It's not a big stretch to say that The Mandalorian is saving Star Wars right now.
There are plenty of fans of the sequel trilogy - and for those who enjoyed the films, that's great - but the trio of films left such a bad taste in many people's mouths that they were ready to swear off Star Wars. The direction taken with the original heroes, the disjointed narrative, and the stripping of Anakin Skywalker's legacy were seen by many as major mistakes on the part of Lucasfilm, especially if the goal was to create something "for the fans," as George Lucas was told.
But from the shadows came The Mandalorian, the first live-action TV series in the franchise. Excitement was high given the Jon Favreau/Dave Filoni tag-team spearheading the shadow, despite vague marketing leaving fans in the dark on what to really expect in terms of story.
The instant Grogu was revealed in the series' pilot episode, the scope of the story changed dramatically. The mysterious little green bundle of joy and his bond with the titular Mando grabbed the hearts of fans immediately, and as the show has progressed, many have refound their love for Star Wars and invested themselves in a new adventure that looks to succeed where the films failed.
The Mandalorian Season 2 was massive, but as it turns out, it was just the first step into a much larger world. Several spin-off series were announced by Kathleen Kennedy in December, all of which will build towards a massive event, and there's more Mando on the way as well.
How big will the narrative be getting? Word in the local cantina is that The Mandalorian's overall storyline won't conclude until 2027, leaving a great deal of time between now and then for a slew of projects to build to an Endgame-esque finale.
Below is Part 1 of a breakdown of what the first five years of this story have brought, and can bring, to screens galaxy-wide, including bold predictions for previously announced projects and where these tales will leave the Star Wars faithful at the mid-way point of the evolving narrative.
THE MANDALORIAN (SEASON 1)
Before diving into where the storyline might be taking fans, it's imperative to look back at where everything started.
Omitted from all marketing material, the reveal of Baby Yoda in the pilot episode of The Mandalorian's first season was stunning. It took Mando just about as long as it took audiences to forge a connection with the mysterious little creature. After deciding that he couldn't leave the Child to be used as a lab experiment for the Imperial Remnant, Din Djarin spent much of the season on the run, his charge in tow, while taking bounty hunting gigs to make ends meet.
Greef Karga presented Mando with a deceptive opportunity to shake the Empire off his tail forever, but his intentions to betray the titular character changed when he was healed by the Child's Force powers. With the help of Cara Dune, Karga, IG-11, and Kuiil, Mando was able to take out the Imperial presence on Nevarro and defeat Moff Gideon, albeit temporarily.
As the show's hero embarked on a new journey to bring the Child back to the Jedi, the season's ending revealed Gideon was in possession of Mandalore's greatest relic - the Darksaber.
THE MANDALORIAN (SEASON 2)
Following the first season's riveting conclusion, The Mandalorian Season 2 opened with a bang.
Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni promised the sophomore season would expand Mando's world significantly, and "Chapter 9" did so immediately by bringing Cobb Vanth from page to screen and reintroducing Boba Fett. Part of Mando's quest to find the Jedi entailed convincing fellow Mandalorians to aid him, and that came in the form of an unexpected rescue by Bo-Katan Kryze, on the hunt for the Darksaber herself.
Bo-Katan's appearance was just the beginning of Clone Wars live-action debuts, as Din Djarin was directed to Ahsoka Tano - who was on a mission of her own, seeking out Grand Admiral Thrawn. Through Ahsoka, audiences learned the Child's name is Grogu and were treated to details about his past, and the former Jedi directed Din and his kid to Tython for the chance to reach out to a member of the Order.
Grogu did connect with the Force, but Mando connected with Boba Fett and Fennec Shand, who helped him fend off stormtroopers while Moff Gideon's Darktroopers abducted the Child and had the Razor Crest destroyed. Djarin focused his efforts on rescuing Grogu, even going so far as to remove his helmet to find Gideon's ship, and rescue effort was mounted. Mando bested Gideon in combat and earned the Darksaber, but the heroics of Luke Skywalker were what allowed the heroes to prevail.
