The Mandalorian released its most Star Wars-esque episode of the season last week with The Spies. Chapter 23 not only delved deep into the past of the Mandalorians but also created a very tangible bridge with the future of the franchise.
Season 3 Episode 7 saw the armored warriors finally return to their home planet, a beloved deceased character come back to life (but differently), tons of Easter eggs and references, and a saddening death at the end.
Let’s dive into the top takeaways to keep you prepared for the grand finale, which, according to Din Djarin’s stunt double Brendan Wayne, “might just hurt too much.”
The beginnings of the First Order
Too much was packed into the first ten minutes of the episode, where we finally see Moff Gideon alive, well, and participating in the Imperial Shadow Council. In a scene packed with several Legends lore being reintroduced to canon, we learn that Grand Admiral Thrawn is indeed the overarching entity that the group is awaiting.
Gideon gets into a verbal skirmish with Thrawn’s right-hand man from Legends, Captain Gilad Pellaeon, played by Xander Berkeley of The Walking Dead fame.
We also meet Commandant Brendol Hux, father of General Armitage Hux from the sequels. As per Legends, he is credited with setting the cornerstone of the First Order after consolidating the remnants of the Empire in the Unknown Regions. To throw in a nice little reference, the show makers got Brian Gleeson, General Hux actor Domhnall Gleeson’s brother, to play the character.
Other than the personalities, there were more connections the show established with the Ben Solo/Kylo Ren-led regime we see in the new movies. We see the Mandalorians battle with stormtroopers using jetpacks who seem to be the predecessors of the airborne troopers from the sequel trilogy. They show up abruptly as the scouting party reaches the Great Forge of Mandalore, and as Poe Dameron said, they fly now.
Inevitable ties with Ahsoka
Now that we know Star Wars Disney+ is an overlapping universe, it is an easy guess to make that Admiral Thrawn was namedropped in The Mandalorian to set up his imminent return in Ahsoka, which comes out later this year.
Is this how Palpatine returned?
As we all very well know, somehow, Palpatine returned, but now we may even get to know the answer to this question that has kept Star Wars fans up at night. It is already a widely speculated theory among the fans that cloning technology was used to bring the hooded Emperor back to life, or whatever he had left of it.
During the Shadow Council scene, we learn about a ‘Project Necromancer’ that Moff Gideon is (or was) supervising. While we do not know for sure, the name and Gideon’s association point towards it being a codename for the experiments Dr. Pershing was running on Nevarro in Season 2. He may not have yet perfected the science, but we saw in Episode 3 that he has hopes of continuing his research.
It is quite possible that with the Empire’s resources, either Pershing or his successors manage to succeed in the mission just in time for Darth Sidious’ revival in The Rise of Skywalker.
How did Moff Giden get the Darksaber?
The Mandalorian answered another burning question in this episode and did it quite beautifully which added to Bo-Katan’s character arc. Reunited with other survivors of Mandalore during the reconnaissance of the surface, she finally confessed the truth about the fall of their home.
Bo-Katan admitted that on the Night of the Thousand Tears, she had surrendered to the Empire and gave up the Darksaber to Moff Gideon in return for her people being spared. Needless to say, the Moff did not keep his word and the Great Purge of Mandalore ensued.
The significance of this connection spans several decades across the timeline of Star Wars as bridging the past with the future remains a theme for this episode.
Beskar vs. Beskar
Despite the theories, it turned out that no Mandalorian helped the Empire to free Moff Gideon for money. Shame on all of us for even considering that. In fact, it was his own trooper army who now don armor made of Beskar that Gideon mined in Mandalore after the Purge. He himself now wears a moderated version of a Mandalorian suit complete with the helmet and his cloak.
We know the Mandalorians, or at least the Children of the Watch, do not prefer having Beskar weapons as they can pierce Beskar in turn and pave the way for internal betrayal. It is why the Armorer melted the spear Ahsoka gifted Din Djarin and made Grogu an armor out of it.
However, now that the enemy is covered from head to toe in Beskar, one wonders if the Armorer will break another age-old rule for the sake of the clan’s survival.
What to expect from The Mandalorian final?
While some fans are underwhelmed by this season of The Mandalorian and some others are not happy with Bo-Katan emerging as a leader over Din Djarin, this season did a great work of launching the show into the bigger verse and connecting the dots with Clone Wars, Rebels, and even some movie plotlines (looking at you, efficient Republic spy R5-D4).
Losing Pas Viszla in the hands of the elite, red-cloaked Praetorian Guards was a massive blow to the Mandalorians. There is a possibility of the group getting divided into two – one half choosing to flee and live to fight another day and another half adamant about staying and fighting.
Expect to see Grogu in some kind of combat action. The show has been taunting it throughout the season, showing off his skills with the Force and also giving him a new chest piece and a vehicle in the form of a revived IG-11, now IG-12.
Watch The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 8 only on Disney+ this Wednesday.