Dr. Penn Pershing popped up during The Mandalorian "Chapter 19," possibly hinting at his character as the key to not just the future of Jon Fanvreau's Star Wars series but tying up loose ends from the sequel trilogy.
Season 3 of the hit streaming show is airing now on Disney+, bringing with it a whole swath of characters from across the galaxy who are making their return to the series, including Bo Katan Kryze, Peli Motto, and most recently, Omid Abtahi's Dr. Pershing.
Pershing was last seen in The Mandalorian Season 2 finale, being taken prisoner by Boba Fett aboard the Slave I, revealing the location of Grogu (who had been kidnapped by the villainous Moff Gideon) to Pedro Pascal's Din Djarin.
Dr. Pershing's Cloning Conundrum
Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers for The Mandalorian "Chapter 19."
Now, the good (or in this case, bad) doctor is back, having appeared in the latest episode of The Mandalorian.
Dr. Pershing is seen going through the Amnesty program on Coruscant, being reintroduced into New Republic life after years of working for the Empire.
While the character does not seem to be harboring any truly evil ideas, he does miss his cloning work, thinking maybe somehow his research could be retrofitted to help the New Republic.
However, after an attempt - alongside another former Empirical officer Elia Kane - to retrieve lab equipment goes wrong, Pershing seemingly has his mind wiped, with Kane being the one to manipulate the Mind Flayer-like device. Pershing finds himself strapped to ensure he remembers nothing.
But what could all this mean for the franchise and this particular Disney+ series moving forward?
Is Pershing the Cloning Key?
Dr. Pershing wanting to pursue further research on his cloning work brings up a few interesting points for not just the future of The Mandalorian but where the Star Wars series goes from here within the timeline.
Cloning has been a hot topic as of late, with The Bad Batch Season 2 tackling a lot of the same ground right now as well, but Pershing specifically could easily be the key to how Emperor Palpatine ultimately comes back in the form he does in The Rise of Skywalker.
For years, The Mandalorian showrunner Dave Filoni has been taking some of the more maligned Star Wars content and legitimizing it by way of supplemental storytelling. He did it with the prequel era (The Clone Wars), and now, it looks like he and Jon Favreau are doing it for the sequel era.
In "Chapter 19" of The Mandalorian, Pershing talks of being on the verge of "a breakthrough" just as he was taken in by the New Republic. What exactly could he be referring to?
Well, that breakthrough could be the creation of the perfect Palpatine clone. With rumors swirling that Andy Serkis's Snoke (a seemingly imperfect Palpatine clone) will make an appearance in this season of The Mandalorian, Pershing being connected to the cloning of the Sith Lord could make a lot of sense.
And from what audiences saw in The Rise of Skywalker, a 100% perfect facsimile of Palpatine was never complete. Snoke was close, and the version of Palpatine that takes on Rey and Kylo Ren at the end of Episode IX was closer, but the work looks to have remained unfinished.
Elia Kane's Mandalorian Motive
But all this will leave many asking, why did Katy O'Brian take matters into her own hands at the end of The Mandalorian's latest episode, looking to have wiped Dr. Pershing's mind clean?
Many are speculating the character is somehow also Palpatine/Sith-related with subtle sith-esque music cues soundtracking the character at moments.
When Dr. Pershing meets Kane in "Chapter 19," he is hell-bent on using his cloning knowledge for good. And if her Empire allegiance remains as strong as it seems it has, then she would not want Pershing sowing the seeds of what he was doing with the New Republic.
With a mind-wiped doctor in her hands, Kane might be able to use Pershing to further her own/the Empire's interests and potentially start back up the program working toward a perfect Palpatine clone. Kane could perhaps set up shop for him once again under the employ of Giancarlo Esposito's Moff Gideon.
The Mandalorian Season 3 continues its eight-week run on Disney+ with new episodes debuting every Wednesday.