After Din and Grogu said a tearful goodbye, Fett and Shand took over Jabba's Palace on Tatooine - setting up the next chapter in the MandoVerse narrative.
THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT (SEASON 1)
Now, a dive into the future.
There were rumors of a Boba Fett Disney+ series well before The Book of Boba Fett was announced in The Mandalorian Season 2's post-credits scene, but evidence suggests that instead of a mini-series, Star Wars fans are in for an extended show.
It's been said that Season 1 will effectively serve as The Mandalorian Season 2.5, with the events presumably leading directly into Mando's third season. But don't take this the wrong way; while The Book of Boba Fett's first season will tie in with The Mandalorian, it will be telling its own story as well.
What might the iconic bounty hunter's journey entail now that he's seemingly set up shop as a crime lord? For one, we can expect to see what happened to Boba Fett after the events of the original trilogy, which will likely be the warrior's driving motivator throughout the duration of the MandoVerse. Much like The Mandalorian, there's a good chance that Fett's background will be explored through various flashbacks.
Season 1 is said to feature several familiar faces from The Mandalorian, and even Din Djarin himself. Bossk is also rumored to be dropping in, and don't count the other bounty hunters from Empire out either. Given his shocking return in The Bad Batch, Cad Bane seems primed for a live-action debut himself - perhaps one that will see him and Boba at odds once more. Fett and Fennec Shand will certainly be getting their own slice of the action, but with the characters attached to this project, something bigger is going on than simply starting up a criminal enterprise. What might that be?
Perhaps revenge? Boba Fett has taken a beating throughout his life, despite being one of the most feared bounty hunters. While Marvel's War of the Bounty Hunters comic run is just getting started, Fett's already lost Han Solo to Qi'ra and Crimson Dawn - someone who will undoubtedly be making it out of the series alive. Qi'ra was the beginning of Fett's problems with Solo, a person he vowed would be killed for the trouble, and it will be time for him to settle the score.
The Boba Fett seen in The Mandalorian was a man done putting up with other people's baggage, and The Book of Boba Fett will likely be a war of bounty hunters in and of itself. With his obligation to Mando fulfilled, nothing is stopping Fett from unleashing his full wrath on his foes, and Crimson Dawn has been set on a silver platter to be the antagonistic group in the show.
THE MANDALORIAN (SEASON 3)
As promised by Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian Season 3 is next on the menu after The Book of Boba Fett wraps (and it has). While there are reports that Season 3 has been in production for quite some time, Pedro Pascal has claimed otherwise, and the going rumor is that Obi-Wan Kenobi is demanding the team's attention.
There is evidence to the contrary, however. Corey Van Dyke has a pretty solid track record, and he's insistent that Season 3 has already begun filming. It took about a year for The Mandalorian Season 2 to be completed from production start to release, and if Season 3 is currently underway, then a Spring 2022 release is conceivable.
The Mandalorian Season 3 will pick up where The Book of Boba Fett's first season leaves off, and Din Djarin's appearance in the latter series will of course be what determines the plot. If Mando is asked by Boba Fett to assist in taking on Crimson Dawn for significant pay, the character will have entry into that larger story while still having things of his own to deal with.
Some have argued that Mando doesn't need another season, but his arc is far from complete. Din completed his mission, but he's lost his kid, he's lost his ship, he's lost his people, and he's broken his creed. There's significant room for growth for the character, and there's a great deal of conflict that can come into play, both internal and external. The one thing Mando walked away from the Season 2 finale with was the Darksaber, and that puts a major target on his back.
Especially in the eyes of Bo-Katan. While the leader of the Nite Owls may have aided the titular hero in Season 2, she was driven by very selfish reasons, and Din unwittingly hindered her from accomplishing her main goal. Kryze's ultimate goal is to reclaim the Darksaber and restore Mandalore, something that can't happen if Mando is in possession of the weapon - despite not wanting it. With this in mind, Bo-Katan may very well end up being Din Djarin's biggest adversary in Season 3.
