Spoilers ahead! I have spoken.
What a finish!
The Mandalorian was mostly content to spend its first season introducing characters and setting a mood. Exposition took a back seat again and again even as a larger story was clearly developing. That changed in a big way in Chapter 8.
The final episode of Season 1 is filled to the brim with major developments that are sure to shape the course of the story as we head into a second season. We know more than ever about our heroes and villains, as well as the various forces (no Star Wars pun intended) that guide their actions.
So let’s get to it. What are the big details we should all be chewing on as we start to look ahead toward Season 2?
1. The Mando himself
Our mysterious armored protagonist now has a name and an origin story to go with it.
The Mandalorian’s name is Din Djarin, as we learned when Moff Gideon just blurted it out. We also learned, compliments of an extended flashback, that Din wasn’t born on Mandalore. In fact, he’s a foundling who was rescued by a group of Mandalorian warriors in the aftermath of a Separatist attack on his as-yet-unnamed home world.
A few things stand out from that flashback. For one, at least one of Din’s rescuers wore the clan symbol of the Death Watch. There’s a lot of history here, extending into both the Star Wars: Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels TV series.
Suffice to say for now, the Death Watch split into two separate factions at a certain point in the past, and one of those factions is tied directly to Darth Maul. (Yes, that Darth Maul.) Whichever group it was that raised Din in the ways of the Mandalorians could have an immense impact on where his loyalties lie as the larger Star Wars galaxy creeps into this show.
It’s notable that the present-day version of Din doesn’t wear any clan symbol. Something happened in his past that severed his connection to the clan that saved him. It could have to do with the fact that Death Watch itself divided at some point. Maybe Din was rescued before that division, and he ditched his clan connections after?
I’m keeping this vague because it ties into a lot of spoilers from other Star Wars TV shows. All of which is to say, you might went to spend the downtime between the first and second seasons catching up on any Mandalore and Mandalorian plotlines from Clone Wars and Rebels. (Season 2 of The Mandalorian is coming Fall 2020.)
Din’s origins as a Mandalorian foundling could also explain some of his professed mistrust of droids. It’s also still entirely possible that Din’s misgivings about droids are rooted in something that happened to him later in life. But it doesn’t take a doctor of psychology to recognize that watching your childhood home and birth parents get wiped out by a droid army might inform some deep-seated issues with all droids everywhere.
2. Maybe droids aren’t so bad after all
Whatever happened in Din’s past that made him hate droids, IG-11’s greatest contribution might be finally breaking through the Mandalorian’s icy anti-droid exterior. The former bounty hunting droid’s final sacrifice is a moving moment, and more so because Din so clearly doesn’t want it to happen.
The man behind that expressionless mask made his feelings about droids known more than once during Season 1. What do you think it was that finally turned him around? IG-11 did stay behind to administer some Bacta spray to the ailing Din, but would that act alone really have done it?
I don’t think so. If anything, I think Din’s droid-friendly awakening extends back to his conversation with Kuiil (R.I.P.) in a previous episode about how droid behaviors are the product of their programmers. Din saw firsthand in Chapter 8 the lengths IG-11 went to, both to protect The Child and to keep the little tyke’s other protectors safe.
Sadly, IG-11’s sacrifice ensured that it won’t ever get to see Din’s newly favorable outlook on droids. But it’s a safe bet that Season 2 will continue to pay that off as Din takes his experiences with IG-11 into future encounters with droids.
3. Cara Dune’s home planet
It was easy to miss during the heat and spectacle of The Mandalorian‘s eighth chapter, but observant viewers no doubt caught Cara mentioning where she’s from: Alderaan.
That revelation makes her one of only a handful of live-action Star Wars characters to hail from the planet a young Princess Leia once called home. It could also explain Cara’s unusually intense hatred of the Empire’s post-Return of the Jedi remnants.
Yeah, there aren’t many fans of the Empire among members of the Rebel Alliance. But Cara’s home and presumably her family were destroyed by the Death Star. It was meant to inspire fear, but how fitting it would be if Cara’s strong rebellious streak was fueled by the destruction of Alderaan.
4. A finer point on Mandalorian culture
Chapter 8 lays down some ground rules for what Mandalorian life is all about. Some of this had already been established, both in The Mandalorian and elsewhere, but the season finale made a point of repeating what we know and adding to it – presumably as a bit of Season 2 foreshadowing.
For one, “Mandalorian” as we understand it at this point in the Star Wars timeline is less a race than it is a set of beliefs. We now know that Din himself wasn’t born on Mandalore; newly orphaned during the Clone Wars, he was taken in by a clan of Mandalorian warriors and raised as one of their own. We don’t yet know why he doesn’t wear any clan symbol until he gets one from the Armorer, but that’s a question for Season 2 to hopefully answer.
We also learn from the Armorer that while she might not know much about The Child specifically, she’s familiar with the powers he wields. As she tells Din, “the songs of eons past” speak of battles between Mandalore the Great, the first Mandalorian, and “an order of sorcerers called Jedi.” Din’s no history buff, but he now knows there’s such a thing as Jedi and they were once an enemy of his people.
None of that impacts his relationship with The Child, however. As the Armorer reveals, Mandalorian “Creed” makes it clear that the little foundling is officially under Din’s care. He’s either got to reunite The Child with his people, enemies or not, or failing that, serve as the little one’s father until he’s old enough to fend for himself. And thus, the bond is cemented.
5. Don’t mess with Moff Gideon
There’s plenty to be said about the weapon Moff Gideon brandishes in the final moments of the episode. It’s almost certainly the Darksaber, and it has direct ties to the Death Watch faction that apparently rescued Din as a foundling. But that’s a whole discussion unto itself. Let’s focus on what we know about Gideon.
During the days of the Empire, Gideon was an officer in the Imperial Security Bureau who played an active role in the Great Purge of the Mandalorians. Virtually everything we know of that time period — and it’s very little — comes from The Mandalorian.
We know that Mandalorians were hunted down and exterminated in a manner similar to the Jedi Order of the Galactic Republic. The Empire seemingly wanted to stockpile beskar, a Mandalorian iron used in the crafting of their signature armor. The purpose isn’t clear, but we know from Star Wars Rebels that beskar has been used to create at least one superweapon. And we all know how much the Empire loves its superweapons.
It’s clear from the brief time we spend with him that Gideon has direct knowledge of history from the Mandalorian perspective. Not only does he know Din’s true identity, he also namedrops the Siege of Mandalore and references an incident known among Mandalorians as The Night of a Thousand Tears. It’s entirely possible — probable, even — that Gideon had a direct hand in planning and perhaps even executing that assault.
Whatever the truth may be, Gideon’s connections to the Great Purge and his unlikely ownership of the Darksaber suggests that, at last, we’ve met The Mandalorian‘s primary antagonist, the one who’s been pulling the strings behind the scenes all along. Whatever the truth is, Gideon clearly has more of a role to play in the life of Din Djarin and his unusual foundling.