Review: "Star Wars Insider Presents: The Mandalorian Collection"

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When I first heard of this upcoming release, I thought “Star Wars Insider Presents: The Mandalorian Collection” would be more akin to a character encyclopedia, but for Mandalorian characters. Instead, it is a collection of past interviews and articles released in issues of Star Wars Insider magazine. Acquiring the issues where these were originally featured would be no easy task, as there are several and have been out for some time now. Having them all in one spot is very convenient and will save you time — time that could be spent reading these interesting pages.

The material covered has a great range chronologically, going as back as “The Clone Wars” up until “The Mandalorian” Season 3. Of course, it only covers material where Mandalorians have taken front and center, hence the title of this compilation. They also deviate a bit with characters that aren’t necessarily Mandalorian, but play an important role in their stories, such as Luke Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano.

These articles also aren’t very heavy with in-universe lore, but have some of that mixed with a lot of behind-the-scenes information about production and factors that inspired details about the characters and their arcs in Star Wars. The most notable interviews are the ones with the actors themselves.

Other than a blast-from-the-past with a Death Watch article, the first half focuses on “The Mandalorian,” both the show and character Din Djarin himself. However, other Mandalorians such as Bo Katan Kryze and Sabine Wren also have pages dedicated to them. A big part of the pages are essentially recaps of the seasons and their episodes (which the Boba Fett Fan Club has also reviewed at every release). There is also a list of Mando’s top ten moments thus far. This must have been written before Season 3, because moments were only chosen from Season 1 and Season 2. Either that, or the author of that articles agrees with me that Season 3 was laughably bad. (Maybe not completely — the Mythosaur was very cool, as was some of the action.) As you can imagine, the first seasons of The Mandalorian were heavily influenced not only by Westerns, but old samurai movies as well. I can’t detail everything said, because it addresses a lot of things and I don’t want to spoil everything. But I will say this: if there’s anything the first seasons of the show did well, it was mixing old Star Wars tropes, characters and locations with new material. Even though Din Djarin comes from a long legacy of Mandalorians, he is his own character. I will admit there was one thing that was unaddressed in these pages that I would have liked to have learn about: Din Djarin’s original armor. It appeared Mandalorian in design, but was shredded easily by the Mudhorn. Therefore, it was not true beskar. Perhaps that’s why the Covert that Mando came from was so easily slain off-screen in Season 1.

I particularly enjoyed the interview with Emily Swallow, who plays The Armorer. Pedro Pascal, naturally, gets a lot of the attention surrounding “The Mandalorian;” an interview with him is of course included in this collection. I was pleased to read that it is indeed her under the armor of The Armorer in every one of her appearances. I understand that Din Djarin had more screen time than The Armorer, but I am not impressed by the fact that Pedro Pascal usually isn’t underneath the armor of Din Djarin. So getting the perspective of another actor on the show was very refreshing, and it’s cute how she adores her young female fans. Hopefully, this is a by-product of Mandalorian culture in Star Wars doing a good job of reaching out to female fans and making them feel included. The interview with Katie Sackoff (who plays Bo Katan) was similar in this regard. Both she and Emily wanted to be Princess Leia when they were younger. But now, thanks to them, there are Mandalorian female characters that girls and women can look up to.

My favorite section, of course, was the latter half of the book focusing mostly on Boba Fett. In particular, I enjoyed “The Fett Family’s Finest,” a countdown of 10 great appearances from the saga featuring Boba Fett. I slightly disagree with the order, but every entry was well-chosen and well-explained. I was also pleased that all three of the main Fett actors — Jeremy Bulloch, Temuera Morrison, and Daniel Logan — had interviews as well. (Fun fact: the Daniel Logan interview features original photos by Boba Fett Fan Club’s Aaron Proctor.) The Mandalorian characters and culture have expanded exponentially the last few years. But the Fetts, and those who brought them to life, were the ones who started it all and held the line during past eras of Star Wars. “The Mandalorian Collection” does well to remember this and give them their due, so I tip my imaginary Mandalorian helmet to them — like when Boba Fett nodded to Boushh in Jabba’s Palace.

If you’ve been a long-time or die-hard Star Wars fan, you won’t find too much new information. I was hardly surprised by anything that I read. But this Collection would do wonders for fans who are either more casual or new to the franchise. Much of what we’ve learned over the years would be spoon-fed quickly, bringing these fans up to speed.

If you were expecting a meaty tome, with a lot of text to read, this isn’t quite it. There is a lot of artwork and photos — and mind you, they’re fantastic — but it makes “The Mandalorian Collection” a much lighter read. It didn’t take much time for me to go through the whole thing. You will likely also remain unsatisfied if you are exclusively a Boba Fett/Jango Fett fan like I am. I am not invested in Mandalorians as a whole. However, if you are a fan of The Mandalorian (since this collection focuses heavily on it), or Mandalorians in general, this is the book for you.


4 / 5
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About the Author, Gustavo Perez

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