The Mandalorian Chapter 14: The Star Wars Expanded Universe Stakes a Claim

"The Tragedy" reintroduces a much-loved classic Star Wars character and raises questions about which remaining Jedi is worthy to train young Grogu.

by | December 4, 2020 | Comments

Pedro Pascal and Grogu in THE MANDALORIAN, season 2, Chapter 14

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

This week, The Mandalorian gave fans of the old Star Wars Expanded Universe the same sort of buzz it gave Ahsoka Tano fans last week: the thrill of recognition. From using video game ideas to restoring the cool of a fan-favorite character, the episode gave the Star Wars galaxy back a lot of the texture it accrued in the 1990s, but lost when Disney bought the brand.

Also, actor Temeura Morrison, writer Jon Favreau, and director Robert Rodriguez reminded us why Star Wars’ original wearer of Mandalorian armor exuded so much swagger. Now that Boba Fett is once again part of the story, let’s dig into “The Tragedy” and speculate on what these EU callback may mean for the galaxy.

The following contains spoilers about The Mandalorian, season 2, episode 6, “Chapter 14: The Tragedy.” Stop here if you have not watched the episode.

A Jedi Encounter Set Their Path

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in THE MANDALORIAN

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Acting on a tip from Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) traveled to Corvus, where he and his child ward met Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson, pictured), a Force-user trained in the Jedi arts. Although she could not train the child — whose name, she informed the Mandalorian, is Grogu — she sent the pair to Tython, where the ruins of an ancient Jedi temple may allow Grogu to contact a Jedi capable of training him. With their business complete, Djarin and Grogu left Ahsoka to continue her search for Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn.

A Tragedy Occurs at the Jedi Temple

Grogu and the Mandalorian Pedro Pascal in THE MANDALORIAN, season 2, Chapter 14

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Arriving on Tython and reaching the temple ruins with remarkable haste, Djarin places Grogu on a central stone orb. At first, the child seems incapable of doing anything Jedi-like, but after the Mandalorian sees Slave I entering atmosphere, he notices Grogu has established contact with the temple and raised some sort of signal beam/ray shield. Unable to collect Grogu from it, he prepares for another fight.

Descending into the nearby valley, he soon meets his apparent opponents: Boba Fett (Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). Fennec reveals Fett saved her from death while Fett reveals … well, not much about how he survived on the sands of Tatooine. The bounty hunter’s greatest concern is the return of his armor and offers to protect Grogu in exchange. Djarin, still adhering to the Way of the Mandalore, believes Fett has lost his right to the armor as he has been unmasked.

The point is academic, though, as Imperial Remnant troop carriers break atmosphere. Djarin, who took off his jetback during the exchange, runs back to the temple ruin to collect Grogu while Fennec and Fett get ready to fight the Imps.

Despite their numbers, the Remnant stormtroopers are overwhelmed by Fennec’s ease with a rifle and Fett’s impressive skill with a Tusken gaffi stick. Djarin, meanwhile, finds he cannot push through the ray shield to get Grogru. Soon, he joins the fight while Fett sees an opportunity to collect his armor from the Razor Crest.

And its a good thing he does as Djarin and Fennec are soon cornered by Imps, but Fett flies over head and uses nearly all of the tricks in his armor to inspire fear in the Imperial ranks. He also uses the rocket on his jetpack to destroy the troop carriers as they retreat.

Giancarlo Esposito in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season 2, Chapter 14

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), observing the scene from his light cruiser in the upper atmosphere, sends down a turbolaser bolt to destroy the Razor Crest and a squad of Dark Troopers to collect the child. The maneuver is successful and Gideon, finally, has possession of Grogu and his Midi-chlorian-rich blood.

Fett proves he is the rightful owner of the armor and a man of his word. Since he failed to protect the child, he offers his services in retrieving Grogu from the Empire. Fennec does likewise and the trio make their way to Nevarro where New Republic Marshal Cara Dune (Gina Carano) tells Djarn where he can find former Imperial sharpshooter Mayfeld (Bill Burr); a key part of the Mandalorian’s rescue plan. Also, because the child has been abducted, it appears she will aid Djarin in springing Mayfeld from prison.

