Be warned, the following article contains spoilers for The Mandalorian. Although, if you haven’t watched it at this point, what are doing? Yeah, it may not be available in the strictest legal sense in most places around the world but come on. There are alternative ways to watch the show. I hate to do it but if you’re launching the first live-action Star Wars series in the US but not in the UK until months afterwards then I’m resorting to sailing those pirate seas, and I suggest you do too.
The first season of The Mandalorian wrapped up its 8-episode run with a fairly satisfying conclusion that closed out one chapter while opening up options for the next. The season at times felt like Lucasfilm taking baby (Yoda) steps into this new format for Star Wars, keeping everything simple and straightforward as the series paid homage to Western tropes and storytelling. It’s a fun show that executes what it’s doing quite well but it’s not currently trying to do that much. With the show a massive success for Disney’s behemoth new streaming service, The Mandalorian seems set to expand in its future seasons, just like Star Wars: Rebels before it, and the first season offered up plenty of storytelling opportunities and unanswered questions that can continue to drive the plot forward. Who was the occupant of those spurred boots seen in the final scene of episode 5? Will Bill Burr and his team of miscreants return to seek revenge on our titular hero? Will Mando deliver ‘The Child’ back to its people? And what was – and is – Moff Gideon’s plan for Baby Yoda? But, beyond answering all of these questions, I think The Mandalorian could be the place to answer one of the sequel trilogy’s biggest unanswered questions too. Be prepared, we’re moving into bonkers fan theory territory.
Now, I know the big unanswered sequel trilogy question people are speculating that future seasons of The Mandalorian will come to answer is just how Emperor Palpatine returned in The Rise of Skywalker, with theories stating that Gideon wants to extract Baby Yoda’s Midichlorians and use them to somehow revive the Emperor, but I doubt this’ll be the case. I don’t think it’s a bad theory and there’s certainly a possibility it holds some truth, but The Mandalorian seems so much smaller than those movies and it’d feel weird to go from a small western series to suddenly including the Sith and galactic stakes. Plus, I don’t think there is a good answer to how Palpatine returned and the franchise should simply maintain the wishy-washy explanation we received in the movie. I also don’t want Gideon to be answering to some higher imperial power but rather for him to be the leader of his own remnant faction unconnected to The First Order. After the battle of Jakku, those imperials deemed worthy of saving were sent co-ordinates and flight paths to a place in the Unknown Regions where they eventually began the First Order, while those deemed not worth saving were left behind to die or be captured by the New Republic. Instead of Gideon being a member of this new secret First Order faction, I think it would be much more interesting if he had been left behind and now has to seek his own path, knowing the Emperor didn’t find him worthy of saving.
In my eyes, Gideon wants to prove himself the leader the Emperor – and then Gallius Rax – didn’t believe him to be when they didn’t include him in their plans to continue the Empire in the Unknown Regions. I think he wants to become the next Vader. As a long-serving Imperial, working his way from ISB officer to Moff (although I think he may have given himself that title), he could have encountered Vader at some point and been awed at the power he displayed. Now insecure and seeking his own power after the collapse of the Empire, Gideon could seek to replicate that power – quite literally. We know he was trying to extract something from Baby Yoda and Midichlorians are the most logical and likely answer. While I don’t think it’ll actually end up working because “that’s not how the Force works”, Gideon could try and inject the Midichlorians into his bloodstream in an effort to obtain force powers. The black armour and cape he wears is already reminiscent of Vader’s attire and from that final scene we see that Gideon is in possession of the Darksaber, which not only shows he was the one responsible for Mandalore’s subservience to the Empire and near-destruction, bringing him into conflict with Din, but also might continue to show an effort to mimic Darth Vader. If only he could have Vader’s actual lightsaber…
That’s right. The unanswered question from The Force Awakens I think The Mandalorian may answer is how the Skywalker lightsaber ended up in Maz Kanata’s possession. It goes a little something like this. A worker on Cloud City could find the lightsaber, stuck in an air duct for years, and word gets out through criminal circles of the discovery. A Jedi’s weapon is sure to have lots of interested parties vying for ownership and so Gideon seeks out the blade. As we saw in the season 1 finale, Gideon was an ISB agent and knows information about the most secretive individuals in the galaxy, so maybe he discovered the truth that Vader was once Anakin Skywalker and seeks his former weapon in order to become more like the Sith Lord he admires. That would certainly put a fun twist on what the lightsaber represents. Throughout the sequel trilogy it’s a symbol of the light side of the force, reaching out to Rey, and only Luke’s legacy of good is imbued upon the weapon. But let’s not forget that this is also the lightsaber Anakin used to murder countless younglings and Jedi during Order 66 and having Gideon revere the blade for that reason could be interesting. Or maybe Gideon doesn’t know of the lightsaber’s history and is only after it because he knows, from experience with the Darksaber, that it is a formidable weapon worth acquiring.
The Cloud City worker, maybe an Ugnaught to bring back memories of Kuiil, might put the Skywalker blade up for auction or just plans to sell it directly to Gideon; either way The Mandalorian would intervene. The big thing about introducing the Darksaber into the show is that at some point you need to introduce a weapon that can go up against it, and few can. I think the appearance of another lightsaber just makes sense. After a duel between our hero and villain, Din could be left with the blade and be unsure what to do with it. Does he keep it as his own weapon? He sure does own a lot of them. Or does hang on to it for Baby Yoda to use in the future, in keeping with Jedi tradition. And where could he be mulling over this question? Why, in Maz Kanata’s castle of course!
According to Deadline, characters from the Skywalker Saga will be appearing in season 2 and while some fans are floating the possibility of Luke, Han and Leia, I think Maz is the likeliest choice for the world of The Mandalorian. She’s a pirate and criminal herself and at this point in the timeline is running her cantina/criminal hideout on Takodana that we mostly notably saw in The Force Awakens. Being a bounty hunter, it makes perfect sense for Din to know of and visit the castle, and what better place to go for guidance than to Maz. She could give advice about Baby Yoda, maybe offering information on his species, and, upon seeing the lightsaber, could ask to keep it there. While the films don’t make it clear, Maz is a force-user herself and when she touches the saber’s hilt she could be given a vision, or a more general feeling, that it should remain at the castle until the blade calls to Rey in The Force Awakens.
So, that’s how I think The Mandalorian could, five years later in a completely different format, answer the biggest lingering question of The Force Awakens. This isn’t a question I desperately need answering but I believe that the series offers the perfect opportunity to do so and seeing it onscreen would probably be more satisfying than the alternative of exploring the lightsaber’s journey in a comic or novel. But I’d still read it. This theory does have the pungent stench of over-enthusiastic fan speculation about it but, even if it’s not Gideon’s plan to become like Vader or go after the lightsaber, I think there is a possibility The Mandalorian will answer the film’s continuing mystery. Hell, maybe it’s all answered in one episode and it’s Bill Burr who’s after the weapon. Whatever the story, I think The Mandalorian is the best place to tell it.
How do you think the Skywalker lightsaber got to Maz’s castle? Do you think we’ll find out in The Mandalorian? Let me know in the comments and be sure to geek out with me about TV, movies and video-games on Twitter @kylebrrtt.