While Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been just as divisive among the fanbase as its predecessor, The Last Jedi, the galaxy has been much more united in its love of Disney Plus TV show The Mandalorian – and it's not just because of uber-cute Force child Baby Yoda.
The eagerly anticipated The Mandalorian season 2 is set to return to the lawless Western-themed worlds of the show's brilliant first year, but with extra intrigue. How will the eponymous bounty hunter, Din Djaren, carry out his mission to locate Baby Yoda's home and people? What is the mysterious “Darksaber“ brandished by Imperial officer Moff Gideon in the season 1 finale? And what Skywalker saga characters might The Mandalorian be running into?
Ahead of its return in fall 2020, we ask all the important questions about The Mandalorian season 2 release date, story and more…
The Mandalorian season 2 release date: coming fall 2020
The Mandalorian season 2 was always inevitable – indeed, showrunner Jon Favreau announced that production had begun when when a single season 1 episode had aired.
Favreau revealed a little more on Friday December 27, via a tweet confirming that the new season is coming in Fall 2020. The Mandalorian season 1 debuted on November 12, 2019, so don’t be surprised if there’s a similar date for season 2.
- What is Baby Yoda?
- Enjoy the Star Wars movies in order, including The Mandalorian's place in the timeline
- Our review of The Rise of Skywalker
The Mandalorian season 2 will be about the search for Baby Yoda's home
One of George Lucas’s big rules in Star Wars storytelling was that the identity of veteran Jedi master Yoda’s species and planet were to be kept under wraps. It looks like that particular prime directive may have been discarded by Disney now it owns the Lucasfilm empire, however, as all the signs suggest The Mandalorian season 2 will focus on the search for “the Child” – aka Baby Yoda’s – home.
During the season 1 finale, the Mandalorian Armorer on Nevarro tells the Mandalorian (real name Din Djaren) that because Baby Yoda is a foundling (and therefore probably not, as previously speculated, a clone), “By creed it it is in your care.” She then adds that, “You have no choice, you must reunite it with its own kind.”
Unfortunately for Mando, however, the Armorer didn’t have any information on where he might find them: “This you must determine,” she teases.
But as ever in Star Wars, there’s a degree of ambiguity here – and the identity of who the Mandalorian is actually looking for may come down to your own point of view.
Perhaps Mando is, as it seems at first glance, looking for the homeworld of Yoda’s species. Or maybe he’s simply looking for Jedi who survived the Emperor’s Order 66 purge in Revenge of the Sith, some three decades earlier.
Why the confusion? In the Outer Rim worlds that provide the setting for The Mandalorian, the Force exploits of the Jedi are just myth – indeed, the Mandalorian simply says of Baby Yoda’s Force abilities that “it can move objects with its mind”.
“I know of such things,” the Armorer reveals. “The songs of aeons past tell of battles between Mandalore the Great and an order of sorcerers called Jedi that fought with such powers.” Crucially, when Mando asks if Baby Yoda is an enemy, the Armorer states: “Its kind were enemies but this individual is not.”
So seeing as Mandalore’s battles were with the Jedi, rather than specifically with Yoda’s species, this implies that Mando’s new bounty may actually be the Jedi…
Or maybe the Mandalorian will settle for simply finding out Baby Yoda's name. Apparently he has one, and Disney CEO Bob Iger told The Star Wars Show that he knows what it is – not that he's giving anything away.
The Mandalorian season 2: the Darksaber explained
Above: clips from The Clone Wars featuring the Darksaber.
When Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) cuts himself out of his stricken TIE Fighter at the end of The Mandalorian season 1 finale, he uses a blade that sounds much like a lightsaber, but looks rather different to the weapons we’re used to seeing in the hands of Jedi and Sith. More sword-like in shape, with a black blade surrounded by a bright glow, it should, however, be familiar to viewers of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Because unless we’re very much mistaken, this looks like the legendary Darksaber.
This unique weapon is a key part of Star Wars – and particularly Mandalorian – lore. Originally created by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian warrior to join the Jedi order, it became a symbol of power on the planet of Mandalore. At the conclusion of Star Wars Rebels (set two years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope) it ended up in the hands of Bo-Katan Kryze, who was deemed the rightful heir to the Mandalorian leadership.
But how did such an important weapon end up in Moff Gideon’s hands? We do know that at some point between the end of Rebels and Return of the Jedi, the Empire carried out the so-called “Great Purge”, all but wiping out the Mandalorians. We also know that Gideon was an officer in the Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) during the Purge, so could have obtained the Darksaber from Bo-Katan at that time. (If that does turn out to be the case, it’ll be intriguing to find out if Bo-Katan survived – she was played by Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff in both The Clone Wars and Rebels, so this could be a chance to get a fan-favorite actor into the show.)
Alternatively, the Darksaber could have been in the possession of the Mandalorian “Tribe” living underground on Nevarro throughout The Mandalorian season 1 –Gideon may simply have obtained it when his Imperial remnant wiped out most of the Mandalorians in hiding. This seems less likely, however – surely the surviving Armorer would have protected such an important weapon with her life.
The Mandalorian season 2: Original Trilogy characters rumored
According to Deadline, “Insiders have hinted that several established characters from the Skywalker saga’s feature films mythology will make appearances during the show’s sophomore season.” Jon Favreau’s release date tweet above showed a picture of a Gamorrean, one of the so-called Pig Guards from Jabba’s Palace in Return of the Jedi, but we suspect that – if this insider's rumors are accurate – they’re referring to someone who’s a significantly bigger deal in the saga than that.
While Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader and the Emperor are dead (or so the galaxy believes…) and Luke Skywalker is unlikely to crop up away from the saga that bears his name, there are plenty of big names in the Star Wars universe who’ll be operating around the time of The Mandalorian, set five years after the destruction of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. Original trilogy survivors Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, C-3PO, R2-D2, and even Rebel legends Wedge Antilles, Admiral Ackbar and Nien Nunb could all cross paths with the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda.
But we’d be much more interested to see General Hux’s dad, Brendol – a former Imperial officer who was instrumental in the formation of the First Order – or even (SPOILER ALERT) Rey’s parents. Now that we know they lived in hiding – pretending to be “nobody” before giving Rey away – any new glimpses at their backstory could enhance what we learned in The Rise of Skywalker.
Perhaps most likely, however, is the reappearance of various bounty hunters hired by Darth Vader to capture the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back. IG-88, Zuckuss, Dengar, Bossk and 4-LOM are still theoretically looking for work in the time of The Mandalorian season 2, and definitely operate in the same hives of scum and villainy as our friendly neighborhood Mando.
Maybe we’ll even see a return for the legendary Boba Fett… Yes, he was last seen being swallowed by the Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi, but the bounty hunter did manage to escape 1000 years of digestion in the old Expanded Universe “Legends” stories, a plot that could be ported over into official canon. And there’s also been plenty of speculation online that the mysterious figure on Tatooine who finds the body of the deceased Fennec Shand in Chapter 5, “The Gunslinger”, may be Fett himself – the jangling spurs might just be a clue…
And even if the owner of the spurs isn't Fett, one particularly interesting theory suggested on Inverse suggests it could be a member of the family – Ailyn Vel, his daughter in the Legends stories. Could this be the identity of this mysterious Funko Pop! Vinyl figure?
The Mandalorian is some of the best Star Wars in years
We can't wait for a second season of The Mandalorian. A couple of less thrilling episodes towards the middle of season one aside, the simple storytelling and stylish imagery of this show made it a satisfying glimpse at a different side of the Star Wars universe. Creator Jon Favreau has plenty on the table to pay off in season 2.