This Star Wars: The Mandalorian article contains spoilers.
After eight exciting episodes of adventures all over the galaxy far, far away, The Mandalorian season 2 has come to an end. A daring rescue mission brings Mando, Bo-Katan, and the rest of their crew face to face with the evil Moff Gideon, who worked all season to capture Grogu for nefarious purposes. What ensues is a battle to the death that includes lots of stormtroopers, killer dark troopers, and even a clash of blades. But even after that fight was over, no one could have seen the finale’s massive cameo coming.
Luke Skywalker swoops in on his trusty X-wing to save the day, just as the heroes are cornered by a platoon of dark troopers on the bridge of Gideon’s cruiser. Like a true Jedi Master, Luke easily cuts through the Imperial combat droids, slicing his way to the bridge with his green-bladed lightsaber, putting an end to Gideon’s forces once and for all.
But Luke’s arrival on the show is bittersweet as it also means Mando’s time with Grogu has come to an end. With Luke taking Grogu away to train the little Jedi, you might be wondering where this leaves things for The Mandalorian season 3. What’s next for Mando and his friends, and when might we see Grogu next?
Here are some of the things you should expect from season 3:
The Liberation of Mandalore
It’s pretty clear by the end of season 2 where Mando, Bo-Katan, and Koska Reeves are headed next. Now that they’ve taken control of the Imperial cruiser and an arsenal of weapons, reacquired the Darksaber, and captured Gideon, the heroes seem to have everything they need to finally liberate Mandalore from the Empire.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Mandalorian homeworld were the very first stop of season 3, as the stage seems set for a pretty large battle worthy of a season premiere. And we know Mando is along for the ride since he promised in the season 2 finale that he’d fight for Bo-Katan’s cause in exchange for her help rescuing Grogu.
In fact, Mando’s participation in the liberation of Mandalore seems mandatory at this point since he’s technically the rightful wielder of the Darksaber…
…which makes him the new Mand’alor, the leader of the entire Mandalorian race. And as a cackling Gideon explains in the season 2 finale, the blade can only be won in battle, which means Bo-Katan will have to fight Mando for the Darksaber if she hopes to rule Mandalore once again. As reluctant as Mando is to keep the weapon, offering it to Bo-Katan several times, she can’t just take it, apparently.
These Darksaber rules of succession are a bit of a retcon since Bo-Katan first acquired the weapon when Sabine Wren awarded it to her on Star Wars Rebels. They didn’t actually fight for it, and she seemed fine with that then. But I guess Mando simply handing Bo-Katan the Darksaber isn’t quite as dramatic for a high-profile Disney+ series.
How this Darksaber drama might be resolved is anyone’s guess, but judging from the way Bo-Katan coolly stares at Mando as he holds the blade in the finale, it’s unlikely that she’ll move on from getting the weapon back. Does this mean Mando and Bo-Katan are going to become enemies in season 3?
One thing that does seem clear is that season 3 won’t see Mando ascend the throne of an entire planet. Not only does Mando have zero interest in keeping the Darksaber but the show’s structure wouldn’t really allow for this kind of story development anyway. The Mandalorian has found a lot of success by stringing together largely standalone episodes that see the protagonist hop from place to place, completing bounties and helping other characters he meets along the way. Making Mando ruler of Mandalore, and therefore stranding him on the planet for most of the season, seems like an unnecessary shift in storytelling.
Although The Mandalorian season 2 seemed to conclude Grogu’s story on the show, it’s unlikely Disney will bench the show’s most beloved character for very long. Even if he doesn’t appear alongside Mando throughout season 3, we could get at least one episode that continues the little Jedi’s story and shows where Luke and Grogu went after their meeting on the Imperial cruiser.
While the first few episodes of season 3 could focus on the liberation of Mandalore and the direct aftermath of Bo-Katan’s mission, the show could give Mando a reason to go searching for Grogu once again, picking up Luke’s trail and following it around the galaxy. It’s also possible that Luke could bring Grogu back to the bounty hunter if the little Jedi decided that he wanted to be with Mando instead.
