Questions Before the Premiere of The Mandalorian Season 3by Todd King, contributing writer
When we last saw the Mandalorian, Din Djarin, it was not at the season 2 finale of that series in 2021. In The Book of Boba Fett series last year, two episodes continued the story of The Mandalorian where he reunited with Grogu to begin their new adventures. It was kind of an odd placement for these stories to appear within another show's run. Regardless, those two episodes already answered a few questions that remained after the previous season's finale which had left us wondering if we would ever see Grogu again. Of course he didn't stay away for too long but his story, and the story of his caregiver, are intertwined. So, where will this new season, which starts in two weeks on March the 1st, take our intrepid duo? As the title character says himself in one of the trailers, "You ready for an adventure?"
What's he going to Mandalore for?
"I'm going to Mandalore – so that I may be forgiven for my transgressions." There is one "transgression" that first comes to mind when Pedro Pascal delivers this oration: that Din Djarin removed his helmet in the sight of other living beings. In the Boba Fett episode, "The Return of the Mandalorian," the Armorer, played by Emily Swallow, states clearly that because of that action, he is "a Mandalorian no more." That is a very strict code of conduct, but Din actually removed his helmet in the sight of others twice. The first time was a necessity in order to find and rescue Grogu. The second time surely was, what even he himself would call, a transgression against "the way." He removed that mask to reveal his face, and therefore his true feelings, for the little Yoda-like creature. He, like us, is learning that there are rules, and then there are the purposes behind the rules.
Is it not "the way" to protect others, even to protect, what they call, "foundlings?" Perhaps those are questions in his mind but then, why is he going to Mandalore? Why would he go to the planet which holds the origin of those rules? Perhaps he is not prepared to give up being a Mandalorian. Maybe he is believing there is a way to remain in the fold. The show is called, The Mandalorian, after all, so I believe we are getting to the heart of the matter where Din, along with us, discover what that means. Is being a Mandalorian something you are, or something you strive to be? Does this code serve the person, or does the person serve the code? For Din, we know his priority is to look after Grogu; even the Armorer called them, "a clan of two," and that he is "as its father." We know all about fathers in the realm of Star Wars and this is an additional tale in the hardships of family. Now this time, a father seeks forgiveness. That's a new path for a father figure we've not quite seen before. Since he says he's on his way to the source of his creed, then I believe he's not seeking to simply clear his name. He wants to be a good father. No lasers or ships or slabs of beskar can or should distract any character from that idea.
How will he deal with Bo-Katan and the other Mandalorians?
Bo-Katan Kryze, played by Katee Sackhoff, has a backstory beyond the screentime in The Mandalorian. The short version is that she once possessed the Darksaber that made her the ruler of Mandalore and its people. We find her here on a quest to regain that mythical weapon and resume leadership. As the events of Season 2 unfold, we learn that not all people of Mandalore are united in creed or even in place. At some point during the reign of the Empire the planet was ravaged and its citizens either killed or exiled. Our protagonist, Din, is a follower of the Mandalorian ways but is also a loner, a bounty hunter, just surviving job to job in the galaxy—that is, until his life and beliefs are challenged when he becomes the custodian of the little green guy. In an uneasy alliance with Bo-Katan and her cohorts, the small group of Mandalorians agree to a quid pro quo deal for Din to save the child and Bo-Katan to obtain the Darksaber. Only some of that deal goes to plan and she is left empty-handed.
This new season picks up the pieces of those threads that may all come to a head when Djarin reaches Mandalore and their claims to leadership may come to a contest. In the teaser trailers, Bo-Katan says of Din that his "cult fractured our people." She refers to a sect of Mandalorians called Death Watch that were seen as violent and terroristic in the planet's history. Din was apparently raised by a member of that cult which may account for his early adherence to its rules. That way of life keeps being called into question in Din's journeys and may be put to the true test this season. Does he even want to rule? Does he want to see Bo-Katan rise to power? What will that mean for him and Grogu? The intersecting battles of internal conflict and public responsibility will be exciting to see played out.
As for other remaining Mandalorians, Djarin says in the trailer, "Our people are scattered like stars in the galaxy" in what sounds like a speech and a call to action. Perhaps he is heading toward a new leadership role which will certainly bring trouble, even from within the ranks. I'd like to think he is trying to create a new identity for Mandalorians, even asking powerful questions (again, from the trailer), "What are we? What do we stand for?" Maybe he is trying to get past the laws to find the spirit of the laws—and convince others to do the same. We will just have to see but I think there could be conflicts of ideas in action, a battle of philosophies. Pretty deep for a Star Wars series about people in cool armor.
Will Grogu learn more about the Force?
Season 2 and The Book of Boba Fett explored the idea of our little Baby Yoda being trained in the Force. We even met a Jedi, Ahsoka Tano (again, long backstory) but she refused to train him. Luke Skywalker heard the child's cries through the Force, rescued him, and took him as his first student. Luke, however, trying to build a new Jedi order, that would be not so hard on emotional attachments, gave Grogu the choice to remain with him or go back to the Mandalorian whom he loved like a father. Their reunion meant, at least at the time, that Grogu would forsake his Jedi training. So, though he is gifted with the powers of the Force, what will he do about his abilities if he is not trained by a Jedi?
A guess to that may be in the trailer where we hear Din Djarin saying, "Being a Mandalorian is not just learning how to fight – you must also know how to navigate the galaxy – that way, you'll never be lost." While he may be continuing to speak to his follow Mandalorians, this advice could very well be directed at Grogu. Is he teaching the little one how to become a Mandalorian? Can Grogu become one? Is that even allowed? Well, this may tie into the ideas above where Din may be trying to redefine the truth of his creed. If Grogu is not to be a Jedi, maybe he could follow a different, but still positive, path. And yet, in the trailer, we clearly see him use his Force powers to remove threats from his path. He is not done using the Force, but what will this mean for him going forward? And what will we learn about his past that has been hinted in flashbacks? I don't want to make further conjectures for fear I may spoil it for myself. Moving on…
What's Dr. Pershing doing?
Who's Dr. Pershing? Played by Omid Abtahi, he appeared in Episode 1 of the series as an assistant to the client, and through flashes and hints, we see he was an Imperial scientist (and basically still is) tasked with some mysterious procedure involving Grogu. It seemed he was running experiments on the little one and obtaining "materials," probably blood. Why do we care about this guy still? Well, again, he's in the trailer so he has more to do and apparently his job isn't finished. What else could he be needed for? I've guessed before that he is part of a dark scheme to collect blood of a Force-sensitive creature in order to harness the midichlorians—the organisms that connect life forms to the Force. With those, the Empire remnant could work some terrible science for cloning or other things that would surely turn evil. I hope we learn more about this since Pershing must be the connection to all that.
Speaking of connections, the trailer includes Babu Frik, the tiny fuzzy mechanic seen in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker fixing droids. What's he doing here? Is he just going to be a cameo? Could this spell a deeper connection to IX which touches on the ideas of dark magic and horrific cloning? We witnessed the near-return of the Emperor in that one so is everything leading to that? Does Babu Frik have some other role to play with these clues and the droids he fixes? Also, will we see any other cameos like Cobb Vanth or Boba Fett? If it all serves the story, I'm for it.
What are you looking forward to with Season 3 of The Mandalorian? Have you thought about this stuff as much as I have? In the end, I just hope it tells a strong and satisfying story.