Ghosts of the Expanded Universe

Jedi temple in video game Star Wars: The Old Republic video game

(Photo by BioWare)

From Tython to Fett to the Dark Troopers, this week’s episode proved just how deep into Star Wars lore Favreau and his collaborators are willing to delve for story and action.

Tython is the starting planet for Jedi Knights and Jedi Consulars in the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO. Set thousands of years before the events of Chapter 14, it is still an active hub of the Jedi Order and — at least in that game — the group’s ancestral homeworld. This conflicts with the Sequel Trilogy, which states the ocean world of Ahch-To is the original home of the Jedi, but there’s room for inconsistency when characters are talking about events in antiquity. Clearly, both worlds felt the presence of the Jedi early in the Order’s history.

Also, the Tython seen here is a much sparser world than the one in the game, suggesting Favreau reserves the right to alter EU concepts to better fit his story.

Nevertheless, the callbacks continue with the look of the temple ruin, which more than resembles the Trayus Core on Malachor V; the sanctum Darth Traya escapes to in the latter parts of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II — The Sith Lords. In that Sith shrine, she is able to tell the player’s character, a Jedi in exile named Meetra Surik, about the far future. She even alludes to Boba Fett in her prognostications.

STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, Jeremy Bulloch, as Boba Fett, 1980

(Photo by 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm)

Fett himself, of course, was revived in the Expanded Universe. Despite his apparent death in Return of the Jedi, writer Tom Veitch and artist Cam Kennedy were quick to bring him back in Star Wars: Dark Empire. The comic book series would lead to plenty of post-Return adventures for the famous bounty hunter. But it is important to remember the EU was cursed with various levels of continuity and in the most important tier, the so-called G-Canon (for George Lucas), Fett was still being digested in the innards of the Sarlacc.

It was important, therefore, for Favreau to declare on no uncertain terms that this is, indeed, Boba Fett standing before Din Djarin. In doing so, he restored a lot of the coolness the character lost over the years. Since his major scenes in the Original Trilogy see him failing against an partially trained Jedi and a mostly blind Han Solo, he began to look dopey when compared to Mandos like Kryze and Djarin. But now that we’ve seen him be a capable fighter with nothing but a Gaffi stick, we’re more than glad to see he survived the Pit of Carkoon.

Maybe we’ll even learn how he did it someday…

The Dark Troopers, meanwhile, bring elements of the first Star Wars first-person shooter into canon. Star Wars: Dark Forces was a revelation for fans upon its release in 1996 thanks to its Doom-like format and its nods to the larger Star Wars story. In it, mercenary (and future Jedi) Kyle Katarn stumbles into an Imperial plot to create a new battledroids and powered armor for an elite squad of troopers. Sadly, Dark Forces and its sequels — collectively known as the Jedi Knight series — were dumped from any sort of canonicity when Disney declared the EU a collection of legends. The ships Katarn used, the Moldy Crow and the Raven’s Claw, remained part of the universe thanks to some tabletop games, but Kyle was lost.

The presence of the Dark Troopers several years after the events of Dark Forces suggests Gideon’s resources are far more vast than we’ve been led to believe. They also make the Dark Trooper project an undisputed part of Star Wars history.

All of which adds to the excitement of the episode, particularly for those whose interest in Star Wars was kept alive in the early-to-mid 1990s thanks to the first games and stories emerging from the EU.

Expanded Questions

Jedi Master Yaddle in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

(Photo by 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm)

Of course, all of these EU elements returning leads to a number of questions about Star Wars history, the shape of things in the New Republic era, and other characters Djarin could meet.

