The Mandalorian - Chapter Twenty Four - The Return

ctg

weaver of the unseen
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The Mandalorian and his allies confront their enemies.
IMDB score: 8.8 Runtime: 42 minutes (minus intro and credits)
 
All right, so...

The finale was an action-oriented episode, in the tradition of the show so far. And it delivered in that department. It was basically one long fight scene involving our protagonists as well as Mandalorians and Gideon's troops, and it was competently directed. Yes, the action was sometimes video-game-ish but I've made my peace with the fact that I'm watching a live-action cartoon, and some of the fight choreography definitely can hold a candle to the best fight scenes from the 1st season of the show, when Djarin just wouldn't allow himself to go down and used quick and brutal techniques to make short work of his opponents.

If you just allow the episode to wash over you like a cascade of action scenes and "Hooah" moment, the little nagging inconsistencies and inept writing kind of tumble away and can easily be ignored. So by itself I thought it was great.

However as I already stated on previous episode threads, the series is in need of a major shake-up in the writing department. I don't know what happened - whether Favreau is just incompetent, no longer cares or had his hands tied by the higher-ups. But it can't go on like this. The show keeps contradicting lore that it established in its previous seasons or episodes for no reason.

An obvious example: Din Djarin got hold of the Dark saber at the end of Season 2. When he described it to the Armorer in The Book of Boba Fett (also written by Favreau) he said the hilt was "made of beskar, of a quality [he] has never seen before." Cut to this episode: Gideon crushes the Dark saber hilt in Bo-Katan's hand!

Another one: Din Djarin adopts Grogu as his son so he can move on to be an apprentice, not a mere foundling. Problem: As per the Armorer herself in Season 1: "This foundling is now in your care, you are now as his father." So why is there a distinction there?

The lore of the Children of the Watch just don't make sense and it's starting to look like the writers just haven't thought them through and keep showering us with new rules made up on the spot, washed away with a barrage of "This if the Way", consistency be damned. So these guys have to swear the Creed to become apprentices. But that means they have to be able to talk. Except if their biological parents give permission for them to become apprentices, in which case they no longer have to take the creed. Wait, isn't the creed the most sacred thing to them, the glue holding them together? And why would they be foundlings in the first place if they have biological parents? And what of non-Mandalorian biological parents, why should they have any say in when their son/daughter should become a Mandalorian apprentice?

Anyway. I don't want to destroy this episode because it was by far one of the best we had this season. Like a little slice of cherry pie after a long, 7-course meal of steamed asparagus without seasoning. But please, Mr. Favreau, if you are no longer interested, move over. If you can't write anything better, move over. And if Disney puppeteers your writing... move over.

Now that this long tangled mess of inconsequential subplots and dead ends is over, we are finally back to square one: Din Djarin and Grogu enjoy a newfound independence on a far-off world and their main mission is now for Grogu to grow as a Mandalorian bounty hunter, following Djarin on his adventures. Let's hope that the showrunners just keep it that way, going back to the episodic structure sometimes glimpsed in the first seasons, and in which each new week offers new adventures on a new world far from the Empire, far from the Rebels and their Republic, far from clones, Mandalore and weekly giant monsters. A pipe dream, I know.

Gideon is very much alive and will be back in the penultimate episode of season 4 to be vanquished again in its finale, before he returns in season 5, and 6, and 18 or until someone up in the writers room has the courage to just say:

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The unrepenting optimist in me keeps his fingers crossed for what is to come.
 
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I didn't immediately rush doing this. I even avoided going through my usual sources for extra information because I wanted to be unbiased and looking at this with fresh eyes. What surprised me is how short the final really is, because I thought Disney would have given it the full 50 minutes.

Even expecting it like the grand audience. I count myself being a tough critic and for most of the season I've felt underwhelmed by the passion and love that I have for the SW universe. The direction has been all over the place, and nothing like we've seen in the Andor. That show just trumps all the others with all things.

