With the upcoming season 3 finale of The Mandalorian and new announcements at Star Wars Celebration, many fans are wondering about unexplained things from the Sequel Era. One of them is the absence of The Mandalorians in the fight against First Order. Especially the important ones, like Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff). Were they killed? Maybe someone tricked or paid them to not fight in this war? Or maybe something bigger is going on? While thinking about the appearance of Grand Admiral Thrawn in Ahsoka, I came up with a theory.
[Warning: Spoilers from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and The Mandalorian are below!]
The Mandalorians’ origin story and their importance to the Star Wars universe
The Mandalorians are a clan-based culture that has flourished for thousands and thousands of years in Star Wars universe. Its members are of different species, gender, appearance, religion, etc. Their origin story dates to around 9990 to 10000 BBY on the planet Mandalore located in the Outer Rims of the galaxy. The number of different Mandalorian clans and groups that had been formed by this time is unimaginable. Some of them are still present in Star Wars lore, and some have been gone for a long time.
Mandalorians have always been known as very highly efficient, honest and honorable bounty hunters. If they were paid to do something, they didn’t take the money until they finished the job. Among them were also warriors. Some of them waged a war against the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order, which was known as the Mandalorian-Jedi War.
Their relationship changed somewhat when the Mandalorian known as Tarre Vizsla joined the Jedi Order. He was the creator of Darksaber, which has been popular recently in The Mandalorian series. All this took place around 1050 BBY. He was also the creator of the House of Vizsla. We have seen members of this house in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and in The Mandalorian. They are Pre Vizsla and Paz Vizsla (Tait Fletcher).
The Mandalorians have always been a big part of the Star Wars universe. I’m very happy that even in live-action projects we can hear about Mandalorian Wars, Mandalorian Civil Wars, or Siege of Mandalore. Although Mandalore has been neutral since the Clone Wars, we know that before they weren’t a neutral world.
In Legends a.k.a. Expanded Universe there was a book called Tales of the Jedi. There we could learn about how thousands of years before the Original Trilogy, the Mandalorians joined with Sith warriors to fight the Jedi. Through this story and its impact, we learned that this was a defining moment in Mandalorian culture. Because after the war ended, Mandalorians were no longer a species. They were a culture, an idea, a clan, a family. Those who followed the Mandalorian path could call themselves Mandalorian.
And now as we see in The Mandalorian series, Mandalore and Mandalorian lore is becoming important again in the universe. But I think it may not be for that long.
Mandalorians during the reign of Empire & the Empire’s secret weapon against them
When the Empire ruled the Galaxy, many worlds that had previously been neutral could now not be neutral. The Empire was going around different planets and was telling the inhabitants that they were either with them or against them. Mandalore was neutral during the Clone Wars, but when the Clan Saxon began to rule the planet, they became “friends” with the Empire.
In Star Wars: Rebels, when Gar Saxon was killed by Ursa Wren, another Mandalorian Civil War began. When the Clan Wren decided to gather warriors and fight against the Empire, it was something that marked another important point in Mandalorian history. Not because they defeated them easily and it was a turning point in the war, but because something important happened. And it was the use of a weapon created by Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) when she was just a cadet in the Empire’s structures.
The weapon, named The Duchess, was an arc pulse generator that reacted with Mandalorian armor. It was designed to incinerate and disintegrate those wearing beskar alloy armor. Being a powerful weapon that could easily kill armies of Mandalorians, the Empire didn’t have to risk the lives of stormtroopers. Not that they cared about them. Since Sabine was the original creator of the Duchess, only she could control it. She had the knowledge to change the weapon’s perimeter and target Stormtrooper armor instead of Mandalorian armor. After she and Bo-Katan defeated Gar Saxon, Sabine destroyed the weapon with a Darksaber.
But I think that even if she destroyed it, there were still schematics in the Empire’s computers or in the data bank on Scarif. So in my opinion, there is a possibility that the Duchess could be recreated. It would certainly take time, maybe even a few years, but that may be one of the reasons we didn’t see the Mandalorians during the Sequel Era.
Grand Admiral Thrawn & Operation Cinder
A major thing in the upcoming Star Wars projects is the return of Grand Admiral Thrawn. We could see him in seasons 3 and 4 of Star Wars: Rebels. He is an important tactical genius who works for the Empire. As in Rebels, now in the Ahsoka series, the one and only fantastic Lars Mikkelsen will once again take on the role of Thrawn. His version of this character is still one of the most beloved by fans.
