The Mandalorian, Disney+’s premiere streaming program, returned Friday with a double-length episode hinting at the greater scope and solid confidence it has after attracting a following in its first season. The Way of the Mandalorian is still filled with peril, of course, but as we’ll see, following his path is also filled with pleasing elements for those steeped in Star Wars lore and those just enjoying the ride. Let’s take a look at his Way so far.
Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), a Mandalorian bounty hunter, took on a job from the Imperial Remnant to deliver a high value target. But when the bounty turned out to be an infant from Yoda’s species — that is to say, a 50-year-old child — Djarin defied the bounty hunter code and reclaimed The Child from the Imperials. After crossing space to find a place of safety for the creature, he returned to Navarro to face the Imps, only to be tasked with finding The Child’s true home or adopt him as member of his clan.
The following contains spoilers about The Mandalorian, season 2, episode 1, “Chapter 9: The Marshal.” Stop here if you have not watched the episode.
Sometime after the firefight on Navarro, Djarin made his way to a tough planet of gamblers and things that go bump in the night. His quarry: Gor Koresh (John Leguizamo), a dealer who may have information on other Mandalorian culverts. As Djarin subsequently explains, he is hoping other Mandos will have information on the Jedi — a legendary order of space wizards capable of the same physics-bending feats as The Child. But as the culverts all operate independently of one another, he needs to build a new communication network between them.
Koresh is more interested in Djarin’s shiny Beskar armor, but after a brief skirmish, he reveals the one place he’s seen another Mandalorian: Tatooine.
Heading back to the desert planet, Djarin meets up again with Mos Eisley landing bay operator Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) and makes for Mos Pelgo, a tiny mining town most believe was wiped out by raiders after the Empire abandoned the planet.
Arriving in town, though, Djarin discovers it is alive and guarded by Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant), a Tatooine native who, by chance, bought a set of familiar Mando armor. Well, familiar to viewers anyway. From Djarin’s perspective, it’s armor Vanth has no right to wear as he does not follow The Way of Mandalore. After an initial disagreement, they strike a deal: Djarin will help Vanth kill a Krayt Dragon terrorizing the region and Vanth will hand over the armor.
(Photo by Lucasfilm/Disney+)
Their path leads to a Tusken settlement, where Djarin manages to negotiate a truce between the Sand People and Mos Pelgo. Everyone will help with Krayt Dragon and the Tuskens will never raid the town again — provided the humans never break the peace, of course.
This being the Star Wars galaxy, the plan does not go smoothly, but Djarin manages to kill the Krayt Dragon from the inside and all agreements are honored. Sadly, the Mandalorian is no closer to his goal, but at least he has reclaimed some missing Mando armor.
In the distance, an apparently alive Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) sees Djarin riding back to Mos Eisley.
(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
In the time since The Mandalorian concluded its first season, many rumors about casting — and classic Star Wars characters appearing in the series — captured the imagination of fans across the internet. And though one would expect most of these would go unanswered for some time, the first episode of season 2 resolved a couple almost immediately.
Olyphant’s name first emerged as Vanth back in May. The character is pulled from the Star Wars: Aftermath novel trilogy by Chuck Wending. As in the books, he is a human on Tatooine who acquired Boba Fett’s armor to bring justice to a backwater settlement, though his telling of the story differs from the books. As a performer, Olyphant brings even more of a Western edge to the character. From Vanth’s preference for red to his U.S. Marshal mustache, he feels both a part of the Star Wars universe and our own. Also, it should be said, there’s something nice about seeing a man of his word in the Star Wars galaxy. Djarin tends to deal with scum and villainy, so Vanth cheerfully handing the armor over felt unusual and hopeful.
Indeed, seeing Djarin broker a peace between humans and Tuskens also felt uncharacteristically hopeful for his corner of the galaxy. Perhaps this will be a running theme this season.
(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; 20th Century Fox)
But the big rumor resolved in the episode is the last-second appearance of Morrison as Boba Fett. At least, we think he is Boba Fett. Since his father Jango (also Morrison) volunteered to be the source of the Old Republic’s eventual Clone Army, it is possible this character is another clone trooper. We doubt it’s Captain Rex, the beloved Star Wars: The Clone Wars character voiced by Dee Bradley Baker — he’d never shave that magnificent beard off.