More Thrawn Hints
One of the great things about The Mandalorian is the show’s ability to do quite a lot of world-building while telling an intimate story with just a few characters at the same time. While following Mando and Grogu’s adventures, we’ve learned more about the Imperial remnant, the power vaccuum left in the wake of Jabba’s death on Tatootine, the movement to take back Mandalore, Jedi lore on Tython, the state of the New Republic, and more.
“The Jedi” also gave us a big hint as to where the Disney+ Star Wars universe might be headed: the return of Grand Admiral Thrawn. We learn in arguably the show’s best episode so far that Ahsoka Tano is searching for Thrawn, and that after defeating the Magistrate, she’s one step closer to finding him.
The mere mention of Thrawn’s name likely sent fans of ’90s Star Wars novels into a frenzy, especially those who still hold dear Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire, the book that introduced the Imperial villain and kicked off a new era of storytelling in the galaxy far, far away set after Return of the Jedi. Since The Mandalorian takes place during the same era as Heir to the Empire did in the no-longer-canon Legends continuity, many fans have speculated that “The Jedi” was the start of a rebooted version of the classic Thrawn saga.
Disney also recently announced two other live-action shows set in the time period of The Mandalorian, Rangers of the New Republic and Ahsoka, which will lead into a big event on Disney+. With Ahsoka’s clear ties to Thrawn and The Mandalorian establishing the Imperial remnant, the Grand Admiral’s story could continue to develop on the original Star Wars live-action series before he finally makes his arrival in Ahsoka or that big event.
Rangers of the New Republic
Speaking of “The Jedi,” the episode was also the jumping off point for Ahsoka’s very own live-action series, serving as a backdoor pilot that re-introduced the character for general audiences as well as teased out her motivations and future adventures. The Mandalorian season 3 could do the same for Rangers of the New Republic, an upcoming live-action series we currently no nothing about besides the fact that it takes place at the same time as Mando’s adventures and that it has a cool title.
Perhaps Mando runs into the Rangers while on another mission in the Outer Rim? One theory suggests it’ll be a new group of New Republic lawmen led by Cara Dune. We’ll just have to wait and see.
We speculated during the final weeks of season 2 that Rebels protagonist Ezra Bridger could be the Jedi who would find Grogu in the finale. There was some evidence to support this theory. Not only had many other characters from the animated series appeared on The Mandalorian by that point but Ahsoka’s very own storyline on the show was tied to finding Thrawn, who went missing with Ezra at the end of Rebels. It made narrative sense for Ezra to appear on the show as a surprise character who would save the day.
But it wasn’t Ezra who showed up on Gideon’s cruiser to take Grogu away. And now that an Ahsoka series has been announced, it’s more likely that the character will make his debut on that show.
That doesn’t mean one of the other Rebels characters yet to appear on The Mandalorian couldn’t make her debut in season 3. We’re of course talking about Mandalorian warrior and former Rebel operative Sabine Wren, who not only has ties to Ahsoka but also to the Darksaber and Bo-Katan. She fought on Mandalore the last time Bo-Katan and her fellow Mandalorians fought to free the planet from the Imperial puppet government. It would make sense for Sabine to join this new mission to liberate Mandalore and protect the Darksaber.
Crossover Episode with Boba Fett
Disney seems very interested in creating a cohesive shared universe of live-action Star Wars series. Ahsoka really kicked off on The Mandalorian and so did The Book of Boba Fett, the series that will premiere this December ahead of season 3. And what better way to keep that shared universe going than to have crossover episodes between shows? Since Boba Fett has already appeared quite prominently on The Mandalorian, there’s no reason he couldn’t return for an episode on the original Star Wars live-action series.
Another Cobb Vanth Adventure
Timothy Olyphant’s Tatooine marshal was an overnight hit, which makes him a good candidate to become a recurring character on the show. With so much of the show taking place on the legendary desert planet already, it wouldn’t be surprising for Mando to make another stop next season to see what Cobb Vanth is up to. Maybe Freetown is in trouble again and Cobb needs Mando’s help to protect it. Or perhaps Mando recruits Cobb for his crew of gunslingers. Either way is fine as long as we get more Olyphant.
The Mandalorian season 3 goes into production this year and will air after The Book of Boba Fett.