The first episode of the Disney+ seriesThe Mandalorian features a surprising reveal, one that ties back to the prequel trilogy and may have significant implications for the rest of the Star Wars franchise moving forward. There will be spoilers ahead as we dig into that last minute discovery.
A majority of the first episode of The Mandalorian is spent following the title character on a hunt for a target that is 50 years old. At the end of the episode, he discovers that his target is a creature of the same species as Yoda. Since the actual Yoda died after living for more than 900 years, the different aging process of this creature makes sense. George Lucas has always been incredibly protective of all information about Yoda’s origins and his species, so it’s interesting that Lucasfilm is finally able to start playing in that corner of the sandbox all these years after the sale to Disney. But how does this impact what might come next?
Connection to the Prequels
The insignia on the sleeves of the characters in the image above is seen in Attack of the Clones as an emblem worn by all of the clones on the planet Kamino. And wouldn’t you know it? Someone on Twitter noticed the same emblem on the sleeve of Doctor Pershing, the guy who nearly got blasted by The Mandolorian in Werner Herzog’s sketchy meeting room in the pilot episode.
Partial credit to @bhower1138 for noticing the symbol on his sleeve. pic.twitter.com/Im2wjSY94y
— MarvelSW @NumidianPrime November 13, 2019
Pershing made it very clear that he wanted “The Asset” aka Baby Yoda brought in alive, and his uniform seems to imply that he’s associated with the remnants of the Empire in some way. Could it be that Baby Yoda is a clone of the little green guy we know and love? That emblem certainly points to cloning as being something this series is almost certainly going to tackle down the line, and there are a few reasons why a Yoda clone might be a gamechanger for the Star Wars universe. We’ll get to those in just a second.
As the Still Watching podcast reminded me, Freddie Prinze Jr.’s rant on the beliefs of Dave Filoni and George Lucas made it clear that Star Wars is all about the concept of balance. Anakin Skywalker was born in 41 BBY which stands for “Before the Battle of Yavin,” the climactic confrontation at the end of A New Hope, and since this show is set nine years after the fall of the Empire read: the Battle of Yavin and Baby Yoda is actually 50 years old, that means Baby Yoda was born in the same year as Anakin.
Anakin was said to be The Chosen One, apparently born from the Force itself, but he was corrupted and went to the Dark Side, ultimately becoming one of the most fearsome people in the galaxy. Was his journey predetermined by the Force? Does the franchise’s overarching idea of balance indicate that this Yoda baby was born as a positive counter to Anakin’s eventual evil? Or was Anakin intended to be good all along and this creature was intended to be his negative counterbalance? Food for thought.
How exactly Baby Yoda’s appearance will affect the rest of The Mandalorian remains to be seen, hough I personally hope it results in at least one scene that serves as the Star Wars version of John Woo’s Hard Boiled finale, in which Chow Yun-Fat’s character blasts his way through baddies at a hospital with a baby in his arms.
But assuming Baby Yoda survives the events of this series, what’s the endgame here? Is there a chance an older version of that character shows up in The Rise of Skywalker? I’ve seen some speculation that Emperor Palpatine may be behind the bounty, potentially so Palpatine could somehow leave his old body and take over this new possibly Force-sensitive new one. It seems that a species with a long lifespan might interest the Emperor, who’s obsessed with the concept of immortality. And since Yoda was one of the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy, the Emperor could think that inhabiting a clone of him might be just what the doctor ordered.
Personally, I doubt that will happen. J.J. Abrams has talked about that movie serving as a conclusion to the entire Skywalker saga, and it would be strange to introduce this character so late in the game. Then again, Kevin Feige has said that audiences will need to watch the Disney+ Marvel shows in order to fully understand what’s happening in the Marvel movies going forward, so Disney clearly isn’t above implementing that cross-platform tactic. I can’t fathom how that character’s appearance in The Rise of Skywalker would be satisfying, but I also think including the Emperor in the new movie at all sounds like a terrible idea. Maybe Abrams and the Lucasfilm Story Group have cooked up a scenario in which all of these puzzle pieces fit perfectly, but I think they probably have enough on their plate without adding yet another character into the mix.
“The Mandalorian,” the first live-action “Star Wars” television series, made its long-awaited world premiere less than 48 hours ago but Disney is already keeping the door open for some kind of theatrical adaptation. The show is created by “Iron Man” and “The Lion King” filmmaker Jon Favreau and stars Pedro Pascal as a masked bounty hunter whose latest target upends his allegiance to his sinister employers. Carl Weathers, Werner Herzog, Gina Carano, and Giancarlo Esposito co-star. Considering its “Star Wars” roots, “The Mandalorian” is easily the biggest original to launch on Disney+ and Favreau is already developing a second season.
