Caution: Spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian
The Mandalorian may be set in the years after the original Star Wars trilogy but the title character's origin story harks back to the prequel era - specifically the Clone Wars. The debut episode of The Mandalorian has now premiered alongside the launch of Disney+ and is attracting a very positive early reception. The opener follows Pedro Pascal's eponymous bounty hunter as he takes on a clandestine and lucrative assignment, overcoming intergalactic thugs, Blurrg riding and merciless droids to find a highly-coveted infant of the same species as the legendary Jedi master, Yoda.
While the Mandalorian's first mission reveals a great deal about the Star Wars universe in the years leading up to the sequel trilogy, the main character is kept mostly enigmatic. The audience is immediately shown how much of a badass the bounty hunter is when he effortlessly dispatches a group of troublemakers in a bar, but it's also made clear that the Mandalorian will stop at nothing to complete his assigned task, allowing neither sentiment nor massive, tentacled ice monster to come between him and his bounty. The final scene of "Chapter 1" does at least prove that Pascal's character has a heart, as he makes a brief connection with the young, green alien, however, the hunter is a man of few words and doesn't offer much in the way of personal information - that is with the exception of a single scene.
When the Mandalorian takes a chunk of Beskar steel back to his clan to be forged into armor, viewers finally glean some snippets of information about the character's personal history. Speaking with the smith, the bounty hunter is revealed to have been a "foundling" - likely some kind of orphan who has been found and adopted as a Mandalorian. This statement is immediately followed by flashbacks to the lead character's childhood, in which a couple logic would assume are his parents desperately try to protect the boy from a military assault, hiding him alone under shelter.
From the trailers released in the build-up to The Mandalorian's release, it's known that the attacking force in this sequence includes Super Battle Droids and a CIS gunship. These weapons place the battle during the prequel trilogy's Clone Wars era, and the implication is that the Mandalorian was orphaned as a result of this conflict and taken in by the tribe he would later call his own. Outside of the new Disney+ series, Mandalorian mythology is most prominently featured in the animated The Clone Wars TV show, so it perhaps naturally follows that this is where the character would derive their origin story from. More importantly, the Mandalorian demonstrates a strong dislike of droids in the show's premiere episode, and this is likely a lingering result of his experience with the CIS army during the Clone Wars.
The fact that Pascal's mercenary has a backstory deeply interwoven with the Clone Wars could have huge ramifications further down the line, especially considering the ending of the premiere episode. The Mandalorians have an infamously sour history with the Jedi, and this particular character's feelings towards Force users might've deteriorated further if he was orphaned as a result of the Clone Wars, in which the Jedi played a key role. By the end credits, however, the Mandalorian has taken custody of an infant the same species as Yoda. While not much is known about this race, they are notoriously strong in the Force and several have become Jedi throughout the ages. Will a resentment of the Force sensitive make protecting this young life a moral conundrum for the bounty hunter, or will he be unmoved so long as the price is paid?
In either case, it seems highly likely that more flashbacks to the Clone Wars era will be included in forthcoming episodes. These scenes will perhaps reveal more about how the Mandalorian became a warrior and how he feels about the Jedi, the Empire and the Republic after such a traumatic childhood caught in the midst of a bloody conflict that was essentially a continuation of the struggle between Jedi and Sith.
The Mandalorian continues November 15th on Disney+.