The Mandalorian was the TV show that brought balance to the Force. While The Last Jedi, Solo and The Rise of Skywalker were incredibly divisive among the Star Wars fanbase, pretty much everyone could agree that the story of Din Djarin and “the Child” was the best thing to come out of that galaxy far, far away since the original trilogy. That’s why The Mandalorian season 3 is one of the most anticipated offerings on the Disney Plus slate.
When the show returns, there are plenty of questions the new season needs to answer, from the fate of Grogu (the little green guy the world knows as “Baby Yoda”) to the activities of an Imperial remnant that refuses to go away quietly. We’re also intrigued to find out how The Mandalorian season 3 fits in with The Book of Boba Fett, the spin-off series that was announced via a spectacular reveal in the season 2 finale.
In other words, The Mandalorian season 3 is setting the pace for an exciting period in Star Wars history, where TV shows such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor and Ahsoka are becoming just as important to the long-running franchise as the movies.
Here’s everything we know about The Mandalorian season 3 so far, from casting to plot – and rumors that The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson might be up for helming an episode…
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The third season of The Mandalorian, the first ever live-action Star Wars TV show.
- When can I see it? The new season is expected to debut in early 2022.
- Where can I see it? The show will stream exclusively on Disney Plus.
The Mandalorian season 3 release date: 2022
When The Book of Boba Fett was announced at the end of The Mandalorian season 2 finale, viewers worried that the new show was taking the place of a third season of The Mandalorian. But that’s definitely not the case: Favreau has confirmed that The Mandalorian season 3 will continue the story of Pascal’s Din Djarin.
“What we didn’t say in [the Disney Investor Day announcement about upcoming Star Wars TV] is the next show coming up – [Kathleen Kennedy] said the next chapter – that’s gonna be The Book of Boba Fett,” Favreau told Good Morning America in December 2020. “And then we go into production right after that on season 3 of The Mandalorian, back with the main character that we all have known and loved.”
So The Mandalorian season 3 is confirmed and filming this year – but you might have to wait a little longer than you originally hoped. While seasons 1 and 2 debuted in November 2019 and October 2020, respectively, Mando’s third outing isn’t due until 2022. And that’s all we know, because a specific Mandalorian season 3 release date is yet to be confirmed. At least we can look forward to The Book of Boba Fett’s arrival in late 2021 to fill that Star Wars-shaped hole on Disney Plus…
A production listing for The Mandalorian season 3 by the Film and Television Industry Alliance says filming was scheduled to begin on April 5, 2021. Lucasfilm hasn’t said anything to that effect just yet, however. We’d speculate that means we’ll see the new season debut in the first half of 2022, based on how quickly past seasons have been released on Disney Plus – maybe we’ll even get to see it immediately after The Book of Boba Fett has finished streaming?
Much of the scheduling will depend on Pedro Pascal’s availability, though. The star of the show is currently filming comedy flick The Bubble, according to his IMDb profile page, and he was recently cast as Joel Miller for HBO’s live-action series based on Naughty Dog’s critically-acclaimed video game The Last of Us. There’s no word on when principal photography will begin on HBO’s adaptation, however, so The Mandalorian season 3 shouldn’t be affected by Pascal’s casting just yet – especially as he’s not always the actor inside that famous helmet, as director Bryce Dallas Howard revealed to Vulture in 2019.
We’ll update this section once we have confirmation on an official launch date. You can pass the time with this picture of Pedro Pascal in-costume as Mando:
Category is: helmet head realness. #Maythe4thBeWithYou pic.twitter.com/XUUF4hYjN3May 4, 2021
The Mandalorian season 3 cast: what we know
Spoilers follow for The Mandalorian season 2. Don’t go any further unless you want the series ruined for you.
While there’s no officially confirmed supporting cast for season 3 yet, Pedro Pascal will return as Din Djarin, aka The Mandalorian.
Other actors returning next season are unclear – no surprise, seeing as Lucasfilm tend to enjoy keeping guest stars secret until new episodes debut on Disney Plus – but the show now has a big ensemble to pick and choose from.
We fully expect to see Katee Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan Kryze appear again – perhaps season 3 will dig further into her quest to restore Mandalore – while Carl Weathers (Greef Karga) is likely to pop up at some point.
Gina Carano, however, isn’t returning as former Rebel Shock Trooper Cara Dune. We’ve touched on this further down, so jump ahead if you want to know why.
Giancarlo Esposito seems fairly confident he’ll turn up again as rogue Imperial Moff Gideon in season 3. “I have a feeling you’ll see more of me next season,” the actor told Entertainment Weekly. With his life spared by Mando in the season 2 finale, why ditch a perfectly good villain?
It’s also possible that Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) will appear again after their starring roles in the upcoming The Book of Boba Fett, but that’s not certain. An earlier Deadline report, which correctly reported a Boba Fett show was happening, suggested that it’s possible actress Sophie Thatcher will appear in The Mandalorian season 3, but we await official confirmation on this – indeed, it’s just as likely she’s appearing in The Book of Boba Fett.
Additionally, rumors surrounding an appearance from the Wookiees have emerged recently. According to the Bespin Bulletin podcast, sources close to season 3’s production have suggested that a Wookiee will be making an appearance in the show.
Naturally, there’s no confirmation as to whether this is true, so we’re taking this with a big pinch of salt for now. If you’re interested in viewing the rumor yourself, though, check out the Instagram post below:
Finally, while this isn’t a casting rumor per se, it’s believed that Rian Johnson wants to direct a future instalment in The Mandalorian. According to author and reporter Sariah Wilson, The Last Jedi director is “dying to” direct an episode of the series, and that Johnson had already spoken to executive producer Dave Filoni about the potential to do so.
