The Mandalorian is back, and you know what that means. Episode 1 Season 3 is a focused explosion of entertainment featuring all the best bits of Star Wars: laser gun shootouts, escalating space battles, and sprawling-faced pirate captains.
Wait, is this still Star Wars we’re talking about? That’s for sure – after season 1 and season 2 of the Disney Plus series were influenced by the cowboys ‘n’ gunfighters of the Western genre, season 3 of The Adventures of Mando is navigating uncharted waters: the cape genre and monstrous sword we know and love from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Avast, my hearts!
Read on for our recap of The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 1 (or Chapter 17 of the series as a whole), complete with Star Wars Easter eggs and some early thoughts on how the new season will take place. Beware of spoilers, you scurvy seadogs!
OK, before we get into chapter 17, let’s remember where we are in the adventures of the titular Mandalorian bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal, who is also currently burning the screen in the acclaimed HBO series The last of us), and his adorable pal Grogu (aka Baby Yoda). In the season 2 finale the Mando dropped off Grogu with everyone’s favorite Jedi, Luke Skywalker. So why are Grogu and Din together again?
Well, between seasons, the stars of The Mandalorian appeared in an episode of another Disney Plus series, The Book of Boba Fett. It was one of the best episodes of the otherwise underwhelming series and well worth a watch, but that doesn’t change the fact that The Mandalorian season 3 has only just begun and you already have homework. Thanks Disney.
THE fifth episode of the Boba Fett series explained why Mando and Grogu got back together and why they travel in a modified version of one of the Naboo N-1 Starfighters seen in The Phantom Menace. This episode also reveals some of the backstory of the Mandalorian sect, the Children of the Watch, and why they left Mandalore.
The new series also opens with a brief recap showing the droid IG-11 self-destructing during a battle with Imperial stormtroopers in the Season 1 finale of this show. This droid’s story, voiced by Taika Waititi, clearly doesn’t end there.
As for the other main characters in the series, the villainous Imperial Moff Gideon was brought in to face a New Republic war tribunal. after his capture. And Cara Dune is no longer a marshal, having been recruited by New Republic special forces. Given actor Gina Carano’s very public clash with Disneythis is probably the last we will hear from Cara.
this is the way
The episode opens with a pounding sound. Like the Mandalorian warriors themselves, their Beskar armor is forged in fire and repeatedly beaten. Their leader, the Armorer, constructs a new helmet in an attractive turquoise hue, transported to a beach where a youth feels the sun on his face for the last time.
“The words of the Creed will forever be forged in my heart,” the youth intones, but never completes the vow to keep the helmet on as they are interrupted by a gigantic space alligator. Wow, Star Wars!
This sets off an intense battle in the air and under the splashing waves, like the beginning of Saving Private Ryan was all about, you know, space helmets and giant alien crocodiles. Fortunately, the Mando rushes in to save the day. See you later alligator!
Is the armorer grateful? No, she always talks about Mando (real name Your Djarin) taking off his helmet. She insists that redemption is impossible because Mandalore’s mines were destroyed by the Empire, but Mando offers some hope with a crystal that could be a relic from their home planet. Our hero deems this to be proof that Mandalore is no longer poisoned, and the Armorer seems willing to welcome the apostate into the fold if he can prove it. Sounds like a quest to me!
Pirates of the Outer Rim
So once again the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda are heading to Nevarro, the planet where the Mando once deposited Baby Yoda and later rescued him in season 1. This scummy fringe planet rose in the world under the magistrate, sorry, high magistrate Greef Karga, become the “jewel of the Outer Rim”.
Karga even offers Mando a plot of land to hang up his blaster. But it’s not long before old trouble finds them, as they face off against Vane, henchman of Pirate King Gorian Shard. Vane and his thirsty pirates insist on a drink as a reminder of the good old days, reminding Karga that he paid them for murder and mayhem in the good old days.