Assuming that wanderer in the Dune Sea is Boba Fett, it leaves us with a lot of questions: how did he escape the Great Pit of Carkoon? Why did he allow Vanth to use his armor for the last few years? And, perhaps the most provocative question, will Djarin accept him as a Mandalorian?
As it happens, there is some question about his status as a Mando — an inheritance from some of the earliest rumors about Boba Fett in the 1980s Star Wars novels and comics — even though his father was adopted into the tribe at an early age and went on to lead the True Mandalorian faction sometime before the Clone Wars. Also, the armor itself is not Beskar, but instead made of Durasteel. While Djarin gave no indication he recognized the armor, it is possible the legend of the Fetts passed through the culverts. Then again, it is also possible some of that history has been lost. There’s also the problem of The Way. Boba, even if he is not an adherent, has taken off his helmet, and Djarin would be unlikely to give the armor back to him. We doubt this will sit well with Boba.
Or, who knows, maybe narrowly avoiding 1,000 years of pain and suffering in the belly of a Sarlaac changed his view of the universe.
(Photo by Lucasfilm/Disney+)
As series creator and episode director Jon Favreau is not shy about his Star Wars fandom, the episode is littered with callbacks to the first season, the Star Wars films, and various parts of the lore.
Our favorite may be the unlikely return of R5-D4. At least, we’re fairly sure the R5 unit Motto refers to as unreliable is the very same droid with a bad motivator from the original Star Wars film. The carbon scouring on the rear of its dome indicates the time it fried itself in front of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels). R5-D4 also made a cameo in the first season’s Tatooine episode at the now droid-run Mos Eisley cantina.
Motto (pictured above) is also a nice callback to the first season. She is such an unexpected, workaday part of the galaxy that her viewpoint on events will always be welcome — see how her worry about The Child feels as lived in as her deprecation of the pit droids.
(Photo by Lucasfilm/Disney+)
And speaking of the pit droids, we can’t help but think Vanth’s speeder bike contains the remains of Anakin Skywalker’s (Jake Lloyd) podracer. It looks like one of the engines, anyway, and considering how quickly things are forgotten on Tatooine, it is possible the racer was sold for parts only a handful of years after Qui-Gon Jinn sold it to fund repairs on Queen Amidala’s (Natalie Portman) ship — events all seen in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.
The Krayt Dragon is also a interesting pull. Its scream was imitated by Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) in Star Wars to scare off the Tuskens, and one of its skeletons can be seen just after 3PO and R2-D2 arrive on the planet. Both moments are honored in the episode, but beyond that is the exploration of the Tuskens’ relationship to the creature. They fear the beast, but are also happy to harvest its innards should the opportunity arise. Also, anyone who played Knights of the Old Republic will get a shiver of déjà vu during the dragon hunt and the subsequent discovery of the pearl inside the carcass.
(Photo by Lucasfilm/Disney+)
Although the episode was quite satisfying, it left us with a few unanswered questions. It wouldn’t be Star Wars without some dangling plot points, after all.
Is Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) alive? She was seemingly rescued at the last moment by someone wearing spurs in last season’s Tatooine episode. The common belief was either Boba Fett or Vanth found her. But she was completely absent from the Mos Pelgo adventure. It is still possible she died and the spur-wearing wander just looted her corpse, but it is also equally possible she was just off camera while Boba watched Djarin speed away.
How Much Time Has Passed Since Last Season? Considering Djarin bought a new hoverpram for The Child and he seems comfortable with his jetpack, some time has passed since his encounter with Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), but it would be nice to know if it’s been weeks or months since that time. And, unlike most infants, The Child will not appreciably grow for awhile, so he cannot be our calendar.
Where Are The Imps? Although Djarin and his friends routed the Imps on Navarro, its safe to assume Gideon has some sort of backup. Are they tracking the Razor Crest? If not, why not?
The Mandalorian streams on Disney+ with new episodes launching on Fridays.