Looks Like The Mandalorian Is Laying The Groundwork For The Return Of A Major Star Wars Villain
We knew they'd have to return.
We are about to dive into some serious spoilers for The Mandalorian Season 3, so you might want to head to another article somewhere else on the site if you haven't yet kept up top date with the current season on Disney+.
Some Star Wars fans were confused this week when a standard episode of The Mandalorian, which featured Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Bo-Katan Kyrze (Katee Sackhoff) avoiding a fleet of TIE fighters as they exited Mandalore, suddenly switched gears to catch up with a character we hadn’t seen on screen since the Season 2 finale. Dr. Penn Pershing (Omid Abtahi) participated in the experiments on Grogu that were initiated by The Client (Werner Herzog) but ordered by Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). What feels like a detour to Coruscant, and an education lesson on the New Republic’s amnesty program, feels more to me like a major tease for the return of a major Mandalorian villain: Moff Gideon.
Moff Gideon was detained at the end of The Mandalorian Season 2, after Luke Skywalker appeared and destroyed an army of dark troopers. The villain attempted to commit suicide, rather than be taken captive, but Cara Dune (Gina Carano) stopped him, then took him into custody for the New Republic. There’s mention of Moff Gideon in this week’s episode of The Mandalorian, when a group of former Imperial workers speculate about the horrible things that might have happened to him after being turned over to the New Republic. G-68 (Katy O’Brian), who was part of Gideon’s crew, dismissed all the rumors and said:
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She directs that sentiment to Dr. Pershing, who is growing acclimated to life outside of the Empire. Only, the more I rewatch the scene, the more I believe that G-68, or Elia Kane, is lying. Throughout the episode, she encourages Pershing to continue pursuing the cutting-edge work that he was doing with regards to cloning. She argues that the advancements he was making on behalf of the Empire can be just as valuable to the New Republic, and all but convinces him that it’s his civic duty to continue experimenting. The New Republic would require that.
Again, I think that she’s manipulating him. She convinces this weak-willed scientist to go on an expedition to retrieve a mobile lab system so that he can continue his research. She’s very clearly pushing his buttons, and eventually betrays him once they lay claim to the material that he needed for his research. At the end of their story, when Pershing is facing a mind-wiping procedure, she sneakily raises the amps to make sure he can’t share any role that she might have had on his secret mission.
Why would she be doing this? It could be for her own nefarious reasons. But I think that ultimately, she is still working for Moff Gideon, and has infiltrated the New Republic’s amnesty integration program to take the system down from within.
Moff Gideon has been a thorn in Mando’s side since appearing in the show. He’s wanted to get his hands on Grogu. And Mando bested him for the right to the Darksaber… which should have granted him the right to control Mandalore, only Mando wasn’t worthy. Until now. Because he bathed in the waters beneath Mandalore, and reclaimed his destiny. That also means that he and Moff Gideon have unfinished business. And so I very much believe that the detour to Coruscant in The Mandalorian Episode 3 was a reminder that former loyalists to Gideon’s army exist, and this is where they are, for now. Doing his bidding, and possibly setting him up for the chance to experiment on cloning himself. Or cloning something much worse.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.