This Star Wars article contains spoilers.
While we still have a few months to wait for the premiere of The Mandalorian season 2, we already know quite a few things about the show’s return. We know Disney wrapped the second season right before the coronavirus pandemic forced productions around the world to shut down. We also know that Robert Rodriguez and Peyton Reed are among the directors who helmed episodes for season 2. But all of these details pale in comparison to the amount of fan-favorite characters and cameos coming to the series.
Three major characters from Star Wars‘ past will appear on the show, two of which are making their live-action debut in The Mandalorian season 2: Rosario Dawson will play animated hero Ahsoka Tano and Katee Sackhoff will reprise her role as Bo-Katan Kryze, whom she previously voiced in The Clone Wars and Rebels. And then there’s the return of Temuera Morrison to Star Wars. He’ll reportedly cameo as Boba Fett, although it’s allegedly Timothy Olyphant’s rumored character who will be wearing the bounty hunter’s iconic armor.
In short, if the first season of The Mandalorian felt too isolated and disconnected from the main Star Wars saga to you, it sounds like the second season is set to fix that in a big way. Whether the show really needs all of these high-profile characters in the first place is a discussion for another day, but one thing is for sure: the return of Star Wars icons like Ahsoka opens up lots of questions about how this is all going to tie back to Mando and Baby Yoda‘s story.
I mention Ahsoka specifically because she doesn’t seem like as natural a fit for the show as Boba and Bo-Katan. The former is a bounty hunter and an orphan in Mandalorian armor just like Mando, while Bo-Katan was the last leader of Mandalore as far as we know. Mando running into both of these characters feels like the natural progression of his story. But Ahsoka is a bit more difficult to track, primarily because she’s a former Jedi appearing on a show full of characters who don’t even know what the Force is.
To Mando, the Child is an enigma, and setting out to find out where his ward came from is as much an act of kindness as it is an attempt to understand this strange, adorable creature. It seems likely that Ahsoka will fit into this search somehow. What’s the best way to learn about the Force and the Jedi and Yoda’s species? Speak to a Force user and former Jedi who learned from Master Yoda. But how will Mando and Ahsoka cross paths in the first place? And is she still searching for Ezra Bridger?
Who is Ezra Bridger? For those who missed Rebels during its original run or haven’t binged it on Disney+ yet (shame on you), Ezra is the main protagonist of the animated series, a young, Force-sensitive freedom fighter who joins a band of rebels known as the Spectres in the years before the official start of the Galactic Civil War. He’s one of the earliest rebels and a key player in the formation of the Rebel Alliance, and even brushes shoulders with many of its leaders, such as Mon Mothma, Bail Organa, and Princess Leia.
In the years just prior to A New Hope, Ezra also becomes one of the few Jedi left in the galaxy when former-Jedi-turned-Spectre Kanan Jarrus decides to train him in the ways of the Force. Together, the master and apprentice delve deeper into the secrets of the Force, the Jedi, and the Sith than any of the characters in the movies have. But while Ezra’s connection to the Force and his life as a Jedi padawan are integral to his role on the show, his storyline always goes back to being a rebel on his home planet of Lothal, which he tries to free from the Empire throughout the series.
Finally, in the series finale, “Family Reunion — Farewell,” Ezra gets his chance to liberate Lothal once and for all. But it comes at a cost. While fighting Grand Admiral Thrawn’s forces, he and the Chiss Imperial are zapped into hyperspace to parts unknown, leaving the fate of both the hero and the villain unresolved. Two years since the Rebels finale, we still don’t know where Ezra is.
Fans of Rebels undoubtedly perked up when considering the implications of Ahsoka’s return on The Mandalorian and how it might open the door for Ezra to come back, too. After all, the last time we saw Ahsoka (chronologically) was on Lothal, where she reunited with Sabine Wren (another Mandalorian) before heading out on an adventure together to find their missing comrade.
Ahsoka and Sabine’s reunion is actually an epilogue to the show set a year after the Battle of Endor and the fall of the Empire. That’s 5 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin).
Meanwhile, The Mandalorian is set in 9 ABY, so four years after that epilogue and not too long after Ahsoka and Sabine set out to find Ezra. Fans who have been following executive producer Dave Filoni’s Star Wars work from The Clone Wars to The Mandalorian know that he loves to follow story threads from one series to the next. With so few years having passed between the Rebels epilogue and the start of The Mandalorian, there’s a very big possibility that the live-action series will pick up where Ahsoka left off — either still on the search for Ezra or having already found him.
But in what condition would we find Ezra? For one thing, he would be a bit older in 9 ABY. Born in 19 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), Ezra would be about 28 if he were to appear on The Mandalorian season 2, paving the way for Disney to cast an older actor in the role. This would allow showrunner Jon Favreau and Filoni to reintroduce the character but in a slightly different way. And how have Ezra’s adventures after Rebels changed him? We could very well meet an Ezra who is much stronger in the Force than the last time we saw him.
Or, if Star Wars follows its long tradition of sending light side characters to parts unknown and bringing them back corrupted and evil, we could meet an Ezra who’s given in to the dark side. Rebels season 3 teased that Ezra had a dark side, and bringing him back to Star Wars as a villain would really add some complexity and stakes to Ahsoka’s own story on The Mandalorian.
Of course, a potential story of this magnitude deserves its own space to breathe instead of being shoved in as a sub-plot in Mando and Baby Yoda’s adventure. This might be where an Ahsoka-centric spinoff series might come in. Since Dawson’s casting came to light, there have been reports that Ahsoka’s appearance on The Mandalorian could also serve as a backdoor pilot for the hero’s own Disney+ series. A show focusing solely on Ahsoka’s search for Ezra, as well as her further adventures, seems like a more appropriate place for the young Jedi’s return.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We don’t know how Ahsoka’s time on The Mandalorian will play out — whether it’s a small role like Boba Fett’s or if she’ll be a recurring character throughout the second season. What we do know is that it’s good to have her back and to be able to speculate about what more Ahsoka stories could mean for the Star Wars universe as a whole.
The Mandalorian season 2 is set to air in October on Disney+.