- The Mandalorian is a thrill, but fans might be wondering when it takes place within the larger Star Wars story.
- The show has numerous allusions to other in-world events that help figure out exactly when this story is happening.
- No mysteries here: we know the answer.
Even if you've never watched a Star Wars thing before in your life, The Mandalorian is a blast. But part of what makes the Disney+ original so exciting is the fact that it does fit into the larger Star Wars story that's been told over the last 42 years. But with so many different movies, it can be difficult to figure out when, exactly, everything is supposed to take place. After all, we have an original trilogy that eventually sequentially became 4th, 5th, and 6th, a prequel trilogy that serves as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and a pair of spinoffs that take place at differing points in between those landmarks. With The Mandalorian , though, we can pinpoint exactly where it takes place: after the end of Return of the Jedi , and before the beginning of The Force Awakens .
As you can tell from watching any of The Mandalorian, the story is taking place at something of a moment of transition; there's not a ton happening in one direction or the other. In the first episode, Mando ( Pedro Pascal ) refers to the fact that there is no Empire anymore (alluding to the second Death Star's destruction and Emperor Palpatine's death at the end of Return of the Jedi). However, The Client (Werner Herzog), who hires The Mandalorian to retrieve his asset (who turns out to be Baby Yoda ), is in league with what remains of the Empire, and what they have planned for Baby Yoda surely is up to no good; could this have something to do with The First Order, the new version of the Empire that is formed and powerful by the start of The Force Awakens?
The introduction of Cara Dune (Gina Carano) in the show's fourth episode also helps to establish the timeline in which The Mandalorian exists; Just after meeting (and quickly fighting) him, Cara tells Mando a little about her historyshe was a Shock Trooper signed up to fight for the rebellion. She says she saw most of her duty cleaning up after the "Battle of Endor," which refers to the action that took place in Return of the Jedi on Endor, which is better known as the planet where the Ewoks live.
She also talks about how her initial work of suppressing warlords and people who were feasibly still on the side of the Empire eventually evolved into peacekeeping and riot suppressingnot work she signed up for. It's at this point, she says, that she bailed and became a mercenary. This also brings up questions: if the work of the Rebellion seemingly went too far the other way, is there a chance that the Rebellion eventually evolved into The First Order? Is Star Wars pulling a Marvel-SHIELD twist ?
Maybe, maybe not. But if you're wondering when The Mandalorian takes place, again, we do have that answer: between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.