During Variety’s recent Business Managers Breakfast in Beverly Hills, Walt Disney Studios’ chief creative officer and co-chairman Alan Horn said “The Mandalorian” is already becoming a big deal with “Star Wars” fans and therefore some variation of a theatrical adaptation for the show is not entirely off the table. Horn suggested he’s even open to the show being re-edited into a theatrical presentation.
“'The Mandalorian' is already proving to be a big thing,” Horn told the audience, “so if that series proves to be so compelling that we reverse engineer it into a theatrical release, a two-hour film or whatever, O.K.”
While it may sound odd to figure out a way to turn existing “Mandalorian” episodes into a feature film, there’s already a precedent for doing this kind of thing in the “Star Wars” franchise. The 2008 animated movie “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” was created by tethering together four episodes of Dave Filoni’s animated series of the same name. The episodes were made for the TV series but reworked into a movie, which then served as an introduction into new episodes of “The Clone Wars” show.
Nearly all of the reviews for “The Mandalorian” mention the series’ jaw-dropping cinematic visuals, with many critics writing that the show would dazzle on the big screen. Filoni, who also created the animated show “Star Wars Rebels,” directed the pilot episode of “The Mandalorian.” Other installments are directed by the likes of Deborah Chow “Mr. Robot”, Rick Famuyiwa “Dope”, and Taika Waititi “Jojo Rabbit,” “Thor: Ragnarok”. Bryce Dallas Howard is also making her directorial debut by helming the series’ fourth episode.
IndieWire television critic Ben Travers was mostly a fan of “The Mandalorian” pilot episode, writing in his review, “In a way, it's quite satisfying to see a much-anticipated, heavily guarded pilot episode be executed with such efficiency. Characters are introduced with clarity. The story as told is simple and effective. Patterns are established in order to be consciously subverted, creating visceral surprises and substantial twists. By the time Jon Favreau wraps his first episode, the creator and writer has constructed a clear path forward and an enticing relationship worth watching unfold.”
The second episode of “The Mandalorian” debuts Friday, November 15. New episodes will continue to rollout each Friday through December.
Before writing the script for The Rise of Skywalker, J.J. Abrams met with George Lucas to discuss all things Star Wars, although maybe not George’s thoughts on The Force Awakens. “I feel that the story we told, the goal for this movie, the job was to end not just this trilogy… but to end nine films, three trilogies,” Abrams said about his and presumably Kathleen Kennedy’s sit-down with Lucas. “There have been a lot of ideas since the beginning, since George first came up with this, of where things could go. We had a meeting with him before we even wrote the script about [ The Rise of Skywalker].”
What did they discuss? Midi-chlorians, obviously, those not-at-all-controversial microscopic life forms that reside in all living cells, but especially Force-sensitive Jedis like Anakin. Lucas is apparently still obsessed with Midi-chlorians, which were introduced in The Phantom Menace, or to quote Abrams, “He loves his Midi-chlorians.”
“He had a lot of things to say about the nature of the Force, the themes that he was dealing with when he was writing the movies,” Abrams [told] Total Film. “Yes, there were some conversations about Midi-chlorians – he loves his Midi-chlorians. But it was a very helpful thing. Sitting with him is a treat, just to hear him talk, because it’s fucking George Lucas talking about Star Wars. I always feel it’s a gift to hear him talk about that stuff. Because the effect that he had on me at 10 years old is utterly profound.” Via
Abrams chatting with his role model, only for said role model to discuss freaking Midi-chlorians, is like if Bob Dylan agreed to meet his biggest fan… but they could only talk about Knocked Out Loaded. Respect. Anyway, you thought The Last Jedi inspired hot takes? Imagine if Midi-chlorians play an important plot point in The Rise of Skywalker.
The launch of Disney+ yesterday brought a plethora of content from The Walt Disney Company, including most of the movies from the Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe franchises. But there are still some titles from each franchise that aren’t available on Disney+ just yet. That’s because there’s still a holdover streaming deals that Disney has to run out with Netflix before they get the streaming rights back for themselves. The good news is we know when the remaining Star Wars titles and missing Marvel movies on Disney+ will be available.
One of the neat features of Disney+ so far though it’s also rather deceptive is that the library includes titles that aren’t yet available on Disney+. But if you seek them out, the date for their arrival on Disney+ is listed in the title’s profile. That’s how we know when the four Marvel movies and two Star Wars movies still stuck on Netflix will hit Disney’s streaming library. Here’s the schedule for those movies arriving on Disney+:
Thor: Ragnarok – December 5, 2019 Star Wars: The Last Jedi – December 26, 2019 Black Panther – March 4, 2020 Avengers: Infinity War – June 25, 2020 Solo: A Star Wars Story – July 9, 2020 Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 29, 2020
The good news is that there are plenty of other Marvel Studios movies that are currently available on Disney+. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame are all available now on Disney+. Unfortunately, we recently learned Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home likely won’t be available on the service at all.
