The Mandalorian Season 4 Already Has a Clear Plan: Release Date Rumors and Theories
Yes, The Mandalorian season 4 is happening, but what will it be about and what's next?
This Star Wars: The Mandalorian article contains spoilers.
When The Mandalorian season 3 closed with one final, seemingly definitive shot of Din Djarin and Din Grogu enjoying a well-deserved rest on Nevarro, millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror. After all, the season 3 finale seemed to wrap up three seasons-worth of storylines quite nicely for our heroes.
With Mandalore reclaimed, the Darksaber no longer an issue, Din now Grogu’s official dad, and Moff Gideon apparently out of the picture — and with the season finale’s lack of a post-credit scene to set up the next big arc for our characters — some viewers understandably feared the worst for the future of the show. And it’s true, you could easily mistake the season 3 finale for a series finale, and a happy ending to boot, as the screen fades to black Looney Tunes-style.
Except we know it’s not the end for The Mandalorian! Showrunner Jon Favreau previously confirmed that he’s already written The Mandalorian season 4, mapping out a whole new adventure for Din and Grogu that we’ll presumably get to watch some time after Ahsoka and Skeleton Crew but before the recently announced Mandoverse movie. And indeed, the finale leaves just enough plot threads dangling to set up a season 4.
But first, when might we expect the next season of the Star Wars series?
The Mandalorian Season 4 Release Date Rumors
While we do know The Mandalorian season 4 is in the works, it may still be a bit of a long wait before we see Din and Grogu back on our screens. For one thing, Lucasfilm has a very busy release schedule and production pipeline ahead, with a lineup of other shows and movies coming up from the studio.
On Disney+, we know Ahsoka will premiere in August of this year, while Skeleton Crew, which wrapped filming in January, is also slated for sometime in 2023. That leaves the currently-in-production The Acolyte and the second season of Andor. Assuming these two are 2024 shows, and that Disney will continue to release streaming shows at the slower pace it hinted at earlier this year, that means The Mandalorian season 4 might not actually hit Disney+ until 2025 at the earliest.
This tracks with a report from Making Star Wars, a reliable source for Star Wars production leaks, which claims filming on the new season won’t begin until October 2023. Assuming The Mandalorian season 4 follows that schedule, and considering that a new season of this show traditionally takes at least a year or more for post-production, it’s best not to get your hopes up for a 2024 release. This is of course all speculation until Lucasfilm gives us an official update.
The Mandalorian Season 4 Plot Theory: Rangers of the New Republic
When The Mandalorian season 4 does hit our screens, what will it even be about? As we said, season 3 did a very good job of putting a bow on most of the show’s big storylines. For now at least, Bo-Katan seems settled into the role of Mandalorian leader, while the impending Thrawn storyline is Ahsoka‘s problem. Luke Skywalker is out there doing Jedi stuff, but that’s hardly Din and Grogu’s problem now that they’re master and apprentice but in the Way of the Mand’alor. What’s left for our duo to do as they settle in for a bit of rest and relaxation on Nevarro?
The season 3 finale actually provides an answer to that question in a scene that takes place back on the New Republic base on Adelphi. Din visits New Republic space cop Carson Teva to offer up his services as a more discerning bounty hunter for the fledgling galactic government. Instead of working for whoever pays the most credits, mercenary style, Din will freelance for Carson specifically, taking down Imperial scum wherever they may be holed up in the Outer Rim. It’s a way for Din to train Grogu in the ways of bounty hunting but with a moral compass as well as a way to help Carson protect the planets and people the New Republic is still too weak (and bureaucratic) to mind. While Carson cautions his New Republic higher-ups will never approve of a bounty hunter taking on government-sanctioned assignments, Din says this can stay between them.
This new arrangement where Din works unofficially for the New Republic, serving as a wandering bounty hunter lawman for credits, not only nods to this show’s Samurai and Western movie origins, but also seems to be a way to revive the Rangers of the New Republic spinoff concept that Lucasfilm previously shelved. Just like that, Din and Grogu can now be those titular rangers in the upcoming The Mandalorian season 4.
Although Rangers, which was reportedly set to star Gina Carano’s Cara Dune, was canceled after the actor was fired from the franchise, the ideas for the series were never completely scrapped. Even before the premiere of season 3, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy teased that some of the things that we would have seen in Rangers of the New Republic would instead by folded into The Mandalorian.
