The galaxy’s favorite odd couple has returned. Baby Yoda is back, and so is his oft-masked guardian, as they meet new friends (and enemies) and try to help each other survive. On the advent of the Season 2 premiere of The Mandalorian, The Ringer staff unleashed their hopes, fears, and predictions.
1. What are you most hyped for heading into Season 2 of The Mandalorian?
(I’m mostly referring to Carl Weathers.)
Rob Mahoney: A closer look at some of the galaxy’s dark corners and back alleys. The Mandalorian has always seemed much more interested in atmosphere than trifling shit like character, but it gets away with it because the whole moody Western motif really plays in wretched hives of scum and villainy. Take me straight to the underground Gamorrean fight club and we’ll see where the night takes us.
Alison Herman: More Giancarlo Esposito playing Gus Fring in space. Who knows how long we’ll have to wait for the final season of Better Call Saul?
Charles Holmes: [starts chanting]
Lightsabers. Lightsabers. Lightsabers. Lightsabers.
[chanting grows louder]
LIGHTSABERS! LIGHTSABERS! LIGHTSABERS! LIGHTSABERS!
Sean Yoo: There’s so much uncertainty heading into this second season, given how secretive Jon Favreau and his team have been. But there’s one thing I can guarantee will happen, and it’s Carl Weathers’s Greef Karga screaming “MANDO!” I can’t even read the words The Mandalorian anymore without hearing Karga’s booming voice.
Ben Lindbergh: Waking up at 3 a.m. every Friday to write recaps!
2. Which new character (or actor, if you prefer) will have the biggest impact on the show?
Surrey: If the rumors that Rosario Dawson is showing up as Ahsoka Tano are true, then it’s pretty obvious that Anakin Skywalker’s former padawan is going to be a big deal. Aside from that, I wouldn’t be a true Battlestar Galactica stan if I wasn’t stoked about seeing Katee Sackhoff in space again.
Herman: Starbuck—sorry, Katee Sackhoff—is here to frack my stuff up!
Holmes: Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano could read the dictionary in the Mos Eisley cantina and immediately steal the show. Dawson meeting Baby Yoda for the first time will be the most magnificent salve in a year of so much pain.
Mahoney: The fact that Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon doesn’t appear at all in the Season 2 trailer has me waiting to get rocked.
Lindbergh: Possibly someone we don’t even know about—a year ago, we hadn’t heard about Baby Yoda. Of the known or rumored additions, though, I’ll say Ahsoka. Not only because of what the character signifies for fans or the role she might serve in this story, but because of what the live-action leap of an animated character—and the link to The Clone Wars and Rebels—means for The Mandalorian’s role as a franchise linchpin for the foreseeable future.
Yoo: There is one man whose role we know, and who’s built for it. That man is Timothy Olyphant, who will be playing Cobb Vanth, an intergalactic gunslinger of sorts. If there was ever a role made for Olyphant, it’s a gunslinger. Basically we’ll be getting Deputy Raylan Givens but in space, which is a massive win for the galaxy.
3. Does The Mandalorian need to grow beyond being the Baby Yoda Show?
Herman: My answer to this was different before the last seven months turned my brain into depressed, understimulated sludge. I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more CGI Bambi eyes!
Lindbergh: I don’t think it needs to grow—I would watch more of what it was last season—but I do think it will.
Surrey: All signs point to the series widening its scope in Season 2, which might be thrilling for some Star Wars fans. But I think The Mandalorian is at its best when it’s a pared-down two-hander between a bounty hunter and a half-century-old baby.
Yoo: Don’t get me wrong, I love the Baby Yoda Show, I really do! But as a Star Wars fan I always love when it expands into the larger universe and its lore. It seems like Season 2 is trending in that direction with rumors circulating that we’ll be getting some more history into the life and culture of the Mandalorians. As fans, I think we can appreciate having both the GIF-able Baby Yoda moments and a history lesson. This is the way.
