(Photo by Lucasfilm/Disney+)

Star Wars TV Shows Ranked by Tomatometer

See where The Acolyte ranks!

From 1978, with the one-time airing of The Star Wars Holiday Special, to the early 21st century, the Galaxy Far, Far Away’s relationship to television was fraught with difficulty. A handful of live-action TV movies and animated series in the 1980s proved the resources did not yet exist to produce the look and feel of Star Wars in a weekly format — although the Ewoks cartoon got pretty close by surviving for two whole seasons. Flash forward to 2003, and the Genndy Tartakovsky–produced Star Wars: The Clone Wars offered a way to dramatize Star Wars stories on television in a compelling and cost-effective way.

Then the subsequent 3D-animated Clone Wars series in 2008 started a tradition of Star Wars television that continues today with animated shows like Star Wars: The Bad Batch and the live-action success of The Mandalorian, the latter becoming a gateway to an ever-evolving story tangential to the Skywalker Saga, but just as epic. Much of that story can be attributed to 2008’s Clone Wars supervising director, Dave Filoni, who went on to create or co-create most of the extant Star Wars television.

Of course, the quality and appreciation of each show varies — especially with 2021’s Book of Boba Fett. And now with the live-action Ahsoka and The Acolyte series entering the Star Wars galaxy, let’s rank the franchise’s shows and TV and streaming movies, with the Certified Fresh first.

Andor: Season 1 (2022)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: 96969%
Critics Consensus: A gritty adventure told from the ground perspective of the Empire's reign, Andor is an exceptionally mature and political entry into the Star Wars mythos -- and one of the best yet.

Adjusted Score: 102202%
Critics Consensus: Gorgeously animated and wildly creative, Visions is an eclectic, but wholly enjoyable collection of Star Wars stories that breathe new life into the galaxy.

Adjusted Score: 95509%
Critics Consensus: Action-packed and expertly-crafted -- if at times a bit too withholding -- The Mandalorian is a welcome addition to the Star Wars universe that benefits greatly from the cuteness of its cargo.

Adjusted Score: 95050%
Critics Consensus: With fan favorites and fresh faces galore both in front of and behind the camera,The Mandalorian's sophomore season solidifies its place as one of Star Wars's most engaging and exciting sagas.
Directed By: Jon Favreau

Adjusted Score: 93271%
Critics Consensus: Taking fresh risks with Star Wars lore while having infectious fun playing with the stylistic trappings of a galaxy far, far away, The Acolyte is a Padawan series with the potential to become a Master.

Adjusted Score: 88974%
Critics Consensus: Mileage may vary by a couple parsecs as The Mandalorian becomes more and more about the connective tissue of broader Star Wars lore, but this remains one of the most engaging adventures in a galaxy far, far away.

Adjusted Score: 97269%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by Rosario Dawson's strong performance in the title role and a solid story that balances new and old elements of the Star Wars saga, Ahsoka is a must-watch for fans of the franchise.

Adjusted Score: 87446%
Critics Consensus: The Bad Batch's beautifully animated adventure may be too lore heavy for casual viewers, but fans will enjoy diving deeper into this dastardly cast of characters.

Adjusted Score: 116234%
Critics Consensus: This won't be the Obi-Wan Kenobi some viewers are looking for, but Ewan McGregor's soulful performance and some refreshing twists make this a satisfying -- if circuitous -- addition to the Star Wars saga.

#10
Adjusted Score: 77618%
Critics Consensus: The Force isn't fully with this Lego Star Wars adventure, but its affectionate franchise callbacks and self-aware humor should please fans looking to spend their holidays in a galaxy far, far away...
Synopsis: "The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special" reunites Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, Rose and the droids for a joyous feast on... [More]
Directed By: Ken Cunningham

Adjusted Score: 101166%
Critics Consensus: Under the reliable stewardship of Dave Filoni, Tales of the Jedi is an absorbing expansion of Star Wars lore that will delight Padawan-level fans and encyclopedic Force scholars alike.

Adjusted Score: 101432%
Critics Consensus: Animated with all the vibrancy of a crackling lightsaber, Star Wars: Visions' second volume is the work of Jedi Masters.

#13
Adjusted Score: 66608%
Critics Consensus: The Force is with these Rebels in a thrilling conclusion that plays to its characters' strengths while serving up plenty of galactic spectacle.

#14
Adjusted Score: 31022%
Critics Consensus:

#15
Adjusted Score: 38471%
Critics Consensus:
Directed By: Bosco Ng

#16
Adjusted Score: 27030%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After the events of “The Rise of Skywalker,” Poe and BB-8 must make an emergency landing on the volcanic planet... [More]
Directed By: Ken Cunningham

Adjusted Score: 68908%
Critics Consensus: Rebels adds new dimension to an unexplored sector of the Star Wars timeline, inserting a ragtag group of lovable characters into a galactic adventure that all ages can enjoy.

Adjusted Score: 92070%
Critics Consensus: Star Wars: Resistance's streamlined story sets the stage for exciting adventures -- and seems poised to explore a canvas stocked with immediately relatable characters and plenty of potential.

Adjusted Score: 91322%
Critics Consensus: The second bundle of The Bad Batch retains all the same virtues and vices as the first: a slick Star Wars adventure geared toward diehard fans at the expense of more casual viewers.

#20
Adjusted Score: 46930%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Looking for a much-needed break from stormtroopers and TIE fighters, Finn arranges a surprise vacation for his friends Rey, Poe,... [More]
Directed By: Ken Cunningham

Adjusted Score: 90115%
Critics Consensus: Star Wars takes a walk on the Dark Side in this fleet and filling animated series, which conjures just enough excitement to get fans' lightsabers rattling.
Directed By: Dave Filoni, Carrie Beck

Adjusted Score: 89195%
Critics Consensus: Mobilizing for one last hurrah with plenty of easter eggs and rousing action still left in its arsenal, The Bad Batch ends on a good note.

Adjusted Score: 55108%
Critics Consensus:
Directed By: Genndy Tartakovsky

Adjusted Score: 67854%
Critics Consensus: The Book of Boba Fett could never match the adventures that existed in fans' imaginations for decades, but it earns its commission with spectacular set pieces and Temuera Morrison's commanding presence.

#25
Adjusted Score: 25917%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Steven D. Binder

#26
Adjusted Score: 23339%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a family's spacecraft crashes on the forest moon of planet Endor, teenage son Mace (Eric Walker) and his little... [More]
Directed By: John Korty

#27
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Hermit Noa (Wilford Brimley), Ewok Wicket (Warwick Davis) and furry Teek rescue a girl (Aubree Miller) and an Ewok family... [More]
Directed By: Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Directed By: George Lucas

Star Wars: Ewoks (1985)
--

#29
Synopsis: The adventures of Wicket W. Warwick and his friends on the forest moon of Endor.... [More]

(Photo by 20th Century Fox)

All Star Wars Movies Ranked By Tomatometer

May the 4th be with you!

Flash Gordon meets Hidden Fortress meets Dune, 1977’s Star Wars was formed by George Lucas as an innocent, serial tribute to the entertainment of his formative past. But for everyone else, it was the future, changing the movie culture landscape on every level: How and what gets made, how they’re released, and, yes, how they’re merchandized. A space opera for all ages, Lucas closed out this original trilogy with the biggest twists (Empire Strikes Back) and the cuddliest endgame battle (Return of the Jedi).

Over 20 years later, Lucas returned with the prequel trilogy that went deep into Force mechanics and far towards space politics. And nearly another 20 years after that, the so-called sequel trilogy started up, reuniting old friends and plot devices for the nostalgic blockbuster touchstone The Force Awakens. That was followed by the foundation-shaking Last Jedi, and the action-packed fan service machine The Rise of Skywalker, which is now the second-lowest–rated Star Wars film, according to the Tomatometer.

With the 42-year spanning Skywalker Saga now complete, we’re ranking every movie in the franchise! This means all theatrical releases (including spin-offs like Rogue One and The Clone Wars), but leaving off the TV stuff. Apologies to The Mandalorian. Star Wars Holiday Special, you know what you did. Now, kick back with some blue milk (or green, if you’re watching space carbs) and crank up that holo-phonograph of “Jedi Rocks” because here comes the best Star Wars movies by Tomatometer!

#1
Adjusted Score: 107172%
Critics Consensus: Dark, sinister, but ultimately even more involving than A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back defies viewer expectations and takes the series to heightened emotional levels.
Synopsis: The adventure continues in this "Star Wars" sequel. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher)... [More]
Directed By: Irvin Kershner

#2
Adjusted Score: 115676%
Critics Consensus: Packed with action and populated by both familiar faces and fresh blood, The Force Awakens successfully recalls the series' former glory while injecting it with renewed energy.
Synopsis: Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren... [More]
Directed By: J.J. Abrams

#3
Adjusted Score: 109286%
Critics Consensus: A legendarily expansive and ambitious start to the sci-fi saga, George Lucas opened our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster filmmaking and things have never been the same.
Synopsis: The Imperial Forces -- under orders from cruel Darth Vader (David Prowse) -- hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage, in... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 118402%
Critics Consensus: Star Wars: The Last Jedi honors the saga's rich legacy while adding some surprising twists -- and delivering all the emotion-rich action fans could hope for.
Synopsis: Luke Skywalker's peaceful and solitary existence gets upended when he encounters Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of... [More]
Directed By: Rian Johnson

#5
Adjusted Score: 106664%
Critics Consensus: Rogue One draws deep on Star Wars mythology while breaking new narrative and aesthetic ground -- and suggesting a bright blockbuster future for the franchise.
Synopsis: Former scientist Galen Erso lives on a farm with his wife and young daughter, Jyn. His peaceful existence comes crashing... [More]
Directed By: Gareth Edwards

#6
Adjusted Score: 93134%
Critics Consensus: Though failing to reach the cinematic heights of its predecessors, Return of the Jedi remains an entertaining sci-fi adventure and a fitting end to the classic trilogy.
Synopsis: Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) battles horrible Jabba the Hut and cruel Darth Vader to save his comrades in the Rebel... [More]
Directed By: Richard Marquand

#7
Adjusted Score: 90898%
Critics Consensus: With Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas brings his second Star Wars trilogy to a suitably thrilling and often poignant -- if still a bit uneven -- conclusion.
Synopsis: It has been three years since the Clone Wars began. Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Jedi Knight Anakin... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 96355%
Critics Consensus: A flawed yet fun and fast-paced space adventure, Solo: A Star Wars Story should satisfy newcomers to the saga as well as longtime fans who check their expectations at the theater door.
Synopsis: Young Han Solo finds adventure when he joins forces with a gang of galactic smugglers and a 190-year-old Wookie named... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#9
Adjusted Score: 74042%
Critics Consensus: Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones benefits from an increased emphasis on thrilling action, although it's undercut by ponderous plot points and underdeveloped characters.
Synopsis: Set ten years after the events of "The Phantom Menace," the Republic continues to be mired in strife and chaos.... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#10
Adjusted Score: 79116%
Critics Consensus: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker suffers from a frustrating lack of imagination, but concludes this beloved saga with fan-focused devotion.
Synopsis: When it's discovered that the evil Emperor Palpatine did not die at the hands of Darth Vader, the rebels must... [More]
Directed By: J.J. Abrams

#11
Adjusted Score: 64867%
Critics Consensus: Burdened by exposition and populated with stock characters, The Phantom Menace gets the Star Wars prequels off to a bumpy -- albeit visually dazzling -- start.
Synopsis: Experience the heroic action and unforgettable adventures of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. See the first fateful... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 25744%
Critics Consensus: Mechanical animation and a less-than stellar script make The Clone Wars a pale shadow of George Lucas' once great franchise.
Synopsis: As more star systems get swept into the Clone Wars, the valiant Jedi knights struggle to maintain order. Anakin Skywalker... [More]
Directed By: Dave Filoni

(Photo by Prime Video)

The Best TV Shows of 2023: Every Certified Fresh Series

Updated: December 28, 2023

Rotten Tomatoes’ list of top shows of 2023 (so far) compiles the TV and streaming seasons that debuted in the U.S. this year and were designated Certified Fresh.

To be Certified Fresh, seasons must score at least 75% on the Tomatometer, with at least 20 critic reviews (five of those from Top Critics). Shows retain their Certified Fresh status even if they fall below 75%, as long as the scores stay at 70% or above.

Just added: Percy Jackson, Invincible, Reacher, Lessons in Chemistry limited series, Goosebumps season 1, For All Mankind season 4


Read Also: The Best Movies of 2023

Invincible: Season 2 (2023)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 103532%
Critics Consensus: Still as bracing as a punch to the face and invigorating with its vivid worldbuilding, Invincible is practically impervious to disappointing audiences in this sterling sophomore season.

Adjusted Score: 103421%
Critics Consensus: Bowing out while still having plenty of creativity to spare, Reservation Dogs' final season sidesteps feeling premature by satisfying on every level.

Reacher: Season 2 (2023)
98%

#3
Adjusted Score: 101863%
Critics Consensus: Brawny as Alan Ritchson's biceps, Reacher swaggers confidently into its sophomore season as rock 'em sock 'em pulp with a sly wink.

#4
Adjusted Score: 103090%
Critics Consensus: Full of highs and with nary a low, Happy Valley returns at the peak of its hardscrabble powers, with Sarah Lancashire seamlessly slipping back into her quintessential role for one final mystery.

Adjusted Score: 102870%
Critics Consensus: Bel Powley's arresting performance burns bright in A Small Light, a sensitive portrait of heroism in the face of all-encompassing tragedy.

Adjusted Score: 101855%
Critics Consensus: Tonally elastic and blessed with Patrick Brammall and Harriet Dyer's sparky chemistry, Colin from Accounts makes the alchemy of a satisfying rom-com feel effortless.

Foundation: Season 2 (2023)
100%

#7
Adjusted Score: 101874%
Critics Consensus: With its complicated bedrock now established, Foundation spreads its wings in an improved sophomore season that rewards viewers' patience with a brainy sci-fi epic of genuine grandeur.

#8
Adjusted Score: 101873%
Critics Consensus: A saga of cutthroat competition with notes of cool intelligence, Drops of God is a sleek entertainment sure to stimulate refined palates.
Directed By: Oded Ruskin

#9
Adjusted Score: 101461%
Critics Consensus: Diane Morgan feigns dopiness with ingenious comedic timing in Cunk on Earth, a gut-busting sendup of anthropological documentaries.
Starring: Diane Morgan
Directed By: Christian Watt

#10
Adjusted Score: 101650%
Critics Consensus: The elder Dubek siblings may still feel like they're also-rans, but The Other Two remains cream of the crop in a third season that turns foiled dreams into delightful comedy.

Primo: Season 1 (2023)
100%

#11
Adjusted Score: 101432%
Critics Consensus: Bearing the unmistakable stamp of creator Shea Serrano's authentic voice, Primo is a generation-spanning sitcom that feels like home.

Deadloch: Season 1 (2023)
100%

#12
Adjusted Score: 101432%
Critics Consensus: An irreverent twist on the crime procedural, Deadloch's addictive mixture of mystery and mordant humor makes most of its corpse-strewn competition look comparably stiff.

#13
Adjusted Score: 102094%
Critics Consensus: Houston, there's no problem here -- For All Mankind's fourth season hones in on what the series does best and forges ahead with a thought-provoking revisionist history.

Adjusted Score: 97873%
Critics Consensus: Visually dazzling while paying deft attention to character, Blue Eye Samurai is a masterfully rendered animated adventure.

#15
Adjusted Score: 101430%
Critics Consensus: Disturbing and wondrous, Scavengers Reign presents a vividly realized world that beckons exploration by its marooned characters and television viewers alike.

Adjusted Score: 101206%
Critics Consensus: Somebody Somewhere captures the bittersweet beauty of life in all its minutiae, never forgetting to laugh in the face of adversity.

Adjusted Score: 101211%
Critics Consensus: Recapturing the original movies' blend of cuteness and mayhem, Secrets of the Mogwai is delightful family entertainment -- just don't feed it after midnight.

Killing It: Season 2 (2023)
100%

#18
Adjusted Score: 101211%
Critics Consensus: Scathing as ever and even funnier than before, Killing It's sophomore season compresses capitalistic malaise into a comedic diamond.

The Bear: Season 2 (2023)
99%

#19
Adjusted Score: 110158%
Critics Consensus: Instead of reinventing the menu, The Bear's second season wisely opts to toss its lovable characters into another frying pan of adversity, lets 'em cook, and serves up yet another supremely satisfying dish.

Adjusted Score: 102725%
Critics Consensus: Strange New Worlds treks across familiar territory to refreshing effect, its episodic structure and soulful cast recapturing the sense of boundless discovery that defined the franchise's roots.

Beef: Season 1 (2023)
98%

#21
Adjusted Score: 110153%
Critics Consensus: Ali Wong and Steven Yeun are a diabolically watchable pair of adversaries in Beef, a prime cut comedy that finds the pathos in pettiness.

#22
Adjusted Score: 109601%
Critics Consensus: With the incomparable Natasha Lyonne as an ace up its sleeve, Poker Face is a puzzle box of modest ambitions working with a full deck.

Adjusted Score: 100976%
Critics Consensus: Finally getting the band back together, Picard's final season boldly goes where the previous generation had gone before -- and is all the better for it.

Gen V: Season 1 (2023)
97%

#24
Adjusted Score: 105284%
Critics Consensus: Just about as gruesomely subversive as its origin series, Gen V builds on The Boys in occasionally chaotic but overall inspired fashion.

#25
Adjusted Score: 105063%
Critics Consensus: As compulsively watchable as ever, Succession's final season concludes the saga of the backbiting Roy family on a typically brilliant -- and colorfully profane -- high note.

Adjusted Score: 100311%
Critics Consensus: Boldly going where this hallowed franchise has gone before with effervescent execution, Strange New Worlds' superb sophomore season continues to recapture classic Trek with modern verve.

#27
Adjusted Score: 99758%
Critics Consensus: Schmigadoon! returns with more libido, pizzazz, and all that jazz in a sophomore season that improves upon what was already a nifty production.

#28
Adjusted Score: 112574%
Critics Consensus: Retaining the most addictive aspects of its beloved source material while digging deeper into the story, The Last of Us is bingeworthy TV that ranks among the all-time greatest video game adaptations.

Adjusted Score: 105161%
Critics Consensus: Relocating the action to the theatre, Only Murders in the Building can take a bow for yet another twisty mystery handled with a good-humored touch.

#30
Adjusted Score: 103291%
Critics Consensus: Boots Riley's towering imagination looms as large as his supersized hero in I'm a Virgo, an uproarious satire that's given an enormous heart to match by star Jharrel Jerome.

