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The Mandalorian Season 2 Finale Explained: What’s Next in Season 3?

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The Mandalorian just ended its second season with one of the best episodes of Star Wars television to date. And just as with the Season 1 finale, there are plenty of new revelations and new mysteries for fans to ponder over in the months to come.If some of the big twists in the finale have you confused or wondering just where the heck the series is headed in 2021, fear not. We’re breaking down what we learned from the finale, why the series may undergo a drastic transformation in Season 3, and how some of these loose ends will play into the growing lineup of Star Wars TV spinoffs on Disney+.

Warning: this article contains full spoilers for The Mandalorian’s Season 2 finale!

The Mandalorian Season 2

What’s Next for Din Djarin?

Season 2 caps off a pretty cohesive character arc for Din Djarin. He fulfilled his mission of finding Grogu’s “people,” ensuring his little buddy has a safe home with Jedi Master Luke Skywalker and will be safe from the machinations of the Empire. He also once again proved his commitment to Grogu is greater than his need to adhere to his rigid Mandalorian code, revealing his face in the presence of multiple outsiders so he could say a proper goodbye.

The question now is less where Din’s story will go in Season 3 and more if the series even has a story to tell with Din in the first place. Has his arc been completed? Is it time for a different character to step into the spotlight? That conundrum really comes down to whether the post-credits scene is teasing a separate spinoff series for Boba Fett or the idea that Fett will be the series’ new main protagonist. Either option is possible right now, and we’ll dig deeper into the evidence in a bit.

That’s not to say there aren’t loose ends on the Din Djarin front. For one thing, our hero basically gave up everything in his quest to bring Grogu home. His ship has been destroyed and his “son” is now hanging out with a CGI Mark Hamill. Din basically has nothing left but the armor on his back and a Beskar spear. Will he have to work his way up the bounty hunting chain all over again? Will he partner up with Bo-Katan and her crew? The galaxy is his oyster again, for better or worse.

The Darksaber and Mandalore

The Season 2 finale also leaves a major plot thread dangling when it comes to the future of Mandalore. By defeating Moff Gideon in one-on-one combat, Din has now come into possession of the Darksaber. And with that blade, he’s technically the rightful ruler of Mandalore. He clearly doesn’t want the blade or the responsibilities that come with it, but giving it up may prove far easier said than done.

You might be wondering why Bo-Katan is so reluctant to accept the blade when recovering that priceless artifact has been her main goal all along. As we learn, “the story” behind the Darksaber is as important as the blade itself. Bo-Katan needs her people to know she won the blade in honorable combat, proving that Mandalore has a strong, righteous leader again. The fact that she previously accepted the Darksaber as a gift from Sabine Wren in Star Wars Rebels may play into that desire. Bo-Katan took the easy way once, and the end result was Mandalore falling back into Imperial hands. She may actually see her planet’s downfall as a consequence of her personal weakness, making her all the more determined not to repeat that mistake.

So perhaps the two most pressing questions leading into Season 3 are 1) who will wield the Darksaber? and 2) what do they plan to do to liberate Mandalore? Bo-Katan has two choices. She can either fight Din for the blade, or she can accept him as her rightful leader and help him save their world. If Din is meant to remain the main protagonist of the series, the latter option is probably what will happen. But if “The Mandalorian” in question is fluid, then perhaps Bo-Katan claiming the Darksaber will also make her the series’ new lead.

What Is ‘The Book of Boba Fett’?

As if seeing a young Luke Skywalker back in action and saving the day wasn’t enough, Season 2 also ended by returning to one of the most iconic locations in the original trilogy. The post-credits scene shows Boba Fett and Fennec Shand paying a visit to Jabba’s palace, now ruled by Jabba’s corpulent, former majordomo Bib Fortuna in the wake of the Hutt gangster’s demise. The two waste no time before killing Bib and his cronies and claiming Jabba’s throne (and extensive alcohol supply) for themselves.

That post-credits scene ends with the tease “The Book of Boba Fett: Coming in December 2021.” The key question is whether that title card is teasing a completely new spinoff series starring the iconic bounty hunter, or if Boba is replacing Din Djarin as the new protagonist of The Mandalorian.

Here again, either option is possible, though there’s a fair amount of evidence to suggest the latter. For one thing, Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy has already confirmed a Christmas 2021 premiere for The Mandalorian: Season 3. It seems hard to imagine a separate Boba Fett series debuting the same month, though it’s always possible The Book of Boba Fett is a standalone, Disney Plus-exclusive movie designed as a lead-in to Season 3.

