I don’t mean to imply that there aren’t dark elements to “The Mandalorian.” There certainly are. From the trailer, it appears that we’re going to learn at least a little bit more about how Grogu escaped Order 66, and considering the mass murder that happened, it won’t be a light tale. The idea of never getting to show your face, even to the people or unnamed species of adorable little snuggle bears you love, is menacingly odd to me, and I’m dying to see if this repentance trip will change Din’s mind about it all. That’s not exactly light fare, either. This is a Western, space setting or not, and full of everything we expect from the genre. There is a redemption arc, gun (laser) fights, robberies, violence, outlaws, death, and destruction.
However, there is a sweetness in this father and son tale that never becomes cloying. Grogu tilts his head to the side, and no matter what is happening on screen, I become a puddle of cooing goo. Mando — who somehow manages to convey buckets of emotion without facial expressions — gestures at his tiny ward with love or, like a dad, stops him spinning in a giant chair and stealing candy with the Force as he does in a recently released clip, and boom; I’m dead of cute on my floor.
The brilliance of “The Mandalorian” is that it has balance. For every battle, we have Grogu giggling while playing with the little silver ball from Mando’s ship. For every death, there is a moment of levity. For every serious character like Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), we have an effervescent one like Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris).