The Mandalorian

How ‘The Mandalorian’ Connects to the Star Wars Universe

The new Disney+ series will feel familiar to longtime Star Wars fans.
November 23, 2019
9 mins read

The first Disney+ original “Star Wars” show is taking advantage of its source material as much as possible. “The Mandalorian” depicts a lone bounty hunter making his way across the system to earn money and prestige with his varied and violent set of skills.

He’ll be interacting with previous stories and characters from the “Star Wars” universe and solidifying his place in the “Star Wars” canon as he goes. Here are a few of the many pre-existing bits of “Star Wars” mythos that the show’s protagonist has interacted with in the first couple episodes of his voyage (Spoilers ahead!).

The Mandalorians

With such an extensive history for the universe, having been constructed by stories told with every media format one can imagine, the writers for “The Mandalorian” have a lot to pick from when it comes to previously existing content to incorporate. This includes the identity of the show’s protagonist, and the inspiration for the title itself: Mandalorians.

In the “Star Wars” universe, Mandalorians were an elite society of warriors that lived by specific moral and ethical codes. The home of the Mandalorians was the planet Mandalore, but the inhabitants of the planet themselves spread across the galaxy to expand their society or to take odd jobs.

In fact, this desire to take odd jobs and profit from their intense warrior training led to Mandalorians becoming notorious bounty hunters. The Mandalorians that took up bounty hunting became some of the best fighters and negotiators in the galaxy, and they rarely let a target get away unscathed.

The reputation for efficiency and ferocity that Mandalorians gained was backed up by extensive results. Prior to the Disney acquisition of “Star Wars,” there were hundreds of books and comic books written about the exploits of various bounty hunters; after the acquisition, many of these accounts became non-canonical or directly contradicted by new material.

New canonical appearances of the Mandalorians include an extensive plot arc in the animated “The Clone Wars” series, which will soon return and expand on the status of Mandalorians in the current canon.

One bounty hunter’s mythos stood strong through this change: Boba Fett. Fett appeared in “The Empire Strikes Back” of the “Star Wars” movies as one of the multiple vigilantes hired to capture Han Solo. He eventually does so, bringing Solo to Jabba the Hutt and sparking off the events of “Return of the Jedi.”

Fett apparently dies during Solo’s escape attempt, although he managed to survive the dreaded Sarlacc Pit in the old pre-Disney continuity, so who can really say whether or not his story is finished? Either way, the titular Mandalorian from the new series seems to be picking up where Fett and the rest of the Mandalorians left off.

Another obscure reference to Mandalorian lore from the first few episodes is the mention of a Mythosaur, which was an apex predator on Mandalore in the past. The official Mandalorian sigil is a Mythosaur skull, but the species’ name hadn’t been mentioned in the current canon before this episode. Speaking of species-related reveals …

Returning Species

Bounty hunter droids have been in “Star Wars” since “The Empire Strikes Back” with the introduction of IG-88. The IG line of assassins, made by the InterGalactic Banking Clan, had many model varieties including the aforementioned IG-88; the droid made his first appearance standing next to Fett, also looking to pursue the bounty for Solo.

In the first episode of “The Mandalorian,” an IG-11 model droid arrives on the planet Arvala-7 at the same time as the protagonist of the series. It shows off its renowned assassin skills against the many guards who are defending the “asset” the bounty hunters are looking for.

Jawas first appeared in “A New Hope” as scavengers in the deserts of Tattooine. They steal any technology that they can find, take it apart and sell it for a profit. They apparently live on Arvala-7 as well, patrolling the wasteland and dismantling anything that glimmers or glows. The Mandalorian is forced to contend with them if he wants to escape the planet, which puts these rat-like creatures in a much more prominent position than they have been in the past.

In “The Empire Strikes Back,” pig-like Ugnaughts managed Cloud City’s mining equipment and functioned as janitors and mechanics. They primarily appeared in the background and their main function in the story was to dismantle C-3PO; in “The Mandalorian,” an Ugnaught named Kuiil guides the protagonist around the planet and teaches him how to ride the local beasts of burden, Blurrgs. He speaks Basic, which is represented as English, unlike previously-seen Ugnaughts who mostly grunt and snort.

“The Mandalorian” seems determined to bring previously underused species into the spotlight.

Baby Yoda

Yoda is one of the most iconic characters in “Star Wars,” perhaps only second to Darth Vader, and one of the reasons he’s so distinct is that there’s no other character like him. There is one Jedi Master named Yaddle in “The Phantom Menace” who shares his species, but she is a background character and doesn’t have any dialogue.

In the old canon there were four or five other examples of Yoda’s species throughout the entire timeline of the galaxy, but after Disney’s acquisition of the “Star Wars” properties, Yoda has returned to being nearly alone in the galaxy.

However, in the first episode of “The Mandalorian,” fans finally meet another member of Yoda’s species. The protagonist’s most ambitious hunt yet involves the capture of a character described as 50 years old; the reveal that the “50-year-old” is actually a wide-eyed, big-eared baby was as much of a shock to viewers as it was to the Mandalorian.

The toddler, nicknamed “Baby Yoda” by fans, has been widely discussed online, leading the character’s adorable features and sudden popularity to become a topic of articles and Twitter threads. It remains to be seen what importance the baby has in the overall plot of the series, and if it has any relation to Yoda outside of their shared species, but it’s sure to be an enduring topic of discussion among “Star Wars” fans.

The new series shows promise for the “Star Wars” canon and provides fans with a lot to think about. Hopefully, this is a sign that Disney is finally taking the legacy of “Star Wars” seriously and can continue to deliver results, through “The Mandalorian” and “The Rise of Skywalker.”

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