Last night we got another look at The Mandalorian, Lucasfilm and Disney’s intriguing entry in the realm of live-action Star Wars TV. While it still left us with plenty of questions about what the titular mercenary will actually get up to in the series, it did give us a few sneaky connections to the wider world of Star Wars to contemplate.
The trailer opens exactly as the first one did: The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) walking past a row of Stormtooper helmets—well, presumably heads with said helmets on, given the blood and grime they’re covered in, on an unknown arid world.
The Mandalorian is set roughly five years after Return of the Jedi—at this point in the timeline, the Battle of Jakku has been won by the fledgling New Republic, Galactic Concordance has been signed, and there is ostensibly peace in a galaxy that has known war for decades. That...doesn’t mean the Empire has gone away entirely or that the New Republic’s rule of law is secure, however. Especially on the fringes of known space and the Outer Rim, the conflict between the Republic and Empire matters little to the social circles bounty hunters typically engage in.
Meanwhile, we flash on over to another scene—the Mandalorian and a small Ugnaught (those piglike, diminutive creatures from Empire Strikes Back) named by, of course, tie-in merchandise as Kuuil. This desert planet may or may not be the same one we just glimpsed, it’s hard to tell—but wherever it is, the duo are riding Blurrgs.
Originally seen in the Ewoks made-for-TV movies and eventually canonised by the Clone Wars animated series, Blurrgs are creatures native to both Endor and the planet Ryloth, homeworld of the Twi’leks, among other places. That means we can’t really say for sure where this is. It does sort of look a little like what we saw of some regions of Ryloth in Clone Wars, but all we can really say is that...well, this isn’t Endor, at least.
Over all of this we have another mystery—an unknown figure (played by Werner Herzog, of all people) talking to presumably our titular hunter. “Is the world more peaceful since the revolution?”, Herzog’s character asks...
Meanwhile, the now unmounted Mandalorian scans a rocky valley for potential targets.
“It is a shame your people suffered,” Herzog continues. That makes just what revolution Herzog is referring to here more specific than seemingly just the idea of the Rebel Alliance revolting against the Empire on a galactic scale. Given that our lead character is, well, a Mandalorian, there’s perhaps two potential revolutions that could be being referenced here.
The first is the Mandalorian crisis of the Clone Wars, which saw the world—then ruled by Duchess Satine Kryze, a peace advocate who reformed Mandalorian society into non-combatants and attempted to remain neutral in the Republic/Separatist conflict—temporarily engage in civil war as a rogue faction known as the Death Watch usurped Kryze’s rule with the help of the rogue former Sith, Darth Maul.
Maul being Maul, he betrayed the Death Watch and took rule of Mandalore himself, leading to the Siege of Mandalore, where the world was liberated by Republic forces under the command of former Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano. We’ll see more of that battle in Clone Wars’ upcoming seventh and final season, also coming to Disney+ next year.
The second, and, given the time frame of this show, perhaps more likely, is the second Mandalorian Civil War, the aftermath of which is depicted in the final season of Star Wars Rebels. After the Republic reformed into the Empire, it took control of Mandalore from the world’s regent, Bo-Katan Kryze, the sister of Satine. House Kryze and several other Mandalorian houses (including Clan Wren, the family of Rebels protagonist Sabine) rebelled against Imperial rule, only to be ruthlessly beaten down by an allegiance between the Empire and Clan Saxon, itself backed by the deployment of an experimental weapon of mass destruction known as the Duchess. The Empire and Clan Saxon’s rule was eventually overthrown years later with the help of Sabine’s friends, and Kryze was restored as the world’s regent.
Or, it could be another conflict entirely! It’s been a good few years since we’ve seen what’s been up on Mandalore. They certainly know how to have revolutions, to say the least.
The Mandalorian finds his suspicions of being watched proved when he’s attacked by two vibro-glaive-wielding Trandoshans. We’ve seen this brief battle previously in an image released via Entertainment Weekly, but now we get to see it unfold in motion—and see our hero put his weapon to use.
The Amban Phase Pulse Rifle was first seen being used by none other than Boba Fett in the animated portions of the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, which introduced the character ahead of his live-action debut in Empire Strikes Back. As the name implies, it’s a long-range blaster, but when push comes to shove, the tuning-fork-like attachment on its muzzle can be used to discharge an electric shock.
