The Mandalorian Refresher
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Five years after the events of Return of the Jedi (1983) and the fall of the Galactic Empire, The Mandalorian follows a lone bounty hunter in the outer reaches of the now lawless galaxy. He’s hired to retrieve “The Child” (better known as Baby Yoda), but chooses to go on the run to protect the infant rather than collect the bounty on him.
Created by Jon Favreau, Pedro Pascal takes the lead as The Mandlorian (also known as Mando and Din Djarin). Giancarlo Esposito, Rosario Dawson, Taika Waititi, Ming-Na Wen and Nick Nolte also appear throughout the three seasons.
It tied for the most Emmy nominations in 2021 with 24, including Best Drama Series, a surprising feat for a genre series, and it came from a then-fledgling Disney+. Now in its third season, The Mandalorian continues to be the beating heart of the Star Wars universe, a franchise that is now 46 years old. If you’re looking for a fresh take on the epic space opera and a series that you can invest in, this is the show that can connect you to viewers across the generations.
The Quick Refresher: Back in Season 1, Mando went on the run with The Child and became a target of the scattered remnants of the Imperial army — which was still reeling from its defeat at the end of Return of the Jedi. In the finale, he decided to keep the little green guy around and vowed to find out where he came from. Season 2 continued Mando’s quest to basically become the Best Space Dad ever.
The second season also took the opportunity to go even deeper into Star Wars lore, giving us living, breathing, three-dimensional versions of characters only seen in animation before, including badass Jedi Ahsoka Tano, played by Rosario Dawson, and fellow Mandalorian Bo-Katan, played by Katee Sackhoff (now fully embodying the role she voiced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars). We also find out that The Child has a name: Grogu (but he’ll always be Baby Yoda to true fans).
A few notable live-action characters from the Star Wars films make appearances as well. It may have taken a while, but we finally got to see the triumphant return of the most famous Mandalorian of all, Boba Fett (played by Temuera Morrison of the Star Wars movie prequels). And of course, there was that thrilling surprise cameo at the end of the finale. If you’ve seen it, you know. If you haven’t, it’s too good to spoil. Let’s just say, if it doesn’t give you chills, you might not be a Star Wars fan at all.
If there’s required home work to do before jumping into Season 3, you should watch the last episode of Season 2, and not just for the above mentioned reveal. There’s a tag scene in the finale that sets up The Book Of Boba Fett, the closely connected series that aired on Disney+ in late 2021 and early 2022, which essentially doubled as a Mandalorian Season 2B. Season 3 won’t make complete sense unless you have some familiarity with the Boba Fett series.
But it’s worth noting: Boba Fett is slow, even with just seven episodes. It also failed to impress fans who wanted something more than flashbacks to Star Wars favorites, though it certainly delivers on nostalgia (Tusken Raiders, Jawas, Wookiees, the Rancor, the Sarlacc Pit, and Max Rebo, the blue elephantine keyboard player from Return of the Jedi). If you’d rather skip it and keep up with your fellow Mandalorian viewers, just read our need-to-know on the Boba Fett series.
What to expect in Season 3? The story revolves around Mando (still Pedro Pascal) and Grogu traveling to Mandalore so that Mando can redeem himself for removing his helmet. (Religious Mandalorians like Mando prove their devotion to the creed by never removing their helmets.) The rest you’ll have to watch.
Go Deeper If you find yourself asking, why is Star Wars still relevant today? Two constitutional law professors explain what the franchise can teach us about the decline of democracy.
As for its pop culture influence,check out the cultural analysis by A.O. Scott of The New York Times, who explained in 2015 how the original defined a generation and changed the course of filmmaking.
If the notoriously fractious Star Wars fandom can agree that The Mandalorian is a worthy torchbearer as the franchise heads into an uncertain future, it’s got to be worth checking out. Added bonus: you’ll be able to stay up with the memes in your social media feeds.
This one is a family watch for Star Wars fans old and new — but keep in mind it’s TV-14.
Where to find The Mandalorian: Disney+