Forget Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Jedi: Fallen Order for a minute, because there's another huge Star Wars-related property on the way: The Mandalorian. The show will be streaming on Disney Plus come 12 November – though, unlike how shows are released on Netflix, a new episode of The Mandalorian will be released every few days, meaning we have a slightly umpy release schedule ahead.
But, what exactly is The Mandalorian about? Well, the clue's in the title. “The Mandalorian is a mysterious, lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy,” Pedro Pascal, who will play the eponymous character, said at Star Wars Celebration 2019. “Some might say he has questionable moral character, in line with some of our best Westerns, and some good samurai [movies]. And he’s a badass. He’s got a lot of Clint Eastwood in him.”
Still no excited? Consider that Pascal's Mandalorian has the same tailor as perennial fan-favourite Boba Fett; that the actor was a standout in his single season as Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones; and that the show’s set in the mostly unexplored time period between Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, light years away from the influence of the New Republic and the First Order. That's a lot of big reasons to feel ecstatic.
Need to know more? Below you can find all the details currently available on The Mandalorian cast, trailer, timeline, and more!
- Star Wars: The Mandalorian TV show release date: November 12, 2019
- Star Wars: The Mandalorian TV show episodes: 8
- Star Wars: The Mandalorian TV show cast: Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Omid Abtahi, Nick Nolte, Carl Weathers, Werner Herzog, Taika Waititi
- Star Wars: The Mandalorian TV show showrunner: Jon Favreau
- Star Wars: The Mandalorian TV show director(s): Deborah Chow, Rick Famuyiwa, Dave Filoni, Bryce Dallas Howard, Taika Waititi
The Mandalorian release date
(Image credit: Disney)
The Mandalorian release date is November 12, 2019, which makes it a launch title for the upcoming Disney Plus streaming service in the United States. However, where Netflix releases entire seasons in one go, Disney Plus will not follow suit. Here's the release schedule for The Mandalorian.
#101 – November 12
#102 – November 15
#103 – November 22
#104 – November 29
#105 – December 6
#106 – December 13
#107 – December 18
#108 – December 27
For Star Wars fans in the UK, there are currently no announcements regarding a release date for Disney Plus, and therefore no release date for The Mandalorian. All we know is that The Mandalorian will debut in the UK in early 2020.
The Mandalorian trailer
After months of waiting, the first The Mandalorian trailer was finally unveiled at Disney's D23 expo in Anaheim. The footage starts with Storm Trooper masks on spikes, then we see some shady dealings going on, a couple of wide-angle shots of the desert, a winking blue alien, and The Mandalorian standing stoic, facing down enemies. "Bounty hunting is a complicated profession," says Werner Herzog's character (more on that in a minute) as the music calms for a moment. Another character is seen frozen in Carbonite (not Han) before Herzog asks: "Don't you agree?"
The second trailer for The Mandalorian debuted later in the year, and feature Pascal's bounty hunter wrestle with Trandoshans, stormtroopers, and a blurrg, while Werner Herzog narrates the action. We see stormtrooper heads on spikes, a new horned beast, and the Mandalorian heroically swinging his way on to the glass roof of what appears to be a TIE fighter. Best of all are Pascal's riveting first two words at the very end: "Yeah? Good."
A 30 second teaser has also been revealed, giving us a first proper look at Ming-Na Wen's villain Fennec Shand, who promises our hero his name will become "legendary". Watch above.
The Mandalorian cast
Pedro Pascal – a man so charismatic as Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones that it seems a waste to hide his head behind a helmet – leads the cast, playing a mysterious lone gunfighter who pilots an artillery-loaded gunship known as The Razorcrest.
