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How to watch The Mandalorian, for those who think it’s a new Star Wars movie

That’s The Rise of Skywalker! This is a Disney Plus series!

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the mandalorian in tight close-up with a shiny helmet and gun sticking out of frame Lucasfilm
Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

“Are you excited for The Mandalorian?”
“Yes, I love new Star Wars movies. I should buy tickets.”
The Mandalorian is not a movie.”
“But it’s Star Wars.”
“Dad, sit down.”

If you or anyone you love has also been in this situation, know that there are others like you, and that we’re here to help.

The arrival of Lucasfilm’s first live-action Star Wars series to Disney Plus — the new service that’s throwing free trials every which direction — has some longtime fans acting like Obi-Wan Kenobi just gave them a Force wave. The cloudy confusion is fair: Since George Lucas introduced the world to Star Wars in 1977, there have been plenty of TV spinoffs (The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels), but only the notorious Star Wars Holiday Special dared to recreate the galaxy far, far away with small-screen production value.

We don’t blame anyone out of the loop on Disney Plus’ grand, Netflix-competing plans for mistaking The Mandalorian as the next big Star Wars movie: The trailers have all the action, otherworldly sets, and alien costuming of a blockbuster. As Chewbacca would say, “GWARHG HARHWRHA AGHRAHRH GWARHARH.”

Whether you’re equally befuddled or need an escape pod out of the next “When should I buy tickets to The Mandalorian?” conversation, fear not: We are the R2-D2 to your New Hope-era Luke Skywalker. R2, play the message.

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So is The Mandalorian just a Boba Fett movie?

Dad, please, I’m trying to help you. (Also, no.)

How and when to watch The Mandalorian on Disney Plus

The Mandalorian season 1, which runs for eight episodes, is streaming exclusively on Disney Plus — a new platform that, at least for now, doesn’t come bundled in any Hulu or Amazon or Apple deal. (That said, you can get it bundled with the now Disney-owned Hulu.) To watch the show, you need to subscribe through Disney, which will run you either $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year. For immediate comparison, and because you don’t look at your bills enough, Netflix costs $8.99 to $15.99 per month, depending on your plan.

The rollout for The Mandalorian is ... odd. The episodes won’t drop all at once for anyone to binge, nor will they own a specific night of the week like Game of Thrones. Fans have to be attentive to be on top of the latest twists and turns. Here’s what season 1 looks like:

  • Episode 1: Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019
  • Episode 2: Friday, Nov. 15, 2019
  • Episode 3: Friday, Nov. 22, 2019
  • Episode 4: Friday, Nov. 29, 2019
  • Episode 5: Friday, Dec. 6, 2019
  • Episode 6: Friday, Dec. 13, 2019
  • Episode 7: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019
  • Episode 8: Friday, Dec. 27, 2019

Notice that The Mandalorian takes a deep breath before the finale in order to leave room for the actual new Star Wars movie of the year: The Rise of Skywalker, which hits theaters on Friday, Dec. 20.

And feel for our friends around the world: Only the U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands have access to Disney Plus on its initial Nov. 12 launch date. The platform won’t go live in the U.K. until March 2020!

How to get Disney Plus on your TV

Whether you’re quoting Star Wars or screaming about your streaming device of choice, you’ve probably screamed “What a piece of junk!” once in your life. Make your technological life easier by knowing exactly which devices Disney Plus will be available on at launch. For now, the company has confirmed Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets; Android phones and Android TV; Apple TV with an App Store purchase; Google Chromecast-enabled devices and Chromebooks; iPhone, iPad, iPod touch; Microsoft’s Xbox One; Roku boxes, sticks, and TVs; Sony’s PlayStation 4 and its smart TVs (with Android); and Samsung and LG mobile devices.

If you have one, great — you can watch The Mandalorian! If not, pray that corporate synergy will convince Disney to run a Mandalorian marathon on ABC.

The Star Wars movies and shows on Disney Plus

When you actually hit light speed and enter the Star Wars sector of Disney’s streaming service, you’re in for a treat, especially if you’ve only watched The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi in the last few years. There’s a lot of Star Wars stuff on Disney Plus. Along with The Mandalorian, here’s what else you can dig into. Eventually, this list will contain an exclusive new sixth season of Clone Wars, the show’s final bow.

Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002)

Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy (2004)

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)

Lego Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles (2014)

Star Wars Rebels (2014)

Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures (2016)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Star Wars Resistance (2018)

Lego Star Wars: All-Stars (2018)

So what is The Mandalorian about?

After months and months of hype, we don’t know much about the show, created by Iron Man and The Lion King (2019) director Jon Favreau. The Mandalorian reportedly takes place five years after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, and stars Game of Thrones actor Pedro Pascal as the masked cowboy from Mandalore. Gina Carano, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi, famed documentarian Werner Herzog (?!?), and Nick Nolte, who voices a tiny alien (?!?!?!?!), round out the cast.

Is the Mandalorian a clone from the Jango Fett days? Is he tied to the Star Wars Rebels mythology? Will he impact the final events of The Rise of Skywalker or tie into the new video game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which drops shortly after the premiere?

We have lots of Star Wars questions for the new Star Wars show. One thing we know for certain: It’s on Disney Plus starting on Tuesday.

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