But let's see how this one develops...
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With mum on run and daddy on robos Grogu showed his warface. He is tiny, but he is also a mighty one, even if it was just a single trooper. It is just that he is unarmed, going into melee with a trained opponent, and he handled the situation like a professional.

Bo can handle her business, doing tunnel rat tactics, hit-and-run ops while buying time for Axe to deliver the message that they're going to fight on the ground. That's Queen's orders. The space can be a secondary front while daddy handles the Moff fight.

Grogu was with him. Not hiding from scary things. Not like R5, the traitor were doing before it got orders from Din. Finding a console was so easy.

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Man, it has been a long time when I've seen a good corridor fight. Din didn't had his tools, but he made up with what he picked up from the field. The stun baton and beskar shield tactical works. And I loved that R5 had to own up while it was receiving commands from its master to open up shields.

It's not like they were in a death star, but just invading a very hush-hush project base, with two squadrons of Tie Interceptors and one bomber fleet as its main tool.

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Bacta storage tanks for holding important people in hibernation. Mainly Gideon's clones even thought he played down the project necromancer. When he entered into the op centre after Din destroyed Moff's project, he raved: "My clones were finally going to be perfect. The best parts of me but improved by adding the one thing I never had. The Force. I was isolating the potential to wield the Force, and incorporating it into an unstoppable army. And you smothered them before they could draw their first breath."

I liked the fight, and the fact Moff wanted to do it melee, in his powered Dark Trooper suit. Like always, his unfair advantage was adding the three Praetorians into the play. Grogu showed his warface, and lured them into a chamber while daddy concentrated his attention into Moff fight.

Or was it the other way round before Bo intervened from his valkyrie ops. Din vs the Preatorians guards were a tough one, which I bet for Din to lose, if Grogu hadn't helped him with Force Push manoeuvres and doing Force Jumps after he lost the IG-12 suit.

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Losing a light cruiser is a small price to pay for having a homeworld. This flight of Valkyries put tears in my eyes, especially after seeing that the native fauna is greening the caves where the sunlight can reach them. I wish they would have been able to throw two hundred fighters into the fight instead under a hundred that took part into the invasion fight.

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Bo vs powered Moff, very nice fight. I was rooting Bo all the way even if she was an underdog. I blame it not having enough of sabre fights for her to do dance moves. And then losing the relic on Moff's crushing grip.

They would have lost all their lives, even if Din and Grogu came to help when Axe crashed the cruiser into the base, if Grogu hadn't pulled the Force Shield out of his mind. He literally saved them from an inferno.

I liked that after the fight Armourer allowed Din to adopt the son, and him thus becoming a Mandalorian apprentice. Even Nevarro got its Marshal after Din made Cpt Teva to give him New Republic bounty jobs.

Maybe this is the Way!
 
There were plenty of technically good moments here, like the tie fighter attack on the capital ship, which looked spectacular, as well as some of the action scenes. The rest... not so much. The dialogue was 90% exposition. There was next to no character work in any of it. Gideon has become a stock standard mwah-ha-ha villain. Plenty of dumb things too, like the Mandalorian ships flying into a cloud, and the tie-fighters flying out 2 seconds later. What, did none of them collide? Did the tie-fighters not see / hear a single enemy ship that might have caused them to radio in to base for instructions / divert off? A simple solution: have the same scene, but just have a quick zoom-back shot before the tie-fighters emerge to confirm that the mandalorian ships enter atmosphere, say, 5 km away from the tie-fighters.

And what about the burning, crashing capital ship? Are we supposed to believe that a trained military organization wouldn't have a tactical policy AGAINST shooting down a capital ship that might consequently crash straight into their base, killing thousands and entirely destroying their presence on the planet? Just plain dumb. This could have been resolved by having the TFs shown desperately still trying to attack and blow-up the star destroyer on its way into the atmosphere, to at least acknowledge that they'd made a tactical mistake, or were trying to rectify the situation. Without it, it implies that either all the TFs are sitting in space, casually watching the disaster unfold, or that Axe single-handedly eliminated the entire TF squadron whilst flying the ship. Both suggestions are ridiculous.

