At the Disney Investor’s Day in December 2020, Lucasfilm President Kathy Kennedy said that The Mandalorian and the other shows set within the same timeline will all be connected. “Set within the timeline of The Mandalorian, these inter-connected shows, along with future stories, will excite new audiences, embrace our most passionate fans, and will culminate in a climactic story event,” Kennedy said.
That includes obviously The Mandalorian, but also includes The Book of Boba Fett and Ahsoka, and potentially others (such as Rangers of the New Republic, if it ever gets made). These stories will all connect, and with the obvious tease at the end of Chapter 4 of The Book of Boba Fett that foreshadows Din Djarin’s arrival, I thought it would be a good time to speculate on what exactly this could all be leading up to.
And it all centers around one extremely important person: Grand Admiral Thrawn.
In The Mandalorian season two, we learn that Ahsoka Tano is searching for Thrawn, and that Morgan Elsbeth has strong ties to him – Ahsoka calls Thrawn her master, and her droids bear the emblems of the Seventh Fleet, which was under the command of Thrawn. This implies that Thrawn has returned and is operating somewhere, perhaps pulling certain strings. And the New Republic pilots seen in The Mandalorian seem to know that something is going on in the outer reaches of the galaxy, but that the New Republic doesn’t really pay much attention to it. We know about Moff Gideon and his band of Imperial remnants, but there could well be a bigger threat than that. And even The Bad Batch may be connecting to all of this (which wouldn’t be a surprise, given Dave Filoni’s involvement in it all), with the surprise reveal of Mount Tantiss at the end of season one – which was a cloning facility used by Thrawn in Legends. And then came the reports that Natasha Liu Bordizzo was cast as Sabine Wren in Ahsoka, which seems to suggest that the series will be a live-action follow-up to the events of Rebels.
To understand why that’s significant, remember that at the end of Rebels the Jedi Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn are taken into hyperspace together, to an unknown location. Dave Filoni confirmed that they survived, but declined to share any more details at the time. In the epilogue to the series (which Filoni suggests could come after the events of The Mandalorian season two), Ahsoka and Sabine head off to find Ezra. That would explain Ahsoka’s search for Thrawn, as reports of his re-emergence could give them a lead on Ezra’s location too.
All of this makes me think that it’s extremely likely that Thrawn is looming as the big bad of this inter-connected story, and that the climactic event Kennedy spoke of is actually a new canon version of the Thrawn crisis, which was one of the most pivotal stories in Legends. Thrawn is back.
In the Legends Thrawn trilogy, Thrawn waged war against the New Republic and threatened to destroy it (which happened, maybe not coincidentally, five years after the Battle of Endor… or the same time period as The Mandalorian is set). As he did so, it was not just the New Republic that fought against him, but also a Smugglers Alliance led by Talon Karrde, who was able to rally a group of smugglers to fight together against Thrawn. Now, Karrde is no longer canon, but one of these inter-connected shows is about a bounty hunter attempting to establish his own house and establish a partnership with others: Boba Fett. He’s most definitely not just a new version of Karrde, but might he play a similar role in lending aid in a fight against Thrawn by leveraging his house and allies? I find it very plausible.
And how, then, might Din Djarin fit into all of this? After all, we’ve talked a lot about Ahsoka and Boba Fett and Thrawn, but not yet the main character of this era’s flagship story. With Boba likely to call Djarin for aid in The Book of Boba Fett, I think we’re going to see the allies exchange favors. Djarin will help Boba set up his operation on Tatooine, and Boba will help Djarin in the quest to re-take Mandalore, alongside Bo-Katan Kryze and her team. It is likely that season three of The Mandalorian will focus on re-taking Mandalore, and I’m really thinking Boba will be a part of it. And I think there would be some poetic storytelling potential there too, since Djarin reacted strongly against Fett wearing the armor since he wasn’t a Mandalorian. But Djarin has softened a bit on that, seeing that Boba’s father Jango was a foundling just like Djarin. But so too did Boba receive a found family in the Tuskens, just like Djarin received a found family in the Mandalorians. What does it truly mean to be a Mandalorian? I think seeing Djarin and Fett fight alongside each other to reclaim the Mandalorian homeworld would be significant and fitting.
But how does Thrawn fit in with the attempt to re-take Mandalore? That’s what we still don’t know. Is he actually on Mandalore and using it as his base of operations? Or is the effort to re-take the planet what finally catches his attention? We just don’t know. But I think all of these stories are leading up to a new Thrawn crisis, and we’ll see Din Djarin and Boba Fett and Ahsoka and many others involved in it.