Disney+'s The Mandalorian is one of the new streaming service's buzziest titles, even with only two episodes released so far. What will The Mandalorian's release schedule look like, and why hasn't it been released all at once? As it so happens, Disney+ is experimenting with a new model of release schedules that's actually not new at all.
Just like "regular" TV shows, The Mandalorian will be releasing episodes weekly. The only exception was the first week of its release. The first episode became available on Disney+'s launch day, which was Tuesday, Nov. 12, and the second episode followed only three days later, on Friday, Nov. 15. That officially moved The Mandalorian to its usual Friday slot for the remainder of the series. For the first season, there will be a total of eight episodes, released weekly, with the season finale arriving on Dec. 27.
Across the board, Disney+ is taking the lead in a return to a more old-fashioned model of TV consumption. While Netflix (and, eventually, other streaming platforms such as Hulu and Amazon Prime) embraced the binge-watch model, dropping entire seasons at once and allowing viewers to choose the pace, Disney+ is testing out the weekly model that worked for so many years on regular cable and broadcast TV. So far, other streamers seem to be holding back on this format, with some exceptions (Netflix, for instance, aired this season of The Great British Baking Show weekly, only a few days after each episode was broadcast in the UK, rather than releasing the full collection all at once).
This model has one distinct advantage for shows like The Mandalorian that hinge heavily on dense mythology and a larger fictional universe: an easier way to keep spoilers out of the conversation. The binge-watch model means that viewers are likely to be at very different points in their watching experience at any given time, so any meaningful discussion has to either carry heavy spoiler warnings or risk excluding slower viewers from the conversation. By returning to a weekly model, it's a lot more likely that everyone is watching at the same pace, so there's no spoiler-y limitations.