Is Kyle Katarn Back in the Picture? The appearance of the Dark Troopers leaves us wondering how much of Dark Forces is canon. Is there room again for Kyle Katarn? Favreau willingness to use EU ideas suggests he may appear — even if his part in recovering the Death Star plans has been erased from history. If so, he may be a capable teacher for Grogu. Then again, Star Wars: Jedi Knight Dark Forces II gave players the option to make Kyle switch to the Dark Side. If he is back, his nature could be dubious.

How Strong Is the New Republic’s Hold on the Galaxy? Considering the Remant’s freedom to invade an Inner Core world like Tython, the New Republic’s grasp on the galaxy sure feels tenuous. This is largely in line with stories set around the same time in the EU, but it might be something worth exploring on the show; of course, the ambiguous political situation makes The Mandalorian’s ties to Lone Wolf and Cub that much stronger; that series is set in a time when regional daimyos exerted more control over feudal Japan. Nevertheless, Gideon’s apparent might will requires a Republic response at some point.

How Organized Is the Imperial Remnant? Boba Fett’s declaration that “The Empire is back” suggests Gideon may have marshaled more military strength than we previously believed. Is it just a matter of Gideon knowing where Sheev Palpatine kept all of the secret projects? Or, by way of attrition, has Gideon become the heir to the Empire. If that’s the case, is Thrawn on his side or is there still room for conflict within the Imps?

Who Did Grogu Contact? Since the child ended the signal beam of his own accord — or because he was fatigued — did he contact a Jedi? And if so, who? The list of possible teachers is pretty slim. There is Luke Skywalker, of course, Kyle Katarn (if he’s back), Ezra Bridger (if he’s been rescued), and, perhaps, Jedi Master Yaddle (pictured above). This last option is the most intriguing. While she was killed in an Expanded Universe story, her continued existence is possible in the current history. Retiring from the Jedi Council (and any sort of public life) a number of years before the Clone Wars, she may have survived the Jedi Purge. Also, she is from the same species as Grogu. From a narrative standpoint, she would seem the most worthy to train him, at least in Djarin’s mind, and the most convincing reason for Grogu and Djarin to part ways. Although, considering the playful scene at the beginning of Chapter 14, we seriously doubt the pair will ever split up.

Well, once Djarin and his new band of outsiders rescue Grogu from the Imperial Remnant.

Where Is Mara Jade? One last EU thought: the fan-favorite character from the Star Wars EU novels could emerge from the shadows thanks to all of these nods to the old continuity. She could easily be retconned as a Sith Inquisitor and serve as a mighty ally (or foe) for our heroes.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

