Mark your calendars, bounty hunters. Season 2 of The Mandalorian premieres in just a few weeks, and October 30th will be here before you can say, “Manufacturer’s protocol dictates I cannot be captured. I must self-destruct.” Rumors abound about the continued adventures of Din Djarin, the Child, and their few remaining allies, but don’t trifle with online nonsense. Instead, prep for the return of Disney+’s breakout hit with the following training regimen. After all: This Is The Way.
Rewatch the Classic First Season
Season 1 of The Mandalorian embodied George Lucas’s vision for Star Wars really well. Over the course of its eight episodes, Jon Favreau and company managed what once seemed impossible—to pair Lucas’s “dirty space opera by way of John Ford” aesthetic with the lone samurai tales of Akira Kurosawa in a serialized, weekly format.
Dave Filoni’s top-notch animated series have proven Lucas’s galaxy translates well on the small screen, but as the first live-action Star Wars show, The Mandalorian had a lot of expectations to live up to. A simple, neatly compartmentalized story kept The Mandalorian’s focus tight, even as the edges of the frame revealed bigger, tantalizing connections to the Star Wars universe. Baby Yoda’s adorable hijacking of the cultural zeitgeist didn’t hurt either.
Take a dive into Nerds On Earth’s Jedi Archives to read up on our thoughts about the first season. We’ve got reviews for every episode, a Starfinder build for Din Djarin himself, deep dives into Mando’s gnarly weaponry, and so much more.
Do Some Light Reading
One of Disney’s unheralded victories following the acquisition of Lucasfilm has been the consistently high quality Star Wars books published in the years since. There are some true classics in the Expanded Universe novels of the 1990s and 2000s (here’s looking at you, Republic Commando), but the House of Mouse has really stepped up the quality.
As a result, there’s never been a better time to jump into the world of Star Wars books. Want star-crossed lovers fighting for their romance, all set against the fall of the Empire? Try Claudia Gray’s excellent Lost Stars (cue John Williams’ torrid “Across the Stars” to really set the mood). What about the backstory of the Chiss mastermind Mitth’raw’nuruodo, better known to fans of the old EU and Rebels alike as Grand Admiral Thrawn? Try Timothy Zahn’s resurrected Thrawn trilogy.
Alexander Freed’s Alphabet Squadron books mix technical, hard sci-fi with a nuanced, often tortured look at the cost of war. The Clone Wars’ greatest character, Ahsoka Tano, tackles the Empire undercover in a great one-shot novel by E. K. Johnston. I’m not ashamed to include Claudia Gray twice here—Master & Apprentice explores the pre-prequels era with Qui-Gonn Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. There’s never been a better time to take a stroll through the stacks of the Jedi Archives (and I didn’t even have time to talk about the awesome comics!).
Hone Your Gaming Skills
The past year has been stellar for Star War video games. If you’re into mobile gaming, try Galaxy of Heroes, a squad-based strategy RPG. With hundreds of characters (but none currently from The Mandalorian, sadly), you’ll assemble a team to make Mon Mothma proud. Add to that the thousands of missions to complete, the millions of pieces of gear to find, ships to outfit, and more, and you’ll be gaming until the Emperor finally gets around to building Death Star 3.
If you miss using your old N64 Expansion Pak to play Rogue Squadron, the recently released (and incredible) Star Wars: Squadrons is right up your flight vector. Pilot starfighters for the Rebel Alliance and Empire in a variety of new and familiar locations, but don’t let the deceptive ease fool you. Squadrons is designed to be simple to learn but difficult to master, and managing your power systems while in combat—shifting power to deflectors while trying to ration enough for a strafing run on a Star Destroyer, for example—is easier said than done.
My own gaming sweet spot happens to be exploration mixed with deliberate combat. Games like Tomb Raider and Dark Souls are my jam. When Jedi: Fallen Order came out late in 2019 it was like the gaming gods had heard my prayers. Combat that rewards practice and patience? An emphasis on searching out every nook and cranny? An engaging story with cameos from familiar faces and awesome new characters (BD-1 is the best, y’all)? Oh yeah. Fallen Order’s mix of the aforementioned games with Star Wars is the perfect combination.
The sequel films have all been released and the planned anthology films have been cancelled, and it might seem like Star Wars fans have entered the doldrums. But I think Lucasfilm is operating at a creative fever pitch at the moment. There’re so many great books, games, and TV shows to sample (not to mention the mysterious multimedia The High Republic that rings of the mid-90s Shadows of the Empire project) that it’s easier than ever to enjoy a high-quality Star Wars experience. And to top it all off, Season 2 of The Mandalorian drops in just weeks. So jump in, splash around, and soak up the all the Star Wars goodness to be had!