When Does ‘The Mandalorian’ Take Place? The Show’s Timeline Explained

Disney+’s The Mandalorian has become a near instant iconic classic after just three episodes thanks to an intriguing lead character, plus adding a Baby Yoda to the mix. If one can argue the show has an overly convenient slickness to it, the timeline in the show is what’s confusing many viewers.

More casual viewers aren’t really sure what the time period is supposed to be for The Mandalorian. With a few characters and references to things that happened in the Skywalker saga, one might assume it takes place during this era.

Well, it does, but it also has some questioning whether there’s more than meets the eye. Thanks to the new runaway hit character of “Baby Yoda”, the thought of an alternate existence starts to creep into the mind as perhaps the ultimate twist.

‘The Mandalorian’ timeline, according to official sources

Jon Favreau talks about The Mandalorian
Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, actors Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano and Carl Weathers | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Based on the description of the show from producers, The Mandalorian takes place five years after The Return of the Jedi takes place. So, this means the Empire as was known in the original trilogy is destroyed.

It also means this is more than 25-30 years before the events of the current, new big-screen trilogy when the Empire rebuilds into the New Order. As seen so far in early episodes, though, remnants of the Empire still exist.

These remnants are generally mercenaries working behind-the-scenes, like the fascinating/mysterious Werner Herzog character who plays The Client. All indications point to him being a former officer in the Empire who may factor more into the story later.

As much distance as the show is trying to have from the confines of the New Republic, many characters (or variations) seen from the original trilogy have already shown up. This includes Stormtroopers, various familiar-looking droids, plus Jawas as seen on Tatooine in Episode IV.

The Mandalorian character isn’t Boba Fett

Some people tuning in for the first time may see the armor and mask The Mandalorian is wearing and assume this is a standalone Boba Fett story. Mandalore isn’t Boba Fett’s home (he was born on Kamino as a clone), albeit both he and Mando wear similar garb.

Working as bounty hunters, they also never remove their mask, or at least the Mandalorians don’t.

Going by the timeline, Boba Fett died in that Sarlacc pit five years earlier in Return of the Jedi. Or, maybe viewers shouldn’t expect everything to be exactly how the movies interpreted them. Fans have been saying for a while there’s a rumor Boba Fett survived and may still be out there as a bounty hunter.

Writer and director of the series, Jon Favreau, clearly has a lot of surprises up his sleeve on this series. All of the Empire references are already surprising, though the reveal of the Baby Yoda may yield the biggest surprises yet.

No doubt some unexpected moments still lie in wait. Could any of those be a shocker on throwing us off the trail related to the timeline?

What if Baby Yoda really is Yoda in an alt-reality?

One of the biggest confusions for new viewers of The Mandalorian is assuming Baby Yoda really is a young Yoda. Not knowing anything about the timeline, it’s easy for a first-time viewer to automatically think this.

After all, the creature is clearly from the same species of Yoda, plus already demonstrated natural abilities in The Force. Most people assume it’s possibly an offspring of Yoda since the baby is 50 years old, which would make him born just before the time of The Phantom Menace.

Everyone knows Yoda was young and thriving during the TPM time in the saga. Even so, would it have been possible for him to have a son? Maybe it’s just one of the last survivors of his species he perhaps sent away to protect.

Or, will fans see a play on the timeline and find out it really is Yoda’s origin story? Just because the show says it’s five years after Return of the Jedi doesn’t mean there couldn’t be a huge twist. When dealing with time, there might be a lot more relativity in the Star Wars universe, if not maybe the first play on a speculative alternate reality.