March 14, 2023
by Bespin Bulletin

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After over a two year wait, The Mandalorian returned to the small screen two weeks ago with its third season to fans delight. The first episode was well received by fans and critics alike, but one question that had yet to be answered was how the third season was fairing against past Star Wars series and Disney+ content in general in terms of viewership. Well, that question has been answered.

Typically when a Disney+ project has done exceptionally well, Disney will let fans and the media know. Most recently they boasted that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever became the most watched Marvel film premiere on the service, which was based on the number of minutes watched. In the past, Disney celebrated that Obi-Wan Kenobi was the most watched premiere (which consisted of two episodes) of any Disney+ original series, which was also based on minutes watched. Disney’s most watched premiere based on unique viewers and not minutes watched is reportedly Loki. As you can tell, wording in these victory lap statements is key, they can all appear to be astounding successes. Given the demand and anticipation surrounding the return of The Mandalorian, a flag ship series of Disney+, I expected a press release touting its success, but as of the time of writing, we’ve yet to receive one. It’s also worth mentioning that Disney+ has grown a tremendous amount since it’s launch in November 2019, which currently touts 168 million subscribers. The last time a season of The Mandalorian released, the streaming services subscriber count was sitting under 100 million.

According to Samba TV and The Wrap, the latest season of The Mandalorian’s premiere episode over the course of seven days, based on unique viewers and not minutes watched, viewership was 28% lower than that of their biggest Star Wars series to date, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and fell short by a slithering 2% behind The Book of Boba Fett. As for Disney+ as a whole, Loki remains the most watched season premiere of the streaming service, with The Mandalorian season three debuting 35% lower than the Marvel Studios series, which is also Marvel’s most watched series ever. I’m sure some readers are disappointed it didn’t best Kenobi, Fett or Loki in terms of numbers, but the season is still a tremendous success, becoming one of Disney+’s most watched premieres of all time, and beyond the viewership, The Mandalorian has become a staple of the streaming service and birthed the global phenomenon in Grogu.

Only Disney themselves know the true numbers of any of their series or films on their streaming service, and unfortunately they don’t share them with the public. As I previously mentioned, if a project is a success, Disney will release a celebratory statement with some insight into how the project in question faired. However it’s down to third parties such as Samba TV and Plum Research to share data which won’t be entirely accurate, but is insightful nonetheless and gives us a ball park into how a project performed on the streaming service, for which I’m grateful.

The third episode of The Mandalorian season three hits Disney+ tomorrow, and is rumoured to be a whopping 56 minutes, a significant jump in run time when compared to the seasons first two episodes.

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