Season 3 doesn't necessarily have to start a month or two after the second. There could be a time jump, something around a year or even longer. Moff Gideon is in New Republic custody, but that likely won't be the case for very long. For all we know, Crimson Dawn may even spring him from prison, further solidifying themselves as an enemy for multiple shows to deal with.
Most importantly, there's the matter of Grogu. At its core, The Mandalorian is about the bond forged between Din Djarin and Grogu, and the show as it is currently fundamentally doesn't work without the young 50-year-old. There will come a point where the two cross paths again, and that should happen as soon as Season 3. This would of course bring Luke Skywalker back into the fold, and at this point, Grogu probably won't be done with his training. But a threat will have to arise that brings the legendary Jedi and his young student back into Mando's life.
When it was reported that Rosario Dawson would be appearing in The Mandalorian Season 2 as Ahsoka Tano, it was widely understood that the live-action debut would serve as a backdoor into the character's own series. Ahsoka was officially announced by Kathleen Kennedy in December, and it's being written by none other than Dave Filoni. Once production has wrapped on The Mandalorian Season 3, Filoni will have the opportunity to get cameras rolling for the series and have it done by Fall 2022.
For months, there were rumors of an animated sequel to Star Wars Rebels that would follow Ahsoka and Sabine Wren's search for Ezra Bridger after the aforementioned series' epilogue. While that story is still being told, it appears that the animated version was scrapped and replaced by Ahsoka. Filoni said he was in the midst of writing the limited series a while back, and the rumor is that the scripts for the animated show are being re-purposed for Ahsoka.
The plot for Ahsoka is fairly clear. Her mission in The Mandalorian was to discover Grand Admiral Thrawn's location from the Magistrate, which she presumably succeeded in doing. With that goal accomplished, she can now embark on her journey with Sabine Wren to find their lost friend, Ezra Bridger, as well as the Chiss adversary. The Rebels epilogue was believed to have taken place shortly after Return of the Jedi, but with Ahsoka's mission in The Mandalorian in mind, the meeting between her and Sabine may actually be the beginning of Ahsoka.
It's been reported that Mena Massoud has already been cast as Ezra, and casting is surely underway for a live-action Thrawn - if the role hasn't already been given to Lars Mikkelsen, which seems most appropriate. Finding someone to play Sabine Wren is surely in the works as well, as well as any other new or familiar faces that could make an appearance in the series (they've already got one down in Temuera Morrison who can play Captain Rex).
The bulk of the series is going to be a personal journey for Ahsoka. Knowing Filoni, fans can expect deep stuff when it comes to Force lore, including more background on the World Between Worlds, if the logo is anything to go by. Ahsoka's greatest struggle is the guilt over leaving her master Anakin Skywalker, who nearly killed her as Darth Vader in Rebels on Malachor.
Ahsoka provides the golden opportunity for the titular character to make peace with her master, who himself has turned back to the light and lives on as one with the Force. With Hayden Christensen back in the mix for Obi-Wan Kenobi, it would be criminal to omit Anakin's Force ghost from Ahsoka - a connection between the two seems inevitable. Ahsoka may even encounter Luke and Grogu, where she'll have the opportunity to meet her mentor's son and see how he's carrying on his father's Jedi legacy.
The series will inevitably conclude with Ahsoka and Sabine finding Ezra and Thrawn, but there's likely to be a twist. Thrawn served the Empire and did brutal things in Rebels as a military leader, but he was never exactly a villain - more an antagonist. With years of time spent together since Rebels, Ezra and Thrawn may have formed an alliance, with the former agreeing to help the latter in defeating the Grysks - a major threat to the Chiss in the latest Thrawn trilogy of novels. With a bond forged between the two, Ahsoka and Sabine will find themselves aiding the men in taking down what could be the biggest threat to both the Chiss and the New Republic.
