Parallels Between Willow and The Mandalorian
As I watched the second season of The Mandalorian, it struck me that there were some parallels to the 1988 film Willow. Although one is Science Fiction and the other is traditional Fantasy, they overlap in plot and theme.
Willow’s basic plot can be boiled down to the Magician Willow plucking a baby from the river. Elora Danan is a foundling with mysterious powers. Willow is the father-figure who is eventually tasked with returning Elora to her rightful home. Willow is not a warrior, but along the way he meets the wildcard warrior Madmartigan. Madmartigan is more like the Mandalorian, but without the beskar armor. Together Willow and Madmartigan protect Elora to the best of their ability. However, Elora is captured by the villain and Willow has to get her back. The movie ends with Willow returning home and leaving Elora to be raised by Sorsha and Madmartigan in Tir Asleen.
In the Mandalorian, Din Djarin is a foundling himself. He is alone in the world as a bounty hunter. His parents were killed and he was taken in by the Mandalorians. He has no wife or children. He doesn’t even really have any love interests. When he is tasked with procuring “the asset” his life changes. He finds that “the child” is too precious to hand over to the what is left of the empire. Mando gets the baby back and goes on a quest to figure out who to give Gorgu to. Mando has no idea what type of creature the child is or where he might call home. He only knows that Gorgu is very special, but his role remains to be seen.
The dynamic between The Mandalorian and Grogu embodies a theme of parenting and fatherhood prevalent throughout The Mandalorian. It is also the same theme that winds its way through Willow.
George Lucas envisioned Elora going through a transformation like Anakin. In the novelizations that followed the movie, we find out that Elora is in danger of going over to the dark side. Throughout The Chronicles of the Shadow War she redeems herself and saves the world instead.
The question is what will Gorgu do? The Jedi Ahsoka Tano (whose parallel would be Cherlindra in Willow) believes it is too late to train Gorgu to be a Jedi. He has formed a deep attachment to Mando and that means Mando is probably stuck with him. Gorgu is not going to be able to be dropped of and trained by random Jedi. So what is Gorgu’s part in the balance of the universe then? Will he be used for good or evil? How does this side story play into the larger story arcs? It will be interesting in finding out.