Star Wars Brings Back Taika Waititi for Surprising Cameo

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Taika Waititi Star Wars Mandalorian

Taika Waititi has returned to the Star Wars universe with a surprising cameo in The Mandalorian Season 3 premiere on Disney+.

Actor, writer, and director Taika Waititi has been getting increasingly comfortable in the Star Wars galaxy. The Oscar-winner director already voiced assassin droid IG-11 in several episodes of The Mandalorian and helmed the Season 1 finale.

Additionally, Waititi is currently hard at work on developing his own movie in the Star Wars galaxy, with the latest update on the project having come last summer when he stated he was still trying to "figure out what the story is."

Taika Waititi Returns in The Mandalorian Season 3

Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for Chapter 17 of The Mandalorian.

During The Mandalorian Season 3 premiere, "The Apostate," Taika Waititi made a surprising return to his Star Wars role of the assassin droid IG-11, who was briefly resurrected in the episode after his destruction in the Season 1 finale.

IG-11, Taika Waititi, The Mandalorian Season 1 Premiere
Star Wars

In the Season 1 premiere, IG-11 handed a bounty that sent him after Grogu/Baby Yoda, much like Din Djarin. However, unlike the Mandalorian, his assignment had him sent to kill, not collect, the force-sensitive child.

IG-11, Taika Waititi, The Mandalorian Season 1 Finale, Death
Star Wars

In order to save Grogu, Djarin shot the droid, although it was later found, repaired, and reprogrammed in a more friendly way by Nick Nolti's Kuiil. IG-11 ultimately joined Din Djarin and his companions with a new mission, to protect Grogu, which he ultimately sacrificed himself and self-destructed to achieve.

IG-11, Taika Waititi, The Mandalorian Season 3, Statue
Star Wars

In the years since, the people of Nevarro City turned his remains into a statue in the market square to commemorate his sacrifice on the planet. When Din Djarin arrived on the planet in the Season 3 premiere, he told Greef Karga he wants to repair IG-11, saying: "I need a droid I can trust to help me explore Mandalore."

IG-11, Taika Waititi, The Mandalorian Season 3
Star Wars

Unfortunately, IG-11 instantly returned to his default programming and sought to kill Grogu, forcing Djarin, Karga, and another droid to destroy him once again. But during this brutal moment, the assassin droid got out a few words, which were once again uttered by Waititi, as confirmed by the episode's credits.

Anzellan, The Mandalorian Season 3, Babu Frik
Star Wars

For now, IG-11 has been left with one of "the best droid smiths of the Outer Room" - an Anzellan, much like The Rise of Skywalker's Babu Frik - on Nevarro. Meanwhile, Din Djarin is off to scour the galaxy for a new memory circuit to allow IG-11 to return to his old self, which will likely happen later in the season.

IG-11's Role in The Mandalorian Season 3 Explained

Taika Waititi's shocking return as IG-11 seems to fulfill a previous rumor that claimed he would be receiving some significant upgrades in Season 3. Those reports noted that his shell will be covered in Beskar armor while Grogu will be able to control him by sitting protected within the casing.

If those rumors come true, Grogu will undoubtedly be able to get far more involved in the action this season once IG-11 is finally repaired. The next episode will likely see The Mandalorian and Grogu on the hunt for the memory circuit needed to repair the assassin droid, leading to his repair later on in the season.

Din Djarin was very specific that his desire to bring IG-11 back was specifically part of his efforts to explore the potentially dangerous surface of Mandalore. His role will seemingly end up being to primarily keep Grogu safe during that mission, a clever turnaround from his efforts to kill him in the series premiere.

The first chapter of The Mandalorian Season 3 is streaming now on Disney+.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.