Former MMA champ Gina Carano plays Cara Dune, an ex-Rebel shocktrooper who is having trouble re-integrating into society after her experiences in the war with the Empire. Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed from Rocky) plays a fixer named Greef who hires The Mandalorian to receive a certain valuable item for a certain rich client. Thor: Ragnarok director and What We Do in the Shadows star Taika Waititi is voicing IG-88, a droid bounty hunter who, like Boba Fett, is one of the six “scum" hired by Darth Vader to track down the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. A robot bounty hunter who sounds like Korg from Thor: Ragnarok? We would (and are going to) pay to see that.
The Mandalorian also features Emily Swallow (Amara in Supernatural), Omid Abtahi (Salim in American Gods), Nick Nolte, and the legendary director of Fitzcarraldo and Grizzly Man (and sometime actor, mainly director) Werner Herzog. There's not too much information available about his character, but we do know that he's a villain.
“[It's] a small part, real small part, in The Mandalorian, the Star Wars sequel or whatever you like to call it,” he told IndieWire. “I like to do it because I know I’m good on screen, but only if I have to play a real villain.”
There's another star of The Mandalorian with form for playing villains – Giancarlo Esposito, aka Breaking Bad’s biggest bad Gus Fring. Again, not much is known about his role but he did tell Collider that he will be wearing “a great costume” and that some of the show has been filmed in “The Volume” – we're guessing he's referring to the sort of motion-capture set-up James Cameron uses on his Avatar movies.
“We’re in a place called The Volume, where we do most of our acting,” said Esposito, “where set pieces are brought in, where we can control the physical atmosphere of what is projected on the walls and control how gravity is; you get a feeling that gravity is being played with. This is a show that’s gonna be really fantastic.”
Ming-Na Wen, who voiced the original animated Mulan and later appeared in Marvel's Agents of Shield, will also be starring in the show in an undisclosed role.
Star Wars: The Mandalorian plot
Unfortunately, we know very little about The Mandalorian plot. In the absence of a crack team of Bothan spies, we've turned to The Mandalorian creator/showrunner Jon Favreau’s Instagram feed, which has so far proved the most important source of information about the new series. The above opening crawl-style post establishes the key facts...
The Mandalorian story will focus on a masked “lone gunfighter” who – like famous bounty hunters Boba Fett and his dad, Jango Fett – chooses to wear the iconic battle armor of the Mandalorians. In Star Wars canon, it’s the look that inspired the armor of the original Clone Troopers in Attack of the Clones, the DNA of which can be seen in all the subsequent Republic/Imperial Trooper suits.
Beyond being known as “The Mandalorian”, we know nothing about the identity of the owner of the Mandalorian armour. Of course, that hasn’t stopped the internet from speculating. We wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a character we’ve encountered elsewhere in the Star Wars saga, even in a minor role, simply because Lucasfilm’s Story Group (arbiters of Star Wars canon) has form for it – the Rebel insurgent in Rogue One didn’t have to be Onderon freedom fighter Saw Gerrera from Star Wars: The Clone Wars with two more decades on the clock, but it helped tie things together, the same way Darth Maul’s surprise cameo did in Solo.
One candidate for the identity of the suit’s owner is Cobb Vanth, a character in Chuck Wendig’s post-Return of the Jedi Aftermath trilogy of novels, who crops up in Boba Fett-style togs on Tatooine. It could even be Boba Fett himself. Yes, we know the last we saw of him was his malfunctioning rocket pack blasting him towards a thousand years of misery being slowly digested in the Sarlacc’s belly. But there’s no reason a warrior as skilled as Fett couldn’t make his escape – indeed, he’s done it before, having forced his way out in the old Expanded Universe “Legends” novels that are now expunged from official continuity.
There are good reasons to suspect Fett’s repeated the trick in the official Star Wars timeline, too. The first Aftermath novel references Mandalorian armour found on Tatooine, “pitted and pocked, as if with some kind of acid” – a description consistent with someone who’s had a close encounter with a giant creature’s digestive tract. (The pristine suit revealed in the first The Mandalorian TV show image suggests he’d have since upgraded.) Meanwhile, Pablo Hidalgo, of the Story Group, told a Star Wars Celebration panel that “Boba Fett is both simultaneously alive and dead in the Sarlacc” until someone writes an official story that makes the call either way.
