It’s here: the first ever live action Star Wars TV show, The Mandalorian, has launched on the Disney streaming service Disney+, expanding the known Star Wars universe once again (and arguably doing a better job of it than the recent Rise of Skywalker film).
Except there’s a catch. While Disney+ is live now in the US and a few other countries, it won’t come to the UK until 24 March 2020, which is months away.
But don’t despair - and don’t break out your trusty torrents just yet - because there’s still a chance it will be possible to watch The Mandalorian (and other Disney+ exclusives) in the UK - though it's a little tricky, and will require a VPN. We have a similar guide for watching season 7 of The Clone Wars.
How to watch the Mandalorian in the UK
- Download a VPN
- Create a new US Apple ID or Google account
- Purchase a digital app store gift card and load it onto the account
- Create a Disney+ account using a VPN, and pay with the gift card credit
That's a pretty brief summary, so read on for the full instructions. In the meantime, to find out more about the show head to our Mandalorian news hub for the latest trailers, casting info, and plot details - including the first news on the now-confirmed second season, which is due in Fall 2020.
As always when streaming in another country using a VPN, this is technically against Disney+'s terms of service, so bear in mind that the company does have the right to block you or cancel your account.
Can you watch the Mandalorian with a VPN?
The easiest way to watch the new Star Wars show is to use a VPN. In case you don’t know, this is a bit of software that essentially masks your location by sending your traffic through a server in another country, thus letting you appear to be browsing from that country.
There are loads of VPNs out there, some paid and some for free, but our top recommendation is currently NordVPN, which is the one that we scored the highest in our most recent VPN comparison. Check out our guide to all the best VPNs for streaming Disney+ if you’re still unsure though, or if you’d just like to compare it to the competition.
It's worth pointing out that there have been some reports of Disney blocking VPN accounts - we can confirm that this is false. Disney is trying to block VPN servers, and so right now many VPNs are unable to access the streaming service, but some still are - including Nord and Hotspot Shield at the time of writing - and even though we were on a VPN that didn't work, switching to one that did then let us watch as normal, with no sign of Disney actually blocking or banning our account.
Essentially the idea is that you install a VPN, set the server to the US (or Canada or the Netherlands, the other two launch countries) and then head to the Disney+ site to sign up. If you're already a subscriber and are just travelling outside your home country, this should work perfectly and let you continue to access your account.
The challenge is that if you're not already a subscriber, to create an account you need either a payment card or a Paypal account tied to that country… which in turn requires a credit card or bank account in that country to set up.
We tried various workarounds, including a fake zip code, converting money into a USD Paypal balance, and changing our Paypal address, but none were able to fool the Disney+ systems... except creating a new US account on either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
We've successfully signed up to Disney+ and started watching The Mandalorian by creating a new Apple ID or Google account that's tied to the US, loading it up with a USD gift card, and then signing up to Disney+ on an iOS or Android device through a VPN - at which point it's then possible to watch on any device, though you'll still need a VPN.
That means you'll need access to an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone/tablet to get it going, but after that you won't need it again, so you only need to borrow one really, and you'll then be able to watch on other devices. Here are the steps in brief:
- First you need to make a US account for either Apple or Google. It's best to do this through a VPN just in case, and make sure to use a different email address and set the region to United States.
- Don't add in any payment info for either - you may need to give a US address, but this can be any US address basically, and you won't need it again.
- Once you have your account, you need to load it up with credit. This is easy though, as it just involves buying a digital USD gift card for either the Apple App Store (Amazon, Best Buy) or Google Play Store (Amazon, Best Buy). Right now Best Buy will let you buy a smaller value card, but either is fine - just make sure to create a new US account if you use Amazon, not your regular one. You don't need your VPN for this bit, but you will need to give a US address as your shipping address - the order went through for us just fine though, and nothing will actually be shipped anyway.
- Log into your new US Apple ID or Google account on your phone or tablet and go into the App Store or Play Store to redeem the gift code.
- This is when you need your VPN again. Connect to a US server on your device, and browse the app store for the Disney+ app - install it.
- Now you should be able to create a Disney+ account, and pay for it using your new account balance from the gift card. Select the free trial option to start making an account, and choose whether to pay monthly or annually.
At this point, you have a functioning Disney+ account. You'll always need to use a VPN to access it, but you can now watch from any phone or tablet, or through a browser. You can also get the app on your smart TV, games console, or other devices, but you'll have to run them through your VPN connection.
You can now sign back out of that US Apple ID or Google account and return your phone back to its normal account. Just remember to keep topping it up with gift cards if you want to keep your subscription going - or to cancel within 7 days if you don't want to pay at all.
The only remaining downside is that this Disney+ account will be tied to that US account, and we're not sure how easy it will be to migrate it to other payment details when the UK version launches. It could be painless, it could be a nightmare - so you might want to avoid using your main email address on the Disney account just in case you need to make a whole new account when the UK launch rolls around.
Sign up using US payment details
If the above sounds like a lot of work, all hope is not lost. For one, if you happen to have US, Canadian, or Dutch payment options for some reason, you can just use them - sorted.
The same is true if you have a friend from one of those countries willing to set up an account with their payment details, as once the account is set up you should be able to change the payment details to your own before the 7-day free trial ends, so it never costs them a penny (or cent). We haven't yet tested this ourselves though.
We also believe that in theory it should be possible to set up a TransferWise account, convert some money to USD, and then get a free US debit card which you could use to set up a Disney+ account. The only problem is that it will take a few days for you to get your card, so this won't let you get watching immediately - and we haven't tested it either.
And finally, we’re holding out hope for the same workaround that makes it possible to watch Hulu from the UK: gift cards. Hulu also requires US payment info to create an account, but you can buy a digital Hulu gift card online and set up an account with that, adding your payment info after the account is already set up.
This is essentially what's doing the work in our workaround above, but using app store gift cards rather than Disney+ ones. Disney has begun selling digital gift cards for Disney+, but right now you can only buy them direct from Disney, which doesn't much help things - but with a bit of luck they'll eventually be available through Amazon or other retailers too.