The Mandalorian Season 3's production is nearing its completion, giving way to several months of intense work in post. While there won't be a breather for Dave Filoni, who will be overseeing Ahsoka's shoot that begins next month, the directors for Mando's latest adventures will have the chance to settle back and watch as the wizards at Lucasfilm work to carry the season to the finish line.
With an expected release in late 2022, there's significant work to be done to have Season 3 completed in time. Narratively, showrunner Jon Favreau got to work with an open slate, as The Book of Boba Fett culminated with the reunion of Din Djarin and Grogu before the pair embarked on their next journey. Boba Fett served as something of a midway point for The Mandalorian Seasons 2 and 3, laying the groundwork for the evolution of the MandoVerse's two main characters.
Grogu bailed on Luke Skywalker's Jedi Academy, at least for the time being, but his exploration of the Force has only just begun. The little green guy also has obligations to fulfill as a Mandalorian foundling, a role he's willingly taken on now that his choice to accept Mando's chain mail led him back to his father figure. A recent rumor suggested that Grogu will receive a massive armor upgrade in Season 3, making him more of a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.
As for Mando, the warrior will have to learn to become a leader. The former lone wolf is now in possession of the Darksaber, and Boba Fett made it clear he's struggling to wield it. Over the course of Season 3, that will likely change, and his abilities combined with a heart of gold will win over many Mandalorians who wish to restore their homeworld. Force knows he'll need them, as a new round of leaks points to some powerful adversaries on the horizon.
New Troops and Snoke's Praetorian Guards in Season 3
Three pictures leaked on 4chan via Reddit come directly from the set of The Mandalorian Season 3. As seen in the tweet below, the images reveal a new trooper helmet, some kind of pod, and an Imperial set:
Leaked images from the set of #TheMandalorian Season 3! (@MakingStarWars) pic.twitter.com/tXRugUiVtQ
Making Star Wars has corroborated the legitimacy of the leaked photos and provided more details regarding the antagonists in Season 3.
The outlet shared that recent filming captured a fight between Din Djarin and the new red troopers. Also involved in the conflict are the Praetorian Guards previously seen in The Last Jedi, who are aboard the Imperial set intended to be part of a ship.
The new soldiers are red stormtroopers, though their helmets bear a resemblance to Mandalorian armor. MSW suggests that this sequence is tied to the cloning storyline that's been alluded to, which may involve Supreme Leader Snoke.
Mando is Screwed
New stormtroopers? The Praetorian Guards? Supreme Leader Snoke?
The Mandalorian Season 3 appears to be taking a massive leap forward, and it doesn't spell good news for the titular hero. Din has handled the regular stormtroopers, various bounty hunters, and Moff Gideon well, but one dark trooper give him a run for his money. The soldiers rumored to be joining the fray are elite, and if Snoke himself is involved then Mando escaping with his life will be enough of a victory.
The first order of business is identifying the new troopers. From what can be derived in the photo, the red helmet is certainly inspired by those worn by Mandalorians, and they have a strong resemblance to the look of the Imperial Super Commandos. Introduced in Star Wars Rebels, the Super Commandos were Mandalorian soldiers loyal to the Empire, serving under Gar Saxon prior to his defeat and Mandalore's eventual destruction during the Night of a Thousand Tears.
Presumably, the red stormtroopers mentioned in the leak are actually an updated take on these Super Commandos. All indicators point to Season 3 bringing Din back to Mandalore, which will inevitably pit him against forces of the Imperial Remnant. Evidently, there are still Mandalorians who believe in the Empire, despite the government's complete massacre of their world.
Mando can handle the Commandos. However, things get hairy with the Praetorian Guards.
While Kylo Ren and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Rey, made them look like chumps in The Last Jedi, those two were powerful Force-wielders. Din has no such abilities, and the Darksaber will only get him so far. He'll certainly have refined his skills with the blade by the time this battle comes, but there's only so much he can do against eight warriors of the Praetorian's caliber.
The Praetorian Guards are bound by their duty to protect Snoke. Obviously, they failed spectacularly in doing so when Ren deceived and killed his master in Episode VIII, but the events of Season 3 take place 25 years before that. It stands to reason that the guards are around because Snoke is, too. A failed Snoke clone was shown in "Chapter 12" from Season 2, which appears to have directly set the stage for his appearance in the next wave of episodes.
How Snoke will factor into the story will be interesting to discover. Unfortunately, the unceremonious death and reveal that he was actually a puppet for Palpatine takes away from the Supreme Leader's agency, but the character himself appears to believe he's the real deal. Previous theories speculated that Grogu's DNA was being gathered by Moff Gideon to help create Snoke, but that task may have already been completed during the Marvel Comics thanks to Luke Skywalker's severed hand.
Before Season 1 even aired, executive producer Jon Favreau confirmed that The Mandalorian would dig into the origins of the First Order. That hasn't really happened to this point, but the inclusion of Snoke and the Praetorian Guards would change everything. It's likely that Gideon is serving Snoke, and in time many of the galaxy's key players will be aware. How Snoke gets away with everything until The Force Awakens remains to be seen, but his reign of terror appears to be starting with Mandalore.
The Mandalorian Season 3 will debut on Disney+ in late 2022.