Star Wars fans, The Mandalorian is finally here.
The flagship series on Disney+, Disney’s new streaming service, The Mandalorian is set several years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi, and follows a bounty hunter (played by Game of Thrones actor Pedro Pascal) whose latest mission unearths a secret that could have major repercussions on the Star Wars universe.
There’s a lot to absorb in each episode of The Mandalorian, so here’s a breakdown of some noteworthy elements in episode 3. (Note: There will be discussion of plot points from the episode in the following text, so consider this a spoiler warning. You can also go back and read our recaps of Episode 1 and Episode 2.)
One of the most epic episodes of the series so far, the third chapter of The Mandalorian has the show’s protagonist return to collect the bounty on Baby Yoda, only to express some uncharacteristic misgivings about turning “the kid” over. The Mandalorian does indeed collect the bounty, and has a new set of armor forged from the Beskar — but not before we learn a bit more about why the remaining Mandalorians are in hiding, and who forced them to go underground.
In a dramatic (but let’s face it, expected) change of heart, The Mandalorian rescues Baby Yoda but finds his exit from the planet blocked by legions of bounty hunters. Just when all seems lost, though, his fellow Mandalorians arrive — sacrificing their own hidden status in the process — to turn the tide and facilitate his escape with Baby Yoda. The pair head off into space to parts unknown, now with a massive bounty on both The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda.
Mythosaur and Mandalore
When The Mandalorian returns to the group of hidden Mandalorians, the camera lingers on the now-familiar sigil over the Armorer’s forge. It’s an ominous symbol, certainly, but it also carries plenty of weight in Star Wars lore. The sigil is intended to represent the skull of a mythosaur, one of the massive beasts hunted by Mandalorians in the distant past — first as part of the colonization of the creatures’ home planet, then as rites of passage — until they were eventually rendered extinct.
Kuiil, the Ugnaught farmer from the series’ first two episodes, referenced the mythosaurs when encouraging The Mandalorian’s efforts to ride a Blurrg in episode 2, and the Mandalorian armor worn by Boba Fett in the original trilogy also featured the sigil of a mythosaur. The symbol has come to represent both the entirety of Mandalorian culture and its highest-ranking members (who wore ceremonial mythosaur skulls) at various points in Star Wars’ canon.
The Great Purge
The circumstances behind the Mandalorians’ current, in-hiding status were hinted at back in Episode 1, but the latest episode offered a bit more context for the situation, and how far they’ve gone to remain off the galaxy’s collective radar. Through The Mandalorian’s flashbacks and his heated exchange with the much larger Mandalorian prior to having his new armor forged, we learn that the Mandalorians were forced into hiding after an attack by The Empire. This Great Purge involved Imperial battle droids and some disturbing memories of the last time the series’ protagonist saw his family.
We also learn in this episode that the Great Purge has left the remaining Mandalorians (or this faction, at least) unwilling to venture outside more than one at a time (in order to keep their numbers a secret) and with a deeply rooted grudge against The Empire — one that runs deep enough for them to reveal themselves in order to prevent the Imperial remnants from acquiring what is clearly a very important asset.
At one point in the episode, bounty handler Greef Carga (Carl Weathers) suggests that The Mandalorian travel to “the core” and report the Imperial remnants’ activities to the New Republic if he’s concerned about the fate of Baby Yoda. The passing reference offers a nice opportunity to reflect on the current status of the Star Wars universe at the time of The Mandalorian, which has a group of central planets and their governments collectively represented by the freshly formed New Republic — a democratic government composed of worlds from all around the galaxy.
Those worlds at the center of the New Republic are informally referred to as “the core,” while the worlds farthest from that central point are referred to as the “outer rim.” The events of The Mandalorian have, up to this point, unfolded primarily in the latter region, where lawlessness is the norm and the New Republic has little presence or jurisdiction.
Disney’s The Mandalorian is. The next episode premieres Friday, November 29.
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