The Grogu / force bubble protection was cute, as was the showdown fight. I don't have a problem with the evolution of the show and where it's going. It's just the plotting and the script needs major work.

And why no ceremony / tribute to Paz and the other fallen? They could of taken 10 seconds to show some kind of ceremony to honour the dead (maybe launching empty jet packs into space, or something), or to at least link Paz's death with the christening of his son in the holy waters. But no, nothing. Just a pointless 10 seconds wasted on Grogu staring into the water, presumably having detected the giant underwater mythic beast (that otherwise hasn't had any point at all, and really shouldn't still be alive, given the apparent absence of food to sustain such a large creature).

And what about that runtime? A season finale that lasted 36 minutes? Why rush the ending so much? They could have added 2-3 minutes for an extended coda so every character could get a proper pay-off and all the threads from the season could be neatly tied up.

If this show is to return to the level of its initial promise, then it really needs some proper thought-out plots and some quality writers.
 
Beyond that my biggest concern is that the writers seem to have no clue at all about the meaning of their story. They keep shoving facts down our throats as if they made sense by themselves, without even trying to maintain a coherent storyworld or ground them by explaining why any of it is relevant to the show, its plot and characters.

A few examples:
- Bo-Katan was (again) served the throne of Mandalore on a plate. Why did she even want it? Was it ambition? A sense of regal entitlement? The desire to fix past blunders? Altruism? Megalomania? Take your pick, folks, because the show doesn't seem interested in answering that.
- Din Djarin was dead set on helping Bo-Katan become the ruler of Mandalore. Why? What does it matter to him if his own plan is just to go back to bounty hunting? Why pick her when she is technically not even a Mandalorian in the eyes of his clan?
- Din Djarin wants Grogu to become a Mandalorian. What does that even mean beyond wearing the armor, which Grogu won't wear for another 400 years? Why is it a good idea to bring a toddler into a life of bounty hunting? Grogu is the abused child of a mob enforcer. Clearly all he's interested in is being with dad and eating. It's his dad who keeps putting him in danger and forcing him to confront dangerous situations when he clearly doesn't want to (cue the paintball duel in an earlier episode of season 3). Why is this show's concept a good idea in the first place, what is Grogu getting out of it that he wouldn't get living on a farm with Djarin?
- When and why did the Children of the Watch come to be? Why did they elect to create the Helmet rule, what does it mean to them? And now that their leader has admitted that Bo-Katan and others who remove their helmets all the time are also true Mandalorians, what is that going to change for them? How is it going to affect their beliefs? How does it not nullify the need for their helmet rule in the first place if that was the only thing that defined the Mandalorian identity in their eyes?

The show is more interested in throwing random stuff at us than exploring the bigger questions and themes this stuff raises. I think the writers are just asleep at the wheel, they don't even understand how their decisions affect the world of their own story. Season 3 was a case study in how to fail at storytelling.
 
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And what about that runtime? A season finale that lasted 36 minutes? Why rush the ending so much? They could have added 2-3 minutes for an extended coda so every character could get a proper pay-off and all the threads from the season could be neatly tied up.
I think they cut a lot of material, because if you watch the credit concept art more closely, you'll see that they had a lot more going in the space battle than they put in the show. Also, I don't think Moff is dead because no corpse, no death.
 
Was season 3 good? Yes. Could the writing have been better? Also yes. But we can argue it’s perhaps the most thematically rich of all three seasons so far, even when its shots didn’t land or its commentaries on religion and politics felt a bit murky. Its biggest success is giving fans and casual viewers alike a proper look into Mandalorian culture and their post-Empire diaspora, all while retaining the “adventure of the week” feeling for the most part, and that’s no small feat. Maybe Favreau could use an actual writers’ room to really chew on some of the richest ideas being thrown around, but this is still the Way.

