For fans of that galaxy far, far away, Star Wars content in 2021 has been dominated by animation thanks to Lucasfilm's new series Star Wars: The Bad Batch and the non-canon anthology series Star Wars Visions.
Come December, that all changes as live-action Star Wars returns to Disney+ with The Book of Boba Fett. This is only the start, with Lucasfilm bringing other entries like Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen's Obi-Wan Kenobi, Rogue One-prequel Andor, and the third season of the Disney+ series that started it all - The Mandalorian.
After fan speculation that filming had begun on the third chapter of the bounty hunter's tale, Carl Weathers, who plays Greef Karga in the show, recently confirmed as much on social media.
Now, new photos from The Mandalorian's set have leaked online, offering a preview of just where Mando and his costars could appear in the upcoming season.
Set Photos From Season 3 of The Mandalorian
These photos taken within the last few weeks showcased the production's surprisingly extensive sets; and, according to Ward, "It’s like a maze of streets that look like that."
Another image shows a physical element from the set that evokes a familiar design aesthetic from the Star Wars Universe, particularly that of the original trilogy.
While it's hard to determine what exactly it is, Ward said that it is accessible from the maze of walls seen in the first photo and the one below. He theorized that it could be an elevator or landing platform.
The final photo shows what appears to be a view of a finished, exterior street with two doors or entryways.
Is The Mandalorian Headed for Mandalore?
Much like the original Star Wars trilogy, Season 1 of The Mandalorian wasn't just a pop culture phenomenon - it also revolutionized how films and shows are made.
The Mandalorian was the first to utilize The Volume technology, which consists of massive LED screens that move with a shot, allowing creators to adjust lighting, angles, effects, and even render, in-camera.
This tech - which is now being utilized by Marvel Studios for Thor: Love and Thunder and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania - has largely eliminated the need for on-location shoots. Still, just because Mando doesn't get out much doesn't mean he doesn't get out at all.
In Season 2 of the series, Mando's team-up with Boba Fett in "The Tragedy" was shot on-location; the same happened at times with both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor being filmed on location with extensive sets. These Season 3 photos only indicate that trend is continuing in a big way.
Now, while these photos appear to show an exterior city set, it's hard to determine just what city from the Star Wars Universe it is or if it's a brand-new location. However, the use of trees on the streets of the city is telling.
While Mando has visited a variety of planets with various climates and ecosystems in the show, a city with trees is new for the bounty hunter and confirms that this location probably isn't Nevarro but rather someplace new.
Also, it's worth noting that the style and color palette of the street in the third photo is different than the physical set element shown in the second, which evokes an Imperial style or even that of Echo Base or Tantive IV. Perhaps fans will see a city under occupation?
When fans last saw Mando in the finale of Season 2, Grogu left with Luke Skywalker and Mando was in possession of the Dark Saber. While it's hard to know where the series will take him next, the only sure bet is Mandalore due to his heritage, Bo-Katan's involvement, and the fact that he's now the rightful ruler.
Although considering the Empire occupied Mandalore and instituted the Great Purge, there's no way of knowing what state the planet is in at this point in the Star Wars timeline.
Could this set be Mandalore? It's something Star Wars fans would like to see since the planet has only been shown in animation at this point. Still, it's a big galaxy and Mandalore was a massive city.
However, there is a possibility that fans will see more of Mando and get a sense of his future direction in The Book of Boba Fett this December or possibly during Disney+ day on November 12.
Season 3 of The Mandalorian is expected to release on Disney+ in late 2022.