Fans of ‘The Mandalorian’ Refuse to Let This Popular Character Die

As cool as the character of The Mandalorian is, he ended up playing second fiddle in his own show. Oh, sure, he’s the lead and all, but few would dispute that most of the buzz centered around Baby Yoda. And that buzz will continue into Season 2 of the Disney+ show. 

However, there is arguably another star that upstaged the Mandalorian, and this one is an inanimate object. It’s the droid, IG-11, who made a big splash in the first episode before sacrificing himself in the finale.

Just as Marvel fans want the late Tony Stark to come back, Star Wars fans want the late IG-11 to come back. And they have a pretty prominent player in their corner. 

The life, death, rebirth and death of IG-11

Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni
Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

IG-11 was the same type of battle/hunter droid that OG Star Wars fans remember from The Empire Strikes Back as part of the motley crew that aimed to hunt down Han Solo, although the Mandalorian’s forebear, Boba Fett, was ultimately successful. 

In the first episode of The Mandalorian, he was a sharpshooting bounty hunter who briefly helped the title character fight off a horde of adversaries. Then they both found Baby Yoda.  When it became clear IG-11 aimed to kill The Child, the Mandalorian took him out – or so he thought.

IG-11 returned in the penultimate episode of the first season, when he had been reprogrammed to care for Baby Yoda. The image of IG-11 as a maternal figure amused many viewers.

When it became clear that IG-11 would resort to his impressive sharpshooting skills, fans cheered. Ultimately, however, IG-11 blew himself up so that our heroes could escape. Theoretically, it’s hard for droids to recover from an explosion. 

Taika Waititi wants IG-11 back

IG-11 is important to Taika Waititi for two reasons. First, the New Zealand actor/director provided his voice. Second, Waititi directed the final episode of season 1, in which IG-11 made his noble sacrifice. Or at least what passes as noble for a droid. 

In an interview with TheWrap, Waititi said, “I feel we just need to start a petition because I think that character, really, he held up the entire season, didn’t he? From episode one all the way through, he was the hero.”

OK, so Waititi engaged in a bit of playful hyperbole, as is his style. If the petition exists, it’s not easily findable yet. Even if it did, such petitions routinely get ignored, largely because their reach exceeds their grasp. Petitions on file for The Mandalorian include “Kill Off Baby Yoda,” “Call The Mandalorian the Baby Yoda Show” and “Stop Rian Johnson from effecting (sic) The Mandalorian.” 

Sometimes droids are at least as compelling as humans

Robots have a long history of upstaging their human counterparts in the movies. This has been going on as early as 1927, with Maria the robot emerging as one of the most compelling figures of Fritz Lang’s silent milestone Metropolis.

In Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, the menacing  ship’s computer HAL murders all but one member of the crew, and many people noted that the red-eyed villain was more compelling than the humans in the movie. And that was probably Kubrick’s point. 

So it goes with Star Wars. It’s initial appeal was that the story was told from the point of view of secondary characters, C-3PO and R2-D2. That was  a device George Lucas borrowed from Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress. Many people felt the most memorable character in Rogue One was the sarcastic K-2SO, so one could say Star Wars was carrying on the old tradition of droids being livelier than their makers. 

Whether this means IG-11 can come back remains to be seen. It’s more likely that another IG droid will take his place, and that Waititi will voice him too. At least droids don’t complain when they’re renamed or killed off. Humans are known to do that.