What’s next for The Mandalorian in season three?

*** Be warned that MAJOR SPOILERS ARE AHEAD, so if you haven’t watched the latest episode of The Mandalorian, don’t read this article. Trust me, you really want to go into this one without spoilers. ***

One of the biggest questions arising from the season two finale of The Mandalorian is: what’s next?

Obviously there will be spoilers ahead about the latest episode, and as the disclaimer at the beginning of the article mentioned, you won’t want to be spoiled for this episode! But if you’re still reading here, you’re probably good with it, so let’s dive in.

At the end of the episode, Luke Skywalker arrives to save the heroes and take Grogu with him. Din Djarin and Grogu share a very emotional moment as they say goodbye, and then Luke, Grogu, and R2-D2 leave. And that’s how the episode ends. Well, there’s also then a post-credits that serves as a teaser for The Book of Boba Fett, which is coming December 2021. But this entire ending has people wondering about the future of The Mandalorian, and to a degree, that’s certainly understandable.

  • The show’s biggest star, Grogu, seems to be leaving the series, going off with Luke Skywalker.
  • The season finale felt a lot like it could also serve as a series finale, with Din and Grogu saying goodbye, a different song over the credits, no concept art, etc.
  • Then the post-credits scene is teasing a new show, which could be viewed as a replacement for this show.

So let’s first address the obvious question:

Is The Mandalorian ending?

I’m almost positive the answer is no. All indications are we’re still getting a third season of the show – at least. Way back in April, Variety reported that pre-production had already begun on season three, with Jon Favreau having been “writing season 3 for a while” and Doug Chiang and the art department working on concept art. Then in October, Variety got direct confirmation from Jon Favreau that the show was “on schedule” to start production “before the end of the year.” The article mentioned that they are waiting until Pedro Pascal wraps up filming on a current movie he’s working on, and of course are navigating the pandemic. But as Favreau pointed out, they’re filming a show where a lot of the characters wear masks, which makes it easier. Then in November, Giancarlo Esposito, who plays Moff Gideon, was asked by Entertainment Weekly if we would see more of him in season two, and he answered:

“It seems that way. But I have a feeling you’ll see more of me next season. More than likely you’re going to see a lot of Moff Gideon. I can’t be sure of that, but it seems as though this iconic journey that they want you to feel it. I think you’re going to start to see other storylines start to creep in. When we start to realize there’s such a deep connection [between the show’s storylines and] the rest of the galaxy and what’s really happening. Maybe you’ll get an inkling of what he wants.

And then on Friday, after the episode dropped, one of Pedro Pascal’s stunt doubles, Brendan Wayne, posted a message on social media that, among other things, said, “Yes!! Pedro is coming back. There was never any question. DO NOT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ.” This was in reference to some baseless and dumb internet rumors, but I nonetheless think that’s relevant for our discussion here too.

Every indication we have gotten to this point suggests that a season three of the show is coming. And there has been nothing to suggest that won’t happen.

When will season three release?

At the Disney Investory Day earlier in December, Lucasfilm President Kathy Kennedy revealed that Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni are concurrently working on Rangers of the New Republic and Ahsoka, two spinoffs of The Mandalorian that will be set within the same timeline. Then, Kennedy said that, “The next chapter will debut on Disney+ Christmas of 2021.” Many fans, of course, assumed that meant that The Mandalorian season three would release in December of 2021, and that is without any question the most natural way of interpreting that comment… but with what we know now about The Book of Boba Fett, perhaps that’s what she was referring to. Hopefully we will know more information soon to clear this up.

So every indication is that there will be a season three, but it’s slightly less clear about when season three will release.

What will season three be about?

So now we come to probably the most pressing question of them all: what will season three be about? After all, it seems like Grogu is out of the picture for now, and Din Djarin’s quest to bring the Child to a Jedi has been completed. In season one, Djarin’s task was to protect the foundling in his care, and we got the tease that his mission was to return the Child to one of its kind. That literally has been the main goal for all of season two as well. So now we’re heading into uncharted territory and the slate is totally clean right now. So what’s next?

I actually think we got a couple of teases in the season finale about where the show could be heading. The first came when Din Djarin went to enlist the help of Bo-Katan Kryze and Koska Reeves. When we had met them earlier in the season, we knew that Bo-Katan’s mission was to re-take Mandalore – but in order to do that, she needed the darksaber again, which Moff Gideon was in possession of. She agrees to help Djarin rescue Grogu, but insists he leave Gideon to her. Then she urges him, if he successfully completes his current quest to reunite the Child with the Jedi, to reconsider helping them re-take Mandalore. To this, he simply says, “Fair enough.”