THE MANDALORIAN (DISNEY+ FILM)
Here's where things start to get a little weird, and this may be a reach. But there are just enough dots that a connection might be made.
Does anyone remember when the trades reported that J.D. Dillard would be directing a Star Wars film, way back in the day? The word dropped in the pre-COVID era, and the only additional information given was that Disney was undecided on the film being set for theatrical or Disney+ release. Since those initial reports, there's been no word on the project, and it was never technically confirmed by Lucasfilm or Disney in any official capacity either. But that doesn't necessarily mean the project is nonexistent.
Along with the report that the MandoVerse would run through 2027, Kessel Run Transmissions also noted that there would be films involved. While giving an update on the status of The Mandalorian Season 3's production, Cinelinx's Jordan Maison cryptically hinted that something else may be going on with the shoot. Taken separately, this means nothing. But if these rumors are paired together, the possibility arises for a film of some kind to currently be in production.
It's about time for an event film in the narrative, and perhaps Lucasfilm and Disney tapped Dillard to helm one set in the MandoVerse - one that would debut exclusively on Disney+. If the production is concurrent with or somehow tied to that of The Mandalorian Season 3, then the film won't quite have the scope of a theatrical release but could stay play a critical role in the overall storyline.
As far as the potential plot goes, the film would bring everything that's currently happened together and set up the next phase of projects. If the Grysks do end being the ultimate threat in the narrative, this may be the first time that fans are introduced to the influence the species has on events transpiring in the New Republic.
Ahsoka would return from her quest with Ezra and Thrawn in tow, and she would reunite with Din Djarin in an effort to persuade the Mandalorians to join the Chiss' effort in their struggle against the Grysks. The group will need more than warriors, and Boba Fett is just the man to go for aid from the scum and villainy of the criminal underworld. With a team assembled, it will be time to get in contact with the New Republic and prepare for a showdown against the ultimate threat.
RANGERS OF THE NEW REPUBLIC (SEASON 1)
With news of Dave Filoni's big promotion came word that Rangers of the New Republic is currently not in development.
However, there are so many shows in various stages of production by Lucasfilm that something was going to have to be put on the back burner regardless, and Filoni and Favreau can only juggle so many projects at once. Rangers may not be in active development, but that doesn't mean it's canceled.
Hypothetically, Rangers of the New Republic would serve as the beginning of the MandoVerse's "second phase," and with a handful of projects to complete in the first, Rangers doesn't need to be in full-blown preproduction at this point. Any Star Wars fan not living on an asteroid is undoubtedly aware of the situation regarding Gina Carano and her firing by Lucasfilm, which at the moment spells the end for Cara Dune's days in The Mandalorian's narrative.
For some time, the going rumor was that a spin-off series starring Cara and Bo-Katan was in development, which may have been Rangers. With Carano currently gone, there's little chance Dune will be involved in the show now, barring a major change of heart by Lucasfilm and Disney's top executives. The character also reportedly won't be recast, so Mando's biggest contact in the New Republic is off the table.
But the loss of Cara Dune has opened the door for another previously animated character to make her live-action debut: Hera Syndulla. Hera obviously has a huge bond with the crew from Rebels and would serve as a natural lead role, and given her status as a general in the New Republic, she'll have even more sway within the hierarchy than Cara could've.
Rangers was never singled out as a limited series like many others have been, leaving the show being a multi-season project as a natural conclusion. With this in mind, Season 1 would pick up right where Dillard's potential film would end, depicting the heroes of the previous shows getting into contact with Hera and asking for help in ridding the galaxy of the Grysks.
