This Star Wars article contains spoilers for The Mandalorian.
The first live-action Star Wars series has hit Disney+ with some unexpected turns and new mysteries about the galaxy far, far away that should keep viewers buzzing throughout the season. One thing fans are wondering about The Mandalorian is when exactly it takes place. The show hasn’t addressed its place in the timeline directly, but we’re here to help guide you through when the Mandalorian’s adventures are happening.
The Mandalorian is set approximately five years after the fall of the Empire in Return of the Jedi but before the rise of the First Order in The Force Awakens, bridging the gap betwen the two trilogies. While this time period was heavily explored in the Legends (old canon) timeline, it remains a bit hazy in the current continuity.
Here’s what we do know: the Rebel Alliance has reorganized itself into the New Republic, operating out of its new capital on the planet Chandrila, the home of Mon Mothma, Rebel leader and first Chancellor of the new galactic government. As you can imagine, in a galaxy as vast as the setting of Star Wars, the rise of the New Republic has been great for some planets but not for all.
While many systems have been freed from the Emperor‘s tyranny, a remnant of the Empire still remains outside of the New Republic’s influence, even after the Battle of Jakku. This means that the faraway planets the Mandalorian frequents are still either under the control of surviving Imperial warlords, have been left to fend for themselves, or have been plunged into lawlessness after the Battle of Endor.
Most of the context we have for this time period comes from other parts of the Expanded Universe, namely the books and comics. The Battle of Jakku — which took place in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath novels — was the final conflict of the Galactic Civil War, after which the Empire finally surrendered, vanishing from the Republic and into the Unknown Regions, where they rebuilt their war machine and reorganized as the First Order.
As far as The Mandalorian‘s Imperials go, in the first three episodes, we get a look at one Imperial enclave, the headquarters of the mysterious Client (Werner Herzog), which is guarded by grimy and dusty stormtroopers. The client wears the Empire’s sigil. He’s an Imperial officer but not the one in charge of the planet Nevarro, where much of the show is set. The Client’s boss is, in fact, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), who commands — at the very least — a platoon of stormtroopers and high-tech Death Troopers. He reveals himself as the big bad of the piece late into the first season, an intimidating villain clad in black who doesn’t hesitate to shoot down all who oppose or fail him (as the Client learns). After all, it’s only through fear that the remaning Imperial warlords can keep their hold on the Outer Rim.
Fortunately, it’s a time of relative peace for the rest of the galaxy. The New Republic is in control, but chaos still reigns in the farthest reaches of space. This is both good and bad news for the Mandalorian.