The Mandalorian Recap: What You Need to Know Before Season 2
Ready to watch The Mandalorian season 2 but need to refresh your memory regarding what happened during the first season of the Star Wars live-action series? Here's an in-depth recap!
This The Mandalorian article contains spoilers.
Five years after Return of the Jedi, a gunslinger comes to town in the latest Star Wars phenomenon. The Mandalorian took the internet by storm last year, thanks to the central duo of Pedro Pascal’s titular bounty hunter and the adorable Child, aka Baby Yoda. Even if you aren’t a hardcore Star Wars fan, the story of a heavily armed mercenary suddenly becoming a father figure to protect the mysterious and Force-sensitive Child is very charming.
With the show returning for a second season on Oct. 30, you might need a refresher on how Mando and Baby Yoda met, what the Empire is up to, why IG-11 is constantly trying to self-destruct, and who the Darksaber-wielding Moff Gideon is. If so, you’ve come to the right place!
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Disney dropped a season 1 recap video earlier this week that plays the hits. Check it out below:
But if you need a proper recap of The Mandalorian season 1 in more detail, we’ve got a chronological timeline of events below:
The Client Hires Mando for a Top Secret Bounty Involving the Empire
From the very start of the show, the Mandalorian, whose real name is Din Djarin, has a job to do. He’s a down-on-his-luck bounty hunter, good at his job but low on credits at a time when the fall of the Empire has destabilized the galaxy. And the highest paying job right now, according to Bounty Hunters’ Guild leader Greef Karga (Carl Weathers), is from the unnamed Client (Werner Herzog), a crime lord loyal to the Empire. He will pay top credits for Mando to find a 50-year-old escapee referred to only as “the Asset.” Working for the oppressive Empire isn’t at the top of Mando’s list, but he needs the cash to keep his ship, the Razor Crest, running and send some home to his clan, which is hiding in a secret Mandalorian conclave on the planet Nevarro.
Mando Suits Up with the Help of the Armorer
The Client is willing to pay in beskar, the highly durable metal Mandalorians use for their legendary armor. Before heading out on his next job, the Mando checks with his clan’s Armorer (Emily Swallow) to make sure his pay is the real deal. A skilled blacksmith and community leader, the Armorer explains that the beskar came from Mandalorians lost in a Great Purge.
The Armorer builds Mando a new armor piece and talks about the importance of the signet, a symbol of a Mandalorian’s victories. Every time he finishes a job, he’ll return to the Armorer for a new piece. Her work also gives him time to think about his own past as a foundling, orphaned during the Clone Wars.
Kuill Helps Mando Find the Asset
The new bounty leads the Mandalorian to Kuill (Nick Nolte), an Ugnaught farmer on the desert planet Arvala-7 who used to be an indentured mechanic for the Empire. Getting to the Asset isn’t going to be easy: Mando has to ride ornery animals called blurrgs, and he isn’t nearly as good at it as he is at killing. Kuill mentors Mando with patience and insight, and he agrees to help him find the bounty.
IG-11 Is an Assassin Droid with an Enthusiastic Self-Destruct Mechanism
When Mando reaches the target’s location, he discovers he isn’t the only bounty hunter there. IG-11 (Taika Waititi), an assassin droid with the ability to spin his body all the way around and fire in any direction, agrees to work with Mando to find the Asset. IG-88’s deadpanning and his eagerness to self-destruct when facing overwhelming odds bounce off of Mando’s straightforward, serious demeanor, and the two become effective teammates.
Mando Forms an Instant Bond with Baby Yoda
It turns out the Client was a bit misleading when he said the Asset was 50-years-old. It’s a child of Yoda’s mysterious species, and Mando remembers the loss of his own parents too keenly to consign anyone else to orphanhood. The Child, who has no known relation to the Jedi Master despite the fact the majority of fans call him Baby Yoda, is green, cute, and harmless, and while Mando initially wants to turn him in for the money, a deep bond begins to form between them as soon as they meet inside a mercenary hideout.
Needless to say, the reveal of the little guy was as surprising to Star Wars fans as it was to Mando, since we rarely see any other aliens of Yoda’s species, and certainly never a child. When IG-11 tries to kill Baby Yoda, Mando takes him out, and a new heroic duo is formed.
Baby Yoda Reveals His Force Powers
In order to leave the planet, Mando has to wrest his ship back from scavenger Jawas who have dismantled the Razor Crest for scrap by offering a trade. They want a mudhorn egg, and, naturally, the rhinoceros-like mudhorn doesn’t want to let him into the nest.
Mando’s acquisition of the egg turns into a messy, muddy fight, the animal’s bulk almost proving a match for Mandalorian beskar and weapons. But just when it looks like Mando might lose, Baby Yoda levitates the monster with the Force. Do Jedi abilities run in his species? We don’t know, but the little guy’s magic enables Mando to kill the beast.
The Mandalorians Pledge to “The Way”
When Mando returns to his people, it sparks an argument about whether Mando is doing the right thing by taking Imperial bounties. Through this we learn more about the culture of the Mandalorians, who had to go into hiding after the Empire took control of their homeworld of Mandalore. “This is the Way,” they intone, emphasizing the seriousness of their creed to stay hidden, keep their helmets on at all times, and be loyal to one another. At one point, the Armorer has to break up a fight between Mando and another Mandalorian warrior.
Mando Hands the Child Over, Then Steals Him Back
Technically, Mando does his job, turning the Child over to the ominous Client. But when he learns that the Client’s men plan to do some kind of experiment on him — there’s a strong implication that Baby Yoda is an early strand-cast, just like the Emperor’s clone in The Rise of Skywalker — Mando can’t live with that. He sneaks back into the Client’s Imperial facility and cuts through the crime lord’s ranks of stormtroopers.