A Rebels reunion would be perfect for this scenario, effectively getting the crew back together, excluding Kanan (sorry, pal). Whether Bo-Katan will be a star of the series remains to be seen, as she doesn't have any prior interactions with Hera like she did with Cara Dune. However, if she is one of the leads, one can assume that her efforts to reclaim Mandalore's throne have been thwarted, at least temporarily, and the last member of Clan Kryze will have to put the greater good above her selfish ambitions - unless the New Republic agrees to help restore Mandalore in exchange for her services.
What adds another layer to Rangers is the Imperial Remnant. By this point, Moff Gideon is probably out of custody and back to his machinations, something that the heroes of the New Republic will be looking to deal with. Even more interesting will be how things go with Thrawn, who himself was formerly an Imperial Grand Admiral. While his loyalty to the Empire is surely gone by now, it won't be easy to buy the New Republic's trust, and Hera's in particular.
Season 1 might be all about forging alliances. The potential deal between the Republic and Mandalore has already been addressed, and it may take a full season for the galaxy's new government to come around to the Chiss. Luke Skywalker could appear again to help bring people together, and Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Lando Calrissian shouldn't be counted out either. By season's end, the last major thing for the New Republic to deal with will be the underworld.
THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT (SEASON 2)
Speaking of the underworld, it's time to catch up with Boba Fett.
As has been previously established, there's sufficient evidence to indicate that The Book of Boba Fett will be covering multiple seasons. There's no way that the conflict between Fett's crime syndicate and Qi'ra's Crimson Dawn can be brought to a satisfactory conclusion in Season 1; the two of them are in it for the long haul.
Fett was notably omitted from the prediction for Rangers of the New Republic's first season, and with good reason. At the moment, the notorious bounty hunter is off the New Republic's radar, and if anything he's scored some brownie points with the government for aiding in the capture of Moff Gideon. Mando has good relations with Fett and may very well be the one to call on him and his syndicate for assistance in the coming conflict against the Grysks and what remains of the Imperial Remnant.
While an agreement may be reached between the two bounty hunters, it will be much more difficult to sell the heroes of the Rebellion on bringing Fett into the fold. If anything, Han, Leia, and Lando would be prepared to fire off blaster shots at first sight of the man who gave them so much hell, and Boba himself may not be interested in working with the folks who knocked him into the Sarlaac and wasted several years of his life.
But Boba Fett does have a code of honor, and if there's a common enemy involved then the parties could reach an understanding. While the threats to the galaxy at large will remain a concern, what might unite everyone is the desire to take down Qi'ra and Crimson Dawn. If Han Solo were to appear, he won't be feeling lovey-dovey about his old flame, and Fett's primary objective is likely to eliminate her. While it's a stretch, the two enemies could even act as partners to take Qi'ra down.
Should he survive Season 1, Cad Bane will likely serve as Fett's ultimate physical challenge in the second season. The Bad Batch has all but confirmed that the showdown between the two during The Clone Wars did transpire, and Bane will have a score to settle for the shot to his head. What better way to stick it to his rival than working as Lady Qi'ra's personal bounty hunter? The femme fatale knows how to play mind games with her opponents, and Bane will prove to be a fitting rival for Fett and Fennec in more ways than one.
But this will probably be his last rodeo. A live-action recreation of the showdown between Fett and Bane is inevitable at this point, and the Duros is going to come up short. It's a fair bet that Fett is such a superior warrior, he may not even take a hit when it comes time to bring down his old nemesis. In offing Cad Bane, Fett will have stripped Qi'ra of one of her most vital resources in the battle between the crime syndicates, and it will be time for her to lick her wounds and regroup.
There's one other factor that may come into play, but she's somewhat disjointed from the underworld conflict: Omega. It was recently revealed that the female clone is a (mostly) unaltered variant of Jango Fett, making her a direct sister of Boba. With the two being clones and Grogu being the subject of cloning experiments under Moff Gideon, expect Omega to appear in Season 2 at some point and carry forward that part of the story if she isn't already a player in the first. Just think - it would be pretty neat to see Boba Fett's sister rocking his prototype white armor first introduced in the late '70s.
