With rumors of plot details from Ahsoka and Skeleton Crew circulating, the first hints at The Mandalorian's major crossover event have been revealed.
Star Wars storytelling has generally followed a linear format, with the episodic films intended by George Lucas to be seen as one long movie. The timeline follows a singular continuity, and though the EU and canon have series of books sprinkled throughout different eras, they've largely been self-contained. It wasn't until the High Republic publishing initiative that Lucasfilm dipped its toes in the crossover waters, with adult novels, YA, comics, and more.
With Disney+ offering the chance to tell longer stories through streaming, The Mandalorian creators Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have taken the opportunity to build a live-action crossover storyline. The Book of Boba Fett showed the first steps of the process by devoting two episodes to Mando and Grogu, and The Mandalorian Season 3 is likely to continue the trend with Fett's plausible involvement.
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has spoken of a major culmination event that will see the various stories in the MandoVerse collide. As fans patiently await the return of The Mandalorian in March, heavy rumors from the sets of Ahsoka and Skeleton Crew point to details of the crossover on the horizon.
Ahsoka & Skeleton Crew Rumors Tease MandoVerse Event
Making Star Wars (MSW) reported that Skeleton Crew will be set in a new region of space known as "The New Beyond" or "New Space." This territory will first be explored in Ahsoka, where the titular character will find the missing Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn.
The premise for Skeleton Crew entails the exploits of a group of kids lost in space, apparently in "The New Beyond" realm. Along the way, they'll come into contact with Jude Law's lead character, as well as having an alleged run-in with Ahsoka.
MSW describes the audience as being as lost as the cast of Skeleton Crew, with the group traversing completely foreign ground in "a new universe" within the canon continuity.
Sources suggested that the plot of Skeleton Crew will have direct implications on the events of The Mandalorian Season 4 as Lucasfilm builds up to this anticipated crossover event. However, confirmation will have to wait until the latter begins production.
What to Expect From The Mandalorian's Big Crossover Event
It appears that beyond Thrawn's return, Star Wars fans know absolutely nothing about where The Mandalorian storyline is going. While a conflict between Din Djarin and Bo-Katan Kryze for the throne in Season 3 seems inevitable, the fight for control over Mandalore is beginning to seem trivial.
Kathleen Kennedy previously stated the new Star Wars films wouldn't be following the MCU formula of having phases, but it's starting to seem like the Mando narrative might. Moff Gideon is a capable enemy for Din and the Mandalorians, but his remnant is bound to lose when the various clans unite. If The Mandalorian Season 3 is about reclaiming Mandalore, it could spell Gideon's ultimate defeat - and it may not matter.
Beyond varying degrees of loyalty to the Empire, there's little that links Gideon and Thrawn. The former was a former ISB and has a strong interest in cloning with midichlorians, a connection to the brilliantly conceived return of the Emperor in The Rise of Skywalker. Thrawn has no dog in such a fight given his allegiance to the Chiss Ascendancy, and whatever he's discovered in "New Space" is likely far more significant.
In that sense, there's every chance that Season 3 is actually the culmination of "MandoVerse Phase 1," for lack of a better term. Gideon and the Imperial Remnant will be the foe defeated to conclude the phase and give hope to heroes, and Thrawn will enter as the next "big bad." Whatever Ahsoka and Sabine Wren uncover in "The New Beyond" during Ahsoka is likely to become a significant threat to the New Republic, ushering in "Phase 2" of the narrative.
Enter Skeleton Crew. A seemingly insignificant group of lost kids and an adult to supervise will be serving as the proxy for the audience as new territory is explored (an outside universe doesn't seem particularly likely). Luke Skywalker is bound to appear again at some point, and it could be due to the discoveries made by Ahsoka in "New Space."
The heroine reportedly meeting the Skeleton Crew indicates she remains in the region to investigate things, perhaps accompanied by Luke. Maybe Jude Law is playing Lor San Tekka, and this event is their initial meeting? The Mandalorian Season 4 and beyond should see the protagonists begin dealing with Thrawn, cutting off the second phase a few years from now.
Unlike Gideon, the Grand Admiral isn't disposable. He knows just as much, if not more than Ezra about the threats in "New Space" and could turn into an ally for the Mandalorians and New Republic forces. What Thrawn and Ezra discovered about the Force and those who lurk within "The New Beyond" after Rebels should build to the ultimate villain, requiring all hands on deck as "Phase 3" works towards the 2027 conclusion of the MandoVerse.
Ahsoka and Skeleton Crew debut in 2023 on Disney+.