Stealing the Child back, Mando soon finds himself at odds with not only the Imperial forces on Nevarro but also the Bounty Hunters’ Guild, which can’t standby Mando after he breaks their code. Ultimately, Mando’s clan helps him escape and rocket away on the Razor Crest.
Cara Dune Brawls Her Way into the Story
Trying to find a safe place for himself and the Child to hide from the Empire and other bounty hunters, Mando winds up on the planet Sorgan. There he meets the ex-Rebel shocktrooper Cara Dune (Gina Carano), who suspects he’s there to collect a bounty on her. After a fistfight emblematic of The Mandalorian‘s more down-to-earth take on sweeping Star Wars combat, they become fast friends.
We learn Dune turned to the mercenary life after the end of the Galactic Civil War because she wasn’t interested in the peacekeeping career for the New Republic. Fighting for credits suited her better.
Mando Finds Himself in Trouble in a Quiet Village
Mando’s next stop on Sorgan is a small village that he needs to protect Seven Samurai-style. The village is under threat of attack by Klatooinian marauders, with a farmer named Omera (Julia Jones) and her daughter leading the defense.
In order to get Mando on their side, Omera offers Mando sanctuary: he and Baby Yoda cab hide from the rest of the galaxy in the village. Mando, who seems to develop feelings for Omera during his time in the village, almost shows her his face, which is forbidden by his clan, which would banish him. Mando stops Omera from taking off his helmet at the last second.
Ultimately, Mando, Omera, and Cara Dune defend the village, but they can’t stay together. Baby Yoda still has a price on his head, so Mando and Cara move on.
Gunslingers on Tatooine
When his ship falls under attack by another bounty hunter, Mando is forced to make a quick pit stop on Tatooine to do repairs on the Razor Crest. While on the famous Star Wars planet, Mando meets both the friendly mechanic Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) and the young bounty hunter Toro Calican, who is searching for an infamous assassin named Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). Toro asks Mando for aid taking down his target, promising to split the bounty.
While the two successfully defeat Shand in the desert beyond Mos Eisley, Toro ends up betraying Mando in an attempt to collect the bounty on Baby Yoda. This turns out to be a poor decision.
Mando’s time on Tatooine is particularly notable for the final scene of the episode “The Gunslinger,” which teases a mystery character wearing armor and spurs not unlike those worn by another famous Mandalorian bounty hunter from Star Wars‘ past! Based on the season 2 cast list, this is either Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) himself or a sheriff from the books named Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant), who finds Fett’s armor in the novel Aftermath by Chuck Wendig.
Kuill Dies Protecting Baby Yoda
Mando, Cara, Greef, and Kuill, who has reprogrammed IG-11 as a fast-shooting service droid, eventually have come up with a plan to throw the Imperials off Baby Yoda’s scent. They’ll turn in Baby Yoda’s pram to the Client while Kuill takes the kid himself to safety. But it doesn’t work: the Client’s boss turns out to be Moff Gideon, an Imperial warlord who knows exactly who he’s up against. Gideon recommends the Client double check the kid’s whereabouts and the plan falls apart. With the season coming to a close, the Client’s troopers catch up to Baby Yoda and kill Kuill, while the others are trapped in Nevarro’s cantina by Gideon’s Imperial forces.
Moff Gideon gives the Mando an ultimatum: surrender before nightfall and he’ll let them live. The good guys try to break out of the cantina, but they’re thoroughly trapped.
IG-11 Saves the Day, But Pays the Price
Fortunately, IG-11 swoops in to steal Baby Yoda back. In a blaze of blaster fire, he breaks through the Imperial ring around the cantina, then blasts his way into the underground network of tunnels where the Mandalorian clans live. But Mando is injured and faces another type of exposure: IG-11 needs to remove his helmet to heal his wound. Although Mando can’t show his face another living being, the droid is no such thing, so he gives in.
With the wound stabilized, they limp into the tunnels. After a cascade of action sequences including the Armorer kicking stormtrooper butt, IG-11 finally self-destructs to give his friends their only possible way out of the Imperial trap.
Mando Takes Down Moff Gideon’s TIE Fighter
The last piece of equipment the Armorer gave Mando is the perfect counter to Moff Gideon’s starship. Mando activates his jetpack and follows Gideon’s advanced Outland TIE fighter into the sky, putting to use all the skills he’s learned since he started earning back his beskar. He plants explosives on the ship and brings it down, seemingly killing Gideon in the process. It’s a bittersweet victory for our heroes, who have lost a few friends along the way. At least Baby Yoda is finally safe, right?
Moff Gideon Wields the Legendary Darksaber
Wrong. Moff Gideon has one more surprise to show. He not only survived the crash, but is able to cut his way out of the wreckage with the Darksaber, a black-bladed energy sword that was once the symbol of the true leader of the Mandalorian homeworld.
Last seen in the hands of the Mandalorian Bo-Katan Kryze, the Darksaber shouldn’t be in Imperial hands. It’s an insult to the Mandalorian people and suggests Gideon is out for them personally. With Din Djarin’s people scattered after the Imperial attacks, Mando and Baby Yoda really are a clan of two against the world, and will have to face overwhelming odds to finally defeat the Empire.
Mando and Baby Yoda Embark on a New Journey
At the end of the season, Mando and Baby Yoda follow the Armorer’s suggestion (although it’s more like an order) to find the Child’s people (the Jedi, ancient sorcerer enemies to the Mandalorians, the way she tells it) out among the stars. Meanwhile, Greef and Cara Dune stay with the Bounty Hunter’s guild, sharing a final farewell with Mando and Baby Yoda before the head out to parts unknown on their new mission. This is where season 2 will pick up!