As someone who was unfamiliar with the expanded universe of Star Wars (although years before they made a clean slate), I remember that when I went to see ‘The Force Awakens’ by JJ Abrams I left the cinema feeling that I was missing something to explain to me where had that First Order come from.
Almost four years after the end of the Rey trilogy, I am finally getting clear on how everything came about, thanks to the good work of Dave Filoni. And it is that this season 3 of ‘The Mandalorian’ seems to be clear that, in addition to telling the resurgence of the Mandalorians, it takes place at a key moment for the future of the George Lucas galaxy.
To fill gaps with quality material
chapter by chapter they are leaving us crumbs, references or, directly, plots that are completely linked to the rebirth of the Empire. It’s not strange either. As someone commented in the recap of ‘The Spies’, the spectacular seventh episode of this season of ‘The Mandalorian’, Dave Filoni has spent two decades filling in the gaps and enhancing plots and things that have been somewhat overlooked by the movies.
It started with ‘The Clone Wars’, situated between ‘Attack of the Clones’ and ‘Revenge of the Sith’; continued with ‘Rebels’, set before the original ‘Star Wars’ and, now with the Disney+ machinery behind it -with collaborators such as Jon Favreau-, is filling the gap between the first and third trilogy with ‘The Mandalorian’, ‘The Book of Boba-Fett’, ‘Ahsoka’ and the future film that will cap it all.
But let’s focus on the series starring Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin. From the beginning we had Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) a major villain. He was responsible not only for the Great Purge of Mandalore, but also for the capture of “The Boy”, our Grogu, with the aim of using him for the genetic experiments of the Mandalore. Dr Pershing.
The purpose of those experiments, or of Pershing’s secret investigation and Gideon’s interest in it, was left a bit up in the air, until this season 3. It is this year that theories seem to take shape in which, in addition, we begin to learn more about the New Republic in ‘The Convert’. In that episode we see that Elia Kane tricks the scientist to recover the portable laboratory and continue his experiments, prohibited by the current government.
The Shadow Council
Episode by episode we have learned small details and movements throughout the galaxy, including some droids whose rebellion has been programmed by a former Empire engineer. However, the clearest moment of “First Order, here we go” We have had it in ‘The Spies’, an episode in which we have seen the Shadow Council, a group of conspirators who seek to overthrow the New Republic.
A Council founded a few years after the Battle of Yavin and apparently disbanded after the Battle of Jakku and the final defeat of the Empire. However, shortly after it had to be refounded by nine former high officials of the Empire. However, except for three (and one of them is Gideon) the rest are unknown to us.
Thus, in the episode we see Moff Gideon attend a meeting of this group of true believers as they debate whether it is time to escalate their actions. Some do not want to attract attention, considering that they must continue looking like “uncoordinated caciques”, others want to advance their projects.
Pellaeon and the return of Thrawn
Among the “points of the day” we find the imminent return of Grand Admiral Thrawn, who walks with a low profile but is supposed to be a key player as “Heir to the Empire”. This is where Gilead Pellaeon (Xander Berkeley) comes into play, the leader’s right-hand man, to whom he is very loyal.
They do not delve into exactly what role Thrawn will play beyond being the “herald” of this return of the Empire, but it will be something that Filoni will explore in the next ‘Ahsoka’, where we will see him as an antagonist played by Lars Mikkelssen.
The Necromancer Project
What perhaps interests us most, however, is the third appointed Council member: Commander Brendol Hux (Brian Gleeson). Yes, the name sounds familiar to you because he is the father of Armitage Hux, the officer we saw in the movies. Hux is revealed as responsible for the Project Necromancer Or at least part of it.
Although we do not fully know the full extent of the Project (in fact, we see Gideon walking down a corridor with buckets of bodies), which played with genetic experiments (there is Pershing’s work and why did they want blood rich in midichlorians from Grogu), with this allusion the series has responded that, indeed, the “resurrected/cloned” Palpatine came from here…and also derivatives, like Snoke or (it’s not entirely clear) the King herself.
That is to say, Necromancer is a fundamental piece (but not the only one) for the irruption of The First Order and everything that ended up leading to the third trilogy. What happens from now on is something we should be aware of both in the final batch of season 3 of ‘The Mandalorian’ and in Filoni’s next projects. But I’m in.
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