Barry: Season 4 (2023)
96%

#31
Adjusted Score: 101521%
Critics Consensus: What began as a macabre comedy is now close to completely shorn of genuine mirth, but Bill Hader's masterful indictment of stardom closes the curtain with one hell of an encore.

Adjusted Score: 97074%
Critics Consensus: A faithful adaptation of Rick Riordan's novels, Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a lovingly realized odyssey through adolescence and myth.

#33
Adjusted Score: 101190%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully acted and scripted, Heartstopper's second season is fit to bursting with emotional truth.

Adjusted Score: 100526%
Critics Consensus: Retaining the heart and wit of the original movie while also carving out a fresh path for itself, Scott Pilgrim takes off in the animated medium and soars.

Fargo: Season 5 (2023)
93%

#35
Adjusted Score: 98080%
Critics Consensus: A back-to-basics caper populated by the likes of a mesmerizing Juno Temple and a thick slice of Hamm, Fargo's fifth season is a superb return to peak form.

Adjusted Score: 99091%
Critics Consensus: All good comedy sets must arrive at a final punchline, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel reliably nails its own with a fifth season that wisely puts Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein's repartee front and center.

Adjusted Score: 97985%
Critics Consensus: Our Flag Means Death's sophomore season doubles down on the fans' favorite ship to some diminishing returns, but it still delivers enough joyous moments to get viewers' sabers rattling.

#38
Adjusted Score: 97875%
Critics Consensus: Hold the phone! A truly stranger than fiction scandal is recounted with addictive aplomb in this gritty and farcical docuseries.

Adjusted Score: 97653%
Critics Consensus: Now that I Think You Should Leave's rhythms have become a recognizable pattern, some of these sketches CAN'T hit, but most of them still CAN hit -- and indeed they do, with quotable hilarity.

#40
Adjusted Score: 97543%
Critics Consensus: Having settled into one of DC's most dependably entertaining series, Harley Quinn continues to be funny, quirky, and romantic.

Adjusted Score: 102511%
Critics Consensus: A resplendent romance between two of the most interesting characters in the Bridgerton saga, Queen Charlotte is a spin-off that arguably perfects the primary series' formula.

#42
Adjusted Score: 99907%
Critics Consensus: Slow Horses refreshes the espionage genre by letting its band of snoops be bumbling, with Gary Oldman giving a masterclass in frumpy authority.

#43
Adjusted Score: 98643%
Critics Consensus: Returning after a long layoff, Party Down brings patient fans a third season that's every bit as sharp -- and laugh-out-loud funny -- as its predecessors.

#44
Adjusted Score: 98420%
Critics Consensus: The Afterparty welcomes in a mostly new cast and keeps things festive with its enduringly clever Rashomon-style format, stirring up an entertainment that viewers won't want to end.

Adjusted Score: 96763%
Critics Consensus: Displaying a comedic longevity that'd make even a vampire blush, What We Do in the Shadows enters its fifth season showing no signs of getting long in the fang.

#46
Adjusted Score: 96321%
Critics Consensus: Sharon Horgan and Michael Sheen turn in some of their best work yet in Best Intentions, a frank depiction of any parent's worst nightmare that is equal parts graceful and harrowing.

#47
Adjusted Score: 96211%
Critics Consensus: Shining bright and casting a warm glow over viewers, Starstruck continues to be masterful comfort television in this sweet third season.

#48
Adjusted Score: 96320%
Critics Consensus: Hosted by Alan Cumming with theatrical relish, The Traitors deploys a rogues' gallery of reality television stars to make for a compelling murder mystery party.

#49
Adjusted Score: 96210%
Critics Consensus: Ably dramatizing a deadly serious chapter of World War II history while also remembering to have fun, Transatlantic is a visually sumptuous throwback to classic Hollywood melodramas.

#50
Adjusted Score: 96209%
Critics Consensus: Stonehouse reenacts one of Britain's most ridiculous spy games with wry flair while star Matthew Macfadyen puts on a masterclass of fecklessness.

#51
Adjusted Score: 100290%
Critics Consensus: Having already made a startling first impression, Yellowjackets coils itself in a second season preparing for the long haul -- thankfully, its superb performances and mesmeric ambience are fine substitutes for fast answers.

The Curse: Season 1 (2023)
94%

#52
Adjusted Score: 100959%
Critics Consensus: A wickedly uncomfortable marriage of sensibilities between Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie, with a masterful Emma Stone tying everything together, The Curse will make viewers cackle and squirm in equal measure.

Adjusted Score: 98736%
Critics Consensus: Jam-packed with inventive flourishes and grounded by lovable actors, American Born Chinese musters epic elements from Chinese mythology to tell a deeply relatable coming of age story.

Platonic: Season 1 (2023)
93%

#54
Adjusted Score: 98191%
Critics Consensus: Even with bold swings and romance off the table, the rambunctious rapport between Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen makes Platonic an ideal relationship comedy.

#55
Adjusted Score: 96973%
Critics Consensus: With the fortune of Bob Odenkirk in its favor, Lucky Hank makes ennui essential viewing with a comedy rooted in relatable human behavior.

Rain Dogs: Season 1 (2023)
93%

#56
Adjusted Score: 95315%
Critics Consensus: Authentically brutal with pinpricks of humor that's all the more true to life, Rain Dogs is a bracing story of toil that proves to be immensely rewarding.

#57
Adjusted Score: 96537%
Critics Consensus: More topical than before while also owning its frivolous appeal with unapologetic splendor, Julian Fellowes' operatic soap enters its own halcyon age.

You: Season 4 (2023)
92%

#58
Adjusted Score: 97848%
Critics Consensus: The hunter becomes prey in You's London-set fourth season, which shows some wear as this premise begins to outlive its believability -- but Penn Badgley's sardonic performance continues to paper over most lapses in logic.

#59
Adjusted Score: 97632%
Critics Consensus: Positively bonkers while undergirded by an intelligent design, Mrs. Davis makes Betty Gilpin a hero for modern times in a highly imaginative mixture of spirituality and technology.

Adjusted Score: 95086%
Critics Consensus: Turning a high concept into a grounded good time, The Big Door Prize realizes its full potential thanks to a lovable cast of relatable characters.

The Gold: Season 1 (2023)
92%

#61
Adjusted Score: 93873%
Critics Consensus: A glittering cast is worth its weight in Gold, giving this posh caper plenty of compelling glamor to go along with its trenchant class commentary.

Shrinking: Season 1 (2023)
91%

#62
Adjusted Score: 99617%
Critics Consensus: Shrinking has darker ideas on its mind than its earnest approach can often translate, but Jason Segel and Harrison Ford's sparkling turns make these characters worth close analysis.

Adjusted Score: 95195%
Critics Consensus: Timothy Olyphant's quickdraw charm shows no signs of dulling in City Primeval, an introspective and very welcome return for Raylan Givens.

#64
Adjusted Score: 93195%
Critics Consensus: As sweetly empathetic and inclusive as ever, Sex Education's final season serves as a bittersweet -- but largely satisfying -- farewell.

#65
Adjusted Score: 89653%
Critics Consensus: Blessed with an affable and charismatic subject, Beckham's intimate access to one of the world's most renowned athletes makes for a delightful binge.

Adjusted Score: 92432%
Critics Consensus: While its marquee stars are plenty welcoming all their own, Wrexham smartly spends its sophomore season focused on the community itself to inspiring effect.

Adjusted Score: 101711%
Critics Consensus: Presenting vintage Poe stories filtered through Mike Flanagan's deliciously dark lens, The Fall of the House of Usher will get a rise out of horror fans.

Adjusted Score: 95196%
Critics Consensus: A queer romance with the full breadth and depth of an epic, Fellow Travelers is a moving showcase for Matt Bomer and Jonathan Bailey's captivating on-screen chemistry.

#69
Adjusted Score: 91211%
Critics Consensus: Deriving extra flavor from its Australian setting and Miranda Otto's unsettling performance, The Clearing is an eerie thriller with plenty to recommend.

Adjusted Score: 91210%
Critics Consensus: A mirthful satire of religious zealotry that hits more than it misses, Everyone Else Burns is an agreeably irreverent sitcom.
Directed By: Nick Collett

Minx: Season 2 (2023)
89%

#71
Adjusted Score: 91095%
Critics Consensus: Still getting great mileage from its marriage of the feminist and the frivolous, Minx's second season is smart, sexy, and fun.

Hijack: Season 1 (2023)
88%

#72
Adjusted Score: 94510%
Critics Consensus: Largely devoid of storytelling turbulence and benefitting greatly from its real-time pacing, Hijack is a glossy but effective thriller that achieves genuine liftoff.

Silo: Season 1 (2023)
88%

#73
Adjusted Score: 94519%
Critics Consensus: With deft writing, awe-inspiring production design and the inestimable star power of Rebecca Ferguson, Silo is a mystery box well worth opening.

Adjusted Score: 93521%
Critics Consensus: Confounding as it is seductive, Murder at the End of the World is a worthy brain-teaser for fans of Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij's offbeat storytelling.

Adjusted Score: 91746%
Critics Consensus: As much an exposé on ugly cultural forces as it is a straightforward presentation of Brooke Shields' life, Pretty Baby is disturbing and triumphant in equal measure.
Starring: Brooke Shields

Adjusted Score: 89764%
Critics Consensus: Carrying off a mature mystery with a light touch, Shelter is an absorbing and spry adaptation of Harlan Coben's work.

Adjusted Score: 89460%
Critics Consensus: More cerebral than outright thrilling, A Spy Among Friends is an intelligent tale of espionage elevated by a pair of sterling performances.

Swarm: Season 1 (2023)
87%

#78
Adjusted Score: 93516%
Critics Consensus: Swarm can be as unpleasant as a hornet sting, but Dominique Fishback's ferocious performance and the creators' bold creative swings add up to a truly subversive take on toxic fandom.

#79
Adjusted Score: 94074%
Critics Consensus: Boding well for the series' longevity, Good Omens' second season is even more splendid than the first.

Adjusted Score: 97269%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by Rosario Dawson's strong performance in the title role and a solid story that balances new and old elements of the Star Wars saga, Ahsoka is a must-watch for fans of the franchise.

Futurama: Season 11 (2023)
86%

#81
Adjusted Score: 88206%
Critics Consensus: Shut up and take our money!

Adjusted Score: 88095%
Critics Consensus: The Muppets Mayhem might be too slight to find the Rainbow Connection, but its ragtag band of plucky puppets and plethora of showbiz gags make for a solid addition to the franchise.

Adjusted Score: 87874%
Critics Consensus: The Wheel of Time keeps spinning on a steady track in a rousing second season that deepens its characters.

Adjusted Score: 93616%
Critics Consensus: If Dead Ringers doesn't wield as cutting a blade as David Cronenberg's original chiller, it's not a pale imitation either, thanks to Rachel Weisz putting on a clinic in doppelgänger duplicity.

One Piece: Season 1 (2023)
85%

#85
Adjusted Score: 90742%
Critics Consensus: One Piece captures the essence of its beloved source material with a charmingly big-hearted adaptation that should entertain longtime fans as well as patient newcomers.

#86
Adjusted Score: 88974%
Critics Consensus: Mileage may vary by a couple parsecs as The Mandalorian becomes more and more about the connective tissue of broader Star Wars lore, but this remains one of the most engaging adventures in a galaxy far, far away.

Adjusted Score: 89641%
Critics Consensus: A clever spin on the pressures of office culture, The Other Black Girl blends comedy and horror to thrilling effect.

Adjusted Score: 88420%
Critics Consensus: Tiny Beautiful Things is littered with cumbersome narrative choices, but Kathryn Hahn's soulful performance is one big plus that keeps this adaptation firmly compelling.

Adjusted Score: 86211%
Critics Consensus: The Company You Keep gets off to a rocky start in the first few episodes, but the show's appealing cast and entertaining blend of crime and romance will pay off for patient viewers.

Adjusted Score: 86210%
Critics Consensus: A genial showcase for Michelle Buteau, Survival of the Thickest is equal parts amusing and heartwarming.

Adjusted Score: 95842%
Critics Consensus: With performances by father-son duo Kurt and Wyatt Russell that work a charm, Monarch adds a welcome wrinkle to the Godzilla legacy by honing its monstrous scope to a very human level.

Adjusted Score: 92626%
Critics Consensus: Touching on several hot button issues while benefitting immensely from a perfect pinch of Brie Larson, Lessons in Chemistry's ambitious ingredients add up to satisfying entertainment.

#93
Adjusted Score: 87648%
Critics Consensus: More cohesive and engaging than its woolly first installment, Perry Mason's sophomore season is a marked improvement driven by an urgent sense of purpose, with Matthew Rhys commandingly watchable as ever.

#94
Adjusted Score: 87971%
Critics Consensus: Keri Russell's scrappy performance negotiates the best possible terms for The Diplomat, a soapy take on statecraft that manages to make geopolitical crises highly bingeable entertainment.

Ted Lasso: Season 3 (2023)
81%

#95
Adjusted Score: 90058%
Critics Consensus: Ted Lasso's third and possibly final season takes time to find its footing, but patient viewers who believe will find that they appreciate Coach as much as ever.

Loki: Season 2 (2023)
82%

#96
Adjusted Score: 90728%
Critics Consensus: Loki's dizzying, dazzling second season may rely on sleight of hand to distract from its slightly less satisfying storyline, but the end result still contains enough of that old Marvel magic to entertain.

Adjusted Score: 84758%
Critics Consensus: Sigourney Weaver is excellent as a thorny matriarch in The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, a visually appealing and well-acted melodrama.
Directed By: Glendyn Ivin

Jury Duty: Season 1 (2023)
83%

#98
Adjusted Score: 85870%
Critics Consensus: While this courtroom comedy isn't as tedious as actual jury duty -- largely thanks to a very game James Marsden -- the verdict is still out on whether its stylistic gambit pays off.

Adjusted Score: 83432%
Critics Consensus: Trying to defend the title is hard, but Winning Time's sophomore season keeps pace as some of the best courtside seats to sports history that television can provide.

#100
Adjusted Score: 84094%
Critics Consensus: Leveraging its alien conceit to make astute observations about society, Strange Planet is wryly amusing and relatably human.

XO, Kitty: Season 1 (2023)
81%

#101
Adjusted Score: 82983%
Critics Consensus: A modest and sweet extension of all the films that fans have loved before, XO, Kitty aims straight for the heart and finds its mark.

#102
Adjusted Score: 84094%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by the indispensable Stephen Graham, Bodies' multiple twisting time strands coalesce into one satisfying binge.

#103
Adjusted Score: 82321%
Critics Consensus: Serving up a fresh look at the next generation of tennis stars, Break Point is strictly for established fans of tennis but full of well-aimed volleys into insight.

#104
Adjusted Score: 84653%
Critics Consensus: Glossy as a magazine cover, The Super Models largely sidesteps the thornier aspects of the fashion world but centers some of its most iconic stars on their own terms.

#105
Adjusted Score: 82084%
Critics Consensus: Full Circle's windy plotting may prove too labyrinthine for casual enjoyment, but Steven Soderbergh's assured direction and a stacked cast give this simmering noir plenty of intrigue.

Adjusted Score: 83532%
Critics Consensus: The Horror of Dolores Roach bites off more than it could chew with the delicate balance between horror and humor, but Justina Machado's commitment to the zany premise makes for a savory snack of a series.

#107
Adjusted Score: 80537%
Critics Consensus: Shadow and Bone's sophomore season packs in too much story sinew to properly breathe, but this adventure remains great fun for fantasy fans.

Culprits: Season 1 (2023)
79%

#108
Adjusted Score: 80653%
Critics Consensus: Culprits is a stylish caper packed with enough twists to solve a Rubik's Cube, making for a bloody entertaining binge.

#109
Adjusted Score: 83195%
Critics Consensus: Capably shouldered by Henry Cavill's gruff charm, The Witcher's plotty third season pays a fittingly fond farewell to this particular Geralt of Rivia.

#110
Adjusted Score: 83863%
Critics Consensus: With Christoph Waltz's menacing charm on retainer, The Consultant compensates for its lack of depth with slick presentation and diverting twists.

Adjusted Score: 81647%
Critics Consensus: With David Oyelowo capably stepping into the stirrups of Bass Reeves, this gritty procedural is slow to the draw but hits its mark nonetheless.

Bupkis: Season 1 (2023)
78%

#112
Adjusted Score: 82637%
Critics Consensus: Pete Davidson's second crack at playing a fictionalized version of himself may feel faintly recycled, but a terrific supporting cast and some surprising depth ensure this series adds up to more than just Bupkis.

#113
Adjusted Score: 78863%
Critics Consensus: Anachronistic to the max and loving it, The Buccaneers is a feminist and frothy treat for fans of period piece pageantry.

Adjusted Score: 80416%
Critics Consensus: True crime enthusiasts have been satirized more sharply, but engaging leads and a lightly humorous touch make Based on a True Story worth investigating.

#115
Adjusted Score: 78758%
Critics Consensus: Although Rabbit Hole tumbles into one twist too many, Kiefer Sutherland remains compelling in his welcome return to the espionage genre.

#116
Adjusted Score: 79637%
Critics Consensus: A solidly serviceable sequel series, That '90s Show may take a little time to find its rhythm, but still delivers a respectable number of warmly nostalgic laughs.

#117
Adjusted Score: 77312%
Critics Consensus: Wickedly inventive enough to give viewers the creeps if not nightmares, Goosebumps solidly transplants R.L. Stine's spooky stories into a serialized format.

#118
Adjusted Score: 76428%
Critics Consensus: Bingeable as a beach read and just as forgettable, The Night Agent is a routine spy thriller told with commendable bravado.

Adjusted Score: 73649%
Critics Consensus: Centering Norman Reedus' fan favorite character in a fresh setting, Daryl Dixon can be a wobbly shot across the crossbow but still gives The Walking Dead faithful plenty more to chew on.

Hunters: Season 2 (2023)
71%

#120
Adjusted Score: 72321%
Critics Consensus: While it never realizes its full potential as a revenge fantasy for real historical atrocity, Hunters tracks down a satisfying enough conclusion in this second and final season.

To slightly misquote another epic fantasy, one stage of the Star Wars journey has ended, but another will eventually begin. Star Wars: Ahsoka concluded on Tuesday with people switching places, threats remaining, and the major character arc of its presumed first season resolved. But it also left a lot on the table to carry forward in another season (perhaps) and, at least, series creator Dave Filoni’s feature film debut.

Nevertheless, there are still aspects of Ahsoka to discuss and question. The show, as part of the Disney Star Wars continuum, does not exist in a vacuum, and we wonder how many of its plot points may yet feature in the years to come. Also, how will it ultimately tie back to future seen in the sequel film trilogy and beyond? Let’s take a look at latter half of Ahsoka and see if we can’t map out some of what is to come.


