The Exciting Possibilities of Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian

Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) in THE MANDALORIAN, exclusively on Disney+
Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) in THE MANDALORIAN, exclusively on Disney+ /

A mysterious new villain from the end of The Mandalorian‘s first season provides intriguing possibilities for the second season

Warning: Massive spoilers for The Mandalorian, Clone Wars, and Rebels.

I have noted before how The Mandalorian has signified a return to master storytelling in Star Wars (as opposed to the jumbled mess of mashed together plot points and checked boxes that is Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker) and the  first season’s finale stays true to this spirit.

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We certainly see a logical conclusion to most of what was set up by the first eight episodes, so the second season is, therefore, set up beautifully.

My Dork Sided colleague has already noted that the ending—in which Moff Gideon (played by Giancarlo Esposito) emerged from his crashed and wrecked specialized tie-fighter using the Darksaber—bodes ill for Clone Wars and Rebels character Bo-Katan Kryze.

Bo-Katan ended up being restored as leader of Mandalore in Rebels, after she had been pushed out of power after being elevated by the Jedi after the Siege of Mandalore, a battle that looks like it will close out the upcoming season of Clone Wars, due to premiere in February; the Siege was one of the final battles of the Clone Wars.

In both the Clone Wars-era fighting and the fighting that saw Bo-Katan reinstated to a leadership role for Mandalore in Rebels, it is important to note that Mandalorians were split into multiple factions that were fighting each other, and in the Rebels and Original Trilogy era, some Mandalorians were either allied with the Empire or were working directly for them.

Bo-Katan ended up possessing the ancestral Mandalorian lightsaber, the Darksaber, used many times to unite Mandalorians, and that is how she uses it here: when we leave her in Rebels, we know she and her followers are prepping for a big fight against a vengeful Empire angry at them for overthrowing the pro-Empire factions on Mandalore.

We don’t see that reckoning, but we hear about it, hauntingly, in passing references throughout The Mandalorian to what is called the “Great Purge,” references noted that signify true cultural trauma.

Mandalorians and cultural trauma in The Mandalorian. light. Related Story

We know very little, just mainly that it went very badly for Mandalorians, that the Empire won overwhelmingly, that the few surviving Mandalorians live in hiding like “sand rats.”

So when we have the new and mysterious Moff Gideon emerge from his wreckage at the end of Chapter 8 of The Mandalorian wielding the Darksaber, which we chronologically last saw in Bo-Katan’s possession in the final season of Rebels, a number of exciting possibilities present themselves.

Firstly, the most likely scenario is that Bo-Katan was killed in the Great Purge, for it is hard imagining her at that stage giving up the Darksaber willingly. It is possible she was killed by someone other than Moff Gideon and that the Darksaber changed hands multiple times.

What we do know from this last episode of The Mandalorian is that Moff Gideon was an Imperial Security Bureau (ISB, basically like a mix of the FBI and DHS, or, if you will, like Israel’s Shin Bet) officer during the Great Purge; he may very well have been tasked with tracking down Bo-Katan and other Mandalorian leaders resisting the Empire.

Whatever his specific role, it was big and bad enough that our titular Mandalorian hero is well acquainted with who Gideon is; it would take such an intelligence bureau officer to track down Bo-Katan if she had gone into hiding. Maybe he took it from her after personally killing her, maybe his men delivered it to him, but one way or another, it ended up in his hands.

Perhaps it was just put away, or displayed as a trophy (like Thrawn collected artifacts of his enemies), but Gideon seems pretty smart and would almost certainly have known that the one who wielded the Darsksaber could claim legitimacy as a ruler of Mandalore.

Moffs ended up being governors, so it is likely he was promoted for his actions during the Purge to the rank of Moff, and his possession of the Darksaber suggests more than a possibility that he became the Empire’s man in charge in Mandalore after the Purge, especially since we see he is accustomed to carrying it around and wielding it.

A more interesting question, considering that we saw Mandalorians side with the Empire in Rebels, is whether Gideon was himself a Mandalorian.  Co-opting a key Mandalorian and using him as an asset to help keep Mandalore in line was a tactic we saw the Empire employ in Rebels, and it’s quite possible this was what happened with Gideon.  Remember, there were many clans of Mandalorians each with their own history and beef with others clans, and Rebels showed us some Mandalorians were quick to use the Empire to quash their rivals and gain power, though others were more reluctant allies of the Empire.

Apart from knowing who Moff Gideon is, it’s also possible our main Mandalorian hero in The Mandalorian knew Bo-Katan well, too: in his more detailed flashback from the Clone Wars, we see that it was Pre Vizsla’s Death Watch Mandalorians that rescued him, with the group’s unmistakable sigil on the armor of the rescuers. Bo-Katan was essentially Vizsla’s right-hand-woman, the number-two in Death Watch.

So whether alive or dead, we may be seeing more of her and Death Watch in Season Two of the Mandalorian. And if our hero knows Death Watch, Pre Vizsla, and Bo-Katan, he may very well know of the Darksaber and its history.

How Gideon specifically plays into Mandalore’s, our titular hero’s and Bo-Katan’s past remains to be seen, but there are several interesting possibilities that remain likely: that Moff Gideon killed Bo-Katan and took the Darksaber from her, that he became the imperial governor of Mandalore, that he himself was a Mandalorian traitor, that he personally knows the show’s main character.

Finally, why is the “Baby Yoda” Child so important to Gideon? Maybe Gideon is even Force-sensitive: how did he know that the Child was not at the bar with Werner Herzog’s group? Could he sense the child was not there using the Force?  Does he have some sort of Force connection to it?

Gideon may have even been a padawan or Jedi that survived the purge and sided with the empire, much like the Inquisitors.

Even if he was never in the Jedi Order, if he is Force-sensitive this could mean he wants to train the Child in the Dark Side of the Force; he even emotionally says of the Child in Chapter 7 “It means more to me than you will ever know.”

Perhaps he even has dreams of becoming a Sith Lord and a replacement of Palpatine; after all, before the Mandaorians Bo-Katan and Sabine Wren wielded the Darskaber, it was in the possession of Darth Maul for years, who took it from Pre Vizsla after a duel to the death late in the Clone Wars.

If anyone had a chance of knowing such things, a high-ranking ISB officer would be among the most likely to know aside from Palpatine’s tiny inner circle.  We have already seen that Admiral Yularen, a hero of the Republic who worked closely with the Jedi during the Clone Wars, became a senior officer of the ISB by the time of Rebels, so even if Gideon is not at all Force-sensitive, he may still have been working with the Jedi and/or the Republic in the Clone Wars era, whether Mandalorian or not.

While it is sad that the masterful Werner Herzog will no longer be a villain in the series, Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon has enchanted me as a worthy replacement.

These possibilities have all been set-up nicely for The Mandalorian’s second season, and I for one can’t wait.  Any and all of these possibilities could occur, but one thing is fore sure: even if these are not the directions in which the show goes, unlike J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson with their Sequel Trilogy, I have a strong, well-earned faith that The Mandalorian’s showrunners Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni will not disappoint.

Next. Be thankful The Mandalorian has returned master storytelling to Star Wars. dark

The Mandalorian is currently streaming on Disney Plus