In Rebels, Thrawn was a really clever and dangerous opponent for the Rebellion. He anticipated a huge number of their moves and ran his own game. His determination and intelligence are truly something that challenged even the Jedi.
His return as “Heir to the Empire” suggests that this all leads to an adaptation of the Thrawn Trilogy from the Legends a.k.a. Expanded Universe. These were written by Timothy Zahn and consist of the books Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command. They tell the story of Thrawn trying to destroy the New Republic.
We can safely assume that in the Ahsoka series, he’ll plan to do the same. Especially in the face of the Emperor’s (Ian McDiarmid) Contingency Plan and one part of it called Operation Cinder. The operation was designed to punish planets loyal to the Empire by bombing them. All this was aimed at rebuilding the Empire after Palpatine’s death in the form of The First Order.
As we know, Thrawn is very smart. I think that in order to prove his steadfast loyalty to the Empire, he may decide to do everything in his power to remove every dangerous enemy of the Empire from the equation. This is exactly what Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) did when he was ordered to bomb Mandalore to prevent them from helping the Rebellion.
Thrawn certainly knows who betrayed the Empire for the Rebellion and who was the biggest threat. He could attack them all out of nowhere and make sure they don’t threaten the Empire again. And that is why I believe Thrawn may be responsible for another great purge of the Mandalorians. My earlier mention of the Duchess was no accident. What if Thrawn had ordered the rebuilding of these weapons to eliminate every Mandalorian/person wearing Mandalorian armor?
I think it is very possible for him to make such a decision. Although he respects every culture and initially tries to settle the matter peacefully, this time he would know that he must make the first move. There’s something like a 30-year gap between the Ahsoka series and The Force Awakens film. During this time, Thrawn could be quietly hunting down any Mandalorians (along with other possible enemies of the already establishing First Order).
Bringing back Thrawn only to have the New Republic overthrow him again would be a wasted opportunity. And I think that’s one of the reasons why Lars Mikkelsen will play him again – not simply bring him back for fanservice. This gives the talented actor a chance to make his animated character great again. This time in live-action. Of course, we knew that one day he and Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) had to be found. However, we now know that Thrawn’s purpose is more important to the Star Wars universe than before.
Thrawn murdering Mandalorians and enemies of the Empire/First Order will be his goal and he will stop at nothing. Whatever Thrawn has to do to make the Emperor’s return big and significant, he will do it.
The Mandoverse and Dave Filoni’s Star Wars Film
As revealed at Star Wars Celebration 2023, Dave Filoni will direct a film that will culminate the events of the Mandoverse. It will be about the escalating war between the Imperial Remnant and the not-so-stable New Republic. Thrawn being part of this war is almost a certainty. We also know that the coming events will be terrifying and not good for our beloved heroes from The Mandalorian. The aftermath of the past few and coming years is something we expect Dave Filoni to tackle in the film.
As in the previously mentioned Heir to the Empire trilogy, Thrawn will attempt to destroy the New Republic. And what’s better than destroying it with a whole fleet of old and new Empire ships, still loyal people/planets, and people realizing that the New Republic will be a fiasco? From what we know from the Sequel Era films, the First Order in The Force Awakens is already larger than the New Republic/Resistance. When they destroy Hosnian Prime it is their last act to confirm that they rule the galaxy again.
Without the Mandalorians and probably without beskar, the Resistance had no chance against them. And that’s why it took Thrawn so long to prepare because he wanted to be 100% sure that there would be no one with the means to stop them. With beskar being the strongest metal in the galaxy, if fewer people have it/use it, the better for the Empire/First Order.
So that’s why I think we don’t see the Mandalorians during the Sequel Era. Because they were all killed/vaporized by Thrawn and the Empire/First Order. Perhaps it was due to the Duchess, or maybe they were just hunted down and killed without using it. Who knows, time will tell, and I hope that this plan to make Thrawn a major player again will not disappoint us.
The Ahsoka series will premiere in August 2023 only on Disney+. What do you think about this theory? Do you agree with it? Let us know on Twitter and The Cosmic Circus Discord channel.