comic books Fox Searchlight nfl Acorn TV Western universal monsters Mary Poppins Returns PlayStation Chernobyl A24 ID Universal Captain marvel 72 Emmy Awards BBC Cannes Britbox zero dark thirty cooking MSNBC space laika nature deadpool Lifetime Christmas movies Syfy stop motion festival SDCC cats ABC Premiere Dates Countdown Spring TV Action Black History Month anthology serial killer Columbia Pictures Comedy Central NYCC stand-up comedy facebook cars BET Awards Year in Review game show Teen justice league Hallmark Thanksgiving Walt Disney Pictures adventure scary movies dramedy 2017 christmas movies science fiction toronto APB Awards Tour YouTube movie Food Network 2016 TBS TCM Discovery Channel ABC Family Adult Swim cancelled TV shows Christmas Creative Arts Emmys First Reviews Crackle 45 crime thriller die hard films Reality satire Mary Tyler Moore OneApp San Diego Comic-Con Film news 4/20 SXSW LGBT Netflix anime LGBTQ Rocky venice zombies Amazon TCA 2017 what to watch all-time discovery Sundance TV mutant television psycho Nat Geo canceled TV shows Funimation Sundance Now Warner Bros. cancelled television DC Comics historical drama mockumentary Marathons Photos concert MTV BBC One Character Guide Winter TV TCA Winter 2020 Baby Yoda Pixar versus Superheroe south america AMC Disney Channel sag awards 2020 FX travel adaptation Lionsgate GIFs Emmys disaster political drama asian-american Cosplay HBO CBS All Access worst movies FOX Drama The Academy FXX Dark Horse Comics Awards Biopics sitcom rt archives blaxploitation See It Skip It Shudder twilight YA children's TV hist Podcast police drama TCA Awards elevated horror Disney streaming service Tubi Mudbound mission: impossible Infographic Sci-Fi animated Comics on TV award winner cults comic casting breaking bad halloween tv Film Festival USA Network Writers Guild of America hollywood Opinion Rock IFC dragons Mary poppins docudrama Kids & Family politics streaming psychological thriller Brie Larson Fantasy japanese USA finale 99% Lucasfilm Apple TV Plus Animation Apple TV+ Box Office free movies Watching Series spy thriller Tumblr TNT Black Mirror name the review renewed TV shows Emmy Nominations CBS sports revenge Binge Guide The CW war Nickelodeon YouTube Premium Travel Channel witnail Musicals dceu supernatural Shondaland Red Carpet indie best based on movie criterion Hear Us Out Bravo thriller screenings reboot Starz Summer First Look Martial Arts MCU Esquire sequel diversity 20th Century Fox slashers Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Trophy Talk video on demand talk show sequels Hulu TCA football CW Seed composers Polls and Games Classic Film Anna Paquin A&E Calendar Trailer VH1 TruTV natural history Marvel jamie lee curtis ESPN ghosts Winners 2019 indiana jones BAFTA Star Trek obituary binge Valentine's Day Pirates Comic Book VOD french Stephen King Apple Marvel Studios rotten Mystery doctor who Holiday Netflix Christmas movies Holidays directors New York Comic Con Women's History Month halloween aliens miniseries Sneak Peek Best and Worst E3 FX on Hulu Fox News james bond BET Amazon Studios Crunchyroll Rocketman Vudu toy story rotten movies we love romantic comedy E! dc History Video Games Star Wars Logo joker Quiz Nominations Heroines Peacock El Rey period drama Interview HBO Go quibi Pride Month OWN Amazon Prime Pop Grammys Comedy PaleyFest crossover Ellie Kemper comedies Freeform 71st Emmy Awards boxing australia Music Certified Fresh PBS medical drama President Horror Alien nbcuniversal boxoffice TV Land blockbuster 24 frames WarnerMedia RT History YouTube Red SundanceTV werewolf Elton John Toys DC Universe Ovation Epix The Purge Amazon Prime Video Rom-Com Country Spike robots GoT fresh true crime singing competition National Geographic BBC America comics spanish language Sundance video cinemax transformers book Song of Ice and Fire emmy awards Family Disney+ Disney Plus The Witch theme song WGN game of thrones X-Men reviews Academy Awards cancelled Turner Classic Movies superhero Television Academy Tarantino TV scorecard fast and furious Reality Competition child's play Disney Plus IFC Films The Arrangement canceled Paramount Network CMT Super Bowl comiccon NBC spanish hispanic Lifetime harry potter tv talk archives spinoff Chilling Adventures of Sabrina vampires series DC streaming service Disney American Society of Cinematographers social media spain remakes screen actors guild The Walking Dead foreign cancelled TV series kids strong female leads italian Masterpiece GLAAD HBO Max zombie Marvel Television 007 ITV VICE Showtime 2015 2018 franchise Trivia crime drama dogs technology spider-man Spectrum Originals documentaries RT21 a nightmare on elm street Pet Sematary cartoon worst chucky Musical ratings Arrowverse Superheroes DGA Cartoon Network festivals parents Paramount documentary Mindy Kaling Oscars Extras batman Pop TV TV renewals crime Sony Pictures Election Television Critics Association Ghostbusters Set visit biography critics black Schedule independent movies DirecTV unscripted CNN romance classics TIFF stoner richard e. Grant golden globes dark Tomatazos Turner Fall TV 21st Century Fox Endgame cops teaser green book latino Avengers TLC Hallmark Christmas movies