Lucasfilm has released the first trailer for The Mandalorian, the first ever live-action Star Wars TV series, which will be available exclusively on the Disney+ streaming service. The Star Wars franchise appears to be changing shape, with Lucasfilm focusing more on TV shows than on future films; in fact, they're yet to announce any movies beyond this December's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The Mandalorian is the beginning of this new strategy, with Jon Favreau taking charge of a series that explores the galaxy's shadier side. It stars Pedro Pascal as the titular Mandalorian, a mysterious bounty hunter who operates in the aftermath of the Empire's fall. The first trailer is light on plot details, preferring to establish the show's atmosphere and tone; it features several clear homages to Westerns, including a tense gunfight scene.
That does mean The Mandalorian trailer isn't particularly self-explanatory. Here's our guide to help you understand what's going on in the trailer, and who the characters are.
22. Stormtrooper Helmets Represent The Mandalorian's Lawlessness
The Mandalorian trailer opens with a powerful and evocative image: Stormtrooper helmets in the dust and on spikes. While viewers are used to seeing the Stormtroopers as symbols of oppression and injustice, it's important to understand that some Rim worlds had a very different experience. The Old Republic allowed the Galactic Rim to become a home to smugglers and crime syndicates, and for many Rim worlds the Empire represented stability, security, and order. These Stormtrooper helmets should be seen as an indication of the sheer lawlessness of the kind of places the Mandalorian is visiting.
21. Return to Mos Eisley
The camera pans up, and while the focus remains on the Stormtrooper helmets, the building designs are quite distinctive; The Mandalorian trailer confirms that Star Wars returning to Mos Eisley on Tatooine. Interestingly, this may actually be a clue to the Mandalorian's true identity. Chuck Wendig's Aftermath trilogy introduced a "lone gunfighter" on Tatooine who was attempting to overthrow the criminal cartels that had taken charge, and who had donned Mandalorian armor. Cobb Vanth was a slave who was freed after Jabba the Hutt's death, and who stumbled on Mandalorian armor in the desert wastes.
20. The Mandalorian's Ship Flies Over New Planets
The Mandalorian may involve Tatooine, but it's clear that the bounty hunter's career will take him to new locations. The trailer for The Mandalorian shows his ship flying over a densely forested world, and then moves to a dusty gray planet. Nothing is yet known about either of these worlds.
19. Carl Weathers Is Greef Marga
Carl Weathers has been cast as Greef Marga, head of a chapter of the Bounty Hunters Guild. The Mandalorian trailer shows a shot of Greef that seems to be lifted from footage shown at SDCC 2019. In that scene, the Mandalorian was looking for a mark, and he approached Greef and asked to take every single mission he has at the moment. Greef refused to do as the Mandalorian asked, insisting that there are other members of the Guild who have to make a living as well. Instead, he offered one unique jump, a face-to-face commission.
18. Gina Corano is Kara Dune
The Mandalorian's mission remains a mystery, but it will involve crossing paths with Gina Corano's Kara Dune. Dune has been described as an ex-Rebel shock trooper who's acclimatizing to life after the end of the Empire, and SDCC footage showed her matching the Mandalorian blow for blow. It's reasonable to assume the two will wind up working together in the end.
17. Another New Location in The Mandalorian
The Mandalorian trailer spins off to another new location, as mysterious as the last two. The rock formations appear to be large-scale reproductions of the clints and grykes commonly found in limestone, suggesting that this was once a marine environment but has now become exposed. Limestone is normally associates with caves, so this could be a good hiding-place.
16. The Mandalorian Meets An Ugnaught
The Mandalorian trailer features a brief shot of an Ugnaught, a race who Star Wars fans will remember from The Empire Strikes Back. The Ugnaughts evolved on an Outer Rim world called Gentes, but because of their hard-working nature they were taken as slaves. At this stage, it's impossible to contextualize this shot; the Ugnaught could be a freed slave, or else it's possible the Mandalorian has actually gone to Gentes.
15. Never Underestimate a Twi'lek
The Mandalorian trailer moves on to show a Twi'lek woman give a leery wink at the camera. The Star Wars franchise has frequently associated Twi'leks with organised prostitution and even slavery, with Twi'leks serving Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi. But the aliens haven't always been shown as victims; in fact, in the old Expanded Universe a number of Twi'leks wound up becoming crime lords themselves. It remains to be seen how this Twi'lek factors into the plot of The Mandalorian.
14. The Mandalorian Gets Ready For Action
The Mandalorian trailer then shows its hero suiting up and getting ready for action. At first glance, these shots may seem like "filler," but in reality they serve to emphasize the fact the Mandalorian has strap-on weapons to complement his armor. Boba Fett would be proud. This ends with the Mandalorian getting ready to step out of his ship on to an unknown world. It all sets up the Mandalorian as a troubleshooter, rather than just a bounty hunter.
13. A Mother and Child in Need of Help
Having hinted at its hero's role as a troubleshooter, The Mandalorian trailer establishes the kind of crisis he'll be dealing with. One shot shows a mother and child cowering in a river, threatened by unseen dangers. It's a smart image, demonstrating that the Mandalorian fights on behalf of the vulnerable. This further supports the theory that he's really Cobb Vanth, who rescued just these kinds of people in Chuck Wendig's Aftermath trilogy.