Spoiler alert: The following includes plot details about the season 1 finale of Star Wars: Ahsoka, “The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord.” Stop reading here if you have not watched the episode and wish to avoid spoilers.


Ezra the Jedi Is Revealed as a Focus of Ahsoka

Star Wars: Ahsoka poster of Eman Esfandi

Star Wars: Ahsoka poster of Eman Esfandi as Ezra Bridger (Photo by Lucasfilm)

First, let’s take a moment to consider the key character who was the real objective of the show: Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi). Bearded and living with a group of Noti nomads, we are given precious little info on how he spent the last decade since arriving on Peridia with Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) after the Battle of Lothal. What he does offer: The Noti helped him, and so he elected to travel with them while hoping against hope that his friends would find a way to rescue him.

He also seemed to continue his training after a fashion. Short a lightsaber, he continued to hone other Jedi abilities. That discipline came in handy when a group of Night Troopers attacked the Noti caravan in part 7, “Dreams and Madness.” Ezra proved formidable with a series of well-timed Force pushes.

Beyond his prowess as a Jedi, it is also clear he’s still very much the young man fans will recall from Star Wars Rebels, Filoni’s 2016-2018 animated creation. A certain cockiness remains, and we have to give Esfandi credit for sounding like Rebels voice actor Taylor Gray. We also appreciated the way he and Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) immediately resumed their teasing banter and rapport. It’s such a boon to Ahsoka that it is something of a shame we had to wait six episodes to see him.

The swiftness with which he built a new lightsaber from Huyang’s (David Tennant) available components is a lesson the series could also learn. But as we’re fans of the Rebels characters, we also relish the time spent with them in live action so far.


Ahsoka and Sabine Are Better Together

Natasha Liu Bordizzo, David Tennant (as voice of Huyang) Rosario Dawson in Star Wars: Ahsoka

Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), Huyang (David Tennant) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in in Star Wars: Ahsoka season 1, episode 8 (Photo by Lucasfilm)

Following parts 3 and 4, we openly wondered if Huyang’s assertion that Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) and Sabine were better together was correct. And, as it turns out, that question was the emotional core of the series even as rescuing Ezra was part of its stated purpose. As seen in the finale, “The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord,” the pair are indeed strong when allied in purpose.

Of course, Ahsoka needed one last lesson from her master to truly get that, though.

In Part 5, “Shadow Warrior,” Ahsoka spent much of the hour in the presence of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) — at least, we’re pretty sure that was Anakin’s spirit and not the Force or Ahsoka’s own mind using his likeness — to come to grips with something she never really confronted: being trained as a wartime Jedi. Only knowing battle for much of her life made her ill-equipped to train Sabine. And considering Huyang’s mention Ahsoka’s concerns over Sabine’s training in the finale, we imagine part of her fear was not just in terms of making another battle-hardened soldier, but opening her apprentice up to the temptation of the Dark Side.


Star Wars: Ahsoka cast poster

(Photo by Lucasfilm)

Click image to open full poster in a new tab.

That’s only one aspect of Anakin’s lesson, though. Ahsoka also needed to understand that she doesn’t need to be a weapon. Whether or not that path leads to the Dark Side, it does take its toll and it is clear the dour Ahsoka of the first half was very much a reaction to spending decades in conflict.

Returning from the World Between Worlds after part 5, Ahsoka is lighter on her (cloven) feet, quicker to smile, and more attuned to the Force than before. Visually, this comes across via the paler clothing she adopts just before reaching out to the Purrgils on Seatos. In dialogue, she is also quicker to banter with Huyang and more willing to offer Sabine some praise when they are reunited on Peridia.

Admittedly, Sabine’s journey is less nuanced, as she acted recklessly most of the time and was, almost without fail, rewarded for doing so. Even Ahsoka had to admit her gamble paid off as they ultimately found Ezra. But maybe that recklessness is necessary for their dynamic, especially going forward as they try to find a way back to their home galaxy.

In fact, the bond between master and apprentice is so emphasized in the series — see also Huyang’s comment about Ezra and his master, Kanan Jarrus (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr. on Rebels) — that it seems to be a core aspect of the Jedi at this point and a weakness, which Thrawn exploits to outmaneuver Ahsoka. He recognized Anakin’s thought process in her actions — the two met on Batuu in the canonical novel Thrawn: Alliances written by Timothy Zahn and acted accordingly. He also recognized Darth Vader for who he really was and used his knowledge to deliver one last barb before stranding Ahsoka and Sabine in Peridia’s distant galaxy.

But we imagine the strength of their bond will help them get home before too long.


Thrawn’s Plan Takes an Annoyingly Long Time To Unfold

Star Wars: Ahsoka poster of Lars Mikkelsen

Star Wars: Ahsoka poster of Lars Mikkelsen as Grand Admiral Thrawn (Photo by Lucasfilm)

One issue we will take with the current pace of Star Wars storytelling is the lack of intel on Thrawn’s actual plan. Back in Zahn’s debut novel, Heir to the Empire, Thrawn’s main concern was obtaining the cloning tech from Mount Tantiss. Here, though, he offers precious little to the audience. We’ll still make a few guesses, though.

Peridia is the homeworld of the Dathomiri Nightsisters, and as we know from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the Nightsisters can animate the dead — an ability made all the more terrifying in the Ahsoka finale. Note that Thrawn also refers to his forces as “Night Troopers.” Their broken-but-mended armor may reflect as certain undeadness among the rank and file. Or, at the very least, a willingness to allow the Great Mothers of Peridia to use their corpses for the greater glory of the Empire.

All of which leads us to the last shot of Thrawn. His Star Destroyer arrives in orbit around Dathomir, and we see he has a whole cargo bay of seeming coffins. More Night Troopers? Maybe. But considering Thrawn “woke up” the Great Mothers on Peridia, it is possible the coffins hold more Nightsisters in suspended animation. Either prospect makes Thrawn a true threat to the New Republic.


How Dathomir Fits into Thrawn’s Plan

Diana Lee Inosanto as Morgan Elsbeth in a poster for Ahsoka season 1

Star Wars: Ahsoka poster of Diana Lee Inosanto as Morgan Elsbeth (Photo by Lucasfilm)

Choosing Dathomir as a staging ground presents a few wrinkles going forward. The Dark Side of the Force is quite strong on the planet. That presence allowed the Nightsisters’ Force magick to flourish. It is also inhabited by Rancors, which is another way Thrawn can reinforce the dwindling resources of the Imperial Remnant. Consider how formidable just one trained Rancor proved to be in The Book of Boba Fett.

The planet has also been void of a Nightsister population since the Clone Wars, when Count Dooku razed its settlements and left only a handful of survivors, including Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto). Her quiet “For Dathomir” vow in the finale leads us to believe re-establishing the Nightsisters on Dathomir was part of Thrawn’s agreement with the Great Mothers.

Shame Elsbeth did not live to see that new Golden Age.


There’s a Light (on the Other Side of Peridia)

Ray Stevenson as Baylan Skoll in a poster for Ahsoka season 1

Star Wars: Ahsoka poster of Ray Stevenson as Baylan Skoll

Although Dathomir will be an important planet going forward, Peridia still has some mysteries to discover. For one: Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) stopped working for Elsbeth the moment they made planetfall. It seems the unimaginable power he told Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) about resides somewhere on that planet in a galaxy far, far away. Unfortunately, Ahsoka leaves us no closer to understanding what he’s really seeking than we were at the series’ mid-point.

One possibility, as noted by those who recognized the statue he was standing upon, is that he seeks nothing less than access to Mortis — another netherrealm within the Force where impossibly powerful Force users embodying the Dark Side, Light Side, and Balance once lived. Anakin and Ahsoka encountered Mortis in an episode of Clone Wars and many believe they assumed the roles of Balance and Light Side afterward. Baylan may yet be seeking the Dark Side.

Baylan is a fascinating character. Working hard not to be a Jedi or a Sith, it is clear he misses some aspects of his old affiliation with the Jedi Order. He says as much at one point. His fight with Ahsoka in part 6 is shockingly half-hearted and the Great Mothers are wary of him from the jump. Then there are his parting words to his apprentice: impatience for victory will lead to defeat.

The closest we get to understanding his true ambition is a stated desire to break the cycle of the Jedi Order’s rise and fall. As Star Wars fans know, the Order’s pattern of ascendancy and decline has been going on for at least 3,000 years, so if Baylan speaks true, he has a mighty quest ahead of him. Although, our last glimpse of him includes a distant light on a far away Peridia peak. Is it just a matter of making that journey across a long-dead empire to find the power to break the cycle?

That is a question that cannot be answered completely until Rey (Daisy Ridley) establishes a new Jedi Order in a proposed film set 10 years after the events of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But for Baylan, it is a noble pursuit. It just doesn’t square with the way he trained Shin, his desire for power, or his willingness to do questionable things.

Sadly, the next time we see Baylan, he will be markedly different. Stevenson passed away on May 21, 2023.


Shadows in the Starlight: More Questions About the Ahsoka Finale

Star Wars: Ahsoka poster of Wes Chatham

Star Wars: Ahsoka poster of Wes Chatham as Captain Enoch (Photo by Lucasfilm)

The true nature of Baylan’s quest isn’t the only question we have following the Ahsoka finale. Here are some puzzling notion to tease your brain with as we wait for the next journey in the ongoing Star Wars saga:

What is a Bokken Jedi? Baylan refers to Ezra and Kanan as such. Online sources suggest it is just a term to refer to Jedi trained after the fall of the Order at the end of the Clone Wars. But as Ahsoka is the only time the term has been used (in canon anyway), it is possible there is more to it.

Who is Captain Enoch (Wes Chatham)? He may be the lead trooper in Thrawn’s army, but he may also be more. Of course, the introduction and relatively quick dispatch of Marrok (Paul Darnell) in Ahsoka made us wary of masked Star Wars characters meaning much. Nevertheless, why dismiss one masked man by introducing another?

How much control does Anakin have over his Force ghost? In the World Between Worlds, it was unclear if Anakin was, in fact, the one who lived as Darth Vader and died in Return of the Jedi. But the appearance of his apparition in Ahsoka’s closing moments — and Sabine dimly sensing his presence — suggests he was there the whole time and has some say in when he can appear to people. But if that’s the case, why does he never appear to Ben Solo (Adam Driver) at any stage of his life? One would think his grandson’s idolatry of Darth Vader would call him out of the Force to offer some guidance.

Also, while we’re asking, does Anakin ever chat with Luke (Mark Hamill)?

Will the New Republic finally take Thrawn and the Remnant threat seriously? It’s clear from the politicking glimpsed in the series that there is a push to demilitarize and disband the Rebel Fleet now turned Republic Army. Ezra’s return and confirmation that Thrawn is back may change things, particularly if Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) is leading the Defense Council and backing up General Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).


What’s Next for Star Wars and Ahsoka?

STAR WARS: AHSOKA

Star Wars: Ahsoka poster of Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka (Photo by Lucasfilm)

Up next for Star Wars is the Amblin-inspired series Skeleton Crew. We don’t expect it to follow-up on the events of Ahsoka even though it is set in the same time period. After that is The Acolyte, set 100 years before the Clone Wars. A fourth season of The Mandalorian is in the works and may continue the New Republic threads, but we expect Ahsoka’s fate will have to wait until a second season — not confirmed, but also in no way publicly denied (mostly) — or Filoni’s feature film.

Star Wars social media was caught using the language “series finale,” Gizmodo reported, but that the posts were updated or deleted.

86% Star Wars: Ahsoka: Season 1 (2023) is now streaming in its entirety on Disney+.

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After it was announced nearly three years ago, Star Wars: Ahsoka is finally here. The series, from the titular character’s co-creator Dave Filoni, finally makes Ahsoka the main character and sets up his feature film debut. But before that future event, the series must stand on its own and tell a story — something critics of Star Wars shows claim is missing in efforts like The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Does Ahsoka pull it off with its first two episodes? And what signs and portents appear as the character finally takes the lead in a Star Wars production? Come with us as we attempt our own reading of the star map and take stock of the program so far.


Spoiler alert: This post reviews plot details about Ahsoka, episodes 1 and 2. Stop reading here if you wish to avoid spoilers. 



The Return of the Text Crawl

The show immediately sets itself apart by featuring a text crawl — a narrative technique featured in the films since the beginning, but notably absent from television efforts. Filoni’s own Star Wars: The Clone Wars sidestepped the crawl by utilizing narrated recaps inspired by WWII-era newsreels. Subsequent programs used more standard TV recaps. The crawl’s inclusion here speaks to Ahsoka being a key chapter in the ongoing Star Wars saga and the switch to red typeface instead of the typical blue text also suggests a trajectory toward darkness (see also the choice to present it as flat text instead of the traditional up-and-away diagonal of the movies). And considering its discussion of Grand Admiral Thrawn’s (Lars Mikkelsen) exile and the potential war should he unite the Imperial Remnant, it seems the stakes are higher than they’ve been for some time.

But that also suggests something else: Ahoska may only serve as a setup to Filoni’s feature film. It may end with Thrawn in power and the acknowledged “heir to the Empire,” which leaves a lot of story to resolve when (and if) that film materializes.


The Timeframe of Ahsoka

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) and the Magistrate (Diana Lee Inosanto) in The Mandalorian season 2

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) and the Magistrate (Diana Lee Inosanto) in The Mandalorian season 2, chapter 13 “The Jedi” (Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Curiously, the text crawl and the opening scene leave us wondering just when these events are transpiring. The only thing for sure, they follow the fifth episode of The Mandalorian’s second season, “The Jedi,” in which Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu first meet Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson). It is also the debut of Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), a character who now looms large in the story as Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) raid a New Republic prison ship to free her.

Presumably, Ahsoka delivered Elsbeth to New Republic forces immediately after the events of “The Jedi.” And instead of locking her up for the span of years covered by the rest of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, it would seem the New Republic scheduled a speedy trial. If that is the case, Ahsoka’s search for Thrawn runs concurrently with The Mandalorian’s second season and her meeting with Din at Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) new Jedi Temple on Ossus is sometime in her future.


Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), the Child and the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) in The Mandalorian season 2

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), the Child and the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) in The Mandalorian season 2, chapter 13 “The Jedi” (Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

If so, her demeanor toward Din and Luke would suggest things go better than expected in her quest. Then again, it is possible the courts of the New Republic are as slow as they were in the Old Republic and Elsbeth has sat in a prison cell for at least three years.

Either way, we know the paths of Ahsoka and The Mandalorian will sync up again as he has (or will) dealt a pretty heavy blow to the Remnant’s long-term plans.

One other thing we’re fairly sure of now: “The Jedi” took place before the final moments of Star Wars: Rebels. Filoni always teased the possibility and now, with the scene recreated with a greater context (more on that in a moment) at the end of Ahsoka’s second episode, it is clear he always saw that moment as a key part of Ahsoka’s ongoing story. And, thankfully, we finally have some idea why.


The Dourness of Ahsoka Tano

Huyang (David Tennant) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson)

Huyang (David Tennant) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) (Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

One criticism of Dawson’s debut as Ahsoka in “The Jedi” was a certain dourness to the performance. Voice actor Ashley Eckstein always infused Ahsoka with a youthful exuberance — even when she appears as an adult in Rebels — Dawson never quite matched. Granted, we’ll argue some of that joie de vivre emerges in her Boba Fett appearance. But with the opening episodes of Ahsoka, a reason for a more reserved and sadder Ahsoka Tano emerges: the failed tutelage of Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo).

Sabine’s connection to the Force was never stated outright during Rebels, but her aptitude with the Darksaber (which she wielded for a time in Rebels’ third season) can now be seen as a potential clue.

But beyond any call-forwards one may find in Rebels to Sabine’s potential as a Jedi, it seems Ahsoka recognized it just as the Galactic Civil War went into full swing and took her on as a Padawan at some point during that conflict. And based on everything she, Sabine, and Huyang (David Tennant) say about the time, it did not go well with Ahsoka ultimately walking away from her padawan for reasons not yet stated. Then again, the stubbornness both share may have played a part.


Which brings us back to Ahsoka’s demeanor and her refusal to train Gorgu. Opening herself up to a master-apprentice relationship could not have been easy. As noted by Hera Syndulla’s (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) immediate regret when joking about Ahsoka being difficult with her master, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), becoming a teacher could not have been easy for her. And the decision to abandon Sabine — which she outright compares to abandoning Anakin — could only contribute to a more jaded person.

We also still don’t know much about her activities during the war beyond “going where I’m needed,” but we imagine there were some difficult fights with or without an apprentice by her side. Ahsoka also spent some time in the World Between Worlds (essentially a time portal) after Ezra Bridger (the missing friend voiced by Taylor Gray on Rebels) saved her from a death at the hands of Darth Vader. It is possible she experienced something profound there that also contributed to the sterner warrior we see here. See also: the fact she has died a handful of times only to return. That has to change a person.

And, it should be noted, the Ahsoka of old does appear every so often with a smile or wry retort. But, perhaps, reconnecting with who she once was via a more successful training of Sabine will form a great portion of her emotional arc in the episodes to come.


The Faces of the Enemy

Diana Lee Inosanto as Morgan Elsbeth in a poster for Ahsoka season 1

Diana Lee Inosanto as Morgan Elsbeth in a poster for Ahsoka (Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Outside of her own interior conflict, Ahsoka has plenty of external antagonists to face. The revelation that Elsbeth was a Nightsister of Dathomir resets the nature of the overall struggle. First introduced in Dave Wolverton’s 1994 novel The Courtship of Princess Leia, they entered the modern cannon in Clone Wars. As ultimately realized in that series, the Nightsisters are neither Jedi nor Sith, but are Force-sensitives who employ Dathomir’s dark energies and ichor as a form of magick. Naturally enough, they’ve had contact with the galaxy and its various factions over the centuries, developing a dislike of the Jedi, before the Nightsisters were more or less eradicated during the Clone Wars.


Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen)

Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) (Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Some escaped, however, pursuing different paths. And from what we know of Elsbeth so far, it led her to become a titan of industry on Corellia and a loyal follower of Thrawn, who always had his own ambitions about securing order in the galaxy.

But that leads to one or two questions: How did the Nightsisters develop a map to Thrawn’s location hundreds of years before he and Ezra disappeared? Elsbeth’s claim that Thrawn speaks to her across “time and space” is one potential answer. Alternatively, the Nightsisters may have known something about the migration of purrgils — space whales capable of hyperspace travel — across intergalactic distances and she is just assuming the map Ahsoka recovered will lead her to Thrawn.


Ray Stevenson as Baylan Skoll in a poster for Ahsoka season 1

Ray Stevenson as Baylan Skoll in a poster for Ahsoka (Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

By means of credits or faith, Elsbeth’s cause has attracted other Force-users to engage in the search for Thrawn. As we learn from Huyang, Baylan was a Jedi who disappeared at the end of the Clone Wars. But his orange saber blade and his own testimony confirm he is not a Jedi anymore. Nor does he appear to be Sith. It has led some to suggest he will turn out to be the founder of the Knights of Ren (who briefly appear in the Star Wars sequel trilogy), but we have another possibility: a genuine Dark Jedi.