Now, with season three over, we can look at it as a whole and say it was rather uneven. It’s almost like showrunner Jon Favreau wasn’t sure about how fast to tell this story about Mandalore’s return, and so he forced in all these other little side stories just to pad out the season. (Remember Dr. Pershing? Remember Lizzo? Did those really add much in the end?) Frankly, the eight episodes felt a little sloppy. And yet, there was lots of Star Wars fun to be had and now the Mandalorians are officially back on Mandalore. That’s a fairly huge story piece for the Star Wars galaxy ahead. We’ll take that, moving into Ahsoka—and, probably, a fourth season of The Mandalorian too.
 
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First of all, the spaceship battles and fights in this series are great, and I have to really try hard to remember that before the original Star Wars there was nothing as good as this, especially not on TV, but not even at the cinema. I'll never forget how that first scene in Star Wars really blew me away. Lightsabre fighting, well you probably had better co-ordinated swashbuckling from Errol Flynn, but think how rubbish the Republic serial King of the Rocket Men was when compared to the scenes in this episode?

So, if like @Phyrebrat you are happy to get your popcorn and sit back and watch the show, then it's a fantastic display, though why only 36 minutes long I have no idea.

If however, you do want some joined-up storytelling, then I'm with you guys, because it's a ship full of holes.
Din Djarin adopts Grogu as his son so he can move on to be an apprentice, not a mere foundling. Problem: As per the Armorer herself in Season 1: "This foundling is now in your care, you are now as his father." So why is there a distinction there?
This was so odd that I was taken out of the story by thinking on it. That's never a good sign of good storytelling. And I never even thought of this...
these guys have to swear the Creed to become apprentices. But that means they have to be able to talk. Except if their biological parents give permission for them to become apprentices, in which case they no longer have to take the creed. Wait, isn't the creed the most sacred thing to them, the glue holding them together? And why would they be foundlings in the first place if they have biological parents? And what of non-Mandalorian biological parents, why should they have any say in when their son/daughter should become a Mandalorian apprentice?
And 100% to this too...
...a trained military organization wouldn't have a tactical policy AGAINST shooting down a capital ship that might consequently crash straight into their base.
However, I think this might be stretching...
It's his dad who keeps putting him in danger and forcing him to confront dangerous situations when he clearly doesn't want to
Moff Gideon would have had Din Grogu back in for experiments and torture no sooner than they had said, this is the way, unless and until he was firmly taken out of the way. So, Din Grogu was much safer with Din Djarin even if he was facing unsurmountable odds, unfeasibly giant creatures and camp space pirates.

That doesn't explain from now on though. Unless Moff Gideon is still alive of course, but they are all acting as if he was defeated.
I don't think Moff is dead because no corpse, no death.
But he was incinerated in temperatures that melted a metal hanger! Which they only survived in a Force Shield bubble!

...of course he is still alive. Just like Din Djarin, he cannot ever die.

(Or, else one of the clones didn't die - but let's not get into a discussion about the biological problems with clones as they are depicted in science fiction, just not today please!)
Gideon is very much alive and will be back in the penultimate episode of season 4 to be vanquished again in its finale, before he returns in season 5, and 6, and 18 or until someone up in the writers room has the courage to [Make It Stop]
This is the way!
 
Moff Gideon would have had Din Grogu back in for experiments and torture no sooner than they had said, this is the way, unless and until he was firmly taken out of the way. So, Din Grogu was much safer with Din Djarin even if he was facing unsurmountable odds, unfeasibly giant creatures and camp space pirates.

Safe from the big bad guy perhaps, but was he really safer with Din than he would have been with Luke? Granted, it was Grogu's choice to leave Luke and go back to Din. However... I never had the impression Grogu was game for any of that Mandalorian Foundling stuff. He's clearly interested in being with Din, whom he loves and cares about. But does he care about all that Mandalorian business? The show is not doing a good job of convincing me that he is.

