Is The Mandalorian Season 3 About To Make The Same Mistake As Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker?

This article contains spoilers for the season 3 premiere of "The Mandalorian."

Chances are, observant fans will be able to find echoes of previous franchise installments hidden within nearly any modern "Star Wars" movie or show. "The Mandalorian" might represent the platonic ideal of this trend, especially since the recent season 3 premiere already seems to be gearing up for plenty of deep cuts, unexpected connections, and a general appreciation of all the things fans love about this series. But some parallels are a little more welcome than others, to say the least. And if one particular subplot introduced in "The Apostate," the season 3 opener, pans out the way it appears it might, well, fans are likely to receive some unwelcome flashbacks to one of the most maligned entries in the entire "Star Wars" canon.

So how much is too much when it comes to poetry and rhymes? Well, the line's probably crossed once "The Rise of Skywalker" enters the picture. No, it wasn't the return of Babu Frik's species of alien, now known as Anzellans and first introduced in the J.J. Abrams-directed trilogy-capper, that sent a chill up the spine of many a fan. (Or, heck, maybe it was. Some of us just can't stand that cutesy, "Hey, heyyy!"-shouting little freak.) Instead, creator and writer Jon Favreau made the unexpected decision to bring back a very familiar face, the bounty hunter droid IG-11 (voiced by Taika Waititi) — and potentially undo his poignant self-sacrifice from season 1 in the process.

Should Mando actually succeed in bringing the droid back from death, wouldn't that feel a little too reminiscent of the double cop-out involving Chewbaccas's near-death experience and C-3PO's memory wipe? If you ask us, this is one instance of "Star Wars" history repeating itself that we could do without.

Somehow, IG-11 returned

Of course, it's not a stretch in the "Star Wars" universe for characters once presumed dead to suddenly reappear again. Remember when Boba Fett lived to fight another day after tumbling into a Sarlacc pit and showed up in both "The Mandalorian" and the spin-off series, "The Book of Boba Fett"? Or when Sith lord Darth Maul managed to survive being sliced and diced in "The Phantom Menace," returning for a long-awaited rematch against Obi-Wan Kenobi in the animated "The Clone Wars" series?

But there comes a point when fake-out deaths start to strain even the low standard "Star Wars" set for the suspension of disbelief, and everything tips into much more hackneyed territory. "The Force Awakens" took that route by magically having R2-D2 wake himself up from a droid coma at the end of the film, just when it was most convenient for him to complete the missing map to Luke Skywalker. A couple movies later, J.J. Abrams returned to this well with "The Rise of Skywalker," going even further with a double-whammy of pulled punches involving two of the most beloved characters in the entire franchise: C-3PO and Chewie.

Fast-forward to "The Mandalorian," and it seems like we're in for a repeat of Rey's "Chewie must've been on another transport!" retcon and C-3PO's inexplicably restored memories. Mando's journey to find atonement on the devastated Mandalore homeworld takes a detour when he finds a statue made up of parts from his old friend IG-11, giving him the idea to try reviving the droid in the hopes that he can help him on his quest. Things ... don't go as planned when he wakes up and reverts to his old violent programming, but the setup is in place for an ill-advised return from the dead.

Actions and consequences

Granted, we're still incredibly early in the story arc of season 3, and the (presumed) return of IG-11 after his grand self-sacrifice on the river of lava to save his friends in season 1 could very well justify itself in just a few weeks' time.

But even at such an early juncture, all the warning signs are there for a misguided subplot that completely undercuts one of the show's most touching and meaningful scenes to this point. If even a side character as minor as IG-11 can be brought back on a whim despite the finality of his demise, then that raises all sorts of questions about how invested we should remain in the fates of any character on "The Mandalorian" in the episodes ahead. In a vacuum, this would merely feel like a small misstep in the long run. But combined with some of the show's other contentious choices, such as walking back Mando and Grogu's parting of ways and reverting back to the status quo (which is confusing if you haven't watched "The Book of Boba Fett"), it suggests that the show no longer commits to real, actual consequences anymore.

"The Mandalorian" has seven more episodes left to convince viewers that the story that the creative team wants to tell is actually leading somewhere with meaningful developments and significant changes for the characters involved. While this one subplot alone doesn't indicate much one way or another, the parallels to "The Rise of Skywalker" are enough to raise our eyebrows just a bit.

"The Mandalorian" season 3 airs new episodes on Disney+ every Wednesday.