A facet of the old Expanded Universe, Dark Jedi were, as the name implied, Jedi who fell to the Dark Side in the wake of the Empire’s rise to power. Some actively worked for Emperor Sheev Palpatine, while others embraced different philosophies or sought to create their own dominance in the galaxy. But when the EU was de-canonized by Disney, the term more or less disappeared except for those still reading the older stories or playing video games like Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast or its follow-up, Jedi Academy. But as Filoni and Jon Favreau’s exploration of the galaxy after the events of Return of the Jedi features a lot of early EU concepts — the Imperial Remnant, Thrawn himself — it is possible Baylan may yet declare himself a Dark Jedi.

Indeed, his seeming desire for power reflects the Dark Jedi Thrawn attempted to exploit in his debut appearance, Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire. Although, in that tale, Joruus C’baoth turned out to be insane, an imperfect clone, and only interested in greater power when Thrawn offered him Luke, Leia (Carrie Fisher), and her unborn twins as payment for his services. We doubt Baylan will turn out to be a direct translation of C’baoth, but it is possible he will fill some of that role should Filoni choose to more directly adapt Heir to the Empire if and when Thrawn returns to known space.


Ivanna Sakhno as Shin Hati in a poster for Ahsoka season 1

Ivanna Sakhno as Shin Hati in a poster for Ahsoka (Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Although, it is it interesting that he considers killing Ahsoka to be a shame? See also: Shin’s clear confusion at some of their actions.

She is something of a wild card here as she does not appear to be an analogue of an EU character or someone who connects dots to something else. That makes her potentially fascinating, whether she decides her master and Elsbeth are wrong or turns out to be the actual founder of the Knights of Ren.


Marrok (Paul Darnell)

Paul Darnell as Marrok (Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Then again, the link could be Marrok, the Inquisitor who appears without introduction as part of Elsbeth’s coterie halfway through Ahsoka’s first episode. His appearance — and for the moment, we’re using that pronoun as Baylan and Elsbeth both do – in some of the trailers had many online wondering if he was actually Ezra. Presumably, Ezra is wherever Thrawn is, but Marrok’s refusal to remove his helmet makes him an irresistible riddle in the Star Wars tradition.

Other possibilities for Marrok’s true identity: Jedi Survivor protagonist Cal Kestis (Cameron Monaghan), long-lost EU Force-wielder Kyle Katarn, and, if we disregard the pronouns for a moment, EU favorite Mara Jade.

Of course, these are all just wild suggestions. Marrok may be another rank-and-file Inquisitor or Padawan press-ganged into the Emperor’s service as the Inquisitorius took shape after the fall of the Jedi.

No matter their ultimate roles or fates, each present interesting threats for Ahsoka and Sabine to manage.


The Rebels of It All

Ahsoka fan event in Hollywood, California

Ahsoka fan event at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on August 17 (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

One thing we are curious about, though, is how viewers not familiar with Rebels responded to the episodes. Since we know entirely too much about Hera, Sabine, Ezra, Chopper, and Thrawn, all the callbacks and entrances were a delight. We can also confirm those moments went over well with the Star Wars faithful at the Ahsoka fan events last week. But did it work for someone coming in fresh? If you have a perspective on that question, tell us in the comments below.

86% Star Wars: Ahsoka: Season 1 (2023) new episodes premiere on Wednesdays on Disney+.


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Critics’ responses to Ahsoka, the latest live-action Star Wars series on Disney+, are solidly Fresh so far, but comments on the pacing are lukewarm. Rosario Dawson shines as former Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano, and the charismatic performance of late actor Ray Stevenson, who died in May after filming ended, has touched reviewers.

The story, from writer and showrunner Dave Filoni, takes place after the fall of the Galactic Empire, and follows Ahsoka as she hunts for Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen, reprising the role he voiced on animated series Star Wars: Rebels). The Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated theatrical film introduced Ahsoka, a Togruta, as Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan student. A subsequent animated series of the same name saw the character grow into a strong Jedi Knight. Rebels found an Ahsoka steeped in the workings of the Rebel Alliance as it prepared for war with the Empire.

The character leapt to live-action with Dawson in the role in hit Disney+ series The Mandalorian, from series creator Jon Favreau and starring Pedro Pascal. She also appeared in Favreau and Filoni’s Mandalorian spin-off series The Book of Boba Fett, starring Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen.

The cast of the new series also includes Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Eman Esfandi, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, David Tennant, Ivanna Sakhno, Genevieve O’Reilly, Diana Lee Inosanto, and Hayden Christensen.

Here’s what critics are saying about season 1 of Star Wars: Ahsoka:


How does the series rate in the Star Wars universe?

This series feels like Star Wars thanks to perfectly combined humor, epic lightsaber battles, and emotional high stakes storylines. Feels more like a live action Rebels than a The Mandalorian spin-off, but that’s not a bad thing.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

The Star Wars TV show we’ve been waiting for, Ahsoka is an astonishing addition to the saga, with a phenomenal cast and pitch-perfect action that will take your breath away. THIS. IS. STAR WARS.
Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

At least we still have “Andor.”
Ben Travers, indieWire

Fans of Clone Wars and Rebels will appreciate this live-action continuation of Dave Filoni’s saga, while newcomers should dig its promise of a different kind of Force clash.
Dan Jolin, Empire Magazine

This show is going to be my must-see Star Wars show each week it’s on.
Julian Lytle, Geek Girl Riot

If you’re a longtime Star Wars fan that’s been feeling a little underwhelmed with the most recent offerings, Ahsoka should not just rekindle your excitement for the franchise but set it full on bonfire mode.
Jeffrey Lyles, Lyles’ Movie Files


How is Rosario Dawson in the series?

Rosario Dawson in Star Wars: Ahsoka season 1

Rosario Dawson in Star Wars: Ahsoka season 1

Dawson lifts your attention above the “Star Wars” of it all. She even overcomes the scalp appendages she has inherited from the cartoon character, which look exactly like what they are: a dangling pair of rubber bags.
Mike Hale, New York Times

“They’ve found the perfect actor for the part in Rosario Dawson.”
Max Covill, It’s The Pictures

Rosario Dawson’s compelling performance is a true force of nature.
M.N. Miller, Nerd Alert


How is the rest of the cast?

Ray Stevenson and Ivanna Sakhno in season 1 of Ahsoka

Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) (Photo by Lucasfilm)

A series that’s primarily bland, albeit packed with potentially interesting characters, plus an exceptional anchoring performance from the late Ray Stevenson, whose charismatic presence here left me moved.
Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

The action and visuals are spectacular, but the new actors are too stiff in their portrayal of the wonderful cast of characters that made Dave Filoni’s animated series worthy of continuation.
Samantha Nelson, IGN Movies

Ahsoka‘s greatest triumph lies in how effortlessly it moves Rebels characters to live-action. Thanks to its cast, the show feels emotionally symmetrical to its animated predecessor without blatantly replicating what made it work so well.
Hayden Mears, TV Line

Star Wars: Ahsoka boasts a terrific cast, stunning special effects, captivating storytelling, a magnetic turn by Ivanna Sakhno
M.N. Miller, Nerd Alert


How’s the production overall?

Filoni has been with Ahsoka Tano every step of the way and the series is in good hands.
Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

With high highs but also low lows of dramatic pauses and slow pacing, Ahsoka will either draw the fandom in – or force push them away. Rebellions are built on hope. Let’s hope that Ahsoka is built on the same.
Christie Cronan, Raising Whasians

There’s several cool moments when the Star Wars spirit kicks in & Filoni invokes the original Samurai movies inspiration, but his prowess making 22-minute animated episodes isn’t translating into 45-55 live-action minutes. [Full review in Spanish]
Jorge Rivera Rubio, QiiBO

The first two episodes of Ahsoka struggle a bit but, ultimately, develop the characters, relationships, and stories enough that we’re very hopeful the rest of the season will be as excellent as we all want it to be.
Germain Lussier, io9.com


Any final thoughts?

No matter how hard it strives for widespread accessibility, it’s a sequel that will be of primary interest to established fans.
Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

These first two episodes of Ahsoka, which account for a quarter of the season, are a little slow but hopefully will prove to be effective table setters for a thrilling adventure.
Mark Meszoros, The News-Herald (Willoughby, OH)

The MVPs of the first two episodes? [Composer] Kevin Kiner, the droids, and the Loth-cats. Ahsoka is quite stiff to start but given the wealth of rich characters and story details in play, hopefully the show will find its groove as it progresses.
Perri Nemiroff, Perri Nemiroff (YouTube)

Ahsoka may suffer from the same story issues that The Mandalorian’s most recent season dealt with, but diehard fans may be willing to overlook them if the endgame is a satisfying conclusion…
Maggie Lovitt, Collider

86% Star Wars: Ahsoka: Season 1 (2023) premieres Tuesday, August 22 at 6 p.m. on Disney+.


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

Star Wars: Ahsoka takes place after the fall of the Galactic Empire and follows former Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) as she investigates a new threat endangering the galaxy.

Writer and showrunner Dave Filoni is behind the series, which is fitting, since he originally created the Ahsoka character for animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. While this is the first standalone series that focuses on Ahsoka, she’s appeared in a handful of properties: Star Wars Rebels, The Book of Boba Fett, The Mandalorian season 2, and she’s heard guiding Rey in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Starring alongside Dawson is Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Eman Esfandi, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the late Ray Stevenson, David Tennant, Ivanna Sakhno, Genevieve O’Reilly, Diana Lee Inosanto, and Hayden Christensen.

Here’s what critics are saying on social media about season 1 of Star Wars: Ahsoka:


How does it fit into Disney+’s Star Wars lineup?

Natasha Liu Bordizzo

Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) in Star Wars: Ahsoka (Photo by Lucasfilm)

Ahsoka is 100% a sequel to Rebels. The 2 episode premiere felt like it was right out of The Clone Wars & Star Wars Rebels, but in live action. — Jorgie, POC Culture

Previewed the first two eps of #Ahsoka. Though it’s an exciting new chapter to the Star Wars story that Dave Filoni has created, it feels more like a sequel to Rebels than a true Ahsoka series. That said, it has all of the charms, humor, and thrills of Rebels… if you watched it. — Michael Lee, Geeks Of Doom

Initial #Ahsoka thoughts: Dave Filoni lovingly brings his rebels to life in a story that embraces mythology, magic, and lore in a way that could turn off, say, ANDOR fans. Slower paced than expected but still enthralling for this Rebels fan. — Meghan O’Keefe, Decider

A promising start for #Ahsoka with many cool story elements that expand the #StarWars universe and feel different from Mando. — Eric Goldman, Fandom

The first two episodes of #Ahsoka are very good. It really does feel like Star Wars Rebels season 5… great news for fans, but others might feel a bit lost at first. — Mark Cassidy, ComicBookMovie.com


How is the cast?

Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA

Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) (Photo by Lucasfilm)

Rosario Dawson is SO at home in her adaption of the character but it’s Natasha Liu Bordizzo & her Sabine that steals your heart. Cant wait to see her & Askoka’s story in full. — Lauren LaMagna, NextBestPicture

Also, the late Ray Stevenson is excellent in the episodes I’ve seen, creating a compelling character and performance with minimal screen time and dialogue. — Matthew Simpson, Exclaim!

I cant take my eyes off Ivanna Sakhno whenever she’s on screen and I’m so intrigued by her character. —Ash Crossan, ETNow

Rosario Dawson plays Ahsoka perfectly; Hera and Sabine solid; intriguing villains. Adorable Lothcats. — Mark Cassidy, ComicBookMovie.com


What about the story and pacing?

Rosario Dawson and Natasha Liu Bordizzo in Ahsoka

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) and Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) (Photo by Lucasfilm)

#Ahsoka is AWESOME. It’s got just about everything a #StarWars fan could want out of a live-action TV series, but the thing I admire most about it might actually be its deliberate pacing. Scenes are allowed to play out at an organic rate rather than being rushed along by rapid-fire editing. — LaughingPlace.com

Every scene gets time to breathe & feels completely organic! Perfectly paced & putting characters first!! — Zach Pope

Dave Filoni has perfected his craft with this one. It’s a stunning show with incredible storytelling & great writing. Some moments will SHOCK you. — Atom

I enjoyed the first two episodes of #Ahsoka, and the best part about it is that it’s focused on telling one grand story.

I’ve never watched the animated shows, so I don’t know the ins and outs of these characters’ backstories, but their dynamics are clear. — Brian Davids, Hollywood Reporter

Impressed with the action & how it’s all story. No side missions or filler. Can’t wait to see episode 3. Wish I could watch future episodes on a movie screen. — Steven Weintraub, Collider


How are the visual effects and production design?

Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) and Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) in Ahsoka

Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) and Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) (Photo by Lucasfilm)

I enjoyed the first two episodes of #Ahsoka, which kind of play out like an elegiac coda to rebels – the tone is very similar to the Mandalorian episode The Jedi – silent and still with brilliantly eerie music and a lot of cool tableaux — Andrzej Łukowski, TimeOut

If you’re a fan of #StarWarsRebels you’ll love all the nods. #Ahsoka    is Dave Feloni’s masterful vision in live action form. — That Hashtag Show

The first 2 episodes of #Ahsoka are a lot of fun, especially for fans of REBELS and CLONE WARS. Love Ashoka’s fight scenes the most. The 1st episode is written & directed by Dave Filoni & it’s my fav of the two. Definitely more serious in tone. This is some good #StarWars — Erik Davis, Fandango

Star Wars GAMECHANGER! Surpasses Andor & will win several awards. Great cameos, epic action & gorgeous visuals that will soak uh your pants. — Atom


Any final thoughts?

Rosario Dawson in Ahsoka

Dawson (Photo by Lucasfilm)

Expect reviews for this show to be heavily divisive among those who are fans of Rebels and those who are not. And it’s still hard to reconcile the difference between Ashley’s Ahsoka and Rosario’s Ahsoka. And yet, I am excited to see what comes from this. It’s an intriguing setup — Joe Schmidt, ComicBook.com

As a Rebels fan, I felt a connection to it that was truly special. And yet it’s hugely epic at some times & oddly flat at others. — Germain Lussier, Gizmodo

Not just another tv show, it’s the BEST Disney+ series ever! A fitting end to her journey while also setting up what’s next — Atom

The entire cast is incredible and perfectly embodies the Rebels. THIS FEELS LIKE REBELS. I am obsessed already. Cannot wait for more. I didn’t want it to end. Dave Filoni is a genius. #Ahsoka — Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

86% Star Wars: Ahsoka: Season 1 (2023) premieres Tuesday, August 22 at 6 p.m. on Disney+.


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

Rosario Dawson and Natasha Liu Bordizzo in Ahsoka

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) and Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) in Star Wars: Ahsoka (Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Rotten Tomatoes’ social media followers and poll respondents voted Star Wars: Ahsoka season 1 as the top TV and streaming title they’re looking forward to in August. Only Murders in the Building season 3 came in second, and One Piece season 1 in third place. Heartstopper season 2 landed at fourth, and there was a three-way tie at fifth: The Winter King season 1, the 14th and final season of Archer, and season 2 of Invasion.

Don’t see your favorite on the list? Tell us in the comments.


No. 1

86% Star Wars: Ahsoka: Season 1 (2023) (Disney+)

#1 on Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly known as Twitter), YouTube, and Rotten Tomatoes’ poll
Premieres: Wednesday, August 23

Star Wars fans were thrilled when they found out Rosario Dawson would be playing former Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano in live-action series The Mandalorian. She later reprised the role in The Book of Boba Fett and now stars as the character in her self-titled series on the streamer. Ahsoka, the former Padawan of pre-Darth Vader Jedi Anakin Skywalker in animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, resurfaced older and wiser in animated follow-up  Star Wars Rebels. The Mandalorian saw Dawson’s rendition of the character meditate with The Child and reveal that its name is “Grogu,” but she refused to train the young one, leaving room for Luke Skywalker to take on the task. She appears again in The Book of Boba Fett at a time when Grogu must make a fateful decision between Jedi and Mandalorian training. In her own series, Ahsoka is expected to continue her search for Grand Admiral Thrawn, a brilliant military strategist who leads the remnants of the Empire and crushes Rebels where he finds them.

How to Watch: by subscription on Disney+


No. 2

96% Only Murders in the Building: Season 3 (2023) (Hulu)

#2 on Facebook, X, and Rotten Tomatoes’ poll #3 on  Instagram, YouTube
Premieres: Tuesday, August 8

Season 3 of the murder-mystery comedy series offers fans a gift: Meryl Streep takes on the role of Broadway’s oldest ingenue and — possibly/of course — a murder suspect. Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez return as true-crime fanatics and podcasters Charles-Haden Savage, Oliver Putnam, and Mabel Mora, respectively. This season, Oliver’s hopes of a Broadway rebirth are dashed when the lead in his play (Paul Rudd) is murdered, leading us to wonder why people have such a hard time staying alive around this trio.

How to Watch: by subscription on Hulu


No. 3

85% One Piece: Season 1 (2023) (Netflix)

#2 on Instagram, YouTube, #3 on Facebook, #5 on X
Premieres: Thursday, August 31

Based on the manga by Eiichiro Oda, the 10-episode series is a high-seas adventure in which Monkey D. Luffy (Iñaki Godoy) sets out to find a fabled treasure that will make him king of the pirates. The series also stars Mackenyu as Roronoa Zoro, Emily Rudd as Nami, Jacob Romero as Usopp, and Taz Skylar as Sanji, Matt Owens and Steven Maeda
are writers, executive producers, and showrunners.

How to Watch: by subscription on Netflix


No. 4

96% Heartstopper: Season 2 (2023) (Netflix)

#3 on X, #4 on Rotten Tomatoes’ poll, #5 on YouTube (tied with Archer and Solar Opposites)
Premieres:
Thursday, August 3

An inclusive romance series set in secondary school, Heartstopper boasts a perfect 100% Certified Fresh season 1. The new season finds Nick (Kit Connor) and Charlie (Joe Locke) navigating their new relationship.

How to Watch: by subscription on Netflix


No. 5 (3-way tie)

100% Archer: Season 14 (2023) (FX)
Archer season 14 key art

Archer season 14 poster (Photo by FX)

#4 on Facebook, #5 on YouTube (tied with Heartstopper and Solar Opposites)
Premieres: Wednesday, August 30

This season in the half-hour animated espionage comedy, Lana (voiced by Aisha Tyler) is at the helm as Sterling Archer (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) and The Agency find their own way. Lana’s goal is to make money while also making the world a better place, but she quickly finds out running a spy agency isn’t so cut and dry.

