The premiere of The Mandalorian, the first live-action Star Wars TV series, was a promising start to a new story in the franchise. The episode included some interesting surprises, which has my minds racing, so it’s time for some wild speculation as to what that might mean for the rest of the series.
The series is set nine years after the Battle of Yavin, and follows a lone Mandalorian warrior as he makes his way through the galaxy. There are some hints that the series will spell out a bit about the rise of the First Order. But there’s a reveal at the end that really made me sit up and go “huh?!”
Seriously, spoilers ahead.
The big reveal at the end of this first episode was the nature of the bounty that the show’s titular figure is sent off to retrieve: an infant alien, the same species as two figures that we’ve seen in the franchise before: Yoda and Yaddle.
Yaddle and Yoda’s species and homeworld have long been shrouded in mystery—all that we know is that they’re small, green, long-lived, and that out of their numbers have come one of the most powerful Jedi Masters known to the order.
Just where does this kiddo come from, and why does the Client and Dr. Pershing want it? Let’s speculate wildly.
First, let’s talk about how the Mandalorian got in this mess. He was sent over to the Client (Werner Herzog’s character), because he needs to make ends meet, and the current slate of bounties wasn’t cutting it.
We don’t know much about the Client—yet. He’s got some allegiance to the Empire: he’s wearing an Imperial symbol, and is surrounded by Remnant Stormtroopers, who the Star Wars Databank says are pretty much mercenaries. He’s aided by Doctor Pershing (played by Omid Abtahi), a scientist of some type.
Fans spotted something interesting about Pershing: he’s wearing a patch on his shoulder, one that looks very similar to what the clone trainees in Attack of the Clones wore in their training facilities on Kamino.
— MarvelSW (@NumidianPrime) November 13, 2019
According to the Attack of the Clones Visual Dictionary, it’s the symbol for the “Clone Army Project,” which had been ordered on behest of the Jedi Order by Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas. The Kaminoans are specialists in cloning technology, and developed a massive clone army for the Republic, based off of a Mandalorian bounty hunter named Jango Fett.
What exactly is Pershing’s specialty? The patch certainly points to some connection with the Clone Army or the Kaminoans. But what does that mean for the show, and why does he want the infant alien?
Clearly, Pershing and the Client’s interests aren’t quite aligned. He tells the Mandalorian that they have to retrieve their target alive; the Client is willing to accept proof of death for a lower fee, something that Pershing isn’t happy with, and tells him that it’s not what they agreed on, but acquiesces.
My thinking here is that the Client is one of the holdouts from the remnants of the Empire. The Empire has formally surrendered to the New Republic by this point in the timeline—that happened during Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath: Empire’s End, which is set 5 years after the Battle of Yavin; The Mandalorian is set 4 years after that. Some elements of this are present in the older Expanded Universe: after the Battle of Endor, a number of high-ranking officials scattered and settled down in various systems, using the ships and soldiers at their disposal to set up their own little fiefdoms around the galaxy. I wonder if the Client is interested in something similar here, and if Pershing, with his skillset, is helping him arm up—not with weapons, but potentially with clones.
Why he’s interested in the alien is unclear: the infant would have been born a decade prior to the events of The Phantom Menace, so I don’t think that there’s a direct connection to the Republic’s Clone Army. But the baby doesn’t seem to be 100% vital to the Client’s operations, making me think that Pershing believes that it’s vital in his line of work—and that the Client thinks that it’s important that nobody else get their hands on it.
Clearly, the baby is important in some way: it was off in an isolated planet in the back-end of the galaxy, and it had a ton of people on hand to protect it from harm. Given that we’ve seen two high-ranking Jedi Masters come out of the species, I wonder if various factions are looking to gain control of it with the hope that it’ll eventually develop some powers down the road that will give them a competitive advantage. But that’s serious, long-term thinking. It’s still an infant at 50 years old; it’s going to be a long time before it’s old enough to become useful to anyone.
Either way, hopefully, we’ll learn a bit more about the baby when the second episode of the series is released on Friday.