“We’d never written any scripts or anything on that,” Kennedy told Empire (via Syfy) in 2021. “Some of that will figure into future episodes, I’m sure, of the next iteration of Mandalorian.”
Sure enough, season 3 takes a much deeper dive into New Republic society than ever before. While the government existed largely on the periphery of Din and Grogu’s adventures in the first two seasons, the New Republic is front and center in “The Convert” and sprinkled throughout the rest of this year’s story. We take trips to Coruscant to see first-hand the dystopian qualities of the New Republic’s amnesty program as well as the red tape that is hampering its institutions. When Carson tries to ask for aid for Nevarro during a pirate attack, he’s essentially told to fill out a request form that will more than likely be rejected anyway. The system clearly doesn’t work and could use the help of a Mandalorian or two not bound by the Coruscant Accords.
Meanwhile, we get to know more about Elia Kane, a formidable villain we first met in season 2 but who is much more fleshed out now that we’ve seen what she can do as a double agent. Pretending to be a rehabilitated former Imperial now serving the New Republic as a spy, Elia actually works for the Shadow Council, the secret circle that rules the Empire under the auspices of Grand Admiral Thrawn. How Elia’s ongoing efforts to thwart her oblivious benefactors tie back to all of these other villains could be something a more New Republic-minded The Mandalorian season 4 could explore further.
In fact, Din and Grogu vs. the Shadow Council could be a way to jump start the next phase of The Mandalorian‘s story now that all of that business on Mandalore has concluded. With Gideon out of the picture (for now), our heroes can now turn their attention to the other warlords terrorizing the innocent people of the Outer Rim. This is the Way.
What’s Next for The Mandalorian After Season 4?
Lucasfilm has often reiterated its plan for a “Mandoverse” (our term, not theirs) of shows set during the New Republic era (five years after Return of the Jedi, in this case). The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, and Skeleton Crew are all meant to be pieces of a whole, with one series leading into or setting up the other. We’ve already seen The Mandalorian do this for Boba Fett and Ahsoka, while The Book of Boba Fett has picked up threads from The Mandalorian as well. In Ahsoka, we’ll follow up on the warrior’s search for Grand Admiral Thrawn, a storyline first set up in season 2 of The Mandalorian. In other words, these series make up a little mini-shared universe in which all the shows communicate with one another, and we now know it’s all leading to a big crossover event in theaters.
At Star Wars Celebration 2023, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that The Mandalorian executive producer and Ahsoka showrunner Dave Filoni will helm a movie set in the New Republic era, picking up on threads from all of these series (and perhaps even resolving a few). What shape this movie will ultimately take, and when it might actually hit theaters, remains to be seen. Rumor on the street is that this film event is still a few years away, and probably not before The Mandalorian season 4.
But what does this big event mean for the future of The Mandalorian after seaosn 4? Is the movie meant to be the finale of the Mandoverse as a whole?
“I don’t know if I’d call it that as such,” Filoni told IGN at Celebration. “I think of the time period now, the New Republic time period, and it’s something that has existed long before we were ever making The Mandalorian. The idea that after Return of the Jedi, there was a New Republic and the heroes still had to defend that republic from the remnant Empire, is a very old idea that we brought into the first season of The Mandalorian because it’s what was always there.”
So, perhaps we should think of the upcoming movie more as the end of one phase of the Mandoverse that also ushers in the start of a new one? The Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau seemed to say as much when asked by Total Film if he saw an end in sight for the flagship Disney+ Star Wars show.
“No, I don’t – I think the beauty of this is that it’s a middle chapter of a much larger story,” he told the magazine. “And though we’ll have resolution over time with these characters, I think that how these characters fit into the larger scope and scale, but it’s not like there’s a finale that we’re building to that I have in mind. Quite the contrary, I love for these stories to go on and on. And so these characters potentially could be with us for a while, and I really love telling stories in their voice, and I love the way the adventures unfold and I’m looking forward to doing much more.”
Assuming that The Mandalorian season 4 doesn’t wrap things up in a more definitive way, Favreau seems to signal there are plenty more adventures ahead for Din and Grogu on Disney+ (and presumably on the big screen). Of course, as Yoda once said, “always in motion is the future.” What we know for sure is that our beloved duo will get at least one more go on Disney+ before the end.
We’ll keep you posted as we hear more! In the meantime, check out our complete guide to upcoming Star Wars movies and TV series here.