How to Watch: FXX | stream the next day on Hulu


67% Invasion: Season 2 (2023) (Apple TV+)

#5 on Facebook, #4 on YouTube
Premieres: Wednesday, August 23

The science fiction drama series from Simon Kinberg and David Weil follows an alien invasion through different perspectives around the world. Set across multiple continents, Invasion season 2 picks up just months later with the aliens escalating their attacks in an all-out war against the humans. Aliens and destruction abound as scientists, military, and a loose global government relentlessly pursue answers and continue the fight for the world’s survival. The new season stars Golshifteh Farahani, Shioli Kutsuna, Shamier Anderson, India Brown, Billy Barratt, Azhy Robertson, Paddy Holland, and Tara Moayedi. Season 2 new series regulars include Enver Gjokaj, Nedra Marie Taylor, and Naian González Norvind.

How to Watch: by subscription on Apple TV+


74% The Winter King: Season 1 (2023) (MGM+)

#3 on Rotten Tomatoes’ poll
Premieres: Sunday, August 20

A revisionist take on well-loved Arthurian legends, the series is based on Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles series of novels. The Winter King is set in the fifth century before Britain’s unification in a brutal land of warring factions and tribes. The series follows Arthur Pendragon (Iain De Caestecker) as he evolves from outcast to legendary warrior and leader. The series also stars Eddie Marsan as High King Uther, Ellie James as Nimue, Nathaniel Martello-White as Merlin, Stuart Campbell as Derfel, Daniel Ings as Owain, Valene Kane as Morgan, Jordan Alexandra as Guinevere, and Simon Merrells as Gundleus.

How to Watch: by subscription on MGM+



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

UPDATE: July 11 trailer (above) added.

Ahsoka Tano’s rise to prominence is one of the great Star Wars feel-good stories. Voiced by Ashley Eckstein, the Togruta was introduced as Anakin Skywalker’s (voiced by Matthew Lanter) precocious Padawan learner in the ill-received Star Wars: The Clone Wars theatrical film. But across the first five seasons of the subsequent animated series, the character grew from that initial depiction into a strong and dependable Jedi-in-training. Along the way, she also developed a devoted following among viewers who were all dismayed when The Clone Wars was cut short, leaving Ahsoka on a cliffhanger as she chose exile from the Jedi Order.


STAR WARS: AHSOKA

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Click here to open full poster in a new tab.

Thankfully, Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni, who is also credited as her co-creator alongside Star Wars originator George Lucas, immediately went from Clone Wars to a new animated series: Star Wars Rebels. There, he introduced an older and somewhat wiser Ahsoka (still voiced by Eckstein) who spent the 15 or so years between the two programs helping the nascent Rebel Alliance prepare for their eventual war with the Empire (among other things, of course). Her return and consistent presence on Rebels (for a few seasons, anyway) cemented the character as an important aspect of the overall Star Wars story; in fact, the fans even had a rallying cry for whenever she vanished: “Ahsoka Lives.” It got them through Clone Wars’s cancellation, her seemingly climactic confrontation with Darth Vader on Rebels, and her return in that program’s final episode.


STAR WARS: EPISODE III-REVENGE OF THE SITH, Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker

(Photo by Merrick Morton/TM and ©copyright Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Then in 2020, Ahsoka fans received a couple of gifts: a final season of The Clone Wars to wrap up her story during that conflict, and word that she would be coming to the live action TV series, The Mandalorian. The latter became a reality later that year (with Rosario Dawson taking over from Eckstein), followed by a surprise announcement at the Disney Investor Day revealing Ahsoka Tano would be getting her own series. And just to sweeten the deal, the series would eventually join The Mandalorian and other Star Wars series for a crossover event now slated to be a feature film with Filoni directing.

Following the announcement, though, word about Ahsoka went pretty quiet until October 2021, when word broke indicating Star Wars prequel star Hayden Christensen would return as Anakin Skywalker, marking the first time the former Jedi Master and his former Padawan will share the live-action screen.

Of course, that moment is still in the (near) future, but it served as impetus to compile everything we know about Ahsoka so far. And in the years since we first investigated Ahsoka’s potential future, a lot has come to light.



What Will Ahsoka Be Up To?

The series, carrying on from Ahsoka’s appearance on The Mandalorian, will see her continuing to chase down Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen, reprising the role he voiced on Rebels). He went missing during the final liberation of Lothal, just prior to the events of the original Star Wars. But more important than his fugitive status is the person who went missing alongside him: would-be Jedi Ezra Bridger (voiced by Taylor Gray). As mentioned in Rebels’ final moments, Ahsoka made good on her promise to find him and her friends; although it would take her the entire Galactic Civil War to really dedicate herself to the quest.

Except, as Filoni told Vanity Fair, the final scene of Rebels — which saw the Jedi exile in all-white robes and brandishing a staff may occur after events of her Mandalorian appearance, indicating Ahsoka may also take place before that moment. If that’s the case, then Ahsoka’s search for Thrawn may somehow be unrelated to the search for Ezra. Or, perhaps, she’s chosen not to include the members of Ezra’s Rebel cell. Based on her reticence to train Grogu and Dawson’s comments at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023, we imagine huge elements of the show will be Ahsoka’s loneliness and reluctance to connect. It is a nice source of drama as she continues her quest.

Adding some fuel to that fire: a trailer released on July 11 in which Ahsoka claimed she is unwilling to dwell on her past, but nonetheless took on an apprentice whom she walked away from just as she walked away from Anakin during the Clone Wars. And as her presumed apprentice is a beloved Rebels character, it may explain way she continues to walk alone in the post-Empire galaxy.


When and Where Does Ahsoka Take Place?

Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace - Coruscant screencap (20th Century Fox)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox)

Ahsoka’s search will be set in the New Republic era five or so years after The Return of the Jedi. As we’ve seen in The Mandalorian, the Republic’s attempt to restore of law and order is already in trouble; it allows the Imperial Remnant to fester. But with the Outer Rim of the galaxy the stomping ground of The Mandalorian, Ahsoka’s journeys will take her far and wide – from former imperial capital Coruscant, to Lothal, Onderon, Ord Mantell, and even some new worlds.

We also expect her dealings with Republic officials to be different from Din Djarin’s (Pedro Pascal) more precarious entanglements on The Mandalorian. Or, perhaps, we’ll discover the rank-and-file are as susceptible to the Jedi Mind Trick as their Stormtrooper predecessors. Also, there are higher ranking individuals in the Republic who must remember Ahsoka as “Fulcrum.” One has to wonder if she’ll call on them as part of her quest.


Who Stars in Ahsoka?

Rosario Dawson and Natasha Liu Bordizzo in Ahsoka

(Photo by Suzanne Tenner/Lucasfilm Ltd.)

After her debut as the live-action Ahsoka in the second season Mandalorian episode “The Jedi,” Dawson returns as the character. Natasha Liu Bordizzo joins her in the series as Sabine Wren, the Mandalorian artist and demolitions expert from Rebels originally voiced by Tiya Sircar. The July 2023 trailer adds an interesting wrinkle to Sabine’s story as, in one moment, she derisively calls Ahsoka “Master.” Combined with previously released clips of Sabine wielding Ezra’s lightsaber, it appears the series will answer a question Rebels fans have asked for a long time: is Sabine Force-sensitive?

Other audio in the trailer also makes it clear that Ahsoka and Sabine had some sort of falling out in the years since Rebels ended. If Sabine was Ahsoka’s apprentice, what could lead the two to part? Also, how did Sabine convince Ahsoka to train her? At the very least, it’s clear Sabine will be equipped to hold her own against a foe brandishing a lightsaber, even if that opponent claims she has “no power” in the July trailer.

At the 2023 Star Wars Celebration, Mary Elizabeth Winstead confirmed she plays Hera Syndulla, another Rebels character who went on to become a general in the Rebel Alliance. As the character notes in the July trailer, she has spent most of her life fighting a war and hopes to avert another by pleading with the New Republic senate and reuniting with Ahsoka.

An extended version of the first series trailer also revealed Lars Mikkelsen’s live action look as Grand Admiral Thrawn, the first member of the Rebels voice cast to return in a role they originated on the animated series. Also, irascible but lovable droid C1-10P, aka Chopper, will also join in on the adventure.

Eman Esfandi will reportedly play Ezra, although this has not been confirmed and the voice of Ezra heard in the July trailer sounds a lot like Gray’s. Of course, some online believe an older Ezra will be revealed as the Inquisitor Ahoska fights late in the newer preview.

Additional cast — thanks to the trailer and Lucasfilm messaging — include Genevieve O’Reilly in her first New Republic-era appearance as Mon Mothma while Maurice Irvin, Jacqueline Antaramian, Nelson Lee, and Erica Duke join her as a gaggle of Republic senators. Also, David Tennant will once again lend his voice to Huyang, the lightsaber-crafting droid he first voiced on The Clone Wars.

Thrawn will also be reinforced by Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), the Beskar spear-brandishing servant Ahsoka first faced in Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian. During the Ahsoka-focused panel at Celebration 2023, Inosanto called her character a “complicated woman.” Subsequently, The Expanse’s Wes Chatham also emerged as a part of the admiral’s circle.



The forces of darkness will also find aid from Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati, a pair of Force-sensitives played by Ray Stevenson (in the late actor’s final role) and Ivanna Sakhno, who are neither Jedi nor Sith. But their lightsabers prove they will be formidable opponents even for an accomplished blademaster like Ahsoka. Although, the extended version of the trailer revealed Sabine will also wield a saber to face off against Shin. A glimpse of the scene featured in a TV spot released in June and yet more of the battle appears in the new trailer.

That recent preview also reveals Skoll and Hati are in search of Thrawn, too, with the former claiming the Admiral will offer them undreamed-of power. Many online have pointed out that their last names are direct references to wolves of Norse mythology — continuing Filoni’s own obsession with lupine imagery — who chase the sun and the moon. A successful conclusion to their hunt means Ragnarok, but we doubt the same will be true should these Star Wars characters link up with Thrawn.


Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Rosario Dawson and Mary Elizabeth Winstead during Star Wars Celebration 2023

(Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Disney)

Other potential characters from the animated show who could make their live action debuts in Ahsoka include Hera’s son, Jacen, and perhaps Temuera Morrison as the beloved Clone Captain Rex (voiced on Rebels by Dee Bradley Baker), who would still be alive at this point in Star Wars history. Some reports indicate Morrison will play the part, but this has yet to be confirmed. Additionally, an older Jacen is featured in an upcoming LEGO set, suggesting the character will appear as well.

Christensen — who already returned as Darth Vader on the Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series — will also appear on Ahsoka as Anakin Skywalker. It is unclear how he will appear as Anakin died five or so years prior to the presumed setting the series, but a galaxy of flashbacks, Force Ghosts, and a certain timey-wimey World Between Worlds makes his involvement relatively easy to explain. Instead, Christensen’s part in the show further cements Ahsoka’s importance to the overall Star Wars story despite debuting after Lucas completed the Prequel Trilogy.

In fact, Filoni recalled during the 2023 panel that Ahsoka came into existence because the Star Wars creator wanted Anakin to have an apprentice.


Who Is Creating Ahsoka?

Jon Favreau (L) and Dave Filoni

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

The Mandalorian brain trust of Filoni and Jon Favreau continue on with Ahsoka, although Filoni takes the primary writing role while Favreau serves as executive producer. The arrangement totally makes sense considering how central Ahsoka has been to Filoni’s work in the galaxy far, far away.

At Celebration 2023, Filoni confirmed a list of directors joining him on the series: Steph Green, Peter Ramsey, Jennifer Getzinger, Geeta Patel, and Mandalorian executive producer Rick Famiyuwa. He also revealed Clone Wars and Rebels composer Kevin Kiner returns to score Ahsoka. “I needed that music. It’s a throughline from Clone Wars to Rebels [to Ahsoka],” he explained.


When Does Ahsoka Premiere?

Ahsoka teaser poster

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Click here to open full poster in a new tab.

The series will premiere on August 23 with its first two episodes. During the Celebration 2023 presentation, Dawson said she only recently calmed down from shooting the program and let slip that she hopes the series will get a second season.


Read also: Every Upcoming Star Wars Movie and Series — With Key Details and Dates


Amandla Stenberg in The Acolyte (2024)

(Photo by Disney+)

[Updated 3/28/2024]

Jedi Master Yoda once said “always in motion is the future” — and though he was talking specifically about Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) predicament in The Empire Strikes Back, The Force may have allowed Yoda insight into the current state of affairs at Lucasfilm, the Disney company in control of Star Wars and its future. Both business entities stunned fans and investors in December 2020 with an ambitious plan to produce as many as 10 television series for Disney+ in the next decade. In addition to its Disney+ roster, the company also stated an intention to make at least three features by 2027. That ambition was curbed by the motion of the future, though, with series becoming films, films becoming vapor, and just about everything in between. Nevertheless, Disney and Lucasfilm are still committed to expanding the breadth and scale of Star Wars. A veritable fleet of new movies and series awaits on the horizon.

Of course, fans of Star Wars media already knew the fictional galaxy could fuel hundreds of films and shows. They also hope the expansion of Star Wars content means there will be room for Jedi Knight protagonist Kyle Katarn (or occasional antagonist Mara Jade) to re-enter the canon.

And canonicity is a big deal for Star Wars. When Disney first bought Lucasfilm, they declared all previous Star Wars comics, novels, games, and cartoons (except for the long-running Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as non-canon “legends” of the Star Wars galaxy. The move was made to offer maximum freedom to the filmmakers involved in the Sequel Trilogy (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and Rise of Skywalker), but it didn’t take long for “Legends” characters and ideas to seep back into programs like Star Wars Rebels and The Mandalorian. And, as you will see in this guide to Star Wars’ streaming and theatrical future below, that sense of canon and continuity is as important to the galaxy as the Force itself.

Here we’ve gathered everything we know about every Star Wars movie and series coming to streaming and theaters in the next few years, and broken down how they fit into the emerging Star Wars galaxy. Tell us which new Star Wars projects you’re most excited about in the comments.


Disney+ Series


The Acolyte

Star Wars: The Acolyte

(Photo by © Lucasfilm)

Premiere Date: June 4, 2024

What We Know: The long-in-the-works project from Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland and Lucasfilm story executive Rayne Roberts will focus on a character during the final days of the High Republic — a period roughly a century before the Skywalker Saga — who comes to know “shadowy secrets and emerging Dark Side powers.” The mystery/thriller series will also reportedly feature a martial arts element, so fans of the Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi video game may finally get a chance to be recognized for their loyalty. Additionally, in May 2022, Headland said the program will answer how a Sith could infiltrate the Republic Senate without the Jedi knowing. That July, Lucasfilm finally confirmed Bodies Bodies BodiesAmandla Stenberg will star. In November of the same year, a fuller cast — including Lee Jung-jae, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Jodie Turner-Smith, Rebecca Henderson, Charlie Barnett, Dean-Charles Chapman, and Carrie-Anne Moss — was announced. At one point, it seemed the series might debut in 2023, but will instead stream in 2024 as confirmed by a trailer shown exclusively to attendees of Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023. In March of 2024, Disney confirmed a June debut and character names for most of the cast.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: The High Republic is the current focus of Lucasfilm’s publishing initiatives, so the series will import at least one of its recently introduced novel and comic book characters to the streaming screen. Also, as the era is a fresh period in Star Wars history, it has the room to create new locales and situations free of the Skywalker Saga or even the galaxy as mapped by The Mandalorian’s Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. Also, Headland’s comments suggest a fan-favorite theory about Sheev Palpantine’s (Ian McDiarmid) predecessor, Darth Plagueis, could be in play.


Star Wars: Skeleton Crew

Release Date: 2024

What We Know: First revealed in the May 2022 Vanity Fair article with the codename “Grammar Rodeo,” Skeleton Crew is a series from Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts and co-writer Chris Ford with Jude Law set to star. The codename is a reference to a Simpsons episode in which Bart, Milhouse, Martin, and Nelson go on a road trip to Knoxville, but the series is described as an Amblin-style coming-of-age adventure set in the post–Return of the Jedi era. At the 2022 Star Wars Celebration, Watts offered a little more clarity about the program, saying it is a “story about a group of kids — [each] about 10 years old — from a tiny planet who get lost in the Star Wars galaxy … They’re trying to get home.”

Despite the series completing production in early 2023 — and the addition of young cast members Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Kyriana Kratter, and Robert Timothy Smith — it is still unclear who Law plays, although a trailer screened at that year’s Star Wars Celebration revealed he can use The Force. Also, the Amblin style always has a sympathetic adult, a role he could fill admirably. Filoni and Favreau serve as executive producers with a roster of directors that includes David Lowery, Jake Schreier, The Daniels (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), Bryce Dallas Howard, and Lee Isaac Chung. The program is intended to stream this year, but an exact date has not been revealed.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: Beyond the understanding that it will take place at the same time as Din Djarin’s (Pedro Pascal) adventures, it is always possible the kids being assembled for the show will turn out to have Jedi potential and, possibly, find their way to Luke’s new school or, maybe, even appear as grown ups in Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) New Jedi Order (more below).


Andor Season 2

Premiere Date: 2025

What We Know: While Lucasfilm and Disney continue to shift their plans and release schedules for its Star Wars projects, Andor — their most prized ritical darling — chugs along with seemingly little fuss. Stars Diego Luna, Kyle Soller, Denise Gough, and others will return to fill out the final four years of Cassian Andor’s (Luna) life. The program will reportedly end three days before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the film that introduced audiences to Cass. Production continued through the early part of the writer’s strike, but suspended once the Screen Actors Guild joined the picket lines. Production picked up again afterward and concluded in February. Originally intended for a summer 2024 premiere, the second and final season of Andor will materialize in 2025.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: Filling in the gaps between the first season and Rogue One means there are only so many things the series can accomplish. Will Cassian find his sister before he completes his transition into a hardened man who fights for a sunrise he will never see?


Star Wars: Ahsoka Season 2

Premiere Date: TBD

What We Know: Early in 2024, Lucasfilm and Disney revealed they are developing a second season of Filoni’s series. Presumably, stars Rosario Dawson and Natasha Liu Bordizzo will return. The encore engagements of Ivanna Sakhno as Shin Hati and David Tennant as the voice of Huyang are also pretty safe bets. But other actors — like Mary Elizabeth Winstead as General Her Syndulla and Eman Esfandi as Ezra Bridger — may sit the second year out as Ahsoka (Dawson) and Sabine’s (Bordizzo) tale continues literally galaxies away from the main Star Wars action, which will also remove Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) from the equation. Then there’s the tragic case of Ray Stevenson, who passed away in May 2023, just a few months before Ahsoka premiered. Considering his character, Baylan Skoll, was last spotted on a monument to Filoni’s take on Star Wars spirituality, we’re going to presume Baylan will be recast.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: Separated from the Star Wars galaxy, Ahsoka, Sabine, Shin, and Baylan will likely learn more about its underpinnings as they confront the so-called Mortis gods, representations of the Light side, Dark side, and balance of The Force Ahsoka has encountered before.


