Rise of Skywalker were:
- The plot tried to undo/ignore the progression and characters in The Last Jedi, creating a plot that was too dense and full of hand waving.
- The number of “do you remember how much you loved this in the old movies?” moments was off the charts.
Nostalgia is cheap, but it’s undeniably effective. It’s an unfair advantage properties like Star Wars can pull off because, well, that’s one of the perks of being a 30+ year old franchise that has connected with every living generation in ways that basically nothing else has.
But nostalgia needs to be used sparingly: it’s seasoning, not the main dish. A steak with a bit of salt is delicious. A pile of salt on it ruins the steak.
This is a long way of saying that I just watched the first episode of season 2 of The Mandalorian, and this episode (like the first season) has several moments of clear nostalgia. It’s a seasoning the writers of this series are willing to play, but it’s far from the main draw. I won’t get into spoilers here, but suffice it to say that just like last season, there have been a few small moments that just had me smiling from ear to ear. But then the moment passed and we moved onto the new things The Mandalorian was bringing to the table.
The Mandalorian isn’t my favorite Star Wars content, but I like it a good deal and I think anyone writing new Star Wars stories should study this show to see how to get the balance just right.