‘The Mandalorian’ Chapter 9: “The Marshal” Review And Discussion
Chapter 9 of The Mandalorian, “The Marshal,” answers one of the biggest lingering questions in all of Star Wars. And that’s just the beginning.
The second season of The Mandalorian wastes no time at all dropping right into the thick of the action. Din Djarin is on his quest to deliver The Child to his kind and he needs to find other Mandalorians to do it. You can check out how The Resistance Broadcast predictions fared on their latest episode and be sure to check out their review and discussion of Chapter 9!
For those who haven’t seen the episode yet – bookmark this and go do so, immediately – I’ll cover the episode in general before getting into spoilers. There is little that can be said of the episode without getting into some major specifics that you’ll want to see for yourself first.
“The Marshal” opens with a scene featured heavily in the trailer for the second season and other TV spots. The Mandalorian travels to an industrial town and meets with a one-eyed alien, Gore Keresh, at a fight club where two Gamorreans go at it with Vibro-axes.
This goes just like it does in the trailer. Turns out Keresh knows where to find more Mandos, or at least one. This leads to Tatooine and a mining colony called Mos Pelgo. The Mandalorian finds the person he’s looking for in the titular Marshal of the settlement. He’ll give Din Djarin what he wants if he helps with a little problem the town has.
It’s not so little actually. A Krayt dragon terrorizes the town. This is the first time the dragon has been seen in live-action, though here it’s represented more like a sandworm from Dune. It burrows underground and hides in a deep, dark cave in the desert.
That’s not the only thing that’s familiar. The set up here is a classic Western. The gunslinger comes into town and helps with a problem they have. It also has echoes of the Mudhorn from last season. Along with the return trip to Tatooine, there is a lot of familiar ground in Chapter 9.
That’s an issue the series and Star Wars have of late and would do well to avoid. It’s mitigated here by the fantastic writing and direction of Jon Favreau. The story spends real time with a band of Tusken Raiders, also victims of the dragon, and also shows a part of Tatooine we’ve never seen before.
The people from the settlement and the Tuskens band together to kill the dragon. They do it in grand fashion. It’s one of the most epic and thrilling action scenes of the series and in Star Wars, and finally gives long-time fans who have only had Ralph McQuarrie’s concept art to go by some Krayt joy.
The Mandalorian gets what he wants and leaves the settlement. Fans, at least a good chunk of them, get what they want as well in the best cliffhanger in Star Wars since 1980.
The cinematography, effects, and production design as always are fantastic. “The Marshal” sets off the season at lightspeed, gunning right at fan speculation and theories and throwing open the possibilities of what is going to happen next.
Now. Let’s talk SPOILERS.
“The Marshal” wastes absolutely no time answering one of the biggest questions fans had coming into season two. Will Boba Fett show up? He does, about ten minutes in. Kind of. As rumors indicated, Timothy Olyphant plays Cobb Vanth, the Marshal of Mos Pelgo, and he wears Boba Fett’s armor.
It is definitely the armor of Boba Fett, though it’s a little worse for wear. It doesn’t fit the tall and lanky Olyphant particularly well, which makes seeing it again a little odd at first. Vanth (who first appeared in the Chuck Windig Aftermath trilogy) relates the story of how he came to the armor, which involves encountering some Jawas in the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the second Death Star.
This is likely a nod to the now apocryphal Marvel Star Wars comic, issue #81, from 1984. In that issue, Jawas rescue Boba Fett from the Sarlaac Pit. In The Mandalorian, they have the armor days after Fett fell into what was supposed to be a thousand years of pain and suffering. So…
Din Djarin wants Vanth to give him the armor, as it’s disrespectful for a non-Mandalorian to have it. This leads to their uneasy pact regarding the Krayt dragon. Olyphant plays a sunnier version of Seth Bullock, the character he played on Deadwood. He and The Mandalorian eventually become allies and friends.
Though the episode deals with places and ideas the show has before, Favreau does a great job of showing us something we’ve never seen. Tuskens and settlers work side by side to defeat a common foe. After decades of the Tusken Raiders being presented as villains, this is fantastic.
Mos Pelgo is a new if sparse addition to the Tatooine landscape (really it’s not that different). The scenery here is absolutely gorgeous, with some amazing plate shots mixed in with the terrific Volume tech that The Mandalorian utilizes to achieve realistic backgrounds.
The biggest surprise of all – and not really, given the rumors – is the appearance of Temuera Morrison at the very end of the episode. An older, more grizzled Morrison is almost certainly Boba Fett, alive and well. How he plays into the show going forward is a mystery, but he knows of Din Djarin now.
I personally did not need to have Boba Fett return. His death was ignominious in Return of the Jedi, but his legacy is powerful. We have the amazing lore of the Mandalorians in the old and new Expanded Universe, in the Clone Wars, in Rebels, and of course in The Mandalorian. He frankly isn’t necessary.
That said, I trust that Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have a plan. They’ve worked so far. Fett’s arrival also signals that other rumors about other characters, namely Ahsoka, are likely accurate.
- The Child does little except provide reaction shots in this episode, but they are PRICELESS.
- John Leguizamo voices Gore Keresh.
- Among the crowd at the fight club is a member of the Constable Zuvio race.
- Amy Sedaris returns as Peli Motto, and so do her Pit Droids. She also has who appears to be R5-D4.
- The Marshal rides a speeder which is a modified Pod Racer engine – it appears to the same make and model as Anakin Skywalker’s from the Boonta Eve Race.
- The explosion of the Death Star II is viewed on a holographic video in Mos Pelgo.
- The Tuksens keep a number of Mastiffs, a dog-like lizard creature introduced in Attack of the Clones.
- The Mandalorian shows that Fett’s backpack is his greatest weakness.
What did you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Darby Harn writes for Screerant, CBR.com, Star Wars News Net, and Movie News Net. His sci-fi superhero novel EVER THE HERO debuted in January. His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Shimmer, and other venues.