Read also: The Mandalorian Season 3 Finale: A Battle Ensues During the Return to Mandalore


Rangers of the New Republic

Rangers of the New Republuc

(Photo by © Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Premiere Date: Indefinitely Delayed

What We Know: A third series from Favreau and Filoni — the others being The Book of Boba Fett and Ahsoka — was meant to follow a group of New Republic soldiers in the same era as The Mandalorian. While Kennedy offered few details about this show during a Disney Investor Day presentation in December 2020, she mentioned it will cross over with other stories from The Mandalorian and Ahsoka to culminate in an “event” at some point in the future. Unfortunately, development of the program was postponed indefinitely with Kennedy telling Empire Magazine in November 2021 that some of its ideas may be absorbed into The Mandalorian. The description of the series will remain here until a Lucasfilm rep calls it completely kaput. Also, why would Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant) survive his encounter with Cad Bane in The Book of Boba Fett if not to become a ranger?

In a curious twist, the culminating event will occur as Filoni’s feature film debut (more on that below).

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: As the program is the most mysterious, the crossover seems to be the most tantalizing element. Will a larger skirmish with the Imperial Remnant prove to be its focus? Also, considering the state of the galaxy in the Sequel Trilogy, did the Rangers’ mission fail? Definitely a question worth exploring.


Movies


The Mandalorian & Grogu

Release Date: TBD

What We Know: As part of Lucafilm’s ever-evolving plans, Mandalorian Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and his adopted son, Din Grogu, will become feature film stars. Announced at the start of 2024, The Mandalorian & Grogu represents the next chapter in the characters’ wanderings. Of course, it is unclear what trouble they will get into and who they might meet along the way. But considering The Mandalorian takes plenty of cues from Lone Wolf & Cub, it is possible this could be a standalone adventure or something very much central to the tale Favreau and Filoni are telling in the years after Return of the Jedi. Favreau is signed to direct with Filoni on board as a producer. Kennedy, of course, is also listed as a producer. The film is expected to go before cameras in the near-future.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: It appears the film will take the place of The Mandalorian‘s fourth season — although another year of the series is in development — so expect at least one key moment of emotional growth for Djarin and, perhaps, Grogu’s first words in Basic, the suspiciously English-sounding common language of Star Wars. Speak it with backwards syntax, will he?


Untitled Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Star Wars Film

Release Date: TBD

What We Know: An open secret in Hollywood, Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson were reportedly working on a script for two-time Oscar-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy since October 2022. The whispers became shouts when reports surfaced in March 2023 indicating the two writers were leaving the project. Peaky Blinders’ Steven Knight soon emerged as their replacement. At Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023’s Lucasfilm presentation, Kennedy confirmed the project exists and that it will center on Rey’s attempts to build a new Jedi order 15 years after the events of The Rise of Skywalker.

Obid-Chinoy, who claimed the 1990s Star Wars Special Editions saved her life, said, “I’ve always been attracted to the hero’s journey and the fact the world needs many more heroes. I’ve spent the better part of my life meeting real heroes who fight oppressive regimes. I am attracted to immersing myself in a new Jedi Academy with a powerful Jedi master.”

Although neither she, Ridley, nor Kennedy offered a release date, we were left to assume it will open in the 2025 calendar slot Disney held for a Star Wars feature. In subsequent months, Disney unveiled a long-term release calendar with May 22, 2026, December 18, 2026, and December 17, 2027 held in reserve for Lucasfilm titles. Of course, this was before the industry strikes began, so those dates may already need rescheduling.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: The film will establish a new class of Jedi and the forward status quo for the Star Wars timeline. It is, in essence, Episode X.


Read also: Everything We Learned at Star Wars Celebration 2023: Ahsoka, Andor, and Rey’s New Jedi Order


Untitled James Mangold Star Wars Film

What We Know: Long after he signed up to make a Boba Fett film, director James Mangold will finally join the pantheon of Star Wars storytellers with a film looking back into the furthest reaches of Star Wars history and focus on the first human to touch the Force 25,000 years before the Skywalker Saga. According to the filmmaker, “When I first started talking to Kathy about doing one of these pictures, I thought about a biblical epic, a Ten Commandments.” Presumably that tone will give Star Wars a fresh perspective. That said, it is unclear when the film will be ready as Mangold is preparing scripts for the project and a Swamp Thing feature at Warner Bros. Also, the strikes could imperil its very existence.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: The story of the first Jedi is something teased and suggested across the years, but making a concrete tale could have wide-reaching implications in future stories.


Untitled Dave Filoni Star Wars Film

What We Know: Where the Obid-Chinoy and Mangold films represent the future and distant past of the Star Wars timeline, Filoni will make his feature film debut with a story firmly rooted in the “present” of Star Wars — the post Return of the Jedi era he and Favreau explore on Disney+. According to Kennedy, it will be the climatic event first teased during her 2020 Disney Investor Day presentation, tying up ideas from The Mandalorian, Ahsoka, and presumably Skeleton Crew with tensions between the New Republic and the Imperial Remnant reaching a crisis point.

“I grew up in a time of the Original Trilogy,” Filoni added. “I grew up with the Expanded Universe. We’re drawing on a lot of things [from then] and new things that were created in the meantime to tell this epic.” Based on this and a few other teases across Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023, some believe the film will adapt author Timothy Zahn’s 1990s Thrawn Trilogy. The trio of books, starting with 1991’s Heir to the Empire, introduced Grand Admiral Thrawn, the Imperial Remnant, and may other ideas now seen on The Mandalorian. But will the film actually be called Heir to the Empire? That remains to be seen.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: Beyond giving the current television shows a cinematic climax, the film will presumably also establish how the Remnant became the First Order of the Sequel Trilogy.


Untitled Shawn Levy Star Wars Film

Release Date: TBD

What We Know: In the fall of 2023, Deadpool & Wolverine director Shawn Levy emerged as another filmmaker poised to join the Star Wars team. In an interview with Variety that October, he said Kennedy specifically wants “a story and a tone that reflects you and your taste and what you bring to your movies — with a Star Wars story.” He also expressed that he felt very “empowered” to use that brief. At the time, the writers strike impeded development and it is unclear if plans resumed.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: Like so many other Star Wars film projects, the setting in time and space matters. Will Levy find his own quadrant of the galaxy to explore and, maybe, deliver a movie with a broader sense of humor? Or, alternatively, will the Levy of Stranger Things make a surprise appearance for a Star Wars story with horror elements?


Lando

(Photo by © Lucasfilm)

Release Date: TBD

What We Know: As of 2020, Dear White People’s Justin Simien was developing a limited series devoted to charismatic card player and scoundrel Lando Calrissian. While it was unclear who would play the title role, a teaser video featuring Lando’s unblemished Millennium Falcon shown during the 2020 Investor Day presentation suggested it will go back to the days before he met Han Solo. During the 2022 Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed Solo: A Star Wars Story’s Donald Glover was involved and that the company was waiting for him to complete other projects before moving forward. Shortly before the 2023 Celebration, Glover confirmed he was “talking” to Lucasfilm about the project.

That July, word broke indicating Glover and his brother, Stephen Glover, would take direct creative control of Lando as its writers. Simien, as it happens, left the project sometime before the Glovers signed on — all of which occurred before the 2023 writers and actors strikes began. Curiously, original Lando Calrissian Billy Dee Williams posted on social media later that month that “something truly magnificent is coming soon.” Signing off his post with “May the Force be with you all” left many speculating that he may appear in Lando after all. In September of 2023, as the strikes raged on, reports surfaced indicating the series has been converted into a feature.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: A series (or film) primarily concerned with the young Lando would be less beholden to lore and, potentially, revel more in the fun of being a scoundrel. Perhaps he could even run with (or against) Star Wars animation’s favorite ne’er-do-well, Hondo Ohnaka (voiced by Jim Cummings).


Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

WONDER WOMAN, director Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot on set, 2017. ph: Clay Enos/©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Clay Enos/©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection)

Status: Reportedly Back In Development

What We Know: First revealed at the 2020 Investor Day presentation, Rogue Squadron was to be directed by Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins and focus on a new generation of X-Wing pilots. In a video posted to her Twitter account, Jenkins revealed the story is personal as her father was a fighter pilot who lost his life in service to his country. She also subsequently clarified that the film will honor the Rogue Squadron video games and novels even as it flies off in its own direction. Sadly, the film was indefinitely delayed in November 2021. But in a curious note, Disney still listed its intended December 2023 release date for a surprisingly long time. Additionally, Kennedy told Vanity Fair in May 2022 that the film is still happening with Jenkins at the helm. In early 2023, the project was said to no longer be in active development, but not necessarily abandoned.

And for a year, that was the end of the story. But in March of 2024, Jenkins took to the TCM/Max podcast podcast to reveal she owed Lucasfilm a new draft of Rogue Squardon. As she tells it, she originally left the project to fulfill her commitment to Wonder Woman 3, but when that movie fell under the changing Warner Bros. Discovery corporate strategy, she started negotiating a new deal in the Star Wars universe. The summer 2023 strikes delayed talks for a time, but with those resolved, a script for Rogue Squadron should be on Kennedy’s desk soon. Although, Lucasfilm has yet to confirm Jenkins’ return, so her account of the latest happenings must be labeled as a report.


Untitled Taika Waititi Star Wars Film

Taika Waititi

(Photo by Jasin Boland/©Marvel)

Status: TBD

What We Know: Although the industry knew about Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi’s Star Wars project for some time, Kennedy finally commented on it in December 2020, saying his approach to Star Wars will be “fresh, unexpected,” and “unique.”  She also pointed to his talent and his “sense of humor” as two strengths which will set Waititi’s project apart from other Star Wars endeavors. Meanwhile, reports indicate Waititi is in talks to star in the film as well as write and direct. Although, it seems he still needs to write the script before anything can go forward. Nearly four years on, though, it appears development has slowed to a crawl.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: It all depends on when it is set. With thousands of years of lore available to explore, Waititi could do just about anything he wants — from a story of the early hyperspace routes to a film set entirely in Ackmena’s (Beatrice Arthur) cantina from The Star Wars Holiday Special.


Rian Johnson’s Star Wars Trilogy: Episode I

(Photo by David James/ © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd. /Courtesy Everett Collection)

Status: Not In Active Development

What We Know: First announced in 2017, Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is expected to spearhead a new trilogy sometime in the next decade — writing and directing the first film himself. Although he reaffirms his involvement every so often, the trilogy is reportedly no longer in active development. At the same time, it is said to be something both Johnson and Lucasfilm want to return to at some juncture. First, he has another Knives Out sequel to make and another season of Poker Face to produce. Kennedy also cited his schedule as a stumbling block as recently as Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: Right now, it doesn’t. It’s just an agreement to make a series of movies, and as seen with Lucasfilm’s quick decision to cancel the Star Wars Story anthology of films in wake of Solo: A Star Wars Story’s underperformance, that deal could dissolve at any moment — if it hasn’t already. See also: the company’s about-face regarding a series of films to be developed by Game of Thrones executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.


A Droid Story

R2D2 C3P0

(Photo by Courtesy the Everett Collection)

Status: TBD

What We Know: As Kennedy described at the 2020 Investor Day presentation, the only Star Wars TV movie currently on the Disney+ roster will be an “epic journey” featuring a new hero guided by Star Wars’ most famous droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO. Although the Lucasfilm president was light on story details, she did mention the project will be a chance for the company’s animation and live-action special effects groups to stretch their expertise to its limits. No further concrete details have come to light since.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: Like Star Wars Visions, the film may also be freed from canon.


Untitled J.D. Dillard Star Wars Project

JD Dillard

(Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)

Status: Presumably Shelved

What We Know: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sleight director J.D. Dillard and Marvel TV writer Matt Owens (Luke Cage) were developing some sort of Star Wars project for Lucasfilm. In the years since the story first broke, though, no additional details have come to light. And even at the time of reporting, it was unclear if the project would be a Disney+ series, TV movie, or feature film. That ambiguity made it an even more tenuous project than Johnson’s trilogy. In November 2022, Dillard left the project. It is unclear if it will continue in any form.


Untitled Kevin Feige Star Wars Film

Kevin Feige and Scarlett Johansson (Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)

(Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)

Status: A Genuine Mystery

What We Know: Word first broke in 2019 that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was involved in developing a Star Wars film with Kennedy. At the time, Walt Disney Studios Co-Chairman Alan Horn said “it made sense for these two extraordinary producers to work on a Star Wars film together.” In May 2022, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness writer Michael Waldron told Variety that he was not only writing the film, but appreciated being unmoored from the TV shows and films. In early 2023, reports surfaced indicating the project was on indefinite hold as Disney looks to slow down development across all its divisions. During Celebration 2023, Kennedy told IGN that the project was “something announced in the press, or I suppose fandom, but there was nothing — nothing ever got developed,” adding to the mystery of a movie idea that both exists and doesn’t. In November of 2023, Feige confirmed whatever was going on will no longer be happening.

Which Star Wars projects are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments.


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Thumbnail image: ©Lucasfilm Ltd.

If season 3 of The Mandalorian has you feeling Baby Yoda fever all over again, here are five more shows like it that are totally worth checking out.

Pedro Pascal guiding an orphan through dangerous terrain may seem like old hat now, but The Mandalorian was the first to do it, and it just completed another Certified Fresh, must-see season.

And with more Pedro, more Star Wars, and more hero-and-sidekick action, this list will be your perfect companion for a binge-filled evening — or five.


BRAND-NEW PICK:

96% The Last of Us (HBO)

Starting with our brand new — and somewhat obvious — pick, The Last of Us. Released on HBO and HBO Max in January, this series quickly became a hit and one of the most talked about shows in a long time. And what matters here today, is that it gives you what The Mandalorian can’t: more Pedro Pascal!

After just one Certified Fresh season, The Last of Us is now widely considered among critics to be one of the greatest video game adaptations ever.

While you wait for the officially greenlit season 2, it’ll take you around 10 hours to watch the first season, and then a couple more days to totally process what you just watched.

Where to Watch: by subscription on HBO Max | buy season 1 at Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV


THROWBACK PICK:

85% Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972) (Toho Company)

Making the journey as our throwback pick is the Lone Wolf and Cub franchise, which includes six films and a tv series. This manga story was first published in 1970 and screams Mandalorian, as it’s centered around an assassin father and his 3-year-old son who travel together seeking revenge.

Over the years critics have praised the sword work of the actors and twists and turns of the story, saying that this movie franchise features the rare type of film that succeeds as either lowbrow visceral entertainment or high-concept art.

The Lone Wolf and Cub films include Sword of Vengeance, Baby Cart at the River Styx, Baby Cart to Hades, Baby Cart in Peril, Baby Cart in the Land of Demons, White Heaven in Hell.

You can binge all six movies and 80 episodes in just about 80 hours.

Where to Watch: by subscription on HBO Max | rent/buy at Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV (The TV series is available to stream by subscription on The Roku Channel.)


AUDIENCE PICK: 

96% Andor (Disney+)

Bringing some rebellion to this list is our audience pick, Andor. With fan-favorite Star Wars actor Diego Luna leading the way as thief–turned–rebel spy Cassian Andor, this series takes us into previously unseen parts of the Star Wars universe — much like The Mandalorian.

After a Certified Fresh first season, Andor holds the highest Tomatometer score out of all the live-action Star Wars shows, with critics calling it an exceptionally mature and political entry into the mythos.

With the second and final season probably not coming until 2024, you can watch the 12-episode first season in about nine hours.

Where to Watch: by subscription on Disney+


EDITORS’ PICK:

66% The Book of Boba Fett (Disney+)

Climbing out of a sarlacc pit to be our editor’s pick is The Book of Boba Fett. This series takes place at the same time as, and even crosses over with, The Mandalorian. It features Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett and Ming-Na Wen as Fennec Shand, both reprising their roles from previous Star Wars titles, including The Mandalorian.

While it hasn’t garnered quite the same praise as Mando and Andor, the first season is still Fresh on the Tomatometer. And critics say that it ultimately earns its commission with spectacular set pieces and Morrison’s commanding presence.

No official word yet on a second season, but in the meantime, you can watch the first season in just over five hours. And then you too, may be able to survive a sarlacc pit!

Where to Watch: by subscription on Disney+


CERTIFIED FRESH PICK:

82% Obi-Wan Kenobi (Disney+)

And finally, our Certified Fresh pick is another live-action Star Wars series: Obi-Wan Kenobi. Much like Din Djarin, Obi-Wan is a bit of a solo traveler in this series and winds up with some precious cargo of his own, as he he is tasked with looking after a young princess Leia.

With Ewan McGregor returning as Obi-Wan and Hayden Christensen reprising his role as Darth Vader, critics praise the Certified Fresh limited series, especially McGregor’s soulful performance paired with some refreshing twists.

You’ll only need about four and a half hours to get through the season, which leaves you plenty of time to keep practicing your force powers.

Where to Watch: by subscription on Disney+

85% The Mandalorian: Season 3 (2023)  is now streaming in its entirety on Disney+.

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The Mandalorian season 3 key art

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

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While the title of last week’s episode, “The Spies,” left many wondering if a traitor hid under a Mando helmet and the overall tone made us wonder if everything would end with a Charge of the Light Brigade, the final installment of The Mandalorian’s third season — “The Return” — makes it clear what to expect. But just who or what returned and what does it mean in the short term for the New Republic, subsequent seasons of the series, and the further-flung future of Star Wars. Let’s take a look at the various returns and their potential meanings.


Spoiler alert: The following reveals details from the seventh episode of The Mandalorian season 3, “Chapter 24: The Return.” Stop reading here if you have not watched the episode and wish to avoid spoilers.


The Return of Mandalore

Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) in a poster for The Mandalorian, Season 3

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

During a tactical retreat, Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) learns from the survivors who remained planetside that they have been planting native vegetation in a network of caves across Mandalore. The revelation is significant as most of the planet has been inhospitable to agriculture for centuries. As Bo-Katan herself puts it, life outside the domed cities was an impossible ask — even in her lifetime. That soil could be suitable for crops in just 25 years illustrates that Mandalore is as resilient as its people, but also just how devastating the in-fighting must have been across the generations.

Maybe this is why the Mythosaur slept for so long and, potentially, why it did not reveal itself to the Mandalorians when they assembled at the Living Waters to complete Ragnar Vizsla’s (Wesley Kimmel) induction. The planet may still regard them as hostile invaders.

