Lock and load, Star Wars fans, because the latest episode of The Mandalorian on Disney+ dives back into the action. Episode 8 of the second season of The Mandalorian finds bounty hunter Din Djarin embarking on a dangerous mission to rescue his adorable traveling partner, Baby Yoda (aka Grogu).
Appropriately titled The Rescue, the eighth episode of season 2 was written and directed by Ant-Man filmmaker Peyton Reed, who returns behind the camera after directing the season’s second episode, The Passenger (the one with the ice spiders). The Rescue has Djarin (Pedro Pascal) enlist the aid of more former allies to infiltrate the Imperial cruiser commanded by Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) to free Grogu, but when their mission hits a snag, help comes from a powerful and unexpected source. There’s a lot to absorb in every episode of The Mandalorian, so we provide a recap of the latest chapter each week and take a deep dive into some of its noteworthy elements. (There will be a discussion of plot points from the episode, so consider this a spoiler warning.)
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After capturing Imperial scientist Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi), Djarin and his allies recruit Mandalorians Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado) to assist in assaulting Moff Gideon’s heavily armed cruiser. After finding an explosive path onboard the ship, Djarin’s allies battle their way to the command center while he attempts to prevent Gideon from activating a platoon of near-indestructible Dark Troopers. Djarin eventually sends the android troopers into space (after a prolonged battle with one of them), battles a Darksaber-wielding Gideon, and liberates Grogu.
The team’s celebration is short-lived, however, and is cut short when the platoon of Dark Troopers find their way back to the ship and lay siege to the command center. Facing impossible odds, Djarin and his allies are saved by a mysterious, hooded Jedi who dispatches the Dark Troopers and reveals himself to be … (wait for it) … Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). After a heart-wrenching farewell in which Djarin removes his helmet and allows everyone to see his face, Grogu departs with Skywalker and his faithful droid companion, R2-D2.
After the credits roll on the episode, an additional scene plays out on the planet Tatooine, in the former palace of Jabba the Hutt. Jabba’s former advisor, Bib Fortuna (Matthew Wood), is shown seated on the criminal lord’s throne, only to be killed along with his entire security force by Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). Boba takes his seat on the throne, with Shand at his right hand, before a banner reveals that a new project, The Book of Boba Fett, will premiere next Christmas.
The season 2 finale brought many of the elements of Star Wars lore revisited in earlier episodes crashing together, from the legacy of the Darksaber and the evolution of the Dark Troopers to the destruction of Alderaan and the fall of Mandalore.
Bo-Katan’s quest to retrieve the Darksaber was introduced in season 2, episode 3 of The Mandalorian (titled The Heiress), while the Dark Troopers made their live-action debut in season 2, episode 6 of The Mandalorian (titled The Tragedy). Both elements have deep roots in the saga outside the live-action films, while the destruction of Alderaan was depicted in the franchise-spawning Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, and the saga of Mandalore’s various wars — both internal and external — was chronicled throughout various episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.
The culmination of rumors that began almost as soon as The Mandalorian premiered in November 2019, Luke Skywalker’s appearance in the season 2 finale still managed to pack a punch, with de-aging effects re-creating Mark Hamill’s Return of the Jedi-era look for his big debut in the Disney+ series. With The Mandalorian set shortly after the events of that trilogy-ending 1983 film, it makes sense that Skywalker would appear not all that much different than he did after his climactic battle with the Sith Lord Darth Sidious (aka Emperor Palpatine) and his own father, Darth Vader.
It remains to be seen whether this is the last we’ll see of Skywalker until his appearance in 2017’s Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, but the events of that film confirmed that the Jedi Master began training a new generation of Force-wielding peacekeepers after the Galactic Empire’s defeat — so it’s reasonable to assume Grogu takes his place as one of Skywalker’s first students.
Anyone who turned off the episode when the credits began rolling would have missed an exciting announcement of what appears to be yet another new project headed to Disney+ in December 2021: The Book of Boba Fett.
While this is certainly huge news, it creates plenty of questions about the future of The Mandalorian, which was believed to be returning for its third season that same month. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy indicated that Christmas 2021 will be when “the next chapter in the story of The Mandalorian” will premiere — so this could mean that, instead of season 3 of The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett will be the next chapter of that saga.
We’ll likely receive some clarification about the studio’s plans in the near future, once Lucasfilm isn’t worried about spoiling the events of the season 2 finale.
Disney’s The Mandalorian is available to stream on Disney+, with the first two seasons now completed.
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