“But bounty hunting is a complicated profession,” Werner Herzog ponders, as we see the Mandalorian freeze a captured alien target in Carbonite, alongside a veritable cargo-bay-load of Carbonite slabs that are presumably likewise filled with marks. It would seem that, at least since the days of Empire Strikes Back, freezing sentient beings in Carbonite has become a lot less experimental.
The Razorcrest, the Mandalorian’s vessel, jumps out of hyperspace and descends over a forested world. Once again, we have no idea where this actually is, but the planet appears to be of some personal importance to the Mandalorian himself, given things we’ll see a little later on in this trailer.
Meanwhile on another world—this one seems like it’s the same world we saw the Mandalorian traipsing about on earlier—our hero unloads his vast cargo of targets. Seems like he’s been keeping busy in this time of galactic uncertainty! Once his cargo’s unloaded, we cut to the Mandalorian heading into town. Note that there’s a second ship parked with the Razorcrest here, also unidentified. An ally’s ship, or just another traveller visiting the outpost?
“They said you were coming,” Herzog continues, as the Mandalorian enters a Cantina just teeming with Star Wars aliens—from Rodians to Trandoshans, various multi-colour-skinned humanoids, to even a closeup of what looks like an Onodone from The Force Awakens. “They said you were the best in the parsec,” he adds, continuing Star Wars’ long tradition of not actually knowing what a parsec is.
And, at long last, after hearing from no one but Werner Herzog in footage from this show, we finally get to see him in this trailer.
This is a conversation that was shown to fans at Star Wars Celebration earlier this year. We saw glimpses of Herzog’s character in the first trailer that indicate that he is either ex-Empire or still part of the Remnant established in the wake of the Galactic Concordance being signed, wearing some kind of Imperial regalia and being flanked by Stormtroopers.
According to that footage, Herzog asks the Mandalorian to hunt down a target on his behalf—giving him their last known location, “a tracking FOB, and four digits of an eight digit ID number” that is 50 years old, placing whoever the person is as old enough to have lived through the rise of the Empire, the Clone Wars, even the Naboo crisis seen in The Phantom Menace. As part of the deal, Herzog gives the Mandalorian a piece of Beskar, a Mandalorian alloy used by armorers on the world to craft the legendarily infamous armour worn by the likes of Boba Fett, his, father, the Deathwatch, and even our mysterious hero here.
What makes Beskar so valuable, even in such a small piece? Well, its an iron alloy with very special properties, one of which we immediately get to see...
...as our Mandalorian walks out of a building and right into a firefight with some Stormtroopers, taking them out easily. At one point, you’ll note you can see our hunter take a blaster bolt, but it cleanly bounces off his armour. That is Beskar in action: It’s so tough it can soak or even reflect blaster fire, and could even take a glancing blow from a lightsaber.
It’s hard to say if this scrap takes place before or after the meeting with Herzog, but suffice to say, the Mandalorian doesn’t seem to mind taking jobs from—or shooting up—people regardless of their wider galactic allegiances.
We now get what is perhaps the most tantalising sequence of the whole trailer: a small child in red robes reaches out to the sky, as we see similarly robed adults fleeing a battle carrying what appears to be that child. But it’s not just any battle they’re running from. The ship in the sky? It’s a Separatist HMP Predator Gunship. The soldiers? Super Battle Droids.
It’s the Clone Wars.
Or, well, it’s likely a flashback to the Clone Wars (could the child perhaps even be our Mandalorian as an infant?), but there’s always the odds that someone out there has managed to get their hands on old Trade Federation droid tech and turned it into their own little paramilitary force. From droids like Mr. Bones in the Aftermath books to the Rebels storyline that saw a still active contingent of Battle Droids fighting the Clone Wars long after they’d ended, it wouldn’t be the first time the faceless villains of the prequel era were transplanted elsewhere into the Star Wars timeline. Whatever it ends up being, it’s a very intriguing shot that we’re not going to get answers for just yet.
Meanwhile, on an icy world, the Mandalorian wrangles another target, this time a Quarren. This encounter isn’t new—not only was it screened at Celebration as well, we got to see more of it in the first trailer for the series, which saw the Mandalorian blast the door controls he’s dragging that Quarren through...and seemingly closing said door on said Quarren. Ouch.
Speaking of potential prequel connections, we see the Mandalorian in the mud wrangling a rhino-esque creature that almost looks like a hairy version of the Reek from Attack of the Clones, or a Force Awakens-style Luggabeast without the cybernetic helmet. It lacks the two horns protruding out of its jaw the Reek has, so if it isn’t a Reek that’s been mutilated in some way, it’s perhaps a different, new species.
