Us nerds like nothing more than to banter around nerdy topics in our Discord channel. Here is one of those chats, very lightly edited for clarity.
Jason (Co-founder of Nerds on Earth and Slave Leia cosplayer): Welcome as we gather the Nerds on Earth for this auspicious occasion – the wild speculation about the second season of the hit series on Disney+, The Mandalorian. Set in the Star Wars universe, this show kind of took everyone by surprise and turned out to be excellent. So let’s start with the pressing question: how disappointed are you that COVID is wrecking the first post-Mando Halloween for us all to see little small babies painted green?
Mike (Co-founder of Nerds on Earth and defector to the dark side): This is an excellent question that has not haunted me until you spoke it into existence and I kinda hate you for it.
Jason: I even checked–Mando Season 1 dropped in November. No little kiddos could have known what adorableness was potentially coming!
Kerry (Longtime member of the Nerds On Earth bullpen, midichlorians apologist): Baby Yoda would be the smash hit of Halloween any other year. On the other hand, stormtroopers wearing COVID masks would be a lewk.
Jason: So, with that global sadness recognized, let’s talk about the show and what we think could be coming in season 2. First off, have you seen the official trailer?
Kerry: Who do you think you’re talking to? I’ve watched it an embarrassingly large number of times.
Mike: So, Kerry. You’re one of NoE’s biggest Star Wars fans. Was there anything particular about the trailer that got you super excited? Maybe something that promises to be S2 newness?!
Kerry: Where to begin? The opening shot of the Razor Crest–listing, obviously damaged, and with its cargo bay door wide open in the vacuum of space–is tantalizing. And the Gamorrean fight club hits that smoky, underworld vibe Solo did so well; the name of the game in S2 seems to be, “dark deeds done dirt cheap.” Finally, that voiceover discussion of the Jedi, combined with that mysterious disappearing woman, is just the kind of story tease I want. Inject that jazz directly into my veins, Favreau.
Mike: Yeah, the fight club scene screams seedy and I like it. Plus you get the tease of the return of the whistling birds, which I LOVED in S1.
Kerry: The second trailer dropped a couple days ago and has a split second of Greef Karga (the venerable Carl Weathers) manning a turret gun onboard a ship that makes the tiny corner of my brain shaped by Predator tingle, too.
Jason: I think one of the things that jumped out to me was that we are going to get to dig in a little bit deeper into The Way the Mandolorian follows. With the trailer setting up that season 2 is built around him eventually delivering his little buddy to someone else, will Mando be able to go along with it? And at the end of the day, are the Jedi in charge of the Yodas, or just the one Yoda we know about?
Mike: The line about Mando finding the little guy’s people has me intrigued, for sure. No clue where that will lead us except all over the galaxy. I also dug the Armorer’s mention of Mandalore the Great. I wrote up a lore post that dives deep into that, and I’d love to see/hear more!
Kerry: I don’t think the Child is going anywhere. He’s the McGuffin the entire show is built around. From the angle of character development, Baby Yoda brings Din Djarin to life. The Mandalorian is a faceless, inhuman machine without him; the Child humanizes Djarin by forcing him to care for another being. That struck me deeply when S1 came out because I was a new parent at the time. Baby Yoda triggered surprising emotional reactions in me, particularly when he was hurt or in danger, and I subconsciously projected those feelings onto Mando.
Jason: I do think that removing The Child from the series would be a massive change and definitely would mean you want to shift the series. And truthfully, if the series is a Western set in space, then the Shane ending is with The Child watching Mando ride off into space, not vice versa.
Mike: Plus, there are all those toy market dollars to consider, Jason. I think Clave has already purchased 17 different Baby Yoda toys.
Kerry: You ain’t lying, Mike! *laughs in money*
Jason: I really was trying to save all our bank accounts. But, that isn’t the (Disney) Way.
So, note here, that there may be spoilers ahead, not because we have top secret information or are playing Jedi mind tricks, but there are some interesting rumors out there in terms of casting and potential characters that those folks may play.
