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The Disney era has been rough for Star Wars fans. Even those who love the sequel trilogy and standalone stories Rogue One and Solo must admit how toxic the fandom has become. That’s precisely why the positive reaction to Disney+ series The Mandalorian has been such a relief.

Following years of healthy and not-so-healthy debate, the saga’s dedicated followers appear to be mostly in agreement. Part of that response is because, unlike the films, The Mandalorian has the freedom to cut ties with established story arcs. Then there’s the undeniable cuteness of Baby Yoda.

Now, it seems, Lucasfilm is looking to the series as a launchpad for the future of Star Wars. Here’s how that could work.

Pedro Pascal and Gina Carano at 'The Mandalorian' premiere
Pedro Pascal and Gina Carano at ‘The Mandalorian’ premiere | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

‘The Mandalorian’ expands the ‘Star Wars’ saga in exciting new ways

So much of the discourse surrounding the recent Star Wars movies has hinged on the saga’s legacy. All five films released since Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm have tied directly to the original trilogy. Whether they deal with those films’ aftermath or take place just before A New Hope, they’ve all been chained to the past.

But The Mandalorian is different. First of all, the series is set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. That’s a 30-year period which has been mostly unexplored so far. Plus, the Disney+ show doesn’t rely on any characters we know. Instead, it uses the Star Wars universe, mythos, and iconography as a backdrop for an entirely fresh story.

Some fans are speculating whether that will change when The Mandalorian returns for season 2 in October 2020. But we’re hoping the show resists the urge to bring Boba Fett in as a major character. Having a cameo or two could be fun fan service, but we’d prefer to see The Mandalorian build out from the elements it has already introduced itself.

The show’s first season presents the perfect lead for a spinoff series

On a recent conference call, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed some key details about what the company has in store for its various properties. And among the news he casually slipped into the conversation was an apparent tease of a Mandalorian spinoff series. If this does happen, season 1 presented Lucasfilm with the perfect opportunity for expansion.

Throughout the season, the unnamed Mandalorian — well, until the season finale — played by Pedro Pascal meets and befriends Carasynthia Dune (Gina Carano). A former Rebel Alliance soldier, Cara eventually left the military to embrace the mercenary life. By the end of The Mandalorian Season 1, she takes up with Greef Carga (Carl Weathers) as his personal enforcer.

Just like Mando, Cara Dune has a murky moral compass, one in which she alternates between altruism and her own self-interest. So in that respect, giving the character her own show will retain the tone of The Mandalorian. But her background is also distinct enough from Mando’s to open the doors for a side of Star Wars storytelling we have yet to see on-screen.


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Count on ‘The Mandalorian’ Season 2 to clear all this up

But perhaps the best reason of all for Lucasfilm to give fans more Cara Dune is how quickly the character became a fan favorite. The combination of Carano’s performance, the character’s specific worldview, and her connection to the Star Wars saga already makes her compelling. In fact, the only other new characters from The Mandalorian to make such strong impressions are Mando himself and Baby Yoda.

We don’t see the latter getting himself a Baby’s Day Out-style Star Wars adventure (could you imagine?). But Cara Dune is more than capable of carrying her own series. Right now, all we can do is speculate. Yet, if Lucasfilm is thinking what we believe they are, expect The Mandalorian Season 2 to set up a whole new adventure for Cara Dune. With two Disney+ series centered on the Star Wars underworld, the saga could forge a whole new path forward.