But (and it may just be me) it seemed like this was slightly more open than he had been earlier in the season. And I’m not sure how much this actually relates, but by now Djarin has seen the hurt that Cara Dune still carries around about what happened to Alderaan. The opening sequence of this very episode showed an Imperial taunting her about it, and Djarin was left to watch as he did so, ending with Cara shooting and killing him. Djarin saw this happen. There’s also been a few jokes made this season about the state of Mandalore, and it doesn’t sound good. It basically sounds like the Empire totally devastated the planet. It’s not the same as Alderaan – after all, the Death Star blew up that planet and left nothing left – but I can’t help but wonder if, having seen Cara’s reaction about her homeworld, it sparks something in Djarin about wanting to try to do what he can to save his people’s homeworld.

People have long speculated that this could be where the show was going, showing us a fight to reclaim Mandalore. That’s what Bo-Katan wants. And maybe, now that Djarin has finished his quest with the Child, that’s what he’ll want too. We will need to wait and see, but there’s another hint in this episode as well.

That hint is a lot more direct, and it comes as Djarin brings Moff Gideon prisoner back to the bridge, having defeated him in combat and taken the darksaber. Gideon gleefully explains that the darksaber is a symbol of power and must be won, not given. Bo-Katan reluctantly says that he’s right. In other words, since Djarin defeated Gideon in combat and took the darksaber, it is rightfully his. So to take it from him, Bo-Katan would have to defeat him in combat. Even though Djarin doesn’t want it and yields, trying to give it to her, she will not take it. This tense moment is cut short by the Dark Troopers’ arrival, and we never get any sort of resolution to it.

So what that means right now is that Din Djarin is the rightful wielder of the darksaber and thus is the one who could perhaps, if he wanted, unite Mandalore. But that would raise other questions, like, namely, is that ok with Bo-Katan, or does she want it for herself? She hasn’t always been a good guy by any means, so it will be very interesting to see her motives play out.

But tying all of that together, I really expect to see this show shift directions a bit. They’ve told a really compelling story with Grogu, and by doing so have hooked audiences on the show and its characters. They’ve done that for two seasons, and they’ve shown a remarkable ability to connect the universe by having a number of key characters appear in the series. With that foundation laid, it’s possible they can then launch off into other opportunities. Like, say, moving on from Grogu and focusing on Mandalore.

All season, Djarin has been confronted with questions of what truly makes a Mandalorian. He teamed up with Cobb Vanth, a non-Mandalorian who wore Mandalorian armor, and came to respect and trust him. He teamed up with Bo-Katan and her team, true Mandalorians but members of a different clan than Djarin – one that actually removed their helmets! He teamed up with Boba Fett, a non-Mandalorian whose father was a foundling and thus the armor is rightly his (yeah, it’s a bit complicated), but who winds up helping rescue the Child. All of this (and more) forces him to reconsider what he thought he knew about being a Mandalorian. Even frog lady challenged him on this, insisting that she thought part of the Mandalorian code was honoring one’s word.

So summing it all up, you have a foundling who has been confronted with what it truly means to be a Mandalorian and has grown better because of it. That sounds to me a lot like a guy who could perhaps unite a divided people.

But now let’s just briefly pull in a few of the other threads that will be explored. We know that Kathy Kennedy mentioned that the other spinoff shows will work toward a climactic storytelling event, and presumably that means with The Mandalorian a part of that too. So that would mean Rangers of the New Republic and Ahsoka, and probably The Book of Boba Fett too (though that’s less certain). Ahsoka already fought to liberate Mandalore once, so maybe she could play into things. It’s possible Fett, as one wearing Mandalorian armor yet not a true Mandalorian, could come to help too, furthering the exploration (and conflict) of what it means to be Mandalorian. And what about the New Republic rangers?

Well, let me just leave you with this. Moff Gideon is (presumably) in New Republic captivity, and he knows a lot (he brags about that). What if he is actually working for someone? Someone who, say, decides to step in now that Gideon has ‘failed’ in his mission with the Child? Earlier in the season Ahsoka mentioned Grand Admiral Thrawn, so it seems like he has returned. If he’s the one pulling the strings on the Imperial remnants they just became much more formidable of a foe, and that could pull in the New Republic. And who knows, maybe the Empire still wants Mandalore?

I’m just speculating on how all of this could tie together. But my point is this: I really think that this show could very easily dive into a quest to re-take and liberate Mandalore, and it seems like this episode was specifically setting up as much.

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