With The Mandalorian season 2 releasing in October, it will be Disney’s main Star Wars release of 2020. The Mandalorian, which similarly debuted in mid-autumn last year on Disney+, was well-received by audiences, becoming the first major release on the burgeoning streaming service. In particular, Baby Yoda’s popularity brought wider attention to the series and first suggested its potential for broader appeal beyond devout Star Wars fans.
The continuation of The Mandalorian, along with The Clone Wars‘s final season, gives Star Wars an undeniably strong presence on Disney+ in 2020, but this will also be the first year since Star Wars: The Force Awakens released in 2015 that Disney doesn’t have a Star Wars movie release in theaters. Furthermore, apart from Solo: A Star Wars Story, all of these films came out in mid-December. While this is a marked change from the original and prequel Star Wars trilogies, all the entries of which premiered in May, this will likely be the new normal for the studio once Star Wars films resume, especially considering Solo‘s poor box office performance.
Whereas The Mandalorian season 1 was somewhat overshadowed in the public consciousness by the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the lack of any other major Star Wars material to compete with season 2’s gives Disney the opportunity to market it as a major event, nearing the scale of a feature film. Fan enthusiasm would certainly support this, as The Mandalorian season 2 is set to feature fan-favorite characters like Ahsoka Tano, Boba Fett, and Bo-Katan Kryze. From the perspective of more general pop culture, Disney+’s efforts to blend the worlds of film and television have already laid the groundwork for selling the cultural significance of The Mandalorian season 2.
It’s worth pointing out that the absence of a Star Wars movie this year isn’t due to rescheduling amidst the COVID-19 pandemic; a hiatus has been in the cards for quite some time now. However, many other films, from studio blockbusters to indies, have had their production and release dates delayed. As such, The Mandalorian season 2 stands to ameliorate not only a drought of Star Wars films, but a drought of films and other shows, in general.
In an age where streaming shows account for an ever-increasing number of content, The Mandalorian has so many unique advantages going into season 2, from Disney’s all-in support (look no further than The Mandalorian documentary series) to its clear connection to one of the highest-grossing film series of all time. And for a franchise that made its name by defining the blockbuster theatrical experience, such a decisive move to home cinemas will be a significant milestone as Star Wars charts its course into the future.
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