The High Magistrate has none of that but shows he hasn’t gone soft, removing his beautiful robes to reveal a blaster. A real western-style shootout ensues and Vane is dispatched with a message for the Pirate King.
After a classic dogfight avoiding Star Wars asteroids, Mando and Grogu encounter Gorian Shard in space. This seaweed-encrusted filibuster seems inspired by the fantastical creatures of the Pirates of the Caribbean, warning Mando that he better start believing in ghost stories because he is one. Wait, bad movie – actually it asks for the Mando’s ship. But our hero leaves, leaving the Pirate King to curse. We guess we’ll soon see more nautical villainy from space pirates.
IG will return
Nevarro raised a statue of the bounty-hunting droid IG-11, who sacrificed himself fighting the Imperials. The statue turns out to be made of the actual remaining parts of the droid, allowing the Mando to resurrect the bot. He quickly changes his mind when he defaults to the old programming and go all Terminator on little Grogu. Leave baby Yoda alone! Another statue solves the problem, though there was no need for Mando’s terrible pun.
Mando brings the remains of IG-11 to the Anzellans, chattering animatronic mechanics in delightfully Star Wars style (you may remember no monster Since The Rise of Skywalker). It’s great to see The Mandalorian continue that great Star Wars tradition of deliciously fleshy aliens coming in all prosthetic forms and animatronic sizes. It’s huge pressure from us when Grogu tries to squeeze the little cutie.
Unfortunately, IG-11’s memory is burned out, but we’re sure something is about to happen.
Bo Katan Castle
Next stop: Kalevala, a Mandalorian system world, with a brutalist, concrete-gray Mandalorian castle.
The helmetless and bitter Bo-Katan Kryze is enthroned but overthrown, as without the legendary Darksaber – a symbol of Mandalorian leadership – his forces melted away to become mercenaries. She’s probably still furious that Mando inadvertently took possession of the gun when he defeated Moff Gideon in combat.
Katan insists that there is nothing magical about the mines of Mandalore, and Mando’s quest is based on superstition. But we’re sure his interest could be revived if Mando and Co. proves his planet isn’t as ravaged, plundered and poisoned as everyone thinks.
Easter Eggs and Observations
- The episode is directed by Rick Famuyiwa, a director generally known for more grounded stories like the coming-of-age drama Dope, the true story Confirmation, and the TV series The Chi. That said, he was originally set to direct DC’s the flash movie, but given that movie’s troubled history, he’s probably happy to be working on Star Wars instead.
- In hyperspace, Grogu sees space whales – fans who watched the CGI animated series Rebels will remember it as Purgill. The four Seasons are on Disney Plus.
- These hyperspace-traveling creatures dragged great Imperial friend Thrawn and Jedi trainee Ezra Bridger to an unknown destination in this show’s finale. This story is likely to continue in Ahsoka, a live-action Mandalorian spin-off showwhich should hit Disney Plus This yearso the Purgill could be shown here to establish them for a live audience.
- Pirates include a Klatooinian, a Trandoshan, and a Warthog.
- The Klatooinian criminals were among the antagonists in The Book of Boba Fett (and whose name recalls the famous alien catchphrase “Klaatu barada nikto” from the 1950s sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still).
- The Trandoshans have also appeared in the Boba Fett series. A notable member of the lizard-like race is Bossk, a contemporary of Fett on the bounty hunting scene.
- A warthog is, uh, a warthog.
- Beware of those Salacious Crumb Monkeys in a tree.
- The Anzellan mechanic is voiced by Shirley Henderson, the award-winning actress who also lent her distinctive voice to Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter films.
- Pirate King Gorian Shard is voiced by Nonso Anozie, who played Xaro Xhoan Daxos in Game of Thrones.
- Vane is played by Marti Matulis, who played the monstrosity in the 2022 horror hit Smile.
- For the scenes in which The Armorer forges Baskar armor, the credits list a “double smith” – blacksmith and artist Heather McCarty.
Check back next Wednesday for the next Star Wars adventure, as The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 2 premieres on Disney Plus March 8.
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