At the same time, the survivors’ success with farming points to a way forward for the Mandalorians. When they start to rebuild their cities, they will not have to enclose them in domes. Additionally, they may be able to begin a new farming boom in the caves just under the surface even as they rein in the wilder animal life above and below. Would a surplus of food allow them a new way to interact with the galaxy? Potentially. But it remains to be seen if The Way will allow that sort of commerce in its strict warrior code.

Then again, will Mandalore even want to interact with the galaxy at this point?


The Return of the Mandalorians

THE MANDALORIAN chapter 24

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Despite the odds and a penultimate episode as grim as Star Wars: The Bad Batch’s season 2 finale, Bo-Katan, Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides), the Armorer (Emily Swallow) and the others did what seemed impossible just seven weeks ago. The retaking of Mandalore may have been a little too swift for some, but for others, the plot point has been decades in the making. And, as Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) suggested last week, a united Mandalorian race could be formidable opposition to the Imperial Remnant. Even the others on the Shadow Council agreed with that, offering him additional resources to stop the threat.

He failed in spectacular fashion, of course — a tactical sacrifice on the part of Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) to remove a rival perhaps? — but not before critically damaging the Darksaber. That detail may affect a more long-running development for the Mandalorian people. Will Bo-Katan be able to lead with it destroyed?

One option, of course, is to simply rebuild it. Bo-Katan knows someone trained in the Jedi arts who could potentially aid her in that endeavor. But it is also possible her efforts in retaking the planet will change the requirements to rule it. Actions speak as loudly as superstition among the Mandalorians and with Bo-Katan now claiming they are stronger together, dogma may be massaged to allow her, at long last, to lead without her succession constantly being questioned.


The Armorer (Emily Swallow, far right) in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Indeed, the Armorer’s seeming tolerance of mainstream Mandos who remove their helmets suggests The Way can be flexible. Or at least, stretched enough for the good of restoring the world and reuniting the people. If she has any ambitions of her own, it will likely take the form of converting people to her interpretation of The Way. Its crucial presence in the retaking of the world will be a powerful recruitment tool.

Nevertheless, it is interesting that victory was achieved without this tension about Mando religion being resolved. Well, at least in dialogue. Allowing Bo-Katan to relight the Great Forge without her helmet is a striking visual, as is the image of Mandos with and without helmets shouting “For Mandalore” in unison. Perhaps a season 4 episode will come back to this topic or, perhaps, it is something executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni will return to much later.

As we’ve mentioned across the season, Mandalorians are completely absent from the Sequel trilogy. That could be down to the interests of directors J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson in that part of the timeline or an indication that this grand reunification failed as it has for the Mandalorians across millennia. But considering the planet is shielded from the outside galaxy by its atmosphere, it is also possible the people looked inward for a generation as the First Order rose and fell.

If that’s the case, it would be interesting to see them gain a wider presence just as Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) New Jedi Order takes shape some forty years later.


The Return of Lone Wolf and Cub

Din Djarin and Grogu in a poster for The Mandalorian, Season 3

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

As we mentioned last week, The Mandalorian started with a vibe borrowed from the Japanese manga series Lone Wolf and Cub. We’ll even argue this season, despite abandoning the wandering mercenary format, still echoed some of writer Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima’s longer tales of ronin assassin Ogami Itto and his child. But no matter how consciously Favreau regarded the manga for this part of the story, he seemed to make a promise that the initial format will return next season.

Following Ragnar’s induction, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) requested the same for Grogu. But as The Way is forever revealing new wrinkles, the Armorer leveled several objections — starting with Grogu’s inability to speak Basic (the common language across the hyperspace lanes) to the fact his parents could not offer consent for The Mandalorian to train him as an apprentice.

The back and forth culminated with Djarin adopting Grogu and revealing “Din” is his family name. That detail is interesting for us as we’ve gone back and forth on calling The Mandalorian “Din” or “Djarin” — an indecision inspired by the fact that, much like Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), the name never sounds quite right without both words being present. But it also suggests a link to Djarin’s past prior to being adopted by the Watch. Perhaps that link will be something for Din Djarin and Din Grogu to search out while once again wandering the galaxy.


Armorer character poster forThe Mandalorian, Season 3

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Roaming is Djarin’s new mission as proscribed by the Armorer. This time, though, part of the assignment is to train Grogu in the ways of the Mand’alor before he can finally commit to the Creed in his heart and by his words. To us, that means season 4 — which Favreau claims is already written — will return to the more episodic format of the first two seasons as the Clan of Two work New Republic bounties and, occasionally, take breathers in the house on Nevarro.

After a season of action with galactic implications and ties to the greater story Filoni will tell on Ahsoka and his feature film debut, returning to the episodic wandering will be welcomed by many. And, of course, it still echoes the format of Lone Wolf and Cub, which also switched between short tales and longer epics.

And, we assume, Grogu will finally say “The Way, this is” before too long.


The Return of Boba Fett?

The Mandalorian season 2 Boba Fett poster

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

Our last return for the episode is more of a suggestion as Boba Fett remains an outlier among the Mandalorians. Sure, many grumble at the ultimate execution of The Book of Boba Fett, but his continued presence in the galaxy is a story point. And as the acknowledged successor to Jabba’s criminal enterprise, he seemingly takes the place of Talon Karrde in any adaptation of Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy. Although, in hindsight, Karrde would’ve made a great antagonist for the former bounty hunter in his eponymous series.

No matter his future in the wider part of Filoni’s story, his status as a Mandalorian is still in question and if Bo-Katan truly believes her people are stronger together, than settling matters with him is something she will have to undertake.


Natasha Liu Bordizzo in Lucasfilm's AHSOKA

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

This notion also extends to the other known Mando out in the galaxy: Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo, pictured above in an image from the Ahsoka trailer). While she was happy to leave the affairs of Mandalore to Bo-Katan when she gave her the Darksaber, her relationship to her people some ten years later may be something to explore. And if Bo-Katan is trying to reunite everyone who wears a Mando helmet, reaching out to Sabine on Lothal (or wherever she ends up as Ahsoka runs its course) will also be part of any potential ambassadorial duties.


Read also: Everything We Know About Star Wars Series Ahsoka


Odds and Ends

Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian season 3 character poster

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

• As we suspected, Gideon was attempting to infuse The Force within his next generation Death Troopers and within himself. Although, it is unclear if he meant for that generation to also be the clones of himself Djarin destroyed. Either way, his ambition is yet another shadow of Sheev Palpatine’s (Ian McDiarmid) aims in both the old Extended Universe and the Sequel Trilogy. It will be interesting to see if Thrawn ever comments on it when he finally makes his presence known.


New Republic pilots in THE MANDALORIAN chapter 24

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

• Djarin’s trip to the New Republic outpost wasn’t just a chance to make arrangements with Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), but also an opportunity for Filoni and fellow executive producer Rick Famuyiwa to cameo once again as their New Republic ranger characters Trapper Wolf and Jib Dodger. The pair first cameoed in The Mandalorian‘s first season, alongside Obi-Wan Kenobi director Deborah Chow, establishing a tradition of sorts that may eventually lead to Favreau showing his face in an X-Wing pilot jumpsuit. We also suspect Djarin and Carson’s arrangement will follow-up on some of the ideas proposed for the abandoned Rangers of the New Republic series.

The photo shows New Republic pilots including Trapper Wolf (Dave Filoni, wearing hat), Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, in center) with Bartender (Misty Rojas).


Taika Waititi voices assassin droid IG-11, The Mandalorian character poster (Disney+)

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

• Establishing IG-11 (Taika Waititi) as the marshal of Nevarro and Greef Karga’s (Carl Weathers) land grant to Djarin is about as happy of an ending as could be found for the story threads bound to that planet. Indeed, the iris-out on Grogu at the end of the episode suggests a certain finality for the characters even as new horizons lay ahead for the Clan of Two. We’ll be surprised if Karga or IG-11 have much more to do in subsequent seasons beyond some tactical support, though.

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While the second-to-last episode of The Mandalorian’s third season concerned itself with bringing the protagonists to one of their lowest moments ever, it also established a great deal about the wider world and a key tie to this summer’s Ahsoka. And while we ponder the future for Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), Grogu, and the others, it is also worth considering what it means to be the heir to the Empire and how much of the old Expanded Universe we can expect in the years to come. Let’s dive into what chapter 23, “The Spies,” offers us besides a potential Mandalore charge of the Light Brigade.


Spoiler alert: The following reveals details from the seventh episode of The Mandalorian season 3, “Chapter 23: The Spies.” Stop reading here if you have not watched the episode and wish to avoid spoilers.


A Lament for Paz Vizsla

The Mandalorian - Paz Vizsla character poster

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

But before we delve too deeply into the future of The Mandalorian’s part in the Star Wars timeline, let’s pay our respects to Paz Vizsla (Tait Fletcher, voiced by Jon Favreau). All season, we’re put him under a microscope because he was just so inscrutable. Introduced as a potential foil for Din in the program’s second episode, he moved toward a rival status in The Book of Boba Fett as he vocally expressed a desire for Clan Vizsla to reclaim the Darksaber.

Then, the third season put him in a different light as his devotion to the Way clearly proved stronger than any individual ambition. His opinion of both Din and Bo-Katan evolved as he saw them in action. Their willingness to save his foundling son proved to be a pivotal moment. He openly advocated for the defense of Nevarro and the opportunity for the covert to have a proper home. He also proved to be an invaluable asset in that fight and this first attempt to retake Mandalore.

Sure, he and Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides) tussled — that was inevitable as he always needs to grapple with someone. Nevertheless, his willingness to lay down his life for the others proved a certain nobility that, we think, may not have been seen amongst his clan since the days of Tarre Vizsla, the Mandalorian Jedi who forged the Darksaber. Of course, the centuries always allow for another to prove their merit as Paz did this week.

Either way, it makes it all the sadder that we should lose him on another dark Mandalore day. His sacrifice was for the safety of the others, and we can’t help but noticed he made it to the end without ever removing his helmet. There was always the suspicion Favreau might find a way to affix his face to the character’s larger, built frame — see the special edition Hasbro Star Wars Black Series action figure of Paz that does just that — but for the sacrifice to have the impact that it needed, there could never be a chance to see the executive producer’s face even in a reflection of Paz’s helmet.

All that said, it is possible he somehow survived his tussle with the Praetorian Guard and may make one last stand next week.

In terms of the season’s exploration of a Mandalorian religion, Paz also underscores just how persuasive the Way can be. He set aside all other personal things, like his ambitions and his own son, to protect sworn brethren and sistren. It also stands as an example of why Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) views the warrior culture as such a threat to the Imperial Remnant’s goals.


Gideon Revealed

Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian season 2 poster

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

The episode also made clear just what became of Gideon since his capture in the season 2 finale. He was rescued by a “next generation” of Dark Trooper who emerged from his belief that the best of all worlds should be mixed into an elite soldier who will bring order to the galaxy. Beyond the depravity of the original troopers, they also utilize Beskar armor and Mando-style jet packs.

We also think Gideon’s true intent with Grogu was to somehow add the Force to his new troops. But more on that in a moment.

The new Death Troopers clearly sprung Gideon from the Republic shuttle and ferried him back to Mandalore, where he’s been all this time. That really should’ve been everyone’s first guess as the Moff was stationed there as its governor in the wake of the purge. And, as we learned this week, Bo-Katan literally gave him the Darksaber and the planet in the hopes that further loss of life could be avoided.

He lied, of course.


Omid Abtahi in Dr. Penn Pershing character poster The Mandalorian s3

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Lying is second nature to him, though. Look at the way he lied to other members of the clandestine Remnant Shadow Council regarding Doctor Pershing (Omid Abtahi, pictured above) and the resources he swore to provide to Project Necromancer. It seems clear his recovery of the child was meant to serve that purpose even as he always intended to extract midi-chlorians from Grogu for his new Dark Troopers.

His actions to date prove he is formidable among the Remnant leadership and it is clear some on the Shadow Council would welcome him as Sheev Palpatine’s (Ian McDiarmid) successor. Indeed, he proved to be a good tactician in setting back the Mandalorian cause this week.

That said, we find it interesting that both he and the council view a liberated Mandalore as a genuine threat to their plans. Presumably, they all believe Mandalorians would fight any attempt to restore the Empire on a galactic scale. Even Gideon would find it difficult to produce Dark Troopers on the scale required to challenge a united Mandalorian fight. The season finale will prove a crucial moment for him and Bo-Katan as the future of the conflict will be decided on what happens next.

Also, Gideon just enjoys keeping Mandos down. The cruelty is always the point, after all.


An Heir to the Empire

Thrawn

(Photo by ©Disney XD / courtesy Everett Collection)

The Dark Troopers are also probably part of Gideon’s plan to set himself up as Palpatine’s replacement. But, as revealed in this episode, a true heir to the Empire emerges in the form of Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen).

As fans of the novel trilogy by Timothy Zahn and Star Wars Rebels (Thrawn pictured center above) knows, the Chiss tactician is the most formidable opponent anyone could face. Consider that he is an alien who rose to one of the highest ranks in the otherwise xenophobic Imperial navy and that most of the Shadow Council defers to his representative, Captain Pellaeon (Xander Berkely), at any mention of his name.

The presence of Pellaeon is interesting in its own right. The character also originates from Zahn’s first Star Wars novel, Heir to the Empire. There, he served as Thrawn’s chief lieutenant and is an acknowledged co-founder of the Imperial Remnant even as he also signed the treaty with the New Republic that ended the war in the old Expanded Universe.

In current Star Wars continuity, Pellaeon served as a captain in Thrawn’s Seventh Fleet. He took part in the blockade of Lothal (seen in Rebels) and was there when Thrawn and Ezra Bridger disappeared shortly before the Galactic Civil War became an open conflict. And if the episode had streamed before Star Wars Celebration last week, we’d be questioning if Pellaeon’s use of Thrawn’s name was a gambit of his own to seize complete control of the Remnant.


Lars Mikkelsen

(Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Disney)

From the scene, it’s clear the Imperial forces are more organized than we suspected and Pellaeon, acting as Thrawn’s representative, wields authority even among the other command figures on the council. Gideon has to convince him to send extra resources to Mandalore, for example. But with the knowledge that Mikkelsen (pictured above) will be playing Thrawn in August’s Ahsoka, it is possible he will make his presence known next week whether or not Gideon is successful in his attempt to end the Mando threat. And we bet he will be none-to-pleased to discover what the Moff has been up to with Imperial equipment and research.

Of course, that’s presuming Pellaeon is in contact with the admiral and not just presuming to know his wishes. Thrawn may still be missing even as the first episodes of Ahsoka start to stream.

Nevertheless, it is interesting to learn that the Imperial Remnant is organized at all. Up until now, they have appeared to be broken into factions — a cover possibly ordered by Thrawn to allay the Republic. It was a pretty convincing tactic, as even we hedged our bets on the Remnant being disconnected fleets acting as warlords and pirates. The council’s efforts create a straighter line to the First Order than we suspected.

That said, it’s pretty clear Gideon means to behave like a warlord and if Bo-Katan, Grogu, and the others don’t deal with him while rescuing Din, Thrawn will be his next opponent.


Dark Times for the Mandos

Pedro Pascal (top right) and Tait Fletcher (foreground right) in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN

But outside of all the Remnant machinations, the bulk of the episode concerned bringing the Mandalore reclamation effort to its knees. Bo-Katan was once again chastened, Din was captured, and we presume the Armorer (Emily Swallow) will find a fleet of Star Destroyers awaiting her and the Mando floatilla.

Putting the heroes into that amount of peril is good storytelling, though, as it gives them a dark place to crawl out of it. Surviving it is a worry for next week’s season finale. To an extent, holding Mandalore seems like a dream Bo-Katan and the others should give up in favor of the land on Nevarro. At the same time, it is possible we’re nearing the end of this story with the Mandos getting wiped out. They are conspicuously absent from the Sequel Trilogy, after all. But Star Wars is also about hope, and it always springs eternal.

Consider that this time, Din was captured and not Grogu. That could really change the outcome of things.


Odd and Ends

Domhnall Gleeson in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

(Photo by David James/Lucasfilm Ltd.)

• Commandant Hux is played by Brian Gleeson, brother of actor Domhnall Gleeson (pictured above), who played First Order General Hux in the Sequel Trilogy. Presumably, the two Gleesons play father and son decades apart. But if that’s the case, why didn’t the younger Hux know about what was happening on Exegol? At least, we’re presuming the elder Hux’s “Project Necromancer” is directly related to giving Palpatine a new body and, maybe, a proxy Supreme Leader with which to control what becomes of the Remnant.

• As noted by the Armorer when asked by the veteran Mandos who remained planetside, the Death Watch splintered into factions and annihilated each other. This may be why her Children of the Watch covert is so dedicated to The Way. It potentially saved the few who remained and may yet be the means to unite any remaining Mandalorians in the galaxy. Well, presuming anyone survives next week’s finale.

• Gideon’s spiked Dark Trooper helmet resembles one worn by Maul’s (voiced by Sam Witwer) super commandos during his time ruling Mandalore at the end of the Clone Wars. Is it possible Gideon’s true allegiance is to his memory? If that’s the case, is he also a Mandalorian despite his seemingly alien regard for their culture? If that’s the case, his attempts to create a Remnant counter to Thrawn’s or Palpatine’s wishes also starts to make sense.


Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Walt Disney Studios)

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

• The Praetorian Guard serve as another precursor to the First Order. While clearly still resembling Palpatine’s Royal Guard, they’ve already adopted the name and the weapons they will use in the service of Snoke (pictured, Andy Serkis) 25 years later. Invoking the name of the Praetorian Guard is another hint that the Remnant will evolve into the First Order by the time The Mandalorian and Ahsoka are done with this story.

• IG-12, Grogu’s new vehicle/weapon system, echoes the notion of mobile suits as popularized in the Japanese television series Mobile Suit Gundam and the earlier super robot tradition of 1960 and 70s Japanese animation. The reference makes a certain sense as Star Wars owes a major debt to director Akira Kurosawa and The Mandalorian began with a heavily influence from the legendary manga series Lone Wolf & Cub. But considering most of those influences end on down notes, is it possible The Mandalorian itself is heading for a darker climax?

85% The Mandalorian: Season 3 (2023) finale, “Chapter 24,” streams on Wednesday, April 19 on Disney+.

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The pace and structure of The Mandalorian means even something as simple as confronting Bo-Katan Kryze’s (Katee Sackhoff) former forces requires something more involved. That, in turn, means Chapter 22: “Guns For Hire” is as much a detective story as it is an exploration of galactic politics and diplomacy. But does it prove Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) is fit to lead or is Bo-Katan finally ready to rule her people? Let’s take a look at the latest adventure of the wandering Mandalorian to see what could happen next in Mandalore’s slow-motion restoration.


Spoiler alert: The following reveals details from the sixth episode of The Mandalorian season 3, “Chapter 22: Guns For Hire.” Stop reading here if you have not watched the episode and wish to avoid spoilers.


