Get ready for The Mandalorian season 2 with The A.V. Club’s character guide

Get ready for The Mandalorian season 2 with The A.V. Club’s character guide

Characters from the Disney+ original series The Mandalorian
Clockwise, from left: Cara Dune (Screenshot: The Mandalorian), Greef Karga (Screenshot: The Mandalorian), Moff Gideon (Screenshot: The Mandalorian), Boba Fett (Screenshot: Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back), The Mandalorian and The Child (Photo: Disney+/Lucasfilm)
Graphic: Jimmy Hasse

Compared to the bitter arguments that surrounded the December 2019 release of Star Wars: Episode IX—The Rise Of Skywalker, The Mandalorian felt like a port in a storm. Lucasfilm’s first foray into live-action television was popular with both critics and fans, who praised it as a return to the franchise’s roots. In practical terms, that meant embracing the samurai films, Westerns, and adventure serials that inspired George Lucas when he was creating Star Wars. It also meant a return to the (approximate—The Mandalorian picks up five years after the events of Return Of The Jedi) time period of the original trilogy, a setting that allowed the series to incorporate both official canon and winking references to fan lore.

Lucas wasn’t involved with creating the series, although he did drop by to bless the set. Instead, that task fell to Jon Favreau, who assembled a team of writers and directors that included Star Wars: The Clone Wars director Dave Filoni and Marvel’s Christopher Yost as well as Rick Famuyiwa, Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Deborah Chow. Making a Star Wars series that everyone likes is a practically impossible achievement in itself, but The Mandalorian also works on multiple levels: You can watch it with a basic knowledge of the major players and get swept up into the adventure, or you can watch it with magnifying glass in hand to catch every Easter egg.

You’ll have to turn to The A.V. Club’s weekly recaps for the latter. But for the former, we’ve rounded up the series’ major characters, a handful of potential returning players, and two fan favorites from the Star Wars universe whose paths will cross with Mando and The Child in season two. This is the way.

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The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian

Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian
Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian
Photo: Disney+/Lucasfilm

Much like the wandering samurai of Japanese legend who inspired him, The Mandalorian’s title character (Pedro Pascal) is a man of few words. But we still know quite a bit about him, including his real name (Din Djarin) and how he became part of the mystical martial creed from which he got his nickname. Little Din was an orphan, rescued by members of the Mandalorian Death Watch when his parents were killed in the war that marked the end of the Galactic Republic. (That trauma gave him a lifelong hatred of droids.) Raised as a Foundling (a.k.a., an adoptee) in a secret Mandalorian outpost on the planet Nevarro, he grew up to become a member of the Bounty Hunter’s Guild—as many Mandalorians are—and don the clan’s sacred helmet, which can never be taken off in the presence of others. Battle-hardened and adept in many weapons and fighting styles, he is an extremely skilled warrior who can take down most fighters with ease.

As The Manadalorian kicked off its first season, Din (or Mando, as most call him) accepted an assignment to assassinate an unknown target, which turned out to be The Child. Unwilling to murder an innocent, Mando took the little guy with him instead; at first, Mando abandoned The Child, but memories of his own childhood made him change his mind and rescue The Child from The Client. Mando continued to work as a bounty hunter throughout season one of The Mandalorian, while simultaneously protecting The Child from the many mercenaries who wanted to kill him. The bond between reluctant father and Force-sensitive son was formalized at the end of season one, as Mando’s mentor The Armorer declared Mando and The Child to be a “clan of two” represented by the symbol of the Mudhorn. [Katie Rife]

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The Child

The Child

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The Child a.k.a. Baby Yoda a.k.a. Yodito
Photo: Disney+/Lucasfilm

The Child—known as “Baby Yoda” to his adoring fans—appears late in the Mandalorian series premiere. But he provides Mando with his initial mission (as well as his second, more righteous one), and season one with its main arc: Protect this adorable little guy at all costs. (The show uses various pronouns for The Child, and we have seen a female of Yoda’s species in Yaddie, but just as “Baby Yoda” is a thing, he/him pronouns are the ones most frequently used.) The Child is far from helpless, of course; he wields the Force on several occasions, from stopping a mudhorn in its tracks to healing Greef Karga’s near-fatal wounds. He does so instinctively, as when he force-chokes Cara Dune because he sees her arm-wrestling with Mando.

