The Mandalorian: IG-11’s touching turn from hunter to hero

IG-11 (Taika Waititi) in THE MANDALORIAN, exclusively on Disney+
IG-11 (Taika Waititi) in THE MANDALORIAN, exclusively on Disney+ /

IG-11 started The Mandalorian as a bounty-hunting droid, but ended the series sacrificing itself for a greater cause.

Episode 1 of The Mandalorian set the stage for a season full of twists and turns, as IG-11 was given an early termination by Mando. Or, it appeared that way at least. In my series of questions after the season premiere I was hesitant to write off IG-11’s story being over, wondering if Mando would resurrect the droid and reprogram it.

That prediction turned out to be not far off; IG-11 reemerged on Kuiil’s camp in Chapter 7 a new droid, reprogrammed to be a caretaker of Baby Yoda. Mando was still hesitant, but the droid showed its value in the season finale.

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Not only does IG-11 help the group fight off Moff Gideon’s forces, but the droid also dispenses Bacta spray to heal Din’s wounds, fulfilling a promise to Cara Dune to keep Mando alive.

This scene in particular is important because it gave viewers the first sight of Pedro Pascal’s face underneath the Mandalorian helmet. Mando initially refused to take it off in honor of Mandalorian code, but IG-11 was able to convince him because the droid isn’t a living being.

Even if IG-11 isn’t a living being, it was still a touching moment. The droid knew that Din needed the medical attention and wouldn’t break its promise to Cara, rebuffing Mando’s request to have a warrior’s death and be left behind. IG-11 even made a joke about Mando’s processing system being injured to make the bounty hunter’s brain injury seem less severe.

The droid’s final act was also its most heroic. With the team pinned down by Gideon’s forces, putting Baby Yoda in danger, IG-11 offers itself as a sacrifice to clear the troopers out and allow the child (and the group) to escape. The droid makes Mando promise that the child will be protected, showing how seriously it took its job as a caretaker.

Then, the droid waded its way through the lava river and was forced to engage its self-destruct function, bringing IG-11’s journey full circle; the first episode featured the droid repeatedly trying to self destruct so it would avoid capture, but the finale sees the droid use this function in order to save and protect.

IG-11 continues the tradition of droids in Star Wars playing a pivotal role. Droids, even if not living, regularly convey emotion (like R2’s sad beeps) or produce moments that makes viewers care for them (like C3PO wanting one last look at his friends in The Rise of Skywalker).

IG-11 will prove to be a memorable character for its incredible combat skills, its sacrifice in the finale, and its overall development from bounty hunter to protector.

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The season finale of The Mandalorian is now streaming on Disney+.