The Mandalorian is set to premiere next month with the launch of the Disney+ streaming service, but which characters from the original Star Wars trilogy might appear? As the first live-action Star Wars TV series, there is certainly a high bar of expectation for The Mandalorian to reach, perhaps even more so given that the series will help set the tone for Disney+'s roster of original content. Starring Pedro Pascal as the titular bounty hunter, The Mandalorian will be largely set on the outskirts of the Star Wars universe, where lawlessness prevails and violence is a universal language.
Showrunner, Jon Favreau, has confirmed that The Mandalorian will take place five years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and 25 years prior to the start of the current trilogy. Hypothetically, this means that a variety of personalities from the original Star Wars movies could appear in The Mandalorian and, given the lack of recognizable characters currently listed, some star-powered cameos are more than likely.
However, The Mandalorian's placement in the Star Wars world does somewhat restrict who could feasibly appear. Who in the original trilogy might have business in the outer regions and could potentially find themselves entangled in the world of bounty hunters and the galaxy's numerous hives of scum and villainy?
Perhaps the most hotly tipped original Star Wars character to appear in The Mandalorian is the Trandoshan known as Bossk. First appearing in The Empire Strikes Back, Bossk is one of the elite bounty hunters hired by Darth Vader to hunt down Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon, although Boba Fett beats him to the punch. Bossk later appears in Return of the Jedi as one of Jabba's entourage, and is evidently a regular feature wherever there's criminality to be carried out.
Bossk's story has been greatly expanded in the Clone Wars TV series, helping this minor original trilogy character to become a firm fan favorite, and he's certainly the type of character to be propping up a bar alongside other notorious bounty hunters. The Bossk rumors have been further fueled by images of Pedro Pascal fighting two other Trandoshans.
Truthfully, many of the bounty hunters hand-selected by Vader could cameo in The Mandalorian, but Dengar is another that has built up a cult following since his small appearance in the original trilogy. Hailing from Corellia, Dengar is a frequent associate of Boba Fett and Bossk and returned alongside his colleagues in Return of the Jedi's scenes in Jabba's palace. Dengar has featured in a variety of wider Star Wars media including Aftermath and the Showdown on Smuggler's Moon comics. Where Bossk goes, Dengar is unlikely to be too far behind but the actor who originally portrayed him, Morris Bush, sadly passed away in 1999.
Boba Fett's potential appearance in The Mandalorian is something of a contentious topic considering the origins of the series. Disney and Lucasfilm originally had a solo movie lined up with Boba Fett in a starring role, but the project was cancelled after troubled productions plagued both Rogue One and Solo, with the latter also receiving a lukewarm response. As a direct result of that decision, the concept of the Mandalorian was born, focusing on a lead character with obvious visual and professional similarities to Boba without actually being Boba.
Given those clear parallels, it seems likely that the Star Wars universe's most famous bounty hunter could appear in The Mandalorian further down the line, or else he risks becoming the jetpack-wearing elephant in the room. Answering how Boba Fett escaped the Sarlacc after Return of the Jedi will likely go down well with viewers, and a gunslinger showdown between the Mandalorian and Boba Fett could be a nailed-on season finale.
There's a blank spot in Lando Calrissian's Star Wars history following Disney's redefinition of the franchise canon. After the Battle of Endor, Lando returned to Bespin and helped to liberate Cloud City from the remaining Imperial forces, but the most recent edition of the Ultimate Star Wars databook claims that Lando led a "solitary lifestyle" before his upcoming return in The Rise of Skywalker. Given Lando's separation from the Rebellion/Resistance and his favored position on the fringes of legality, it is possible that the character could cross paths with the Mandalorian in the upcoming Disney+ series.
The timing of this cameo would be perfect, helping to flesh out Lando's missing backstory before the release of Star Wars 9, and adding some star power to the series without creating any inconsistencies or plot holes. The Mandalorian would also have the luxury of either digitally de-aging Billy Dee Williams or digitally aging Donald Glover.