Fett’s an unlikely candidate, however. Even accepting that spoiler-phobic showrunners and directors are prone to fibs from time to time, the fact that Favreau told Nerdist that The Mandalorian will feature “all new characters [and] different planets” seems to remove the bounty hunter from the running – as does the fact that Pedro Pascal has described his character as “a bounty hunter like Boba Fett”. Also, the fact that, until recently, Lucasfilm were developing a standalone Boba Fett movie (with Josh Trank and James Mangold both attached as directors along the way) would seem to take him out of the running. Fett may be a fan favourite, but not enough to carry his own movie and a TV show.
The Mandalorian reviews
Disney and LucasFilm are keeping their cards close to their chest with The Mandalorian. Where other shows have been previewed for journalists, The Mandalorian remains locked behind bars. However, some footage was shown in October, and the (mostly) spoiler-free opinions were glowing.
"Just watched close to 25 minutes of footage from The Mandalorian," writes Eric Goldman of Fandom. "It’s very cool and atmospheric – sometimes evoking the vibe of Rogue One (which I adore). The title character is instantly fascinating and there are great action and suspense moments, including some Predator vibes."
Turn to Page 2 for more on The Mandalorian
The Mandalorian timeline
The Mandalorian takes place five years after Return of the Jedi. In the official Star Wars chronology, that means that the New Republic has defeated the Empire for the last time, Mon Mothma has signed the ‘Galactic Concordance’ (a kind of cosmic peace treaty), and the remnants of the Imperial top brass have travelled through the ‘Unknown Regions’ of the galaxy to start the First Order. Obviously we’ll hear from those guys later in the saga, but at this point in the Star Wars chronology, that galaxy far, far away is in a state of flux – and with some three decades to go until the events of The Force Awakens, there’s a lot of unexplored territory for the show’s writers to get their teeth into.
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Star Wars: The Mandalorian also finds itself in a wonderfully rich time period for a space Western on the fringes of the Star Wars galaxy. After all, it’s safe to assume that the New Republic (born from the Rebel Alliance) hasn’t had much time to bring stability to a post-Emperor universe – creating the sort of lawless vacuum that bounty hunters, gangsters, and smugglers (my kind of scum) love to exploit.
There will also be Stormtroopers. “It was every kid’s dream just to see a Stormtrooper,” director Taika Waititi told a Television Critics Association panel (reported by SlashFilm) in February . “When you’re doing these scenes with like 50 or 60 of them, it’s pretty amazing. I loved it.” The question is, with the Empire gone, who are the Stormtroopers working for...?
Whoever their employer is, it’s the sort of fertile criminal territory Lucasfilm considered exploring before the Disney buyout in 2012 – both with aborted TV series Star Wars: Underworld (which would have been set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope), and similarly discarded Coruscant-set video game Star Wars 1313.
The Mandalorian’s time period also makes rumours about Star Wars Rebels’ resident Mando warrior Sabine Wren making an appearance plausible. Making Star Wars has reported that her characteristic helmet has been spotted in the production, and seeing as we know from the Rebels finale that Sabine is still very much in action after the Battle of Endor, it's not much of a stretch to say that she'd still be active a few years later. Fingers crossed she makes it into the show, because she was one of Rebels’ standout characters – and an instant cosplay icon.
Who are the Mandalorians?
The race who give The Mandalorian TV show its name hail from the planet Mandalore. A people with a war-mongering history, they come armed with the sort of wonderful toys (jetpacks, flamethrowers, rocket launchers) that would make Batman jealous. A unique lightsaber known as the ‘darksaber’ – created by the first ever Mandalorian inducted to the Jedi Order – is a key symbol for unifying the Mandalorian people.