However, Star Wars fans who loathe The Last Jedi can rest easy for the time being. As Wilson claims, Johnson is currently busy writing Knives Out 2 before filming it as soon as possible. If Johnson is tied up with that sequel, his schedule won’t enable him to direct an episode of season 3, at the very least.
You can view Wilson’s thread about Johnson and The Mandalorian below:
I asked Rian if he’d ever consider doing an episode of The Mandalorian. He said he was dying to, but that for him it’s all about scheduling. He’s been writing KO2 and now he’s going to go directly into filming it. So it would be a matter ofApril 17, 2021
The Mandalorian season 3 story: will Grogu return?
We think there are two big plot threads from season 2 that The Mandalorian season 3 has to pay off. First, who will wield the Darksaber? And, second, when will Grogu – also known as The Child/Baby Yoda – return to Din Djarin’s care following his time training with Jedi Master Luke Skywalker?
At the end of season 2, Mando won the Darksaber weapon – the Mandalorian blade highly coveted by Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) in her journey to reclaim the throne of Mandalore – from Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). However, he couldn’t simply hand it over to Bo-Katan, and tensions mounted as it became clear that she and Mando were going to have to duel in order for her to claim the weapon. This plot thread should be picked up again in The Mandalorian season 3, as any developments were scuppered by the impromptu appearance of Luke Skywalker in the season finale.
Speaking of Luke, the other big plot point we expect to be picked up in season 3 is the fate of Grogu after the artist formerly known as Baby Yoda went off with Luke to be trained in the ways of the Force. “He is strong with the Force, but talent without training is nothing. I will give my life to protect the Child… but he will not be safe until he masters his abilities.” Mando promises he’ll see Grogu again, but when?
We would be shocked not to see the little green guy again next season. While we did see in season 2, episode 7 that the show is capable of having great adventures without Grogu, the story of Mando and Baby Yoda is the heart of the show, and we don’t expect that to change despite season 2’s cliffhanger ending.
Then, of course, there’s the resurgent Empire to deal with. Moff Gideon’s ship is just one small part of the Imperial remnant forces out there waiting to be dealt with, and we know that Imperial leader Grand Admiral Thrawn is alive and being hunted by Ahsoka Tano.
We expect the Thrawn story to form the basis of the upcoming Ahsoka live-action show, but it’s possible we’ll see it picked up again in The Mandalorian, too. One thing we’re certain of is that Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t interested in the role. The Doctor Strange and Sherlock star recently stated that there’s “no way” that he wants to be cast as the live-action version of the beloved villain, mostly because he doesn’t want to be colored blue for the role. If Thrawn does crossover into season 3, we should hear about any castings before filming begins.
It’s also likely that we’ll see more hints at what Grogu’s blood is being used for by the Empire. It seemed fairly obvious the show was pointing at the cloned origins of sequel trilogy ‘villain’ Snoke, and the eventual return of Emperor Palpatine that would make us sigh with disappointment in 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker, but we’ll have to see if season 3 addresses this or not.
What we do know is that members of the cast have an idea of where the show is heading. In an interview with IndieWire in January, Pascal teased that he’s aware of “what the plan is” for season 3 and beyond, but obviously couldn’t elaborate on it due to spoilers and NDA agreements in his contract.
“I can’t share it (the plot), he said. “They’re in the expansion of this world, where there are so many unexpected surprises and timelines that are going to be dealt with. If the character were to cross over into these worlds, it will be utilized in a way that isn’t meant to be expected. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise of whether or not characters from the show we already know are crossing over.”
The Mandalorian season 3: Gina Carano won’t return
Due to an offensive social media post, Gina Carano was removed from all future Lucasfilm projects. “Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future,” the company said in a statement. That means you won’t see her in future Star Wars shows, including season 3. Carano has since fired back over her removal from the show, with the actress claiming that she had been “bullied” by Disney and LucasFilm – accusations that both companies have strenuously denied (h/t BBC).
It’s unclear if this means the Cara Dune character is being retired or if she’ll be recast. The Mandalorian’s showrunners could easily find a way to kill her off-screen but, until we know for sure, we’ll wait to see what Favreau and company decide to do with Cara Dune. The fact that the Rangers of the New Republic spin-off – widely rumored to focus on Dune – has been mothballed by Lucasfilm suggests we may have seen the last of the character.
The Mandalorian season 3 trailer: when will we see one?
We don’t expect to see a trailer for The Mandalorian season 3 until late 2021, possibly around the time The Book of Boba Fett releases on Disney Plus.
The Mandalorian season 3 and its spin-offs are heading for a ‘climactic story event’
The Mandalorian has two spin-offs in the works : The Book of Boba Fett, which we’ve talked about already, and Ahsoka. Both are set to take place in the timeframe of the main show, around five years after Return of the Jedi. (The previously mentioned Rangers of the New Republic would also have been set during the same period, until Lucasfilm and Disney put it on ice – or should that be carbonite?)
The intriguing part is, there’s a plan for this sub-universe of shows to converge into a larger story. It sounds a little like what Netflix did in uniting its various Marvel superhero TV shows in the miniseries The Defenders, but we’d expect Disney and Lucasfilm’s plans to be better received than the Netflix crossover series was.
“These interconnected shows, along with future stories, will excite new audiences embrace our most passionate fans, and culminate in a climactic story event,” explained Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy during Disney’s Investor Day stream in late 2020.
It sounds to us, then, that we’re going to see either a miniseries or movie-length episode that brings these stories together – though we wouldn’t expect to see that for a few years from now. First, lets get The Mandalorian season 3 out of the way…