The success of The Mandalorian has not only opened the door to a new future of Star Wars on Disney+, with many different series spread across the timeline of the saga now greenlit, but has also launched a smaller, interconnected hub of shows. Along with The Book of Boba Fett and Ahsoka, Rangers of the New Republic will be set concurrently with The Mandalorian, ultimately leading to a climatic crossover event. From their eponymous titles its very clear who the protagonists of three out of four of these shows are, but who exactly are the Rangers of the New Republic? While I’m sure the ranks of this squad will be comprised of several new characters, I can’t help but speculate on which characters from the existing canon could also team up under the moniker.
Every team needs a leader and who better to lead this ragtag band of rebels than an ex-Imperial. I’m talking of Iden Versio – the protagonist from Battlefront 2’s campaign mode. With The Mandalorian reintroducing a plethora of characters from animation, I see a video game character re-emerging to be no different. The game is canon and set at an opportune point in the timeline. There’s a big blank spot in the character’s journey between the Battle of Jakku and the rise of the First Order some three decades later. The badass leader of Inferno Squad was hoping to settle down with Del Meeko but clearly the war is not over. Remnants of the Empire remain and so too does Iden’s quest to stop them.
Iden is an excellent fighter pilot and a natural leader; putting her in charge will create delicious drama in the ranks due to her past as the literal poster child of the Empire. She’s a controversial figure, only defecting after the destruction of the second Death Star. If you’ve played the game then she’s earned redemption in the eyes of the gamer, but what about the other Rangers of the New Republic? What’s more is that Iden is portrayed by actress Janina Gavankar in the game, with the digital model created to look exactly like the actress. The character could therefor easily translate to live action. It was almost as if she was designed to. Gavankar was also on the set of The Mandalorian season 2 for a day, controlling the nostrils of a Mon Calamari mechanic. Could she have been there for more than just a set visit?
I didn’t love Battlefront 2’s short campaign but that doesn’t mean Iden isn’t a great character whose story shouldn’t continue. The same can also be said for my next pick. The Aftermath novels are not my favourites, mainly because I don’t like Chuck Wendig’s style of writing. But his characters are great, and one of them, Cobb Vanth, has already been plucked from the page to appear in a show. I would love for Sinjir Rath Velus to follow suit. Sinjir is also an Imperial defector. He was a loyalty officer and, well, torturer. Able to detect lies through body language, he found a new purpose than just pain when he eventually joined the New Republic. The last time we saw the morally ambiguous character he was an advisor to Chancellor Mon Mothma. I think that position could make him the perfect contact between the Rangers and the New Republic proper. He could be their handler in fact.
This is the part of the article where I originally talked about Cara Dune. While I didn’t want her to helm her own spin-off show – neither the character or actress were strong enough for that – I was looking forward to seeing her as part of the ensemble cast. Not the leader of the team but a significant member. But, despite warnings and outrage, actress Gina Carano doubled down on her problematic social media posts and was let go by Lucasfilm – the one character guaranteed to appear in the show now leaving.
Not that they share the same character specificities but I hope this leaves the door open for Hera Syndulla to appear instead. She’s a veteran of the Rebellion, having been one of the earliest cell leaders, as seen in the brilliant Star Wars: Rebels. She played the mother role of the found family in that animated series and can once again be a calming and uniting presence in this diverse team of hotheads. Her appearance could also be the link between Rangers and Ahsoka. Given her connections with multiple characters, she could be the person to unite all these new shows for the teased “climatic story event”. Oh, and she’s the best pilot in the galaxy.
Next up is the man who deputised Cara, Carson Teva. While some in the New Republic would have arrested her for her past as a deserter, he instead recognises the good she’s doing and makes his own decision. Despite his small appearances in The Mandalorian, I love Carson. The romanticism of Star Wars – mythological figures with magic powers altering the destiny of the galaxy – is wonderful, but I also enjoy seeing a New Republic pilot just trying to do his best. Carson’s a regular guy with a good moral compass. When he’s not pulling over vehicles with dodgy license plates, he’s interviewing witnesses and scribbling in a notebook. He’s a beat cop in the Star Wars galaxy. One who cares. He’s trying to make the galaxy safer and doesn’t think the politicians are doing enough in the Outer Rim and so takes on more responsibility than he needs to. The next step could be him joining the Rangers, and no team is complete without an X-Wing. Also, it’s impossible not to love Paul Sun-Hyung Lee.
If you told me after the first season of The Mandalorian had aired that I would one day hope Bill Burr would star in his own spin-off series then I would have said poodoo to that. But the seventh episode of the second season completely changed my perception on the character of Miggs Mayfeld and Burr as an actor. I was a fan of Burr as a comedian and his small roles in shows such as Breaking Bad but it wasn’t until Chapter 15 that I truly appreciated him as an actor. He’s fantastic, and that tense cafeteria scene is one of the best in the show. Miggs has gone from being an Imperial sharpshooter to a bounty hunter and now, hopefully, a Ranger of the New Republic. The much-improved character’s arc should continue and now that he’s confronted his past and his own denial and nihilism, he’s a Ranger in the making. He and Iden can discuss their pasts in the Empire and Mayfeld can be the philosophical core of the show.
Star Wars needs more alien characters in lead roles! I say this as often as I can. With the prosthetics and technology now available I feel it’s possible, with the right actor, to craft a great alien lead performance rather than relegate the cool designs to background characters. We already have too many human characters. So, who should this alien be? Shriv, of course. Like Iden, Shriv appeared in Battlefront 2 and fast became a fan favourite. The big blue-headed Duros, the same species as bounty hunter Cad Bane, is a sarcastic, often cynical, and always funny character who enhances any team he’s a member of. He’s a friend to Iden and eventually a friend to her daughter Zay decades later. Shriv has appeared in canon novels, including the excellent Resistance Reborn, and it’s time to bring the character to television. He’s comic relief but also the heart of the team.
That’s the team. The Rangers of the New Republic, ending the threat of the Imperial Remnant in the Outer Rim, and maybe stumbling across the formation of the First Order. Who would you like to see make up the ranks of the Rangers? What do you think of my choices? Let me know in the comments and be sure to geek out with me about TV, movies and video-games on Twitter @kylebrrtt.