Jon Favreau clarified when The Mandalorian Season 3 occurs within the Star Wars timeline.
Given the time jump between the Disney+ series' second season and Mando and Grogu's episodes in The Book of Boba Fett, just when Season 3 takes place canonically is unclear.
Given the nature of Star Wars, where a story falls within the timeline is key to what events and characters are utilized.
But the fact that The Mandalorian is now its own Mando-Verse franchise with ties to Ahsoka and Skeleton Crew, the question is more relevant than ever before.
When in the Star Wars Timeline Is The Mandalorian?
Season 1 of The Mandalorian took place five years after Return of the Jedi or in the year 9 ABY, the latter which stands for the "after the Battle of Yavin" (aka the conclusion of A New Hope).
When asked whether the show's third season takes place in subsequent years, TV Line quoted Jon Favreau, saying, "I don't think we're quite to 10 ABY."
However, TV Line also referenced other reports that The Mandalorian's first and second seasons spanned "many years," and Grogu was with Luke Skywalker for "two years."
While it is true that two years have passed since audiences saw Grogu leave with Luke in the show's Season 2 finale, the same span of time in-universe contradicts Favreau's original claim about 10 ABY.
Since then, the writer and producer attempted to clarify his claims by saying Grogu was with Luke for "zero to two years:"
“I don’t know if I said many years, its probably about the real-time that we’ve experienced it. So it was the end of Season 2 when they said goodbye, we checked in in ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ about a year ago when they parted company again, and then he rejoined the Mandalorian. So now, I think somewhere in there, more than one and less than, you know, somewhere between zero and two years.”
However, the best and most clarifying answer yet is Jon Favreau's response to TV Line, stating that Mando Season 3 is still within "the first third of the second gap" of the theatrical Skywalker Saga:
“We talk about this so much. We also have 'Ahsoka' and 'The Skeleton Crew' [coming up], which are taking place in the same time period…. But yes, we’re still in ‘the first third of the second gap’."
How Long After Order 66 Is The Mandalorian?
In terms of that Skywalker Saga timeline, Revenge of the Sith and Order 66 occurred in 19 BBY, which stands for "before the Battle of Yavin."
If The Mandalorian takes place in 9 ABY, roughly 30 years have passed since Grogu witnessed Order 66 and the rise of the Empire.
Is It OK to Watch The Mandalorian Before Star Wars?
Even though Star Wars is presented as a fictional history where time dictates the use of certain characters and events, The Mandalorian is largely a standalone story.
But even though viewers can enjoy the series without knowing the context of the greater Star Wars Universe, part of the show's genius is how naturally it references and utilizes individuals, storylines, and iconography from Star Wars movies and shows.
So for those looking to educate themselves on Star Wars lore in conjunction with The Mandalorian, here are a few recommendations:
Season 1: The Original Trilogy
As only a few years separate Mando's first season and the first Star Wars films, the original trilogy is helpful in understanding Season 1's references to the Empire, bounty hunters, and certain planets and creatures.
Season 2: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels
Since The Mandalorian's sophomore season introduces Bo-Katan Kryze and Ahsoka, audiences should check out the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels series.
Season 3: The Book of Boba Fett
While Season 3 of The Mandalorian has only just begun, The Book of Boba Fett is the perfect (if not, required) companion for this new season, especially since the series shows how Mando and Grogu are reunited.
Plus, fans already know that Boba Fett is expected to return in Season 3 as well.
How to Watch The Mandalorian & Boba Fett in Order
The fact that The Mandalorian now has three seasons but included major moments for Mando and Grogu in a completely different show is confusing, to say the least.
For those looking to catch up with The Mandalorian's full story without any further confusion, the best method is to watch the shows and seasons in release order is as follows:
- The Mandalorian Season 1
- The Mandalorian Season 2
- The Book of Boba Fett (particularly "Chapters 5, 6, & 7" for Mando & Grogu's storyline)
- The Mandalorian Season 3
Viewers who jump from Mando Season 2 to Season 3 will no doubt be confused as to why the series' two main characters part ways at the end of one season and are back together without any explanation in Season 3.
Also, apart from Grogu and Mando, The Book of Boba Fett fleshed out certain story beats that may be necessary for the third season, such as details about the Darksaber, Bo-Katan's past, Grogu's flashback, and what happened to Cobb Vanth.
"A Long Time Ago" Is Getting More Complicated
As The Mandalorian story continues and the Mando-Verse expands, knowing when certain events take place will only become more important.
It also helps fans fully appreciate what's being shown on screen, especially since the Disney+ series is also paying tribute to films and trilogies that came before and occurred afterward.
New episodes of The Mandalorian Season 3 arrive on Wednesdays on Disney+.