On the Star Wars side, the only missing feature films are Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Other than that, pretty much every piece of Star Wars content from film and television will be available, with the exception of some more obscure installments like the Ewok movies Caravan of Courage and The Battle for Endor, as well as the Star Wars Holiday Special. We’re not sure any of those will ever end up on the streaming service.
Thankfully, Star Wars and Marvel content will only continue to grow as Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios have new shows coming exclusively to Disney+ in the coming years. That’s on top of all the movies they have in the works too. So stay tuned to see how that all shakes out.
Even though George Lucas sold Lucasfilm and all of the company’s properties to The Walt Disney Company back in 2012, the creator of Star Wars has still been very influential in the creation of new movies, TV shows and more. Not only have creators at Lucasfilm tried to emulate the spirit and style of what George Lucas created back in 1977, but Lucas himself has met with plenty of writers, directors and artists to talk more about the galaxy that came from his imagination. Therefore it should come as no surprise that J.J. Abrams talked to George Lucas about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but what might be somewhat surprising is that their discussion turned to Midi-chlorians, perhaps the most divisive element introduced in the prequel trilogy.
In the latest issue of Total Film via sister site Games Radar, The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams talked about this discussion with George Lucas while he was working on the ending of the Skywalker saga and this new trilogy. What did George have to say? Abrams explained:
“He had a lot of things to say about the nature of the Force, the themes that he was dealing with when he was writing the movies. Yes, there were some conversations about Midi-chlorians – he loves his Midi-chlorians. But it was a very helpful thing. Sitting with him is a treat, just to hear him talk, because it’s fucking George Lucas talking about Star Wars. I always feel it’s a gift to hear him talk about that stuff. Because the effect that he had on me at 10 years old is utterly profound.”
Does this mean Midi-chlorians will come up again in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? That seems unlikely. Midi-chlorians are one element of Star Wars that hasn’t really been mentioned much ever since Disney bought Lucasfilm. That’s largely because it’s been deemed one of the worst additions to Star Wars canon in the entire saga. It essentially dictates that a person must have something in their blood that makes them strong in the Force. That’s something the new trilogy has kept their distance from, and I doubt J.J. Abrams would suddenly start leaning into that, especially when he went out of his way to be more bold this time.
However, we don’t know much about Rey’s familial history beyond what Kylo Ren said to her in Star Wars: The Last Jedi., so we’re not sure if she’s someone who came to be in tune with the Force naturally, or if it’s something that has been inside her due to some kind of family legacy. If that’s the case, it just a matter of whether she’s part of the Skywalker bloodline, a descendant of Obi-Wan Kenobi, or maybe even Sheev Palpatine. Would that weaken the concept of anyone becoming a Jedi? We’re not sure, but maybe that’s something Lucas and Abrams discussed.
It would be interesting if the Force itself evolved over time and came to make itself present in all living things beyond Midi-chlorians. After the death of countless Jedi at the end of the prequel trilogy and the near-total eradication of Force sensitive beings as evidenced by the fact that people like Luke Skywalker are regarded as myth or legend when The Force Awakens begins. If evolution has taught us anything it’s that living things will do anything to survive when faced with the prospect of extinction. Perhaps the Force came back in a big way when the galaxy needed it the most. Darkness rises and light to meet it.
Much of the marketing behind the live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian has really been pushing the idea of this masked bounty hunter without a name. People around the galaxy refer to him as The Mandalorian or just Mando for short, but in an official interview promoting the arrival of the series on Disney+, the man under the helmet, Pedro Pascal, gives up the real name of the character without hesitation or concern.
The Mandalorian’s Real Name Revealed
Right around the 2:31 mark is when Pedro Pascal starts off a response to an off-camera prompt by giving away The Mandalorian’s real name. The only problem is since this is Star Wars, we’re not entirely sure how to spell it. Personally, I’m going with Dynn Zharren. But a couple others on the /Film staff went a different route with spelling the first name and also the first letter of the last name. Their guesses included Denn Jarin or Dinn Jarin. So my guess seems to be way out of left field.
If Pedro Pascal is giving up this information in an interview that seems like it was prepared for an electronic press kit, then perhaps the identity of The Mandalorian isn’t important. There could easily be continued flashbacks to the panicked moments that The Mandalorian is seen thinking about in the first episode which might be when Mandalore was under siege that could reveal his real name. If anything, this just goes to show you that the character won’t turn out to have blood ties to any characters we’ve met in other Star Wars shows or movies.
The Mandalorian probably has many more mysteries left to explore, but it would seem that the title character’s identity won’t be one of them. Right now, fans are probably most concerned with what that reveal from the end of the first episode means for the future of the series. We talked about that surprise at the end of the series premiere, as well as many more details from throughout the episode, in our /Film Daily podcast focused solely on the show. It’s a spoiler podcast though, so if you haven’t watched the first episode, make sure you hold off on listening until you have.
Another episode of The Mandalorian arrives on November 15, and the schedule for the release of the rest of the episodes can be found right here. We’ll be keeping up with each episode of the series so stay tuned.