So again I didn't really like that Paintball duel scene in Episode-whatever-it-was. Djarin kept egging him on when Grogu was visibly protesting and uninterested. And it gets worse, because Djarin went as far as allowing Grogu's opponent to pick his weapon of choice. We're lucky he went with paintballs and not saw blades.

But I never get the impression Djarin tries to shield Grogu from dangers. In this last episode he should have locked him up in a cupboard instead of exposing him to Gideon and his henchmen. Granted, that's probably a part of Mandalorian culture to embrace dangers, but the point is not that it doesn't make sense, it's that the show seems to have no interest in questioning this rather disturbing (from an outsider's perspective) dynamic.

Then again, I suppose no one ever sued Batman for dragging orphaned teenagers in tights in dangerous situations either.
 
So again I didn't really like that Paintball duel scene in Episode-whatever-it-was. Djarin kept egging him on when Grogu was visibly protesting and uninterested. And it gets worse, because Djarin went as far as allowing Grogu's opponent to pick his weapon of choice. We're lucky he went with paintballs and not saw blades.
No you do have a point there. That was Grogu abuse.

(And yes, obviously he would have been safer with Luke, but that was his choice.)

I'm still not sure about him tagging along on missions now. I guess that is the difference between Foundlings and Apprentices. Apprentices go on Bounty Hunts with their Masters, Foundlings stay behind and shoot paintballs. So, we should see many other Mandalorian Apprentices working alongside their Masters? But we haven't.
 
I shudder to think of the first scene in Season 4, which will show Djarin teaching his "apprentice", a babbling and wobbly Grogu who just wants to catch a nearby fly for his lunch, how to score a headshot on a runaway Imperial wanted dead or alive from 2 miles away, before severing his head with a rusty vibroblade as proof to collect the bounty.
 
The relighting of the Great Forge has a significance to the questions that I was asking about Beskar last episode. Now I appreciate that the writers don't care one jot about canon (or Chemistry) but I'll persist anyhow. If the Great Forge hadn't been used by Moff Gideon, that suggests that he did not employ Mandalorian armourers (either turncoats or as forced labour - which also means our Armourer wasn't a spy).

If he didn't employ Mandalorian armourers then that suggests that the 'unique' properties of Beskar as a material are neither introduced by the working of the metal in such a sacred forge, nor by the special powers of a trained Mandalorian amourer. Instead, these properties must be inherent in the metal alloy itself. (Now, I say alloy, because it cannot be another element in our Universe, and Star Wars is not meant to be a different Universe, but simply a Galaxy far, far away. On the other hand, they do have Midichlorians, etc.)

Whether an alloy or an element, the Mandalorians are clearly not necessary to manufacture it. All you require is a mine on Mandalore (and if an alloy, then correct proportions of the constituent metals in the mix. Which is no doubt a great secret, known only to Mandalorian armourers, and now to Moff Gideon's armourers.)

So, the Mandalorian armourer is really a charlatan. She posseses no special powers or great skill in forging Beskar. Anyone can do it. All they need is knowledge of the location of a mine, and possibly the recipe for the alloy. The actual forging process, along with the Great Forge itself, are, at best, a ceremonial hangover, at worst, a fake sham!
 
This series got back in sync with its title in the last two episodes of the season.
Mando's heroic efforts, plus Grogu's humorous antics and his growing command of the powers of the Force, are The Way here. Save the political power struggles of the New Republic and Empire remnants for Andor.
I have high hopes that this master and apprentice duo will provide a lot of thrills and chuckles next season.
 