12. The Mandalorian Faces a Firing Squad
If the Mandalorian is fighting on behalf of the vulnerable, it's safe to assume he's forced to oppose would-be lawmakers who impose their will on the public with brutal, Imperial efficiency. The Mandalorian trailer shows a firing squad of armored warriors, clad in modified Stormtrooper armor and carrying distinctive, powerful weapons. No context is given for this scene, but they seem to be facing off against the Mandalorian himself.
11. Giancarlo Esposito's Mystery Character
Little is currently known about Giancarlo Esposito's mystery character, but The Mandalorian trailer shows him leading what looks like some sort of former Imperial kill unit. Esposito has suggested his character may not be a villain in the end; "In a way, you might call him an underworld character," he observed in one interview. "You may also look at him as a savior, as someone who might bring back some order to the world after it’s all collapsed.” The comment fits perfectly with the Imperial Stormtrooper helmets shown at the beginning of the trailer. It suggests Esposito is attempting to bring order back to the Rim after the fall of the Empire - and it will be interesting to see whether or not he winds up siding with the First Order as they emerge in the galaxy.
10. The Mandalorian
Giancarlo Esposito's may be destined to become an ally rather than an enemy, but the trailer for The Mandalorian appears to show him engaging in a Western-style duel with the titular hero. No context is provided for the shot, which seems to be included mostly to help establish the show's atmosphere.
9. A Mysterious Crash
The Mandalorian trailer is shot in J.J. Abrams' Mystery Box style, which has become strongly associated with Star Wars since he worked on The Force Awakens. That means it carefully avoids revealing any of the main story beats, and a lot of shot are difficult to interpret. One brief scene shows some kind of crash - possibly a spaceship.
8. The Mandalorian Against An AT-ST
The Mandalorian is shown fleeing from quasi-Imperials and an AT-ST, sometimes called a Scout Walker. The Empire commonly used AT-STs to screen the flanks of larger assault walkers, such as the AT-ATs, in massive operations; in The Mandalorian trailer, one is being used on its own. It may be that this has been requisitioned and adapted by local crime lords or even by Giancarlo Esposito's mystery character.
7. The Mandalorian and IG-88
Bounty hunters typically work alone, but The Mandalorian trailer suggests its hero will need help. IG-88 was a rogue assassin droid, hired by Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back to hunt down Han Solo. IG-88 was actually the chief rival of Boba Fett, so it's interesting to see the droid is still active. Presumably events will conspire to force IG-88 into an alliance with the Mandalorian.
6. The Mandalorian in an Action Sequence
The Mandalorian is clearly a Western, which of course means there'll be a substantial number of action sequences. The trailer shows the Mandalorian taking charge of a massive gun turret in order to join in a firefight, opening fire at snipers on a roof. The architectural style is fairly similar to parts of Mos Eisley, so it's possible this is another part of Tatooine, but there are some subtle differences. In any case, it looks as though the Mandalorian has taken over local defenses in order to neutralize attackers.
5. IG-88 In Action
Whatever the cause of this fight scene, the Mandalorian isn't alone. The trailer switches to a shot of IG-88 in action, with the former assassin droid using dual weapons to take out its enemies with ruthless efficiency. The combat style is adapted from the old Star Wars Expanded Universe, proving why IG-88 - who also appeared in an episode of Star Wars: Forces of Destiny - is considered one of the most fearsome bounty hunters in the galaxy.
4. The Mandalorian In A Standoff With Imperial Stormtroopers
The Mandalorian trailer moves to a shot of its hero in a tense standoff with Imperial Stormtroopers. Unlike Giancarlo Esposito's Stormtroopers, these are wearing armor that hasn't been adapted, which may suggest they believe themselves still loyal to the Empire. If so, The Mandalorian could be more important to the Star Wars canon than had previously been believed; in the timeline, the Empire had been defeated at the Battle of Jakku, with only a handful of key figures surviving and fleeing to the Unknown Regions. There, the Imperial Remnant gradually transformed into the First Order. The Mandalorian's mission remains a mystery, but it seems he could be pursuing a target important enough to draw the Imperials out of the shadows.
3. The Mandalorian In A Bar Fight
No Western-inspired film is complete without a bar fight. It looks as though the Mandalorian will head to some sort of underworld bar on a snow-planet in order to track down a mark; the bar fight shows other patrons attempt to run interference, but the bounty hunter still captures his target. It's possible that this is on Vandor, a planet introduced in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Appropriately, the underworld bar there seemed to be in an old, deserted Mandalorian camp.
2. A Prisoner Trapped In Carbonite
In a surprise twist, The Mandalorian trailer shows a prisoner trapped in carbonite. That was supposed to have been a cruel and unusual punishment in The Empire Strikes Back - in fact, nobody even knew whether or not Han Solo would survive being imprisoned in carbonite. Presumably Han Solo's tale has been told across the galaxy after the fall of the Empire, inspiring others to follow suit. It may be the Mandalorian has been tasked with retrieving this prisoner; alternatively, it's also possible that bounty hunters have taken up the idea of using carbonite to keep their prisoners secure until they hand them over. Right now, there's no context, so it's difficult to say.
1. Werner Hezog's Mystery Character
The trailer for The Mandalorian ends with a shot of Werner Hezog, who appears to be some sort of crime boss or administrator, perhaps associated with the Bounty Hunter's Guild. "The only reason for having me in the film is they needed somebody who would spread terror and be frightening for the audience," Hezog noted in an interview back in May. It's safe to say he's the main villain.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019