Fans Think Only One Imperial Warlord Can Be Behind Those Hard-hitting Moves in ‘The Mandalorian’
Image via Disney Plus
Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Chapter 19 of The Mandalorian.
Have we just seen a big hint that a major Star Wars player will enter the live-action Star Wars galaxy sooner than we thought?
Chapter 19 of The Mandalorian got off to a blistering start as the redeemed Din Djarin left Mandalore with the inadvertently redeemed Bo-Katan Kryze.
Bo-Katan’s hiding what she saw in the living waters beneath the Mines of Mandalore, but there’s no time to explore the added tension between the pair as they are set upon by some familiar ships.
A dogfight between Bo-Katan’s craft and, after a daring leap, Mando’s N1 fighter ensues, darting through the cliffs of Kalevala as the Mandalorians take down TIE Interceptors. However, their impressive defeat of those Imperial combat ships is short-lived when Din Djarin notices something else on his radar.
While the TIE Interceptors proved that targeting systems hadn’t improved since the Battle of Endor, TIE Bombers quickly established that the Empire still has it. They devastate Bo-Katan’s castle before the Mandalorians are hounded away from the planet by the arrival of a larger fleet of TIE Interceptors.
“That’s a lot of ships for an Imperial Warlord,” says Bo-Katan, with some understatement. It’s not dug into again during the chapter, although some viewers didn’t buy quite buy into Bo’s earlier comment that it’s any old bunch of “mudscuffers.”
Putting together a few clues, there’s one prime candidate in Star Wars lore who could assemble an impressive fleet and deploy them using those distractionary tactics.
Yes, fans were quick to take the hint that a certain Grand Admiral is on his way. Thrawn is one of the most compelling parts of the extended Star Wars universe, A Grand Admiral of the Empire who survived the Emperor’s death and whose popularity has seen him pass from Star Wars Legends to the core continuity. Timothy Zahn sculpted the villain in books, establishing him as a significant tactical force who reassembled and commanded the disrupted Imperial fleet after the destruction of the second Death Star at the battle of Endor.
The Grand Admiral debuted in canon during the Star Wars: Rebels animated series, and fans have been itching to see him debut in live-action for some time. In Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian, Jedi Ahsoka Tano mentioned Thrawn as the master to the Magistrate of Corvus, and now, we have a hint that he’s closer than we think.
The specific targeting of Bo-Katan’s heritage has Thrawn’s fingerprints all over it. Yes, the Mandalorian says she’s wound up plenty of Imperial warlords, but Thrawn is well-known for his immersive approach to defeating his enemies. His key to success? Understand their philosophy and culture — and this destruction seems like that kind of knowing attack.
Thrawn’s expected to make his live-action leap in the Ahsoka Disney-Plus series later in 2023, along with several Star Wars: Rebels characters. Ahsoka and the Grand Admiral are linked by Anakin Skywalker, one as his Padawan and the other as his Imperial rival, so sparks are expected to fly. As Mandalorian veteran Dave Filoni is the lead writer on Ahsoka, it’s understandable some are looking for leads into the Ahsoka series, just like last week’s cameos.
There are hints that Moff Gideon is back on the scene later in Chapter 19. They could be a red herring, but Gideo’s involvement would be more consistent with the recent storyline, especially given the extended detour to Coruscant that follows in the episode. Fans particularly well-versed in the timeline doubt Thrawn would shunt Gideon out of the way at this point.
With Thrawn, it’s all about tactics, and maybe his best tactic is not to leave those kinds of hints?
Either way, there’s a renewed Imperial threat mounting, which we now know reaches from the Mandalore system to the heart of Coruscant.
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