So, first up on the list is the name that made me swoon like a little school girl because he is so perfect for this series – Timothy Olyphant. I mean, the Deadwood and Justified guy HAS to get into the space western game, right? And he is allegedly playing Cobb Vanth!
Kerry: Deadwood showed us that Olyphant is a bad, bad man. (On an unrelated note, Marvel needs to cast him as Gambit pronto.) But I’m a bit embarrassed to say his character’s name doesn’t ring a bell, Jason–has Vanth showed up before?
Jason: So Vanth is introduced in the Aftermath book that came out with the last movies. I don’t want to give away too much but Cobb is a guy with a full suit of Mandalorian armor who is himself not a Mandalorian. Which can make for some fun conflicts in this season I think. (If I was elevator pitching him, he is Malcolm Reynolds with a Mando suit.)
Kerry: OMG Jason. So Vanth is a dark twin to Djarin? That’s a classic trope of the Hero’s Journey. Who poses the ultimate challenge to the Mandalorian? Himself. (Also, I obviously need to read Aftermath.)
Mike: Ooo, I like that, Kerry! Kinda like Link vs Shadow Link in Ocarina of Time!
Speaking of characters introduced elsewhere…Ahsoka Tano is due onscreen, yeah? And we’ve already seen the darksaber. Both of which debuted in the Clone Wars TV series if I’m not mistaken. Interesting to see them borrowing so much from that series. I’ve heard it’s great, though! Hope I can keep up having not seen any of it (he says as he backs slowly out of the room).
Jason: Mike has a nerd blindspot!
Mike: Kerry and I have already talked about this, Jason. He’s set me on the right path. It’ll just take 7 years to get current because there’s so much to Rebels and Clone Wars!
Jason: It really is crazy to think not THAT long ago, they declared a Star Wars continuity redo and now when you search Amazon, it says that there are 23 canonical books in the new “series.” And, Mike, you didn’t bring up who is rumored to be playing Ahsoka….Rosario Dawson!
Kerry: And the canon reboot has been wildly successful too! Ahsoka is such a beloved character, y’all. To be honest, she’s probably the best character introduced since Revenge of the Sith concluded the prequel trilogy in 2005. I’m a little nervous to see how a character who has thrived in animation (and a great titular YA novel) translates to live-action.
Jason: If ever there was a place to take the chance, it is Star Wars, especially in the hands of Jon Favereau. One of the dynamics of the show that really shone is that he seems to be the overall vision and showrunner and allowing other great directors to come in and shine their part. Last season wound up being a fantastic list of directors telling excellent stories.
Kerry: Story-wise, I have no idea where S2 will go. I definitely think we’ll see the story open up a little wider, but I don’t know how. Will we meet a Jedi, and will that being belong to the Jedi Academy that Luke opens after Return of the Jedi? Where does the darksaber figure into all of this? I’m gonna call a (small) shot here: I think this is a season of reveals for Baby Yoda. We’re going to learn his name, his home planet, and–one of Star Wars’ holiest of holies–his species.
Mike: That last one would be huge! We’ve basically been calling all things even remotely Yoda-like “Yoda” because of that lack of species name. Even The Child itself. And I believe folks on the crew of the show came out early on and specifically said its name wasn’t Baby Yoda. All we knew is that it was Yoda-like and not Yaddle. We did the best we could with what we were given.
And I know nothing about the darksaber outside of the fact that I could skin my lightsaber to look like it in The Force Unleashed. I do look forward to learning a bit more about it.
Jason: I am mainly excited about this season; if they can just build on the fantastic first season, I will be a happy, happy nerd. I think we could get one or more flashback episodes that give us a better understanding of the Mando. But if I had only one wild guess to offer about the season, it would be about the season’s end. The Child is going to speak and then we are going to cut to black.
Mike: But does it speak in the broken, backwards way of Yoda? I’d pay good money for his first word to just be a very Yoda-like “Hmmmmmmmm.” (And you all know exactly what that word sounds like!)
Jason: Yes, but it is Betty White’s voice.