Disney+ TV review: Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian
James R | On 04, May 2020
What do you do when you’ve just launched a new streaming service but a pandemic has sprung up and left you without much new original content? If you’re Disney, the answer is simple: call upon your many resources to produce a documentary about one of your existing original series. And, with Star Wars Day on May the 4th, there’s no better time for Disney to drop Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, a documentary about – you guessed it – The Mandalorian.
The Star Wars Western has become a veritable pop culture phenomenon since its debut last year. That’s partly thanks to the uber-cute addition to the Star Wars universe that is Baby Yoda (not his official name). But it’s also because of everything else that makes the show such a thrilling addition to the saga: the lean, mean storytelling, the Western, outlaw vibes, the gruff, gritty aesthetic, the music from Black Panther composer Ludwig Göransson, and the cast led by Pedro Pascal’s streamlined, physical performance.
With each episode boasting its own full-length end credits, the show from the off has treated its chapters like mini-movies, so while the notion of a behind-the-scenes documentary dedicated to just the one season seems audacious, it’s also justified, given the sheer attention to detail that’s gone into it. Episode 1 is clear proof of that, as it focuses on the directors who have been part of the show – an impressively diverse role call that includes Dave Filoni, Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, Deborah Chow, and Rick Famuyiwa. They each reflect on their own careers in short, five-minute segments, which means that we don’t really get as much time on each filmmaker as we’d like – the roundtable that anchors the episode is mostly Jon Favreau rallying the group – but the footage of them on set is a fascinating glimpse of how they each approach the world of the show.
Filoni, meanwhile, out-nerds Jon Favreau with his enthusiasm matched by his in-depth knowledge of Star Wars lore, and part of the fun is just seeing those two excitedly talking about the show they’ve helped to create. Whether or not the eight-part series justifies releasing one episode a week, as if it’s The Mandalorian Season 2, is up for debate, but as far as bonus features go, this behind-the-scenes documentary is as high-end as it gets – and the decision to examine each aspect of production one at a time is a promising sign of the insight to come.
The result is a fun, if lightweight, addition to Disney+’s extensive Star Wars catalogue – and, if nothing else, leaves you raring to watch The Mandalorian’s first season all over again. As fans await the return of the show in what is expected to be October, there’s no better Star Wars Day present for Disney than that.
Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian is available on Disney+ UK, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription or a £79.99 yearly subscription.