Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Release date, plot and possible spoilers

Who needs Jedi?

Producer Jon Favreau revealed last month that the long-awaited live-action Star Wars series will be called The Mandalorian. It’s a name with deep roots in the franchise’s history and linked to the insanely cool armor worn by bounty hunter Boba Fett.

It’s one of three shows set in a galaxy far, far away coming to the Disney+ streaming service, which arrives in 2019. The company announced over the summer the seventh season of The Clone Wars. And last week, it announced a Rogue One prequel series focusing on rebel spy Cassian Andor.

We don’t have a release date for The Mandalorian yet, but it’s likely to be the streaming service’s biggest draw (even if it’s 20 years too late for some of us). We’ll keep this guide updated with all the juicy details for you to gobble up like a hungry Sarlacc. We’ll give you a sense of where the show might go and suggest other viewing that’ll prepare you and sate that appetite in the meantime.

Boba Fett wears Mandalorian armor, but isn’t a true Mandalorian.


Lucasfilm

What we know so far

Lucasfilm has steadily drip-fed information about the show since March when actor/director Jon Favreau was announced as its writer and executive producer. It’s not his first Star Wars rodeo. He voiced Pre Vizsla — the violent leader of a Mandalorian splinter group — in The Clone Wars and played pilot Rio Durant in Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Over the summer, Favreau revealed that the show will be set seven years after Return of the Jedi (so six years after the Empire’s final defeat at the Battle of Jakku and 23 years before The Force Awakens) and will focus on all-new characters. We also have a New York Times report that its 10 episodes will enjoy a $100 million budget, which was the rumored cost of Westworld’s first season.

Favreau announced the show’s name in early October, with an Instagram post giving us the synopsis in a Star Wars-style crawl:

“After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic….”

With that reveal came a list of directors for some of the episodes:

Favreau, Filoni, Colin Wilson and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy will be the series’ executive producers. Karen Gilchrist will be co-executive producer.

Since announcing the show’s name, Favreau dropped a few hints and updates on Instagram. He revealed a rifle that’ll be familiar to fans of the infamously bad Star Wars Holiday Special where Boba Fett made his first appearance in 1978.

Favreau also shared a photo of a prop that looks a whole lot like that ice cream maker-like can carried by cult Empire Strikes Back character Willrow Hood — perhaps an effort to highlight the show’s attention to classic Star Wars detail.

The show has attracted the attention of Star Wars creator George Lucas, who visited the set for Favreau’s 52nd birthday on Oct. 19. The pair also posed with Filoni, who developed The Clone Wars with Lucas.

We found out last week that The Mandalorian will be among the first projects for ILM TV, the newly announced TV division of Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic visual effects company. It’ll be run from a new studio in London.

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Pedro Pascal may play the show’s lead role.


Gabriel Maseda/NurPhoto via Techhnews

Our first hint of casting news came Nov. 13, when Variety reported that Pedro Pascal (best known for playing Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones) is in negotiations to play the lead role.

Of course, that leaves us wondering who’s playing the armored character in the initial promotional shot.

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Gina Carano has reportedly joined the show, but we don’t know who she’ll play.


Dominique Charriau/WireImage via Techhnews

We got another hint of casting news on Nov. 14, this time from the Hollywood Reporter, which shared that former MMA fighter and Deadpool actress Gina Carano had scored an unknown role.

On Nov. 30, THR reported that Down and Out in Beverly Hills actor Nick Nolte had also joined the cast.

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We might be seeing Nick Nolte in the show.


Michael Tran/FilmMagic via Getty

Lucasfilm didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the casting reports.

What’s a Mandalorian?

They’re humans from the Outer Rim world of Mandalore, its moon Concordia and the planet Kalevala, whose story was largely told in The Clone Wars and Rebels.

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Jango Fett claimed to be from the Mandalorian world of Concord Dawn.


