This Star Wars: The Mandalorian article contains spoilers.
We hope you’re wearing your best beskar because it’s time to dive deep into the Mines of Mandalore for The Mandalorian season 3 finale. Although there wasn’t a big finale cameo or a post-credit scene setting up the next storyline, “The Return” was a satisfying episode where old scores were settled, new bonds were formed, and things were changed forever with another major death.
It seems like an eternity ago that Din Djarin first strolled into that cantina on Pagodon, but 24 episodes later The Mandalorian feels like an integral part of the Star Wars universe. While we know season 4 is already on the way, the conclusion of the action-packed finale suggests it’ll be without Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon as its de facto big bad…or will it?
With Gideon poised to go head-to-head with Bo-Katan over the Darksaber in The Mandalorian season 3 finale, we knew there would only be one winner. While the Darksaber was crushed in the fracas (erasing generations of Mandalorian tradition in one fell swoop), Gideon soon paid the price for that sacrilege. With Bo-Katan, Din Djarin, and Grogu teaming up against the monstrous Moff in the final battle, he was seemingly killed when the Mandalorian capital ship crashed into his base and engulfed him in flames.
Instead of conveniently dying off-screen, we saw Gideon’s apparent death. However, a very outside-the-box fan theory suggests this won’t be the last time we see the old Mandalorian-obsessed Moff. Some eagle-eyed fans have noticed something very different about the Gideon we meet in season 3 versus how he’s appeared in the past.
“Moff Gideon had a mustache in the first 2 seasons. He didn’t a mustache in season 3,” writes @clonehumor. “The Gideon clones also didn’t have mustaches which means the Gideon we saw walking around was actually a clone. Therefore, the real Moff Gideon is still alive!”
Now, as you can probably tell from this user’s Twitter handle, @clonehumor is joking, but the joke soon turns into other fans wondering in the thread whether this theory is actually right…It certainly wouldn’t be the wildest explanation for the comeback of a major villain that Star Wars has ever attempted. But beyond the case of the missing clone mustache, there’s other evidence that, somehow, Gideon will return.
As we only saw Gideon caught in the explosion in the season 3 finale, it’s possible his beskar armor protected him from the blast. After all, we’ve seen Din’s own Mandalorian armor take quite a bit of heat throughout the series, including during his fight with the Imperial commandos at the start of the episode. He even weathers a flamethrower at point blank range in that sequence. Of course, an explosion as big as a light cruiser crashing into an Imperial base is a whole different level of fire and devastation. But what if Gideon had more than just beskar armor to protect himself from the explosion?
“The Return” finally made good on the Nevarro cloning facility glimpsed in season 2. Now on Mandalore, Gideon confirmed he’s trying to create an army of Force-sensitive super clones in his likeness. If the Gideon Din, Bo, and Grogu fought in the finale really was one of these clones, could he have used the Force to create a bubble around himself just as Grogu did for the trio of heroes as the cruiser crashed into the base? Then again, if Clone Gideon already had Force powers, wouldn’t he have used them to defeat his enemies? Or were they perhaps latent powers that were only triggered once Gideon really needed them in his final moments? We admit we’re really stretching logic here!
Either way, even if our heroes did just deep fry the real Gideon, The Mandalorian has already established that there may be way more of him out there. Before their face off with Gideon, Din and Grogu pull the plug on his clone tanks, presumably killing all of these lab-grown Gideon’s for good. However, like we saw with the Nevarro cloning facility, who’s to say Gideon didn’t have more strongholds out there?
It would’ve been foolish for Gideon to put all his clones in one basket. There were only a handful of clones at Gideon’s Mandalorian base, which was a far cry from the Force-wielding army he threatened us with. Picture the scene where a new Gideon finds the charred corpse of his predecessor in the season 4 premiere and sets his sights on revenge against the Mandalorians (again). This would be one way to lure Din Djarin back from his new role as a New Republic contractor.
With Gideon presumed dead, it would be easy enough for The Mandalorian to move on to something else, but every story needs a villain. While someone like Lars Milkkelsen’s Grand Admiral Thrawn or the expanded Shadow Council could easily fill that gap in season 4, there’s a sense that Gideon was just getting interesting. Why does he hate the Mandalorians so much and why is he so obsessed with creating a powerful Force army for the Empire? There’s a story there we’d be very interested to hear. With showrunner Jon Favreau already confirming that he’s already written The Mandalorian season 4, diving deeper into Gideon’s backstory could be one way to refresh the character before his next fight with Din and Grogu.
We know one thing for sure: Star Wars has a habit of bringing characters back from the dead, with everyone from Emperor Palpatine to Darth Maul coming back for more – and that’s before we get to Force ghosts. The Disney+ shows are even worse offenders, thanks to Boba Fett, Fennec Shand, Reva, Cobb Vanth, and now IG-11 surviving their brushes with death. It’s a tired trope to be sure, but that’s never stopped Star Wars before. Somehow, Gideon could return. Will The Mandalorian really pull this trick again in season 4?
The Mandalorian season 3 is streaming now on Disney+.