Friday, September 24

“The Mandalorian” vs “Star Trek Discovery”


The two main protagonists of Disney's The Mandalorian series.

The two main protagonists of Disney’s The Mandalorian series.

Has fate or an unusual conjunction of planetary stars wanted that a television series of Star Wars and another of Star Trek have coincided on the air simultaneously on different platforms. This has allowed in this pandemic autumn that lovers of the genre had the opportunity to visit very distant worlds every Friday. Courtesy of Disney Plus y from Netflix. The second season of The Mandalorian ended this Friday and the third of Star Trek Discovery still has a few more weeks left, at least until mid-January. (To finish messing this galactic panorama Amazon has premiered this Friday the fifth of The Expanse, but that’s another story). Throughout the new installments of both series, the writers have launched into trying to capture the lifelong fan, hiding small and large winks in their plots to remind them that they had not been forgotten. At the same time, these tributes do not become obstacles so that newcomers can enjoy the plot.

In The Mandalorian case these winks were more evident, since from the beginning of the series it has been praised precisely that it recovered the essence of the Star Wars of a lifetime. Something has changed in this second season and not only because each week they surprised us with increasingly fast-paced episodes. The scope of these tributes has been broadened, correcting a decision that angered many fans since Disney bought the franchise and dumped what had come to be called the expanded universe from Star Wars. Despite the fact that for many years fans were left without new releases, until George Lucas dared to make the prequels, the story of Luke, Han and Leia continued in novels after Return of the Jedi. Some stories that became a hindrance and a drag when Disney and J. J. Abrams they launched into planning the third trilogy. There were fans who preferred those books to have been adapted. Throughout this second season we have had many cameos and surprise appearances (the one in the final episode, by the way, has been one of leaving the jaw dislodged), but there was an allusion in the dialogues of an episode that unleashed all kinds of theories: the of the almirante Thrawn, the one who had been one of the great villains of the saga in all that literary material that was discarded by Disney. Character that did appear in the animated series but was totally ignored in the new trilogy. Let’s say that in the lapse between Return of the Jedi and The Force awakens there are more than enough years to fill this void and the series has taken the first step to repair that decision. Despite the rehabilitation of the reviled Imperial Admiral, everything seems to indicate that Giancarlo Esposito (the villain of Breaking Bad) will continue to be the villain of the series, which has already made it clear that he has rope for a while. We’ll see if his has been just a wink or his presence is more permanent in the future. Do not forget that the admiral has not appeared. It has only appeared in a few lines of dialogue between characters.

Jon Favreau has been chosen to lay the foundations for the expansion of the saga on television, just as he did in his day to Marvel Studios through your version of Iron Man. The director has become the maker of a series that is successfully unifying and midichlorians everything we have seen so far from Star Wars. The story has gradually gotten bigger. The new season has not only been limited to recovering Thrawn, but it has brought other characters from the most remote corners of the universe of the galactic franchise. Since Ahsoka Tano’s reappearance at the hand of Rosario Dawson, Jedi warrior created in the animated series of The Clone Wars, to the already mythical Boba Fett of the original trilogy, after miraculously surviving that digestion of thousands of years in the stomach of a sarlacc. In The Mandalorian is embodied by the same actor who brought him to life in the prequels, Temuera Robinson. By the way, that the interpreter who during the eighties was under his case in the original trilogy, Jeremy Bulloch, died this week. To make matters worse, shortly after the death of David Prowse, the man who dressed as Darth Vader. In the post-credits scene at the end of Mandalorian, the first of the future galactic spin offs is already announced for next year and that it will be focused on Boba Fett. A posthumous tribute to the figure of the bounty hunter who captured Han Solo.

As for Star Trek Discovery, for this third season has made the wise decision to stop looking at the classic series and remember that a good part of its audience was hooked on the saga with The New Generation and the other titles created in the nineties. Despite the hundreds of episodes they left behind, those titles did not seem to exist for them. They almost seemed like a drag like the Star Wars Expanded Universe was to Disney executives. Until now. The ship and the crew of Discovery are drawn in the new episodes into the future. A 900-year nightmare timeskip, in which the Federation has ceased to exist. Only distant legends survive from it, among which is the one that continues to function almost secretly. Behind this apocalyptic fate seem to be behind the time wars that we already saw in the series Enterprise. It is not the only tribute. During the new episodes, we have seen one of the versions of the ship Voyagero we have known what happened to the trill of Deep Space 9. There is even a mission to the gamma quadrant. Three great series that Discovery seemed to have forgotten and neglected. Not to mention that this world in which the Federation does not exist seems to have been taken from Andromeda’s hat, that failed posthumous series of Gene Roddenberry. That is, the founding father of the saga. I don’t know why, lately that ideal and utopian future in which the world seemed to have left war and poverty behind and the engine of humanity was the eagerness for new discoveries has taken on them. We live in dark times and Star Trek has always sold that in the future, Humanity will be better.

With a captain leading the ship for each season. Michael Burnham’s character (Sonequa Martin-Green) is still the undisputed protagonist of the series, but it would be appreciated if they will develop some other characters in greater depth. The secondary characters have helped a lot to enrich the Trekie universe. Star Trek Discovery has been able to reinvent itself year after year, showing us various moments of the immense legacy of the franchise. The first season focused, in addition to introducing the characters, to let us know the Mirror Universe, that alternative reality where the Federation was a fascist dictatorship. The second, to explore the past of the captain who preceded Kirk at the controls of the Enterprise, Christopher Pike, as well as to bring us back to a new incarnation of Spock. For the third season, we travel to a dystopian future with a plot in which the protagonists will try to correct the alterations of the timeline. Although at this point, we do not know if the restrictions on filming due to the pandemic, which has brought us a shorter season than usual, will allow us to tell the whole story or will leave us with a great cliffhanger at the end. The big question is whether Discovery will return to its original past or will it continue to move in time. This last option would be the perfect explanation for why the ship has a revolutionary technology, not seen until now in Star Trek, despite the fact that this series is officially a prequel.

The two franchises (Star Wars and Star Trek) are often presented as antagonistic, although the galaxy until now was large enough for both to share. Long ago, in a very distant galaxy where no man has been able to reach … The one did not exclude the other, but in this healthy rivalry Star Trek has always had the upper hand. There was a time when Star Wars fans looked at us as strangers, although now it is precisely those who deny the ways of the Force. The same does not happen with trekies. We’re still the weirdos, and until recently, saying you liked Star Trek was tantamount to being looked at as if you said you liked coprophagy. “You like what?” Fortunately the review of the franchise by JJ Abrams, the character of Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) in The Big Bang Theory as well as the impeccable finish of Discovery has helped to rehabilitate that image somewhat. Geeks to power.

Star Wars has always been the quintessential space franchise on the big screen. Despite its forays into film, Star Trek was a purely television title. After their sweet rebirth in the 1990s, the next-gen Trekies were ready to receive a barrage of new titles that were to expand the franchise. Until Disney and The Mandalorian have arrived and turned the market upside down. Until ten new Star Wars titles we will see over the next four years. The deployment of media has been so overwhelming that perhaps now the galaxy may be too small for both.


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