Dark Horse Comics/Lucasfilm

Their world went through major political upheaval during the Clone Wars and early days of the Galactic Empire’s rule, but many of the clans united under the rule of Bo-Katan Kryze after she took control of the Darksaber. The black-bladed weapon was created more than 1,000 years earlier by Tarre Vizsla (the first Mandalorian to join the Jedi Order) and became a symbol of leadership.

You probably associate bounty hunters Boba Fett and Jango Fett with the term because they wear the cool armor, but they aren’t true Mandalorians. Jango once claimed to be from Concord Dawn, a Mandalorian world, but the government considered him (and by extension, his cloned son Boba) to be pretenders.

Who could be wearing the armor in this new show?

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One of the side stories in the Aftermath trilogy could hint at the identity of a character in the show.


Penguin Random House

Fans have been clamoring for Boba’s return to the Star Wars galaxy despite his fall into the maw of a hungry Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi, but there’s been no indication that will happen. Kennedy recently confirmed that his much-rumored solo movie is “100 percent dead,” but that could pave the way for his dramatic return in The Mandalorian.

Fans of the Legends material (developed in novels, comics and games prior to 2014) will recall that Boba escaped the Sarlacc in that continuity and went on to become the leader of Mandalore in a very different post-Return of the Jedi galaxy.

In Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy of novels, Mandalorian armor that’s heavily implied to be Boba’s is recovered from the pit and worn by former slave Cobb Vanth. Using the armor as a symbol of power, he becomes sheriff of Freetown (a settlement on Tatooine) and offers sanctuary to anyone willing to battle the world’s crime syndicates.

The character we’ve seen could be Cobb — the area in the first official Mandalorian photo certainly looks like it could be Tatooine — but his armor is much better shape than Boba’s would be; the helmet should be dented and the whole set should show signs of acid damage from its time in the Sarlacc. He could’ve cleaned it up, but surely acid marks don’t come out that easily.

What characters are likely to appear?

We’ve had no casting news beyond the report about Pascal. We probably won’t see any major characters from the movies, since the actors who play the main human characters aren’t the right ages and they most won’t be explored in-depth until after Episode IX is released on Dec. 20, 2019.

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However, we might see characters from the CGI animated series. Sabine Wren from Rebels is a Mandalorian. That show was set before A New Hope, but it ended with a flashforward to point after Return of Jedi. We saw Sabine embarking on a quest with former Jedi Ahsoka Tano to find the lost Ezra Bridger.

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Sabine Wren (seen wielding the Darksaber) could appear in the show.


Lucasfilm

That’s highly speculative, but it’d be amazing to see Sabine (and maybe Ahsoka) in live action for the first time. It’s unlikely to be the show’s main narrative thrust since it’d demand that viewers have a certain level of foreknowledge prior to starting The Mandalorian.

What other stories could they draw from?

Star Wars 1313 was a video game that got shelved when Disney shut down all projects at LucasArts — Lucasfilm’s game development group — in 2013. We saw an impressive demo for Uncharted-style adventure before that, featuring actor Wilson Bethel (who recently hit the target in Daredevil season 3).

It would’ve seen players exploring the bowels of the city planet Coruscant — the title was a reference to its grimy underworld Level 1313 (which later appeared in The Clone Wars)

After it was canceled, we found out that Boba Fett was going to be the star and that Kennedy later agreed the concept art was “unbelievable.”

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“So our attitude is, we don’t want to throw any of that stuff away. It’s gold,” she told Slashfilm in 2015. “And it’s something we’re spending a lot of time looking at, pouring through, discussing, and we may very well develop those things further. We definitely want to.”

In that same interview, Kennedy noted that Lucasfilm read through the material Lucas developed for canceled TV show Star Wars: Underworld, which was announced in 2005 and canned in 2010 due to budget constraints. It was to be set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope and would have tied into 1313.

This story first published on Nov. 14 and will be updated frequently. 

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