At only 50 years old, the Child still has a lot to learn, but he quickly establishes a bond with Mando, who tries to leave him in the care of others for his own good. But the pair sticks together from Sorgan to Tattooine—where the Child makes an impression on Peli—back to Nevarro, where Moff Gideon ambushes the group, which now includes Cara, Greef, Kuill, and the reprogrammed IG-11. Kuill is killed protecting the Child, while IG-11 sacrifices himself to help the group escape a swarm of troopers at the lava flats. By the end of season one, the Child is now a Foundling, which means he’s both under Mando’s protection and his tutelage. Here’s hoping season two features more jet pack-boosted adventures and an adorable training montage or two. [Danette Chavez]

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Cara Dune

Cara Dune

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Gina Carano as Cara Dune
Photo: Disney+/Lucasfilm

Carasynthia Dune, better known as Cara Dune (Gina Carano), is a former shock trooper who served in the uprising against the Galactic Empire. She comes from the same planet as Leia Organa, and joined up with the Rebel Alliance after that planet, Alderaan, was destroyed by Darth Vader. Cara saw extensive combat during the war, and after the establishment of the New Republic she hunted down ex-Imperial warlords for a while before leaving the Alliance and becoming a mercenary. She is intimidating, fearless, and formidable both with a blaster and in hand-to-hand combat, equally useful on a battlefield or in a bar brawl.

In fact, she met Mando and The Child in a bar on the forest planet of Sorgan, where she told Mando that she had retired from the mercenary lifestyle. He was able to persuade her to help them, however, first protecting a group of Sorgan farmers from raiders and then accompanying Mando and his team to Nevarro to liberate the planet from neo-Imperial forces. During these missions, the tough-talking Cara let down her defenses and learned to trust both Mando and Greef Karga, who hired her as his bodyguard and enforcer at the end of season one. [Katie Rife]

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Greef Karga

Greef Karga

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Carl Weathers as Greef Karga
Photo: Disney+/Lucasfilm

Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) is a charismatic and somewhat slippery man with a shady past, a former magistrate who joined the Bounty Hunters’ Guild after being driven from his post in disgrace. As The Mandalorian began, he was in his element, wheeling and dealing as a go-between between bounty hunters and their clients. When a bounty hunter needed work, they would go to Greef Karga, who would hand them a bounty puck containing identifying information on their target and dispense payment once the job was done. But his loyalties shifted once again when Mando returned to Nevarro with The Child.

At first, Greef was loyal to the Guild, and tried to stop Mando from fleeing the planet with the galaxy’s most valuable baby. (He failed.) But after Mando’s escape led to Nevarro being overrun with neo-Imperialists, Greef asked for Mando’s help in resisting the occupation. After being saved from certain death by The Child’s healing powers, Greef dropped his many plans to double-cross Mando and became a loyal ally, remaining on Nevarro to continue his business with the Guild. [Katie Rife]

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Moff Gideon

Moff Gideon

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Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon
Photo: Disney+/Lucasfilm

With his menacing imperial militia and his mysterious acquisition of the elusive Darksaber, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) became the biggest threat to Mando and the Child at the end of season one. He’s proven himself a force to be reckoned with, willing to not only sacrifice his own men to attain his goals, but also wipe out an entire community to advance his agenda. Gideon, a former Imperial officer who was ambitious enough to attain the title of Moff before being sentenced to execution for his war crimes, was revealed to be the undisclosed Client who requested to have The Child delivered to the planet Nevarro alive.

Though his history as a decorated Imperial officer reflects his loyalty to the Empire, many questions surround his possession of the Darksaber. As a Mandalorian artifact and treasured symbol of the House Of Vizsla, the Darksaber was a weapon belonging to Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian to ever be part of the Jedi Order. The last known location of the saber, before falling into the hands of Gideon, was with the last leader of the Mandalorians, Bo-Katan Kryze. How Gideon got his hands on it remains unknown, but his violent history of Mandalorian eradication is a good indicator of what we can expect from him in season two. [Angelica Cataldo]

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Dr. Pershing

Dr. Pershing

Omid Abtahi as Dr. Pershing
Omid Abtahi as Dr. Pershing
Screenshot: The Mandalorian

A Mengele-esque scientist who performs twisted experiments on living beings, Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) managed to avoid his boss’ fate in The Mandalorian season one. When Mando returned to Nevarro to rescue The Child, Pershing was able to talk Mando out of killing him by arguing that if it weren’t for him, The Client (Werner Herzog)—a neo-Imperialist warlord intent on restoring the Galactic Empire—would have killed the baby long ago. But that doesn’t make Pershing a good person: In cutaway scenes, we see Pershing torturing The Child with sadistic procedures meant to extract his natural Force abilities. And Pershing’s scientific curiosity (and cruelty) presumably haven’t abated, making the creepy doctor a potential returning villain in season two. [Katie Rife]

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Omera

Omera

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Julia Jones as Omera
Photo: Disney+/Lucasfilm

