What is Operation Cinder that Mayfeld mentioned in The Mandalorian?
When Migs Mayfeld sat across from Valin Hess in The Mandalorian “Chapter 15: The Believer,” fans weren’t sure what he would do. Would he betray Din Djarin or continue the ruse?
However, once Mayfeld mentioned Operation Cinder, the entire tone of the conversation changed. Mayfeld’s face dropped and he got a stone-cold look in his eyes. This was a man who had seen some horrifying things and certainly wanted someone to pay for it.
But what is Operation Cinder?
It is something that actually is in the Star Wars universe prior to The Mandalorian.
Operation Cinder was first mentioned in the comic Shattered Empire (shout out to Poe’s parents being featured in this). It was also part of the storyline for the video game Battlefront II. Operation Cinder was part of Palpatine’s contingency plan should he be defeated. Palpatine was so full of power and ego that he felt as though if he couldn’t have the galaxy, no one could. The Empire should be destroyed after he was gone.
Upon his death, when the contingency plan was activated – which it was in the Aftermath trilogy – climate-disrupting satellites were dispatched to key planets across the galaxy including Naboo, Nacronis and many others. They created horrific storms that wreaked havoc on the planets below. Tens of thousands of people died.
Operation Cinder didn’t discriminate between young and old or Rebels and Imperials. It destroyed everyone and everything it could. This was the moment that many Imperials turned their back on the Empire and had no desire to continue to fight for something that was so dastardly.
That seems to be where Mayfeld comes in. It turned him away from the Empire because, in part, he realized he was never important to them. The importance of the Empire was control. People meant nothing.
Why is Operation Cinder important?
Operation Cinder allowed the remaining Imperials to still exist. Think about when The Mandalorian takes place. It’s five years after The Return of the Jedi and Palpatine is – at the time – supposed to be dead. The Battle of Endor is over and Rebellion are the victors.
However, there are pockets of Imperials still fighting. Look at Moff Gideon. Despite the Empire being destroyed, he still commands a huge army and has great influence.
Then there was the mining facility that Mayfeld and Din infiltrated, which was subsequently destroyed. Not all the Imperials are in hiding and Operation Cinder has allowed that to happen because it shows the long arm of the Empire can steal reach across the galaxy even in Palpatine’s presumed death.
Operation Cinder changed a lot of people and also fortified a lot of Imperials’ beliefs in the Empire. Make no mistake, it was a life-changing event for many people in the galaxy. One that won’t be so quickly forgotten by those who were affected by it, as shown by Mayfeld’s reaction in Chapter 15.
You can stream The Mandalorian on Disney+.