'The Mandalorian': IG-11 and Kuiil's inspiring and heartwarming story deserves its own spinoff
The story of a reprogrammed droid that was slipped into Episode 7 contains a surprising amount of heart
It's a very 'Star Wars' thing to manage to get an audience to care about droids, when almost everyone else in the 'Star Wars' universe seems to view them as little more than vocal appliances that can carry themselves around.
The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) may not trust droids, but the story of IG-11's (Taika Waititi) journey from merciless bounty hunter to tea-serving protector is a surprisingly effective tale for something that's a tangential montage slipped into an already short episode.
The position of droids in the 'Star Wars' universe has been subject to much debate. They appear to be almost fully sentient, but still accept total servitude to their biological creators. Are the droids in the 'Star Wars' universe all slaves, or is their free will merely an illusion borne of their programming, rendering the slavery question moot but bringing up a lot more? IG-11 seems like just the droid to explore that concept further, whether as a series regular of 'The Mandalorian' or in its very own spinoff with Kuiil (Nick Nolte).
It's a fascinating tale. When we last saw IG-11, it seems perfectly content as a ruthless killer, single-minded in purpose, ready to destroy its own self if it meant the annihilation of its enemies. In episode 7, we see he's been reprogrammed Kuiil—but the process wasn't as simple as one might expect of something that's a mere machine. IG-11 has to relearn everything, and it does so with a determination that rivals most people's. According to Kuiil, in the process of learning how to function, IG-11 gained a personality. It's a tale of perseverance, patience and growth between a Blurg-herding hermit and his droid, and the montage included in the episode displays it beautifully.
IG-11 may currently be one of the most interesting droids in the 'Star Wars' universe, and its rescuer and repairman, Kuiil obviously has a lot to atone for, as well. Both IG-11 and Kuiil have violent pasts that they were sold and forced into against their will, who are now learning to live life on their own terms. It's a fascinating tale of existentialism, hope, perseverance and maybe, just maybe, its very own spinoff. The galaxy would be better for it.
I have spoken.
The next episode of 'The Mandalorian' airs December 27, on Disney+.