After reading the preceding posts I think I'm the lucky one. I know little about the "Star Wars Lore" so I can just take the story for what it is: An interesting S.F. Fantasy. I'm not too worried about what comes next. I expect Mando and Grogu will go on adventures together but will somehow wind up in a bigger struggle than some major crime syndicate. Maybe Moff Gideon makes an appearance, maybe not.

Season 4, I'm waiting for you.
 

I hate that Kathleen Kennedy put her fingers deep in this soup and doing the same thing as what happened with Book of Boba Fett. So much so that Boba was cut out, and Pedro was threatened by Kennedy to be rendered down to be only a voice actor. Not talking about messing with the scripts.
 
This video is 100% clickbait and does not even cite sources. Because there aren't any and Pedro Pascal never said anything of the sort.

Mike Zeroh has a reputation for making things up, including "It's official: a Mace Windu series is being made!" and "It's official: Jon Favreau will cancel the Sequel Trilogy and remake it".

He is vehemently against Disney Star Wars since The Last Jedi and his main hobby is giving Kathleen Kennedy a bad name and painting her as this monster who hates Star Wars fans.

He's a clown.
 
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With The Mandalorian's Din Djarin becoming an integral component of Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett, many audiences wondered if Boba Fett would appear in Season 3 of The Mandalorian, and while the figure never ended up appearing, Boba Fett actor Temuera Morrison recently revealed that he was anticipating a return to the series. The actor didn't confirm the extent to which he was anticipating a return, as he appeared in multiple episodes of Season 2 of The Mandalorian, so it's unclear at what point in the development process it was teased that he would return before the series opted to avoid any appearance.


During an appearance at the SUPANOVA Comic Con & Gaming convention in Melbourne, Australia, per MSN, the actor admitted, "I was supposed to be in The Mandalorian Season 3 but nobody rang me. I was waiting for the phone call in New Zealand, waiting and wanting to give up."

Boba Fett appeared in the final moments of the Season 2 premiere of The Mandalorian, while going on to be an important part of Djarin's overall adventure in the season, and even earned a post-credits scene in the Season 2 finale for The Book of Boba Fett. While it wasn't much of a surprise that Djarin then appeared in The Book of Boba Fett, some fans were disappointed that he earned so much screen time on a mission that was totally detached from Boba Fett. Morrison similarly joked about those deviations from his character's story.

"Well that Mando guy stole a few chapters of my book," the actor shared. "It was painful watching him turn up with some black new lethal sword. And the way he turned up in my Book of Boba, he just destroyed everybody. I'm sure this guy is… ah… ruining my show. But I couldn't say anything. I'm not the writer, so I have to bear it I guess."

In the time since The Book of Boba Fett debuted, audiences have wondered if we could get more episodes of the adventure, given how well it set up a number of exciting storytelling opportunities. There are currently no announced plans for a Season 2 and The Mandalorian similarly hasn't been confirmed for a Season 4, though creator Jon Favreau has expressed his interest in such an opportunity. With a film from Dave Filoni set to bring together elements from The Mandalorian and Star Wars: Ahsoka, we won't be surprised if the project also brings Boba Fett into the fold.

"You know when Bo gives her speech of, 'We're gonna get back Mandalore,' with two different clans? That scene was much longer," Sackhoff confirmed with YouTuber Kristian Harloff. "That scene was super long. This is the rousing thing, you're inspiring these two separate clans to get out there and go retake their homeworld. It has to be emotional, it has to be big, and for whatever reason it got cut down a lot. I love this entire season, I thought it was fun. But that moment for me was like ... I wish they'd given more context to what'd happened right before, because I think that it would have made that speech land heavier. And the majority of the takes I did were [Braveheart's] William Wallace-esque."

While this might not have been a massive edit that resulted in major changes to the overall experience of the episode, Sackhoff also detailed how Season 2 had also made some drastic changes from what was initially filmed, including Axe Woves originally being killed off.