Back on what looks to be the planet he fought the Trandoshans on (and in the cockpit of the Razorcrest), Kuuil pats the Mandalorian’s shoulder on what is presumably a job well done for beating up those Trandoshans.
As the Razorcrest is chased by an unknown starfighter, we cut to it having landed on a planet that seems to be the one we saw the Mandalorian unloading his slabs of frozen targets on earlier—which would make sense as we see a familiar face come to greet him: Greef Carga (Carl Weathers). Carga is the head of a Bounty Hunter Guild, and an ally of the Mandalorian, so he’s presumably here to collect the Mandalorian’s marks. The footage screened at Celebration included a scene where the Mandalorian collected a bunch of bounties from Carga, mostly for bail jumpers, but another one that had connections to the criminal underworld—perhaps the job that leads him to Werner Herzog?
We cut back to the forested world we saw earlier and get to see another familiar face we can put a name to, as the Mandalorian shares a handshake with Cara Dune (Gina Carano). Dune, like the Mandalorian, is a mercenary, however she has a slightly different past: as denoted by the tiny tattoo you can just about glimpse under her left eye, Dune was a shocktrooper in the Rebel Alliance, who has now left it and the New Republic behind to become a mercenary for hire.
Meanwhile, Werner Herzog’s narration returns. “Mandalorian, look outside,” he says. “They are waiting for you.” Who’s they? Well, we’re treated to a shot of what appears to be one of the big antagonists of the show: Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). The first trailer gave us a brief glimpse of the Mandalorian staring down Gideon and his forces—which consists of both Stormtroopers and Deathtroopers, interestingly enough—so the troopers we saw him fighting earlier could be connected to Gideon’s remnant.
It’s also interesting to note that Gideon is wearing some interesting gear, an armoured look that looks like a blend of the Inferno Squadron pilot gear from Battlefront II, but with a cape befitting his higher ranked status in the fallen Empire. Esposito has previously described Gideon as someone who sees himself as a “warden of the universe,” attempting to restore order to the lawless fringes of the galaxy.
From there, another familiar face, and another shot we’ve seen: Assassin Droid IG-11 (Taika Waititi) going to town on some unknown assailants. The longer version of this shot in the first trailer saw him working alongside the Mandalorian, so it seems like our hero develops quite the network of accomplices throughout the series.
Back on that forest world we saw Dune and the Mandalorian shaking hands, an unknown woman, named Omera (Julia Jones) go to caress the Mandalorian’s helmet. Omera has been seen protecting a small child from raiders in the previous trailer—is she someone the Mandalorian saves for a job, or is there a deeper connection he has to her and her planet?
Cara Dune opens fire with her heavy blaster rifle—note the dead Stormtrooper to her right. Is this the shootout we saw Gideon looking over earlier?
A wild Bill Burr appears! It’s cut to make it seem like Dune is firing at Burr’s unknown character, but the environment he’s in looks very different—it almost looks like the corridors of a Blockade runner, very reminiscent of the style we saw inside the Tantive IV, or even Imperial vessels. That makes it hard to pinpoint who Burr’s working for: Is he a rival bounty hunter, an ex-Imperial agent, or someone else entirely?
Cool shoulder mounted blaster though.
The Mandalorian chases after Gideon, who’s flying what looks like a new model of TIE fighter. Note here that the Mandalorian has both a grappling hook he attaches to Gideon’s ship and a jetpack. We’ve not seen him wearing one in previous footage, unless it’s obscured by his cloak, but it seems he picks one up during the series at some point.
After all that, the Mandalorian finally speaks, offering a simple reply to presumably Werner Herzog’s invitation that people are waiting for him. “Yeah? Good,” he says, as we see him back on that desert world he fought the Trandoshans on earlier, reading his blaster rifle.
Everything we’ve seen of The Mandalorian has been very specifically controlled—even with all the Herzog narration in the world, we still barely have a clue what threads will sustain this show over its first season, let alone any real details about its world of characters. But there have been enough sharp stabs of intrigue here and there that seem to indicate that The Mandalorian’s desire to dive deep into the gritty underlayer of the Star Wars galaxy is about a lot more than a more adult tone. This is a series that is clearly interested in sticking to the shadows of this universe to shine a light on characters and stories far removed from the haughty tales of Jedi and Sith.
We’ll find out just how deep it wants to go when The Mandalorian begins on Disney+ on November 19.