WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Mandalorian.
Fans seem to enjoy The Mandalorian thus far, despite the fact that the show's trailers sold a very different series than what it actually is. Disney+'s inaugural original series also happens to be the first Star Wars live-action show. Created by Jon Favreau and starring Pedro Pascal as the titular character Dyn Jarren, the first season follows the lone bounty hunter in his latest mission - deliver a Force sensitive baby Yoda to a sketchy figure only known as The Client (Werner Herzog). Things, however, make a surprising turn when Dyn decided to keep the baby himself.
The Mandalorian has been in development since November 2017 when Disney CEO Bob Iger first announced their plans for a live-action Star Wars show. A few months later, Favreau was confirmed to be attached and October 2018, the project officially got a title. Fast forward to this year's D-23 Expo back in August, the first trailer (and poster) for the show was rolled out, followed by a second one two months ago.
The trailers garnered generally positive reviews and plenty of hype, effectively piquing the interest of viewers. However, based on what we've seen on the show thus far, they painted a different picture as to what the series will really be about, with plenty of hints and characters that were designed to mislead audiences.
The Mandalorian Trailers Sold A Very Different Sort Of Show
Unlike films, The Mandalorian only had two full trailers coupled by a handful of TV spots. All marketing footage for the show unanimously teased the gritty underworld bounty hunters operate in, giving us a sense that the series will primarily be about Dyn carrying out missions where he's met with various adversaries. This idea became much more interesting with the fairly recent fall of the Galactic Empire, which was a regular client for bounty hunters.
The Mandalorian did deliver on this in the first episode. Directed by Dave Filoni, the premiere saw Dyn delivering on his latest bounty, Mythrol, in the show's cold open. It effectively established the state of the industry, with Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) offering him several low-paying jobs as his next mission with the exception of an ominous high-priced one, which he ultimately accepted. Turns out, his next bounty being a mysterious baby Yoda would alter the course of the show's whole narrative.
Instead of focusing on the bounty hunting as Dyn's profession, The Mandalorian's story makes significant pivot in Episode 3, titled "The Sin." After delivering baby Yoda to The Client, the Mandalorian gets his Beskar payment and used it to create a shiny new armor thanks to The Armorer (Emily Swallow). While he received a brand new mission to find a Mon Calamari, he ditched it and smuggled back baby Yoda, and since then, they've been on the run. Considering that there are only four more episodes left in the show, chances are that the rest of season 1 will be focused on their adventures together instead of Dyn going back to the business of bounty hunting.
The Mandalorian’s Trailers Hid Baby Yoda
It's no secret that the Star Wars fan community has been divisive for quite a while now. Some have legitimate criticisms about the way Disney handled the property since it bought Lucasfilm and kicked off the franchise's renaissance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But The Mandalorian seemed to have appeased the majority of the fandom, as well as critics which is not always the case. One clear standout from the show, however, is baby Yoda.
Since its introduction at the end of The Mandalorian premiere last month, the adorable infant has gone viral online as it became the subject of countless baby Yoda memes and GIFs. Even those who aren't well-versed with the Star Wars franchise are smitten by the mysterious child. And for someone who week after week dominates the conversation when it comes to the show, it's interesting baby Yoda wasn't even shown in The Mandalorian's marketing material.
Baby Yoda's reveal was deemed a spoiler for The Mandalorian's premiere and its entire arc (at least for season 1). Its arrival in Dyn's life essentially kicked off the Mandalorian's current adventure as a bounty hunter-turned-fugitive after stealing his bounty. This justifiably explains why it wasn't intentionally included in the series' marketing. However, considering how its existence is shaping the show's story, its absence in the trailers was quite a significant omission. Perhaps there were other ways that the promo footage could've debuted the child without giving anything away about its connection to Dyn and the overall narrative.
Many Of The Mandalorian’s Hyped Characters Are In One Episode
Aside from the title role, The Mandalorian trailers teased an ensemble supporting cast of characters. Taika Waititi's IG-11 and Gina Carano's Cara Dune were even featured in the show's poster with Dyn. However, both have only been in one episode separately (IG-11 in the premiere, while Cara in the latest one) thus far. And given where "Sanctuary" ended, it doesn't seem like there's any plans for them to appear again soon - although it wouldn't be a surprise if they re-emerge towards the end of season 1. Nevertheless, even if either characters appear in one more episode before the current season wraps up, that's very limited involvement when one considers the hype for their roles before the series began.
On top of this, other supposedly prominent characters such as Giancarlo Esposito's Moff Gideon and Bill Burr's yet to be named character, as well as Ming-Na Wen's assassin character named Fennec Shand, haven't even been introduced. With The Mandalorian already hitting its season 1 mid-point, these characters will more likely also have limited involvement in the show's remaining outings, with each of them perhaps appearing in at most two episodes.
Telling The Mandalorian almost exclusively from Dyn's perspective is a great way to have a focused narrative. It puts an emphasis on the show's lead character, giving viewers the feeling that we're along this adventure with him. However, it contradicts what fans saw from the show's trailers as they gave the impression that characters like IG-11 and Cara will have recurring roles with significant arcs oo their own throughout the show's season 1 run which clearly isn't the case.
The Mandalorian isn't exactly the first property to run a misleading marketing. Almost every other big blockbuster and high-profile TV show's promotional campaign is crafted to keep the real narrative tightly under wraps. Luckily, however, despite Disney+ show's deceptive trailers, the series' narrative direction is satisfying a lot of fans so there's very little, if not no commotion about it.