It is an interesting time to be a Star Wars fan. It seems like every time you turn around there’s a new announcement regarding the franchise. In the last month alone, Disney has announced a brand new Star Wars film set after the events of Episode IX and it will highlight the character of Rey and her attempt to rebuild the Jedi Order. Is this film going to be Episode X? Nobody at Disney is willing to answer that question yet. But in the meantime, there’s plenty of new content to discuss. This week saw the finale of the third season of The Mandalorian and as you might expect, I have plenty of thoughts to share.
As always, I’m going to be discussing the events of this season in detail, and with that in mind, what’s about to follow is going to be very SPOILER HEAVY…. If you continue to read, consider this to be your last warning.
Here we go… For starters, if you’re a fan of the first two Mandalorian seasons, you owe it to yourself to watch The Book of Boba Fett. I say this, because the events of that series have a massive impact on this season. When the second season of the Mandalorian ended, Grogu had left the care of the Din Djarin to go live with Luke Skywalker and train as a Jedi Knight. But, The Book of Boba Fett showed audiences when happened next. During the course of that show, Grogu decided to forgo his Jedi training to rejoin his Mandalorian friend. So, when this new season starts, the two are already back together. If you are a fan of The Mandalorian, but never took the time to watch Boba Fett, then you’d doubtlessly feel like you were missing something.
This season really shifts the focus of the show from the solo adventures of Din Djarin to the overall story arc of the Mandalorian people. When this season starts out, Din Djarin is tasked with making a pilgrimage to the forsaken planet Mandalore. The point of this journey is to purify himself in a sacred pool so that he can restore the favor of his tribe. The problem is, Mandalore is said to be uninhabitable and also, Din Djarin has no idea where this sacred body of water might be located.
For help, he turns to Bo Katan – one of the characters that we met back in the last season. This is where the main plotline of this season really kicks in… Together, the two of them discover that Mandalore is not an uninhabitable planet. Yes, the planet has been ravaged by war, but the atmosphere is still breathable. It seems that someone wants to keep people away. In order to take back the planet, Din Djarin and Bo Katan decide to reunite their opposing clans in order to re-establish a base on their homeworld.
Up to this point, there’s been a peppering of a subplot scattered about the early episodes of the season. Among all of the action mentioned above, fans are also treated to quite a bit of exposition regarding the state of the galaxy under the New Republic’s early rule. It seems that the New Republic initiated a reform program for low to mid-level Imperial employees. As this subplot develops, it becomes clear that a number of Imperial loyalists are secretly operating within the New republic government. Now, the show doesn’t comes right out and say it… but it seems pretty obvious that this is laying the groundwork for what will eventually become The First Order.
Both the main storyline and the Imperial subplot finally come together in the last few episodes of the season when it is revealed that Moff Gideon is using the planet of Mandalore as a base for the Imperial Remnant. The series ends with the united Mandalorians defeating Gideon and taking back their planet.
All in all, this third season was filled with some really neat Star Wars lore. I certainly appreciated a number of the Easter eggs and references to Legends material. But, I can’t help but wonder what the mainstream audience thought about all of this. Yes, this season is filled with all of the action and cute moments that made The Mandalorian a hit show. But it also contained some really deep cuts that are likely to fly over the head of more casual fans.
Personally, I loved everything about this third season. But, I also feel it’s the weakest showing of the series to date. What’s next for the series is anybody’s guess. The final scenes of this season show Din Djarin settling down to look after Grogu and agreeing to take on bounties for the New Republic. In theory, this could make an excellent ending for Din Djarin’s character arc. But something tells me we haven’t seen the last of The Mandalorian yet.