Boba Fett Lives: How the Bounty Hunter’s Story Continued After Return of the Jedi

However, the fact that The Mandalorian has always followed a book motif, with each episode labeled as “Chapter 1,” Chapter 2″ and so on, suggests The Book of Boba Fett is an extension of that approach. Disney may retroactively label Seasons 1 and 2 as “The Book of Din Djarin.” Season 3 would then probably restart from Chapter 1, as the series chronicles a complete story about Boba Fett assuming control of the galaxy’s criminal underworld. That could set the stage for him to resume a more antagonistic role in the franchise, though his actions during Season 2 and Fennec’s decision to free Bib Fortuna’s captive dancer reminds us that both characters do have a code of honor balancing out their desire for money.

This all feeds into one of the central themes of The Mandalorian – there’s no one, true way to live as a Mandalorian. For Din Djarin, being a Mandalorian means adhering to the old traditions (or, at least, it did until the end of Season 2). For Boba Fett, being Mandalorian means maintaining your family honor and your word, regardless of how other Mandalorians might view you. And for Bo-Katan, it means uniting her people under one banner and reclaiming their rightful homeworld.

We could well see the series shift protagonists several times over the course of its run. Season 3 may chronicle “The Book of Boba Fett. Then, Season 4 or 5 may shift focus again to show “The Book of Bo-Katan Kryze.” Each of these armored heroes is “The Mandalorian,” and each has a path to follow.

The Fate of Moff Gideon

Moff Gideon may have been defeated in the Season 2 finale, but he’s clearly not dead. Cara Dune made sure of that when she stopped Gideon from shooting himself, Black Panther-style. Given his high rank and his involvement in all sorts of top-secret Imperial projects (cloning Emperor Palpatine, perfecting the Dark Trooper), Gideon is too valuable a prisoner to the New Republic.

The fact that Cara was the one to spare Gideon’s life is a hint that their stories may continue to intertwine, even if it won’t necessarily be in The Mandalorian: Season 3. Cara seems destined to play a key role in the upcoming spinoff series Star Wars: Rangers of the New Republic. Gideon’s capture may help drive the storyline in that series, as the New Republic interrogates him and tries to act on the intelligence he provides. Of course, we’d hardly expect someone as devious as Gideon to simply cooperate with his captors. He may have a long game planned, and we could easily see him playing the manipulative, Hannibal Lecter-esque villain in Rangers of the New Republic. We may also learn what he was able to accomplish with Grogu’s DNA and how that sets the stage for the rise of Supreme Leader Snoke and the First Order.

But as far as The Mandalorian goes, Gideon may have outlived his usefulness as an antagonist. Both Din and Bo-Katan have gotten what they wanted from Gideon, even if that now puts them into direct conflict with one another.

Will Baby Yoda and Luke Skywalker Return?

Whatever happens in Season 3, it’s clear we’re in for at least one huge change to the series’ formula. Baby Yoda is no longer going to be one of the main characters. Grogu is off with Master Luke now, likely making him one of the first recruits in Luke’s Jedi Academy. Season 3 either needs to find a new plot catalyst or, as we’ve discussed, shift focus to a new main character.

We highly doubt Grogu is being permanently shuffled off-stage. He’s a popular character, and quite possibly Disney’s biggest Star Wars merchandise money-maker right now. Din’s vow that he and Grogu will see each other again seems confirmation enough that Baby Yoda will return before The Mandalorian wraps up for good.

Grogu may well return in a future episode, but the character seems destined to play a larger role in a spinoff series focused on Luke’s Jedi Academy. That’s a story that needs telling sooner or later. We’ve seen glimpses of the events that led to the destruction of the school, both in the sequel trilogy and in the prequel comic Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren, but we’ve seen little of the Academy in its prime, and nothing of its origins.

It doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to assume we’ll get a Jedi Academy series on Disney+, one that shows Luke training Grogu, a young Ben Solo, and other fledgling Jedi. However, that series will almost certainly be animated rather than live-action. No doubt the process of de-aging Mark Hamill through CGI was incredibly time-consuming and expensive. Repeating that process for an entire series rather than a handful of shots in a single episode is surely impractical. And if Disney had any intention of recasting the Luke Skywalker role as they did with Han Solo, they probably would have done so in this episode. An animated series offers a much simpler workaround, and it allows for Hamill to either reprise the role in vocal form or another actor to take over in a less distracting way.

In short, we may see that adorable Grogu puppet return in a future season, but we’re anticipating a Jedi Academy series to be the next animated project announced after Star Wars: The Bad Batch.

For more Mando goodness, find out how old these returning Star Wars characters are in the era of The Mandalorian, and why it matters that the series showed us Baby Yoda’s dark side.

Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.

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