“All It Takes Is a Few Credits”

THE MANDALORIAN, chapter 22

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Before the plot truly begins, though, we are treated to an update on the exploits of Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides) and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado). True to Bo-Katan’s explanation from earlier in the season, they are working as mercenaries — although they clearly prefer the term “privateer” — and as seen in the prelude, that means doing jobs like retrieving a young member of the Mon Calamari nobility from a love affair with a Quarren ship captain. For those not immersed in Star Wars lore, the star-crossed lovers are a true oddity as the two species, despite sharing the planet Mon Cala (aka Dac), are often at odds; hence, why the captain refers to maintaining the peace when questioned by Woves.

But the most important detail here is Reeves’ response when questioned about Mandalorian honor: “All it takes is a few credits.” The statement is more revealing than one might think. In the emerging religion of the Mandalorians, they have truly lost The Way, but beyond that is a more generalized sense of being adrift in space. The Nite Owls, or whatever they go by now, are very much focused on credits instead of any sense of honor. The Mandalorians always straddle this line between honor and income, but the cynicism here is different.

See also Woves’ statement that he likes being in charge. It suggests something more self-serving or, perhaps, decadent. Since he has only spoken 10 lines or so across his two appearances, however, it is as difficult to ascertain his true heart as it has been to decipher Paz Vizsla’s ambitions. Bo-Katan’s failure to return with the Darksaber two years earlier seems to have disillusioned her former flock in a very fundamental way; however, the episode ends on a note that some of their faith has been restored.


“Politics”

Lizzo in The Mandalorian character poster

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

While Mandos are generally depicted as being averse to the forms of politics employed by most of the galaxy, diplomacy is a water they must wade in and this episode may be the most blatant exploration of its necessity to the likes of Bo-Katan and Djarin on any given day, let alone in regards to restoring Mandalore.

Arriving on Plazir-15, the pair quickly meet its duly elected Duchess (Lizzo) and her consort, Captain Bombardier (Jack Black). Here, Bo-Katan proves a certain aptitude in politics of a royal nature; she accepts a drink when they are escorted to a feast, and she knows the right decorum for the situation even as she investigates how a former Imperial ended up married to the local nobility. And while the planet prides itself in being the Outer Rim’s only direct democracy, it is clear older traditions still hold sway.

Bo-Katan’s ability to navigate those traditions leads to a most intriguing offer. Due to various local laws and agreements with the New Republic, Plazir-15 has no military and their constables cannot carry weapons, but because Bo-Katan and Djarin are Mandalorian, they are allowed to carry their weapons into the domed capital city. That makes them ideal to investigate a string of increasingly severe droid malfunctions. In exchange for doing so, the Duchess and Bombardier agree to recognize Mandalore as an independent system and, furthermore, to petition the New Republic senate to do likewise.

It might seem a small point in light of the rest of the episode, but this sort of thing is key for Mandalore in the future. For one thing, independent status would be huge as Mandalore’s place in the Republic has been questionable since the Mandalorian Wars some 4,000 earlier. Secondly, re-establishing a diplomatic foothold with at least one planet gives Bo-Katan more validity as a head of state. We’re not sure she was thinking that far ahead in the moment, however; her primary concern was just to talk to her former troops.


Read also: The Mandalorian Chapter 21: Leaders Emerge When Nevarro Battles a Pirate Infestation


But there are varying forms of politics and diplomacy on display in the episode. The next example occurs after a meeting with Plazir-15’s head of security, Commissioner Helgait (Christopher Lloyd), who directs the newly minted detectives to a subfloor where a group of Ugnaughts retrofit Clone War era droids for civilian service.

Here, Bo-Katan proves ineffectual while Djarin knows enough of their customs, thanks to the fondly remembered Kuiil (Nick Nolte), to get some good intel out of the team. And just to prove how much this resembles the high-level diplomacy with the Duchess, Djarin and Bo-Katan end up seated with the Ugnaughts as Djarin walks back any accusation that the droids are malfunctioning. He later tells her such a suggestion is one of the highest insults among the species. His specific knowledge, of course, gets them to the next link the chain and, ultimately, the true culprit of the droid sabotage: Commissioner Helgait.

His motivations are also political in nature as he turned out to be a true believer in the Separatist movement from the days of the Clone Wars. Although, to be fair to him, “Separatist” is a term applied by partisans of the Old Republic to the Confederacy of Independent Systems who broke away from the Republic citing an irreconcilable corruption within its government. At the same time, though, it is tough to give the movement much credence as it was a smoke screen for Sheev Palpatine’s (Ian McDiarmid) ascendancy to Emperor.


Jack Black in The Mandalorian character poster

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Nevertheless, Helgait represents someone who still believes and sees any attempt by the New Republic to organize the Outer Rim as a return to very old and very corrupt ways; although it is interesting that he cites Bombardier’s presence as the real reason he smuggled bad code into droid lubricant (more on that in a moment). Considering what we’ve seen of the Republic’s amnesty program, it is possible Bombardier’s pleasant demeanor and demonstrations of affection for the Duchess could be more Imperial duplicity. Then again, Black’s on-screen persona suggests a person whose faith in the Empire was never that strong to begin with.
The decadence among the Plazir nobility could be part of a plan to bring the planet under the grip of the First Order in the years to come, or course. Helgait may have been the first to see it.

But the savviest political move of the hour is Djarin finding a way to hand Bo-Katan the Darksaber without a fight. Throughout the season, we’ve wondered why Bo-Katan allowed him to leave the Imp cruiser without a fight and never really considered how he might resolve the issue. His solution: citing her use of the weapon to save him from the droid-assisted creature in the Mines of Mandalore and the chain of custody from him, to the creature, to Bo-Katan as proof that he was merely returning her fairly-won property.

Woves and the others go for it, which once again proves Djarin has some acumen for politics and diplomacy, but it also finally puts her back in the position to rule a restored Mandalore — provided she believes in this loophole. As we’ve noticed across the season, Bo-Katan is becoming a believer in the superstitions of the Way. She saw the mythosaur, and she no doubt acknowledges her failure to prevent Mandalore’s fall as a consequence of being given the Darksaber without a fight before (as seen on Star Wars Rebels). It is possible her doubts and memories of the Night of a Thousand Tears may lead her to challenge Djarin for “true” possession of the blade.

In the meantime, it is interesting to note that Djarin stopped fighting the blade by handing it off to someone else.


“You Had Me at Battle Droids”

Katee Sackhoff and Grogu in THE MANDALORIAN

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Djarin and Bo-Katan’s investigation leads them to a droid bar — a wonderful expansion of one of Star Wars earliest worldbuilding ideas (the original film’s “We don’t serve their kind here” moment). In lieu of facing persecution in a bar for organic sentients, droids gather in their own establishments to imbibe a substance called Nepenthé. Described as “viscous lubricant” that prevents mechanical failure, it also offers “program refreshing” particles; a liquid software update. For the purposes of the episode, it is how Helgait caused the retrofitted battle droids to malfunction, but in the larger galaxy, it also creates more of a droid culture. Regardless of model or function, all droids can relax and enjoy a drink all their own.

Indeed, the episode’s droid bartender introduced a new angle on this culture: droids want to serve organics as repayment for being created. Although this could be argued as a key part of droid source code, it is interesting to think droids determined this on their own as a compassionate response to the limited lifespans of most species in the galaxy.

If it is a self-determined compassion, it strikes an interesting contrast to Djarin’s prejudice against the robots. As established early in the series’ run, his village was smashed to pieces by super battle droids in the waning days of the Clone Wars, and his wariness of most droids emerges from that early trauma. It is unclear if the droid bartender swayed him in any way — the scene occurs after he started kicking Super Battle Droids to determine which one was malfunctioning — but maybe he’ll be a little kinder to R5 after this.

Meanwhile, the bartender’s words will ring a certain way for fans of the Knights of the Old Republic video games and its assassin droid, HK-47, whose view of “meat bag” organics was anything but compassionate.


Odds and Ends

Timothee Chalamet in Dune

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures)

• Plazir-15’s reliance on droids, as explained by Helgait, is sharply reminiscent of Dune’s prehistory, in which the human race’s reliance on artificial intelligences and robots led to similar levels of dependance and, eventually, the robots turning on their fleshy masters. The technology and mental prowess seen in Dune (both the books and the film versions) are products of a ban against thinking machines following the Butlerian Jihad to overthrow the robots over 10,000 years before the events of Frank Herbert’s first novel. It is doubtful Star Wars would move in a similar route, though, as droids have co-existed with organics (if uneasily at times) for millennia. Nevertheless, connections between the two space-faring epics abound. This one, we think, is a more intentional allusion. (Pictured above: Timothee Chalamet in 2021’s Dune.)

• Djarin walks this episode without his jetpack. And considering how important the device is to Bo-Katan’s fighting style, we wonder if the Mandalorian will ever be properly trained to use it. Perhaps now that Bo-Katan has declared he is every bit a Mandalorian as the Nite Owls, maybe one of them will put him through his paces, er, “flights.”

• The Key to Plazir is an interesting totem for Bo-Katan to win. Will she use it, or its symbolic significance, to further diplomatic relations once she resettles Mandalore?

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Pedro Pascal and Grogu in THE MANDALORIAN

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

We’re halfway into The Mandalorian’s third season, and it seems the show will give viewers what they want. But first, a few more pieces must be slotted into place and the abandoned Rangers of the New Republic’s ghost haunts the proceedings. Will it all lead to a new era or has the First Order already been born? Episode 5 – “The Pirate” – of season 3 might be a rousing battle episode, but it also continues the show’s pivot from a lone wolf and his cub wandering the galaxy to a tale of liberation and, potentially, redemption.


Spoiler alert: The following reveals details from the fifth episode of The Mandalorian season 3, “Chapter 21: The Pirate.” Stop reading here if you have not watched the episode and wish to avoid spoilers.


A Settlement Near Bulloch Canyon

Pedro Pascal and Mandalorians in THE MANDALORIAN, season 3

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Tying a few story threads in a bow, the episode not only brought the Mandalorian covert back to Nevarro, but it made good on Greef Karga’s (Carl Weathers) offer of land to Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal). It also removed Pirate King Gorian Shard (Nonso Anozie) from the board despite Carson Teva’s (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) supposition that the Pirate Nation and the Imperial Remnant might be working together.

After the premiere, we suggested the pirate king might resurface at the worst time for Djarin, but in a twist, he appeared again at the most opportune moment for the character. As we’ve said before, Djarin’s ambitions in leading the Mandalorians lay somewhere between ambivalence and disinterest, but his speech to the others in the covert suggests he can actually lead.

He made sure to remind them of the time Karga stood against them. He pointed out that Karga saw his mistake and aided Djarin and Grogu when the chips were definitely down. And then he introduced the idea that the covert no longer needs to be secret as the tract of land on a world outside Republic or Imperial control would allow them to live free. Also: he did this without pulling rank or brandishing the Darksaber to force the Children of the Watch into helping him.

It does make one wonder if the rest of the covert knows about the Darksaber, though.


Tait Fletcher in THE MANDALORIAN

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

The most important detail of the scene, though, is that his argument actually inspires support from Paz Vizsla (Tait Fletcher, voiced by Jon Favreau), who claims aiding Nevarro is, in fact, The Way. It seems the change of heart we suspected last week is occurring, and it may also be evidence of Djarin’s capacity to lead. Paz cites Djarin’s rescue of his son as a factor in him setting aside their previous beefs. And although Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) was the acknowledged leader of the hunting party, Djarin was key in assembling the team in the first place.

But that brings us back to central issue of Djarin as a latter day Mandalore the Great — will he accept the role? His natural aptitude to lead may be meaningless if he continues to fight the blade and defer to people like the Armorer (Emily Swallow) and Bo-Katan.


Bo-Katan Kryze Walks Both Worlds

Katee Sackhoff in THE MANDALORIAN

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Speaking of Bo-Katan, it appears the Armorer is betting her forge on the former ruler of Mandalore being capable of uniting the various clans and factions under The Way. Nevertheless, their discussion about what comes next is fraught with implications.

First, Bo-Katan is ordered to remove her helmet. It is unclear if the act made her an apostate once again — the Armorer is seemingly the only arbiter of the Creed — or if the request was made in a way that is acceptable. No matter the religious legality of the command, it speaks to the Armorer’s key point: Bo-Katan walks both the Way of the Mand’alor and the mainstream world of the Mandalorians out in space. If she can come to believe in the Creed, the others can as well.

Thus, the Armorer reveals to the covert that Bo-Katan will bring the others to Nevarro to plan for the new age and the reclamation of Mandalore itself — the thing we and many other fans have wanted to see for some time.


The Armorer poster THE MANDALORIAN, Season 3

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Sticking to what we know of the Creed, the Armorer seemingly made this choice after reflecting on Bo-Katan’s encounter with the Mythosaur. She finally makes it clear the creature is a figure of myth in Mandalorian legends, so seeing a real specimen is proof a new age is on the way. But if that’s the case, why is the issue of the Darksaber being ignored here?

As we keep mentioning, Bo-Katan’s reluctance to fight Djarin for the blade is a sticking point. It has been since the Mandalorian resurfaced on The Book of Boba Fett still possessing the weapon. Her seemingly refusal to fight him for it on the Remnant cruiser cost her all of her forces, so how can she convince the others to join what they view as a cult without it?

For the purposes of this episode, the issue gets in the way of the conclusion’s victorious tone, but perhaps next week will solve the riddle and, maybe, Bo-Katan will truly win her claim by Creed. To be honest, we think she has finally earned the right to rule, but will the others see things that way — especially if she institutes the Armorer’s interpretation of the Creed as a state religion?


Moff Gideon Never Made It to Trial

Paul Sun-Hyung Lee in THE MANDALORIAN,

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Carson Teva is proving to be the most compelling New Republic character introduced in live action. Despite fleeing from him in The Book of Boba Fett, Djarin clearly respects him. He also seems dedicated to the Republic’s stated mission no matter how many colonels tell him it is no longer the Rebel Alliance. But perhaps the most important thing about him is that he senses the danger.

As he explained to the ambivalent and overworked colonel (Tim Meadows), the Remnant is cooking something up on the Outer Rim and the Republic is too extended to spot it. He also introduced the possible link between the Remnant and the Pirate Nation. Nevarro, though the focus of his reinforcement request, is just one example of a problem he is seeing along his patrols. Considering the size of the Outer Rim, it is a perilous thing to ignore.


G68 poster THE MANDALORIAN, Season 3

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

But Teva’s observation is almost immediately dismissed by Elia Kane (Katy M. O’Brian), who works as the colonel’s attaché and seems placed just to shout down these sorts of reports. She even suggests Nevarro should suffer at the hands of the pirates as a punishment for failing to sign the New Republic charter. Teva calls the suggestion Imperial thinking, and he’s absolutely correct. It once again calls into question the amnesty program, as it allows Republic officials to be influenced in a very subtle way; in fact, one wonders if this is why the Republic senate is ultimately ambivalent to the First Order. Was it being poisoned by amnesty officers long before Snoke (Andy Serkis) made himself known?

That is assuming, of course, that all the Remnant cells are coordinated. It is possible they are split into fiefdoms of fleets dueling for supremacy. Without someone like Grand Admiral Thrawn (voiced by Lars Mikkelsen on Star Wars Rebels), Snoke, or even Gideon to lead, it is possible every cluster of the Remnant is attempting to undermine the Republic independently of any master plan. And that’s also presuming Sheev Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) isn’t manipulating the situation somehow from his hidey-hole on Exegol.


Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian season 2 poster

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

No matter how the Remnant is organized or what its true objectives are, it appears Gideon is not part of the equation at the moment. Teva, recalling that the moff never faced trial, follows a hunch to a lambda class shuttle he soon determines was Gideon’s transport to the courts. But his suspicion of a Remnant recovery operation is smashed when he finds evidence of beskar in the shuttle. New supposition: a group of Mandos sprung him. But why?

As referenced in the pre-episode recap, Gideon was assigned to administer Mandalore after the Night of a Thousand Tears and was known among its people as a brutal butcher. It is easy to assume a group of Mandalorians, seeing him in a vulnerable position, took him to mete out their own brand of justice. Or, considering Bo-Katan mentioned her former troops now work as mercenaries, it is possible they nabbed him on behalf of a client.

We expect the answer to come quickly as Bo-Katan sets off to find other Mandos, but we can’t help but wonder if all of this New Republic world building was originally meant for Rangers of the New Republic, another Star Wars series set in the same era first announced in 2020. At the time, it, The Mandalorian, and Ahoska, were meant to crossover in some sort of climatic event, but for various reasons, Rangers was put on indefinite hold. The crossover between Mandalorian and Ahsoka (expected to debut later this year) may still happen, but Teva’s prominent use of the phrase “Adelphi Rangers” can’t help but be a ghost or echo of the original plan. See also any scene set on Coruscant. As the crossover plan was announced when Disney was very bullish about streaming, it makes more sense to contain much of its story to the proven success it already has with The Mandalorian.


Odds And Ends

THE MANDALORIAN

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

• The Lasat pilot who tells Teva he won’t have much luck getting reinforcements on Coruscant is none other than Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios (Steve Blum) from the animated series Star Wars Rebels. His appearance confirms he survived the Galactic Civil War, a good thing as the Empire nearly wiped out his people. Besides being a welcome cameo and a first look at a Lasat — a species based on early designs for Chewbacca — in live action, it also suggests to us that Zeb may have been part of Rangers‘ supporting cast had it gone to series. With Bo-Katan on The Mandalorian and several Rebels characters making their live action debuts on Ahsoka, it seems Dave Filoni will get to follow-up his previous animated story with the largest canvass possible.

• Kowakian Monkey-Lizards are an intelligent species. We know this thanks to Salacious B. Crumb, Jabba the Hutt’s chief bird in Return of the Jedi, but the Nevarro lizards warning the Mandalorian strike team about the ambush underscores just how intelligent they really are. That, in turn, offers a new dimension to the horror of seeing them caged and cooked for a light snack on the streets of the Nevarro capital in The Mandalorian’s debut episode. Presumably, Karga released any being held as livestock after Gideon attacked and gave them that tree as recompense.

• Bulloch Canyon, one of the landmarks serving as a boundary to the Mandalorian land grant, is no doubt named in honor of actor Jeremy Bulloch. While not the first person to wear Boba Fett’s costume in public — assistant film editor Duwayne Dunham wore the suit at a San Anselmo County parade shortly after the bounty hunter’s look was finalized in 1978 — he was the actor to first play the part in live action, serving as Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and the original footage shot for The Return of the Jedi (Don Bies and several others assumed the role for the additional Special Edition shots). Bulloch also appeared without his helmet as an Imperial officer in Empire and was a beloved fixture on the convention circuit for decades. He passed away in late 2020.

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