Holmes: No. As a concept, the Mandalorians are boring at best and dumb at worst. The only redeeming quality of Boba Fett in the original movies was his cool mask and for years, endless writers, directors, and producers tried—and failed—to add depth, characterization, and backstory that could rival that marvelous design. Centering a show around a dude who wears a mask 24/7 gets old really quick. As good as Pedro Pascal is at grunting his way through the pressure, he needs a worthy sidekick. Baby Yoda saved Season 1 and shouldn’t be punished for his unrivaled acting skills just because critics want more prestige in their Star Wars drama. It’s not his fault his likeness was pimped out by corporate. Let the little guy live.
Mahoney: I always thought of it more as a Werner Herzog show, to be honest.
4. Has the bitter taste of The Rise of Skywalker affected how you feel about The Mandalorian?
Surrey: Far from it: The Mandalorian is what’s keeping my Star Wars fandom buzzing, and could pave the way for what happens with the franchise’s future.
Mahoney: If anything, it’s made me appreciate The Mandalorian even more. Give me all the good Star Wars I can get, in the hope that I might someday wash Zombie Palpatine from my brain entirely.
Herman: To be honest, it’s lowered my standards. The main trilogy is no longer some gold standard to point to when complaining that The Mandalorian is some naked GIF grab. Star Wars is blatant fan service all the way down; as long as you can execute it coherently, you’re good in my book.
Holmes: The world never needs another piece of Star Wars content ever again. The Rise of Skywalker can’t leave a bitter taste in your mouth if you’re constantly aware that the 40-year-old apple is rotten at its core. IP is gonna IP, but that doesn’t mean one can’t enjoy a group of actors who are way too talented to be cosplaying in space doing their best to bring a little joy to the world. There are worse ways to spend a global pandemic.
Lindbergh: I’ll never escape the Rise of Skywalker discourse, but The Mandalorian reminds me why I still care about this franchise. It’s my Star Wars palate cleanser.
Yoo: [Keke Palmer voice] I hate to say it, I hope I don’t sound ridiculous. I don’t know who this man is. I mean he could be walking down the street, I wouldn’t—I wouldn’t know a thing. Sorry to this man.
5. Pedro Pascal’s face was on screen for under a minute in Season 1. The over/under for Season 2 is five minutes—place your bets.
Yoo: The under has to be the overwhelming favorite here so I might as well put down $5 on the over and pray for the best.
Lindbergh: Over. Once you break the seal on his helmet, you’ve got to give us more. And while Mando may have to share the spotlight with other adult characters this season, it sounds as if the episodes will be longer, on average, than they were last year, which also means more potential face time.
Mahoney: Going hard on the under. We’ll get just enough unmasked time to appease Pascal, but nowhere near five minutes considering that the entire premise of the show involves Mando going into unfamiliar (and often hostile) new territory. Not ideal for raising an actor’s profile, but you can’t argue with the practicality.
Herman: I’m gonna say we see his face for 10 minutes—five at the beginning, five at the end.
Surrey: Mando takes his helmet-always-on rule way too seriously—let’s not forget the only reason he showed his face was because it was in the presence of a droid. Unless he and Baby Yoda have a spa day, I’m going for the under.
Holmes: I do not understand betting, but I would like to see some Mandalorian chest hair.
6. What is your One Big Prediction for Season 2?
Herman: Disney+ will stay winning.
Lindbergh: Baby Yoda will utter his first word. (Here’s hoping it’s “Mando.”)
Mahoney: Greef Karga finds love.
Holmes: There will be some joke about Baby Yoda experiencing the terrible twos. It will not be funny.
Surrey: The Mandalorian takes a page out of Avatar: The Last Airbender and separates Mando and Baby Yoda for a time.
In Avatar’s second season, Aang’s (perfect, majestic) flying bison Appa is captured by bandits, a harrowing ordeal on a show that’s theoretically aimed at children. It’s a formative moment for Aang, and the stand-alone episode that catches viewers up with Appa’s devastating captivity and eventual escape is an all-timer. (I don’t do well with animals, real or fictional, in distress, so I might’ve cried.) Maybe tearing Baby Yoda away from his adoptive dad is too upsetting for Disney, but Jon Favreau has promised to get dark and freaky.
Yoo: We will see at least one Jedi this season. Also, Carl Weathers will scream “MANDO!”