Even if he were skeptical, there are more reasons for Boba Fett to align with the new galactic government than there are to resist. With Crimson Dawn temporarily going under to plot their next move, Fett will ultimately agree to assist the New Republic and their allies in the battles to come, adding the last piece to the puzzle for an event story.
ROGUE SQUADRON (THEATRICAL FILM)
With all the pieces finally in place, it's time for the MandoVerse's first major theatrical film.
It was announced in December that the next movie to hit the silver screen would be Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, a fighter pilot story directed by Patty Jenkins. During the reveal, Kathleen Kennedy stated that the film would "move the saga into the future era of the galaxy." While many assumed that meant Rogue Squadron's events will be transpiring after The Rise of Skywalker, there's a reasonable alternative at play.
Kennedy never said when specifically the future era would be. It's fair to guess that she meant post-Episode IX, and it's highly likely fans who believe so might be right. But the Disney Investor's Day event taught us not to the Lucasfilm president's words at face value. Kennedy also mentioned that "the next chapter" of The Mandalorian was currently in production, but that chapter of the story was actually The Book of Boba Fett, as Jon Favreau pointed out.
This is all to say that wording is key here, and Kennedy's announcement was deliberately vague. That, coupled with the fact that the X-Wing in the film's logo is the T-65 variant seen in the original trilogy era, hints that the future doesn't have to be after all known events.
Should this theory prove true, what would the story entail?
Clearly, the primary emphasis will be the fighter pilots who compose "Rogue Squadron," with influences from the books and games of the same name. That doesn't seem like something that would have much of a tie to The Mandalorian, but there have been several instances in which New Republic pilots arrive on the scene in the series' first two seasons. That may not be a coincidence.
Dave Filoni obviously won't be headlining the film with the lead role. But the New Republic's navy has been established as a notable presence, and that's something that a certain Twi'lek general would be overseeing. With Hera involved in Rangers of the New Republic and helping in leading the charge against the rising Grysk threat, a special mission for her best pilots would be in order.
The film could begin with Rogue Squadron embarking upon a seemingly routine check, perhaps investigating a lead that Boba Fett has on the galaxy's major foe. From there, the story becomes a rollicking adventure of space and speed, and maybe some timely cameos from friends like Mando will help save the day.
Rogue Squadron isn't a massive event film. It's not an Avengers team-up, with all the forces of good coming together to defeat extinction.
It's going to be a stepping stone, something that brings new characters into the MandoVerse, establishes a smaller storyline that fits as a piece to the bigger puzzle and sets up the major stories to come.
THIS IS THE WAY
The MandoVerse is just beginning, but there's so much potential for an epic storyline that could reshape Star Wars forever.
Lesser storytellers would struggle to deliver such an ambitious narrative, but with Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni at the helm, the future of the franchise has never looked so bright. The Mandalorian has been an enormous success and was even before the fan-favorites entered the fray in Season 2. With series dedicated to familiar faces in addition to the continuation of our new friends' journeys, there's a lot to be excited about.
The predictions presented are bold, and while some seem logical or even inevitable, others could be egregiously off-base. For all we know, the Grysks might not appear at all in the narrative. Thrawn may indeed end up being the ultimate villain, and things could be building up to another Heir to the Empire storyline. But that doesn't seem likely; there's something much bigger at play here.
With MandoVerse running through 2027, there are so many projects to come, and it's impossible to nail all of them. However, with each passing week fans seem to learn something new, be it from The Bad Batch, comics, or a report, and there's a trail of breadcrumbs that can be followed.
The Mandalorian's first two seasons alone have brought so much to the table story-wise, and the next two years will solidify the path started off as a small journey following the escapades of a warrior and a baby. The projects to follow promise to be even bigger than the ones listed above.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the MandoVerse predictions, which will see the return of hunters, Jedi Masters, and the ultimate war to prevent galactic takeover!