While many of us love the vast worldbuilding of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, our passion is not necessarily shared by all viewers. In fact, as the MCU heads into its fifth phase, complaints about the adoption of serialized storytelling to a traditionally stand-alone format have only increased. As other franchises try out post-credit scenes, shared universe spinoffs, and fan-service moments, some people long for a simple, straightforward story (and those people can even count MCU head honcho Kevin Feige among them.)
Take the response to the resolution of the cliffhanger at the end of The Mandalorian‘s second season. After spending two seasons traveling with Grogu, Mandalorian Din Djarin sends Baby Yoda off with Luke Skywalker, where he can continue his Force training. Given the importance of the pair’s Lone Wolf and Cub-style adventures, fans were understandably eager to see how the duo would be reunited for season 3. But those who only watch The Mandalorian might be a little confused to find Din and Grogu together again, after rejoining in another less popular show — The Book of Boba Fett.
For showrunner Jon Favreau, this problem wasn’t a problem at all. The source of his confidence? The Marvel Cinematic Universe. At a fan convention in Spain (via CBR), Favreau marveled at the way MCU viewers kept track of the various characters and plot points. “I learned a lot by watching how sophisticated the audiences were,” he admitted, and relied on that sophistication when crafting The Mandalorian. Because “people are very quick to fill each other in” Favreau explained, “I felt that I had the liberty to not spend all the time with [Din and Grogu] apart in The Mandalorian and spend that time in The Book of Boba Fett as chapters, as though it were a novel.” Taking one show’s title literally, Favreau describes The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett not as separate stories, but as parts of a whole. “They were chapters that dealt with different characters, and everybody seems to follow it.”
Few people better know more about MCU success than Favreau. His direction and collaboration with the first Iron Man made that movie a hit, effectively launching the massive franchise. Although he stepped away from creative duties after Iron Man 2, Favreau has been a constant presence in the MCU, portraying Tony Stark’s buddy Happy Hogan in not only the Iron Man trilogy but also the Spider-Man films and Avengers: Endgame.
But is he right to say the formula applies to Star Wars as well? Where the MCU built up from Iron Man, drawing from comics but taking care not to alienate non-comic book readers, Star Wars had already sprawled into a mass of movies, tv shows, and extended universe material by the time The Mandalorian debuted in 2019. In fact, one of the biggest draws to the show was its classical Western approach, which saw Din going to new locales, not requiring any additional world knowledge. But the show veered away from that approach with season 2, bringing in both characters from the original trilogy and from the Clone Wars cartoon series.
We won’t yet know if Favreau’s approach will ultimately prove correct, but it will certainly become clearer after The Mandalorian Season 3 gets underway on Disney+ next week.