Many fans thought IG-88 was a confirmed addition to The Mandalorian when Jon Favreau shared a picture of what looked to be the infamous bounty hunter on his Instagram page, however, this droid turned out to be IG-11, a virtually identical looking character who will be voiced by Taiki Waititi. According to details revealed by EW, IG-11 is frequently mistaken for his 77th successor even by characters within the Star Wars universe, so The Mandalorian is almost guaranteed to at least mention The Empire Strikes Back's robotic assassin. Having already taken that step, it then wouldn't be a stretch to have IG-11 and IG-88 settle their differences in the flesh (or circuits).
An unlikely addition, to be sure, but a welcome one. Following the defeat of the Emperor in Return of the Jedi, Han and Chewie return to the Wookie's home planet and find it crawling with Imperials. After helping free his people and reuniting with his son, Chewie and his best friend share an emotional farewell as they go their separate ways.
That parting does not last long because, as seen in The Force Awakens, the dynamic duo of Star Wars reunite and return to their smuggling ways, falling in with some gangsters and falling out with even more of them. All while Han and Chewie are part of that criminal underworld, there's a chance they could appear in The Mandalorian. Getting Harrison Ford to appear in the Disney+ series would obviously be a herculean feat, but it wouldn't take much effort to put a tall actor in a Chewbacca costume for a short cameo. Chewie and the Mandalorian could easily cross paths in a Mos Eisley-style outlaw space port while Han is otherwise occupied, and this level of cameo would create a huge buzz around the episode in which it occurs.
According to Disney's official Star Wars canon, Bib Fortuna, Jabba's right-hand man, died when Luke Skywalker came to free his friends from the Hutt's enslavement. In the Legends section of the franchise, however, Bib not only survived the attack but ultimately took charge of Jabba's criminal enterprise after his master's death. The latter is clearly the far more interesting outcome, and since Bib is a wanted criminal who most of the galaxy might presume dead, he fits seamlessly into the world of The Mandalorian.
Given the nature of the story, there are almost certain to be Hutt-like crime lords in The Mandalorian and Bib Fortuna would perhaps be the most recognizable face within that arena, and it would only take a minor tweak to his biography to make that happen. Potentially, Bib's role in The Mandalorian could evolve beyond a cameo, and into that of a leading antagonist in future seasons. Michael Carter, the Scottish actor who first played Bib, remains active to this day and recently appeared in The Halcyon.
Continuing his habit of posting pictures of droids without context on social media, Jon Favreau didn't just reveal IG-11 to his Instagram following, but R5-D4 as well. Though it might not be a familiar name to many Star Wars fans, this R5 unit is actually directly responsible for saving the entire galaxy. R5-D4 is the droid Luke Skywalker and his Uncle Owen almost purchased from Jawas, but it malfunctioned and they selected R2-D2 instead, triggering a chain of events that leads to the destruction of the Empire.
Subsequent canon Star Wars stories have revealed that during their time with the Jawas, R2 requested R5's help in finding his way to Obi-Wan Kenobi, thus the heroic droid deliberately malfunctioned upon being presented to Luke and Owen, allowing R2 to take his place. Whether R5-D4 will actually appear in The Mandalorian or whether Favreau was just posting unsolicited droid pics again remains to be seen, but it'd be satisfying to see this little guy get his due.
Tiaan Jerjerrod is one of the foremost Imperial officers in Return of the Jedi, and the Moff who greeted Emperor Palpatine during his visit to the construction site of the second Death Star. Like Bib Fortuna, Tiaan is officially deceased according to Star Wars records, having been killed when the Rebels took down the Empire's half-built super base. But if Luke and Vader escaped the crumbling space station, others might have as well, and Tiaan would be a perfect fit for The Mandalorian.
It has already been announced that Giancarlo Esposito will be playing Gideon, another former Moff of the Empire, so as long as The Mandalorian is dealing with disgraced former Imperials fleeing to remote planets, Tiaan Jerjerrod is a candidate to appear in the series. Tiaan's death has a domino effect in the Star Wars universe, inspiring his descendants to join the First Order, but it's possible that the Moff made his escape alone, and left even his own family in the dark about his survival. Michael Pennington, who originally played Tiaan in Return of the Jedi, is now in his 70s but remains an active presence on stage and television.
The Mandalorian premieres November 12th on Disney+.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019