"Axe, we knew... He was supposed to die last year. That was the thing that no one could talk about," the actor admitted. "There was this moment where he sacrifices himself in that episode, and he did it, we shot it, and then they were like, 'It needs to be Din, not him.' And so then you shoot a person's death, and then there's a scene left and they're like, 'Where did they go?' 'Well, he's pooping.'"
 
I don't know the validity of any of the claims, but it is clear that their is a huge amount of editing in all of these Disney TV series, with a large amount filmed being left on the cutting room floor. How else can you have nominally one-hour-long episodes that are sometimes 50 minutes long, but quite frequently only 35 minutes long? And if you intended to cut out 15 minutes, then wouldn't you film at least 15 minutes more in order to make them all the same length? Also, the final episode in a series or season is often extra long i.e. Stsr Trek: Picard. Only with Disney Star Wars episodes is it extra short!
 
I don't know the validity of any of the claims, but it is clear that their is a huge amount of editing in all of these Disney TV series, with a large amount filmed being left on the cutting room floor.

Yes, but that can be said of any film or series projects (and I'm no Oscar-nominated technician but I've worked on 20+ movies... more than half of which as an editor!).

A final script might look lean and streamlined but the footage you get from it always ends up too bulky. And even when shooting a 120-page script, which according to the rule of thumb that 1 page = 1 minute of screentime should give you a two-hour-long moviein the end, you always end up with a first cut that's 3 hours long or longer. Always. Whether it's Star Wars, Notting Hill or an indie film.

Stuff always has to be left on the cutting room floor. A lot of it.

And if you intended to cut out 15 minutes, then wouldn't you film at least 15 minutes more in order to make them all the same length?

You wouldn't, because you couldn't. Nobody writes a script with too much fat on purpose with the intention of cutting huge parts of it later, because A/ even if you're not trying to you will have too much stuff and B/ it's a huge waste of money. We're talking millions upon millions of dollars that would be spent knowing that it's all for nothing.

And there's no indication that when they write their Mandalorian scripts the writers are aiming for the same runtime for all episodes. Remember it's not one writer handling everything, but several writers all writing their own episode or episodes at the same time. My guess is that they just aim for beats in the story (In episode X, written by Joe, Din must start here and finish there as quickly as possible so that in episode X+1, which is written by Jane, Din can start there and move on to there, so that in episode X+2, written by...), and so the shooting scripts themselves end up being anywhere between 30 and 60 pages long.

Plus even if you wanted to and had the money to spare, you can't "film 15 minutes more" because, as I mentioned in my first paragraph, you cannot possibly know how long the material you're shooting will actually end up being once it's edited. You'll have a rough idea, no more.

So it's not like they shoot 50 minutes, then trim it down to 35 in the editing room. A more realitic guess is that they always have enough for about whatever the final runtime is +20%. Even for the longer episodes. And that extra material is left on the cutting room floor because of actual filmmaking reasons (a scene not doing its job as planned or being identified as redundant or problematic for technical reasons) and not because of behind-the-scenes drama of executives pulling their weight at the expense of the showrunners.

Remember George Lucas' sacrosanct rule of "Faster! More intense!" I think that's all it comes down to.

The runtime of all the SW series has always been all over the place, even on successful and critically-acclaimed projects where there were no rumors of BTS conflict:
- The Mandalorian Season 1, had running times between 34 and 50 minutes
- Obi-Wan Kenobi, between 39 and 56 minutes
- Andor, between 38 and 57 minutes

But that's true of many other series that are made for platforms such as Disney+ or Netflix, where producers don't have to take into account commercial breaks and TV channel's ready-made slots.

Just checking my Disney+ catalogue I saw this show called Ringo: Glory and Death, which has episodes that range from 31 to 51 minutes. And it's not even a Disney show as far as I can tell.

Those platforms often allow content creators to deliver episodes of varying lengths, however long they need to be, while TV series that are still being broadcast have to be calibrated to last for the entire 7PM to 8PM slot with the four mandatory commercial breaks jammed in between.
 
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