While their appearances in the Star Wars movies have been limited to the Fett family (and a crest flying outside Maz Kanata’s castle in The Force Awakens), the Mandalorians have been key players in both the Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels animated shows.
In The Clone Wars, the peaceful New Mandalorian government run by Duchess Satine Kryze (Obi-Wan Kenobi’s ex) is overthrown and subsequently assassinated in a coup by the militant Black Watch, a terrorist cell of ex-soldiers who yearn for a return to their race’s militaristic past. Former Sith Lord Maul ultimately seizes control of the planet, until future Emperor Darth Sidious eliminates the threat of his spiky former apprentice in person.
Come the time of the Empire in Star Wars Rebels, Mandalore is under Imperial occupation, with its various clans split between those loyal to and opposed to the Empire. They are ultimately united under Satine Kryze’s sister, Bo-Katan, when she gets to wield the ceremonial darksaber.
That said, we have no reason to assume the eponymous star of the Star Wars: The Mandalorian TV show is a Mandalorian . They could simply have stolen someone else’s armour – and with all that lethal hardware on them, would you ask them where they got it?
The Mandalorian armour
In the Star Wars universe, the Mandalorian armour is something of a status symbol for the warriors who wear it. “The armour is part of our identity,” Sabine Wren's father Alrich once said. “It makes us Mandalorians who we are.”
According to font of all Star Wars knowledge Wookieepedia (a source
so rich in facts that Solo co-writer Jon Kasdan admits he used it extensively in researching the movie), the Mandalorian armor has a long history and was constructed to help its wearers fight with Jedi in a generation-spanning war.
Various different styles of armour evolved over the years, including a red and black version with a horned helmet inspired by Maul, during his brief time in control of the Mandalorian government. Mandalorians loyal to the Empire also gave their suits a Stormtrooper-like makeover – which effectively brought the design full circle, seeing as the the original Clone Trooper outfits were inspired by Jango Fett’s own Mandalorian armour.
Some individual wearers also chose to customise their suits further: Sabine Wren covered hers in colourful graffiti-like designs, while bounty hunter Boba Fett adorned his with braids of hair as trophies commemorating his biggest catches – the old Legends continuity claimed they belonged to captured Wookiees.
Indeed, another rumour from Making Star Wars suggests that the hero/antihero of The Mandalorian is similarly keen on upgrading his Mandalorian armour. They report that there could be a woman in a "secret Mandalorian enclave" who, like Q from James Bond, keeps him furnished with new toys and hardware that help him "evolve" his suit.
Why? Let's just say the Mandalorian armour is about more than just fashion. It's made of a metal strong enough to repel blasters, and is generally loaded with enough weaponry to make its wearer into a one-person army. The iconic helmet contains various HUDs to help with tactics, while the suit itself is packed with optional extras. The jetpack, for example, allows for short bursts of aerial combat, while some versions contain a rocket launcher – a potentially dangerous weapon for its user, seeing as careless use could blow their heads off.
The ‘vambraces’ on the wrists are arguably the trump cards in the Mandalorian armor, however, seeing as they can contain anything from flamethrowers and blasters, whipcord throwers (as used by Boba Fett to tie up Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi) to more primitive blades and darts.
The Mandalorian showrunner
(Image credit: Getty)
Jon Favreau will serve as showrunner on The Mandalorian. Aside from being the successful director of Iron Man and Iron Man 2, Elf, The Jungle Book and, er, Cowboys and Aliens, Favreau already has history with a galaxy far, far away. He played four-armed Ardennian pilot Rio Durant in Solo, and even has a Mandalorian on his filmography, having voiced Death Watch leader Pre Vizsla in The Clone Wars.
The team of directors on the series is just as impressive. For die-hard Star Wars fans the most exciting member of the team is probably Dave Filoni, the walking Star Wars encyclopedia who oversaw both The Clone Wars and Rebels. Having stepped back from the day-to-day on new animated show Star Wars Resistance, he’s making his live-action debut with the first episode of The Mandalorian TV show.
