"The Mandalorian": Wait, what's improper with the Empire now?
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This week's episode of The Mandalorian"The Heiress" packed a lot of things in its fast 32-minute running time. There was the unveiling of Bo-Katan Kryze (played by Katee Sackhoffwho voiced the character in the animated shows Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and the somewhat surprising conclusion that our hero might be a religious zealot. There was also a giant sea creature crushing Baby Yoda's stroller. That was so sad. But one of the biggest revelations was a fully functional Imperial cruiser and loads of stormtroopers who were well armed, looked chic in their uniforms, and were commanded by a very imposing, nameless captain (Titus Welliver). It was a stark contrast to what we saw on the show's first season, with grungy, battle-hardened stormtroopers in Navarro (were they even stormtroopers or just militias putting on their costumes?) And it was enough to wonder: What's happening? the empire now?
Canonically, The Mandalorian is set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi. The empire was defeated, but a peaceful transfer of power was not exactly established. It's a wonderful time frame to play on a Star Wars show because there are so many dramas – feuds between criminal factions fighting for control of the galactic underworld, loyalists of the Empire and the Rebellion carry on their beliefs and scraps of the War that once ended decidedly unsavory hands (see also: Bryce Dallas HowardEpisode of the first season). It is conceivable that five years after the destruction of the second Death Star, some distant planets hampered by poor communication do not even know that the war is over and are still fighting. (Undoubtedly the contents of the expanded universe, much of which has now been relegated to “legend” status, and the newly formed canon have covered that period and the political turmoil within, but fortunately we are not aware of it.)
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Series creator Jon Favreau clearly has something for samurai movies, considering how much of the show is homage to Lone wolf and cub, a Japanese manga turned into a number of hit movies and television series that followed a swordsman and his young wife. And the idea that feudal warlords are trying to assert their power over a country besieged by chaos has cropped up on the show. In The Mandalorian, everyone wants theirs. But in the episode of that week we saw something much more organized, militant, and committed, which made it much, much more frightening.
Sure, the customer (Werner Herzog) was loyal to the Empire, but maybe it was underfunded and a little alone. The introduction of Moff Gideon towards the end of the first season (Giancarlo Esposito), showed us that there are some Loyalists out there commanding a much larger, more formidable army, and having access to seemingly endless resources and technology (remember, Gideon was flanked by Death Troopers, as described in advance of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as Seal Team Six of the Empire). Where this funding comes from remains to be seen. A criminal syndicate? The rest of the Hutts? We're sure this will be investigated at some point, but it's still worth noting now.
Instead of holding onto power, Gideon seems ready to actively rebuild the empire. Not only does he hold on to the remnants of the old guard, but he drives things forward by maintaining the status quo and pursuing greater goals like his endless pursuit of the child aka Baby Yoda. It is this kind of intense dedication and forward thinking that could lead to the formation of the First Order, the Empire-like evil organization that our heroes have faced in the sequel to the trilogy, and whose origins are still cloudy at best (at least for those of us) ) don't read every comic book and novel). The Force Awakens is still 25 years away at this point, but could Moff Gideon be the architect of the new empire?
This obviously has a huge impact on the rest of the Mandalorian and Star Wars universes right behind it and we can't wait to see where this leads.