The third season of Disney+’s The Mandalorian is finally upon us! For the uninitiated, The Mandalorian is the Star Wars entry in the “Pedro Pascal Adopts a Child” Cinematic Universe. The series follows Din Djarin, a bounty hunter, who becomes the guardian of a youngling of the same species as our beloved Yoda.
The story begins as the Empire hunts Grogu for presumably sinister reasons. When Din, known throughout the corners of the galaxy as the ever-mysterious and always helmeted Mandalorian, decides to save Grogu instead of turning him in, a series of intergalactic shootouts and shenanigans ensue.
Friends are made, creeds are broken, and many enemies meet the wrong end of our disgruntled but ultimately kind bounty hunter’s blaster. You’re in for many treats if you haven’t watched it yet. Watch seasons one and two, take a detour to watch Book of Boba Fett, and prepare for season three.
Speaking of season three, let’s talk the premiere. For us show fans, we know that Din has been cast out of the Mandalorian cult—ahem, religion— that raised him. Out of his love for Grogu, he’s taken off his helmet a few times, and because that is so not The Way, he’s gone and broken his Creed. Season three opens with Din on a mission to return to a destroyed and allegedly poisoned Mandalore to seek redemption in the Living Waters beneath the Mandalorian beskar mines, according to tradition.
I’ve been to church — I know what baptism is. But I’ve never seen someone have to complete a million side quests, wield a cursed lightsaber, and maybe lead an army to reclaim a barren planet to do it.
Life continues to be complicated for the new father and reluctant ruler of Mandalore, Din Djarin.
At least Din’s adventures this far have borne wonderful fruit. Even though his time training with Luke Skywalker was short, and he chose not to become a Jedi, Grogu is already demonstrating way more control over the Force. Nevarro, a planet once full of hunters and drunkards and murderers (oh my!), is now thriving under the leadership of High Magistrate Greef Karga (Carl Weathers).
The growth between season one and now is bonkers to observe as a long-time viewer. Beyond Karga’s noticeable upgrade in title and outfits, the planet’s culture has shifted to one of peace and prosperity. It’s the perfect place for a tired bounty hunter to rest and raise his magic baby.
But that’s not what we signed up for.
Something that drew me to this show initially, and what I think holds true of this first episode of this new season, is the way that culture is not only used as a plot driver but as a tool to encourage viewers to think a little deeper about these characters and what drives them. That character growth, in turn, significantly influences world-building.
We spent the first two seasons (and a portion of Book of Boba Fett) experiencing how Mandalorian culture colours Din’s worldview. Now we see him doubt; we see friend and foe alike misunderstand or misconstrue his cultural identity and learn about the bits and pieces of Mandalorian culture that survived genocide. We even meet other notorious Star Wars characters — Bo-Katan and Boba Fett — who remind us that Din’s experience is not the only way Mandalore’s cultural legacy lives on.
The series’ root is culture, especially given that Din, as a foundling, is not bound to Mandalore by blood. And with his long-anticipated return to Mandalore finally happening, who knows what we’re truly in for? Sure, I’m looking forward to expanded Star Wars universe lore. Still, I’m most excited about how the continued growth of this lone man will ladder up into widespread cultural change for Mandalore and her scattered peoples. After all, he’s already changed entire planets on his journey.
If episode one is any indication, this season will give us a more self-assured Din who will finally step outside of his introspective character development and into his destiny. Let’s see what lengths he’ll go to preserve his place in his culture, all while teaching his little green foundling, now a Mandalorian by right, their history.
Episode two drops next week and lets us know right away that Din’s reclamation of his cultural creed and ancestral home world will not be easy.
But whatever Din and Grogu go up against, they’ll come out stronger than they were before.
This is The Way.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Star Wars is an expansive universe, so I’d love to know if you drew any inspiration from written canon for season three of The Mandalorian.
Rick Famuyiwa: Like the comic books?
Off Colour: The comic books and other written media like the Star Wars novels.
Rick Famuyiwa: This season comes from the imagination of Jon (Favreau) as a writer, as that’s expanded to Dave (Filoni), and I’ve also written material. We honour a lot of the stuff that’s been in those worlds. But we’ve expanded upon different ideas. I can’t say that we haven’t drawn from those worlds because they have been part of the storytelling and the “canon”, but they don’t define it. If they happen to intersect or things that come from it that end up in our world, it’s in service of what we’re trying to do as an original show.
Speaking of canon and that nature, how do you, as a creator, deal with Star Wars purists and fans?
Rick Famuyiwa: I mean, I’m a part of that, too. The first film I saw in the movie theatre was Star Wars. So from that moment on, I was one of those purists, and I understand that we have a very opinionated and passionate fan base. I love it because I’m one of those fans.
It makes for exciting filmmaking. You never know what little piece of storytelling reverberates beyond that. What piece of storytelling, what piece of wardrobe, you know, resonates beyond? So we certainly have conversations about the larger world and how it fits. But because we had different stories that weren’t directly related to the events of the films or past series, there’s been a little bit of freedom in terms of the stories that we can tell. But we know that it’s part of a larger world, so we’re mindful of that as we craft the story of The Mandalorian and how it fits into the bigger picture.