Other directors on the series include Jurassic World star Bryce Dallas Howard, Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones, Lost in Space, Better Call Saul), Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), and Thor: Ragnarok's Taika Waititi.
Despite having his own characteristic style, however, Waititi says he won't be playing things for laughs as he did in the MCU. “Star Wars is very different to Marvel style,” Waititi told the TCA panel. “They know that the tone of the first films really should be kind of adhered to. That’s what the fans like and you can’t really disrespect it, which I guess is a nicer way of saying I can’t put too many jokes in. There’s a bit, definitely my tone is in there, the dialogue and stuff like that.”
The Mandalorian has also signed up an A-list composer to soundtrack the show, in the form of Ludwig Göransson – who picked up an Oscar nomination for his work for Star Wars’ Disney stablemates Marvel on Black Panther.
The Mandalorian set photos
Favreau has revealed the above rifle, which bears a striking resemblance to a weapon Boba Fett carried in his very first screen appearance (no, not in Empire Strikes Back but in an animated segment of 1978’s much-derided Star Wars Holiday Special).
Anyone for ice cream? The above image may not look like much, but it’s got it where it counts – in Star Wars terms, at least. A similar device was seen in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, being carried by some random guy in the evacuation of Bespin. Despite appearing on screen for mere seconds, he became an unlikely cult hero known as the Ice Cream Man because his device resembled an ice cream maker. He’s since been written into continuity as Willrow Hood.
Favreau also had a birthday surprise – a set visit from Star Wars creator George Lucas! Wonder if he’s got any intel on whether Boba Fett escaped the Sarlacc or not...
As a The Mandalorian Christmas treat last year, Favreau released this above photo of a droid who looks uncannily like IG-88 – one of the six bounty hunters Darth Vader unleashes to track down Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back.
There are also rumors of an appearance by reptilian bounty hunter Bossk, and who knows, maybe there’ll also be cameos from 4-LOM, Zuckuss, and Dengar (who was voiced by Simon Pegg in the Clone Wars series).
Meanwhile, The Mandalorian TV show’s leading man showed off the above fantastic sketches from director and former Clone Wars/Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni – loving that cape!
George Lucas's involvement
(Image credit: Getty)
Yes, that was an image of George Lucas – the creator of Star Wars – above. Favreau has also detailed the advise Lucas gave to him while on set of The Manadalorian.
“We had a long talk with each other,” Favreau told GQ of meeting Lucas. “One thing he said to me was, ’remember, Jon, the real audience for all stories and all myths is the kids that are coming of age’, because he’s really a Joseph Campbell adherent.”
“We enjoy the stories as adults, but really, storytelling is about imparting the wisdom of the previous generations on to the children who are becoming adults, and giving them a context for how to behave and how to learn the lessons of the past without making the mistakes on their own. That’s the hope, that you can teach them how to avoid all the hardship but garner all the wisdom.”
The Manadalorian season 2
(Image credit: Lucasfilm/Disney)
Favreau has already begun work on season 2. Speaking to Collider while promoting his remake of The Lion King, the showrunner said: “I keep getting pulled deeper into the orbit of Disney, but fortunately the stuff that Disney’s working on is the stuff that I love. I wanted to do a Star Wars TV show like The Mandalorian and pitched it to them and they were very open to it. I even wrote four episodes before I even was hired to do it because I was excited as a fan to see what these stories might be and see if they were interested in doing what I was interested in, which they were. And I was actually writing Season 2 this morning before I came here.”
Favreau has even confirmed that he will likely direct the first episode of season 2. The Mandalorian is here to stay, and we couldn't be more excited.
See what other Star Wars-shaped things are on the way with our guide to all the new Star Wars movies coming to a galaxy near you. Or see how it all fits together with our video rundown of the Star Wars timeline.