When Does The Mandalorian Take Place?
Season 1 of The Mandalorian takes place approximately five years after the events of Return of the Jedi. That also puts it about nine years after the events of Star Wars – A New Hope. The series is fleshing out the Star Wars timeline after the events of the original trilogy, but it’s still set nearly 30 years before The Force Awakens, so don’t expect characters like Rey or Kylo Ren to show up.
It’s unclear exactly how much time has elapsed between Seasons 1 and 2, but we’d guess a few months at most. In Season 2 Din can be seen wearing a brand new Beskar armor piece on his right thigh, suggesting he and The Child had a few adventures in between seasons. That story may be explored in one of the tie-in comics or novels Lucasfilm is currently developing. But the general time period doesn’t appear to have changed much, as the series is still set after the fall of the Empire but before the New Republic has fully brought the galaxy under control.
Preproduction has already begun on The Mandalorian: Season 3, but until Season 2 wraps we won’t really know whether there might be a larger time jump next time around.
And just to settle another frequently asked question – no, Baby Yoda is not literally an infant version of Yoda. He’s a member of Yoda’s mysterious, unnamed species, but “The Child” is a completely different character. Yoda himself has already been dead for five years in the time of The Mandalorian.
What Do We Know About The Mandalorian Timeline?
When The Force Awakens arrived in 2015, we knew very little about the more than 30 years separating the original trilogy from the sequels. Only the broad strokes were established at that point. But with The Rise of Skywalker concluding the sequel trilogy and other projects like Marvel’s Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren beginning to fill in some major blanks, we’re starting to get a better idea of what transpired in those three lost decades.
We know the Rebel Alliance builds on the momentum of its victory at the Battle of Endor and finally topples the Empire and establishes the New Republic. The Empire’s true defeat comes two years after Emperor Palpatine’s death, at the Battle of Jakku (hence all those wrecked Star Destroyers seen in The Force Awakens). While a handful of ex-Imperial warlords like Moff Gideon still maintain fleets and troops in the era of The Mandalorian, the Empire has stopped being a true power in the galaxy by this period.
We see this shifting balance of power reflected in The Mandalorian. Season 2, Episode 2 features the return of Dave Filoni’s New Republic pilot Trapper Wolf, who reveals that the Republic is slowly reclaiming those last systems still under Imperial control.
Various Star Wars projects have filled in some of the gaps in this period. Novels like Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy offer insight into the creation of the New Republic. The Season 2 premiere of The Mandalorian even builds on a plot point from those books. Meanwhile, the Star Wars: Battlefront games have chronicled the Battle of Jakku itself, with the sequel revealing the pivotal role ex-Imperial agent Iden Versio played in that conflict. The more recent Star Wars: Squadrons also takes place in this post-Episode VI era, with the game revolving around rival Rebel and Imperial squadrons vying for dominance in this chaotic time.Unfortunately, even as the Rebels rebuild a legitimate, democratic government, they’re blind to the growing threat of the First Order. Thanks to The Rise of Skywalker and its various tie-in projects, we now know that Palpatine was able to survive his betrayal aboard the Death Star, detaching his spirit and retreating to the safety of a clone body on Exegol. Even as the Empire withers away, Palpatine is quietly orchestrating the rise of the First Order while in hiding. He uses Supreme Leader Snoke as a vessel and recruits Ben Solo to the Dark Side. Palpatine’s endgame involves using his granddaughter Rey as a new, permanent host body and ushering in the Final Order.
Mind you, the events of the sequel trilogy are still roughly 30 years in the future. Rey isn’t even alive yet, and it’s probably too soon for the First Order to start making its presence known. Still, it’s possible the series might offer a few clues as to how the First Order began consolidating power on the far edge of the galaxy. Thanks to Richard E. Grant’s character Allegiant General Pryde, we know a small handful of high-ranking Imperial officers were in on Palpatine’s plans. That number might also include characters from The Mandalorian like Moff Gideon.
An Adorable Gallery of Baby Yoda
In short, in the setting of The Mandalorian, the Empire is all but dead and gone, while the fledgling New Republic is still consolidating power and trying to bring stability to the prosperous Core Worlds of the galaxy. On the numerous worlds of the Outer Rim, a new era of anarchy and lawlessness has begun. Even basic things like currency are in flux. And it’s in this Wild West-inspired setting that Din Djarin builds his reputation.
What Is the State of Mandalore?
Many Star Wars fans may be wondering how the world of Mandalore factors into the series. We have a detailed breakdown of Mandalore and its importance to the Star Wars mythos, but in short, this world is home to a proud warrior culture that inspired men like Jango and Boba Fett. However, that world has languished under decades of outside rule, first by the Separatists during the Clone Wars and then by the Empire.
We don’t yet have a clear picture of what state Mandalore is in five years after Return of the Jedi. Based on the final season of Star Wars Rebels, it seemed as though Mandalore was finally ready to reassert its independence. However, the surprise ending of The Mandalorian: Season 1 suggests Mandalore may still be languishing under Imperial rule even now.The question is how much of this will be explored in The Mandalorian. The series is specifically set on the fringes of the galaxy, away from the political drama and the iconic heroes of the movies. The show as it is right now is more a standalone space western than a heavily plot-driven addition to the franchise.
However, that may slowly change as the series ventures deeper into its ongoing narrative. A number of fan-favorite Star Wars characters are reportedly appearing in Season 2, several of them with key ties to the world of Mandalore. With Din Djarin searching for traces of his people even as he tries to reunite The Child with his own kind, it seems inevitable the fate of Mandalore will become directly relevant to the series.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.