Few beings ever breach the Mandalorian’s emotional walls, and Omera (Julia Jones) is one of that small, select group. A gentle, gracious farmer and widow living on the remote planet of Sorgan, Omera met Mando when he and Cara Dune accepted an assignment to protect Omera’s village from Klatoonian raiders. Omera gained Mando’s trust by leaving his food outside his door so he could eat without showing the villagers his face, and the romantic tension between the two was obvious, if halting. At the end of this too-brief idyll, Mando tried to leave The Child in Omera’s care, but ended up bringing him along when it became clear that The Child needed constant protection from assassins and bounty hunters. Omera remained behind on Sorgan, and will welcome Mando the next time he needs respite from the violent life of a bounty hunter. [Katie Rife]

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Space bounty hunter omnibus

Space bounty hunter omnibus

Left image: Natalia Teena as Xi’an; Right mage: Bill Burr as Mayfeld
Left image: Natalia Teena as Xi’an; Right mage: Bill Burr as Mayfeld
Photo: Disney+, Disney+

Mando has no problem with killing, so why did he leave his former friends and bounty-hunting colleagues Mayfeld (Bill Burr), Burg (Clancy Brown), and Xi’an (Natalia Tena) alive and locked in a prison cell at the end of a chaotic rescue mission in The Mandalorian season one? Nostalgia, maybe—it’s implied in the episode that this crew went on some wild adventures together back in Mando’s more morally flexible youth, including a romantic relationship between Mando and Xi’an . He also triple-crossed Xi’an’s brother Qin (Ismael Cruz Cordóva) by informing the New Republic of his location, so one assumes he led the authorities to the trio as well. But regardless of Mando’s motivations, these three are going to be very pissed off if they ever get out of jail, and will more than likely hunt down Mando to get their revenge. [Katie Rife]

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Coming to season two

Coming to season two

Boba Fett

The character coming to The Mandalorian with the most established history was also the subject of debate over whether a cameo could be added to that history. So it goes with Boba Fett, a Star Wars legend built largely of mystique, forged in the crucible of ancillary materials and fan guessing games until the prequels gave him a larger role within the Skywalker saga. Like the white-armored troopers who give the Clone Wars their name, Boba is a genetic copy of bounty hunter Jango Fett; unlike those soldiers in the Sith’s secret plan to overthrow the Republic, Boba was not given rapid-growth or obedience modifications, which allowed Jango to raise him as his son. Orphaned following the Jedi’s investigation into Jango’s attempted assassination of Senator Padmé Amidala, a vengeful Boba took up his father’s mantle, starship, and adoption of Mandalorian armor (if not necessarily Mandalorian code).

His quest to kill Jedi Master Mace Windu proving fruitless, Boba instead built a name for himself as a mercenary for the crime syndicates and the Galactic Empire alike. His reputation for disintegrations preceding him, Boba scored a twofer when he teamed with Darth Vader to locate and capture the Rebel fugitives Leia Organa, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, delivering a Solo frozen in carbonite to his former employer Jabba The Hutt. The book on Boba once appeared to close as the freshly thawed captain of the Millennium Falcon clumsily knocked the bounty hunter into the Great Pit Of Carkoon, but it has long been speculated that he escaped a tedious and agonizing death in the guts of the sarlacc. Such legends will become canon when Boba Fett makes his debut on The Mandalorian, played by Star Wars: Episode II—Attack Of The Clones’ Jango Fett, Temuera Morrison. [Erik Adams]

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Coming to season two

Coming to season two

Ahsoka Tano

Few characters have as many connections to multiple Star Wars storylines as Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson). The dual-saber wielding Togruta, who was first introduced to us as Anakin Skywalker’s inexperienced and snippy padawan, was a key player in the rise of the rebellion: Before the Empire, she was an esteemed commander in the Clone Wars who fought alongside Captain Rex and was one of the few Jedi to defy death and be resurrected by the light side of the force. Tano, though unusually strong with the Force for her age, was as reckless as her master, which posed a challenge for the Jedi council and eventually led to her being falsely accused of attacking the Jedi Temple.

Tano was exiled from the order before being given the chance to prove her innocence; though her exile was withdrawn, the council’s swift actions pushed Tano to reject the Jedi and leave the order permanently. While on her own, Ahsoka took a staunch position against the Jedi, swearing allegiance to no side; however, when Anakin asked Ahsoka to aid him in his missions as a fighter for the republic, she agreed. During this time, Ahsoka survived Order 66, saved Captain Rex from the grips of the Empire, and helped build the foundations of what would soon become the rebellion. She defended the Mandalorians during the Siege Of Mandalore and became a valuable ally to their creed. Her advocacy for Mandalorian justice makes her a natural addition to season two, and will help bridge the gaps between the timelines of the Clone Wars
and Rebels. [Angelica Cataldo]

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