There was a lot going on at the D23 Expo, with plenty of hype around the latest Disney shows and films, from Marvel’s She-Hulk to the off-beat The World According to Jeff Goldblum. It’s no shock that the latest Star Wars show, The Mandalorian, came in to focus too with a stunning new teaser trailer and more details announced.
While fans quickly set about picking apart the new trailer searching for Easter eggs, The Mandalorian star Gina Carano awkwardly dropped a piece of news that the show would feature a big surprise.
And, naturally, nobody’s saying what it is.
There’s been plenty of speculation that this big surprise may involve the identity of the mysterious titular character, with the show drawing inspiration from Spaghetti Westerns of yesteryear, and the character being likened to Clint Eastwood’s enigmatic character The Man With No Name. Meanwhile, others have questioned if the surprise is more to do with the nature of the show itself. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the top theories being bounced around right now…
The Mandalorian is really Boba Fett!
This one may seem the most obvious, at least on a surface level: the Mandalorian battle armour, the character being a bounty hunter, the gunfighting abilities and the prisoners encased in carbonite are all reminiscent of the legendary Star Wars character. Fett’s massive cult status as the galaxy’s most feared and respected bounty hunter – despite only appearing the films for a paltry five minutes – would make him the most likely candidate to be the focus of the new show. Plus, the teaser trailer hasn’t revealed his face or had The Mandalorian speak yet… and possibly with good reason; a voice-over from Jango Fett/Boba Fett/Clone Trooper/ actor Temura Morrison would have been instantly recognisable, and would ruin the surprise.
Boba Fett, strictly speaking, isn’t a Mandalorian. As many fans may know, Boba Fett is a clone, technically from Kamino and not the planet Mandalore. To make his claim to the title even more questionable, his bio-“dad” Jango was considered a renegade and a pretender by the government of Mandalore. However, assuming that the mysterious “Mandalorian” character in this show is Boba Fett, it may mean an incredibly strong redemption storyline for him. Seeing Boba as an outsider amongst people who could technically be his own but aren’t, and attempting to connect with (or even save) a planet which has effectively disowned him… that could be a defining moment and be the best Boba Fett story of all time.
The Mandalorian is a woman, and it’s Sabine Wren!
Inevitably, there has already been backlash at the very notion that the mysterious Mandalorian may be a woman. As Obi-Wan might say, it’s as if millions of closed-minded fanboys suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Except it isn’t millions, it’s more like a handful who exist in an echo chamber and are worried that Star Wars is too “woke” for its own good these days. The problem with that is there’s no logical reason why The Mandalorian couldn’t be a woman under the mask (despite actor Pedro Pascal being cast in the role… although it wouldn’t be the first time Star Wars had different actors playing/voicing the same role).
In particular, one woman could be The Mandalorian: Sabine Wren.
Sabine, who featured prominently in the acclaimed animated show Star Wars: Rebels (co-created by Dave Filoni, who also happens to be directing the first episode of The Madalorian), was an instant hit with fans. With her military background, weapons engineering abilities and a past life which included time as, yes, a bounty hunter… she ticks every box to be the Mandalorian in question, hiding out for some unknown reason. A revolutionary leader and wielder of the Darksaber, she fought to not only overthrow the rising Empire but to keep Mandalore – and her clan – free and safe. While some may be offended at the possibility of a woman in the title role, it would be hard for any Star Wars fan to discount Sabine’s history. Given Filoni’s involvement with this show too and his work on the excellent Mandalorian tales in both The Clone Wars and Rebels, it’s fair to say he knows what he’s doing and he has a soft spot for the character already.
The Mandalorian is Jodo Kast!
This one came out of nowhere, but it would be an interesting idea. The name Jodo Kast may be unfamiliar to even the most die-hard Star Wars fan, but the possibilities could be fascinating. Jodo Kast featured in a Boba Fett comic book, Twin Engines of Destruction. The story went like this: after Boba fell into the Sarlacc pit in Return of the Jedi, a young opportunist by the name of Jodo Kast donned a near-identical set of Mandalorian armour to Fett’s, and passed himself off as the legendary bounty hunter. Fooling people into believing he was Fett, he coasted more on Fett’s reputation than his skills, while charging his clients a fortune for his services. The problem? Boba Fett wasn’t dead. And when Boba finally found out about Kast, he posed as a client and hired him, leading him into a trap to reclaim his legacy.
Twin Engines of Destruction isn’t the best Star Wars story out there, but the concept of it was a fun and fascinating one. All that we’ve seen of the mysterious Mandalorian so far has led people to assume that it may be Boba Fett, but what if it’s the other way around and the Mandalorian’s client is Fett? Meanwhile, a less-capable character – like, say, Jodo Kast – may be pretending to be Fett? If so, the Mandalorian may be more of a Star-Lord-style figure (which could also explain the unusual voice casting of Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi as his potential sidekick IG-11). It could mean that the tone of the show may be a little lighter than the trailer suggests. It could also still mean the return of Fett himself, perhaps pulling the Mandalorian’s strings in an attempt to set him up.
IG-11 is really IG-88!
The more hardcore Star Wars fans out there who saw the teaser trailer instantly identified the gunfighting droid seen on screen as IG-88… or at least he looks like a lot like him. However, more recent reports have listed the droid as IG-11, who (as stated) will apparently be voiced by Taika Waititi. In the past, the droids of Star Wars have all been a little quirky and the casting for them has matched that – sometimes allowing them to display more personality than many humanoid characters, and which has led to them becoming fan favourites. Hearing Taika Waititi’s voice on a rapid-firing assassin droid though? That’s a curious one.
But could IG-11 is really IG-88 in disguise. And… who is IG-88 anyway?
From the moment IG-88 was first activated, he had the desire and skill to kill, going rogue and starting his existence as a deadly bounty hunter. While many stories of his adventures are often non-canon, the most commonly regarded one is that the original IG-88 downloaded his consciousness into several duplicate bodies, each one as merciless and calculating as the original. While they became notorious as “one” of the galaxy’s top bounty hunters while doing multiple jobs seemingly at the same time, one had the foresight to track Boba Fett (who was, in turn, tracking Han Solo) and intercepted Fett at Bespin… but came up short when they tangled. IG-88 also nearly hacked the second Death Star, almost taking control of the galaxy’s most powerful weapon. Given the track record of IG-88’s lethality and cunning, could it be possible that he might have disguised himself as a less-effective and goofy sidekick droid… before being revealed as the season’s true psychopathic villain? It could be a dark twist that almost nobody’s expecting.
A surprise cameo?
Given the clout of Disney, the connections across all Disney properties of the cast and crew and the popularity of Star Wars in general, it would be more surprising if we didn’t get cameos. Establishing this series, in particular with how, when and why it exists, could be important. Some are suggesting that this show may give us more information on Rey’s mysterious past before the final film in the latest trilogy comes out, while others believe that it may delve into the origin of Supreme Leader Snoke. Meanwhile, many fans hope it will continue the story of the surviving characters from Star Wars: Rebels, while some want nothing but an action-packed bounty hunting extravaganza.
But what guest characters may we be likely to see, if any? And what actors may show up unannounced in some form? The casting of Mulan/Agents of SHIELD star (and D23 Disney Legend) Ming-Na Wen in an undisclosed role has been described as allowing her to check being a Star Wars star off her nerd bucket list. Some are already suggesting she may appear as a legendary character like Ahsoka Tano or Hera Syndulla. She may not be the only Marvel star to appear too, given creator/writer Jon Favreau’s massive involvement with that Disney franchise since the first Iron Man film.
Could it be possible that Robert Downey Jr. or any of his fellow Avengers may show up? It’s more than possible and we’ll have to wait and see.