- Season 3 is expected to release in 2022
- Will release after The Book of Boba Fett
- Won't feature Gina Carano
- Expected to feature Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito)
- Getting another spin-off called Ahsoka
- Filming apparently began recently
The Mandalorian season 3 doesn't have a release date yet – but filming is ongoing. The show has had a long production hiatus while Lucasfilm worked on the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, Andor and The Book of Boba Fett. Now, as of late 2021, the follow-up season to Disney Plus's original is filming, according to star Carl Weathers.
Below, we'll explain everything we know about the show's return so far, including likely cast members and where we expect the story to go next.
Is season 3 happening? Yes. The show was renewed before The Mandalorian season 2 even released, but The Mandalorian's future was confirmed again by creator Jon Favreau in December 2020.
Release date: The Mandalorian season 3 is reportedly on Lucasfilm's slate for 2022. All that's been revealed officially is that it was planned to go into production 'right after' The Book of Boba Fett – but that seemed to change. In August 2021, Carl Weathers (Greef Karga) said filming was due to start in September – and he started filming his parts in October 2021. This likely means late 2022 is when we'll see the show return.
Cast: Pascal will return as the titular Mandalorian, Din Djarin, but other cast members haven't been confirmed yet. Giancarlo Esposito has hinted his character, Moff Gideon, may return in future, but Gina Carano won't return as Cara Dune.
Story: The fate of the Darksaber weapon, and whether Grogu will return to Din after being trained by Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), are the plot threads we expect to be picked up in The Mandalorian season 3.
- How to watch the Star Wars movies in order
- New Star Wars TV shows and movies explained
- When is The Mandalorian set in the Star Wars timeline?
The Mandalorian season 3 release date
The Mandalorian season 3 doesn't have an official release date yet, but late 2022 seems like a safe bet at this point. In a September 2021 story for THR, it was mentioned that the show is part of Lucasfilm's slate for next year. Since both Andor and Obi-Wan Kenobi have already filmed, we'd expect the show to return after they've rolled out on Disney Plus.
Back when The Book of Boba Fett was announced at the end of The Mandalorian season 2 finale, Grogu fans were concerned that the new show was taking the place of a third season of The Mandalorian. But that's definitely not the case: Favreau has confirmed that The Mandalorian season 3 will continue the story of Din Djarin.
"What we didn't say in [the Disney Investor Day announcement about upcoming Star Wars TV] is the next show coming up – [Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy] said the next chapter – that's gonna be The Book of Boba Fett," Favreau told Good Morning America in December 2020. "And then we go into production right after that on season 3 of The Mandalorian, back with the main character that we all have known and loved."
Filming seems to have begun. Carl Weathers, aka Greef Karga, said at a comic con in August that The Mandalorian season 3 was set to start filming “within the next month” . Weather later tweeted that he started filming the show again on October 13, 2021.
Given the usual timescales for productions of The Mandalorian’s size, these comments both suggest a late 2022 release date is on the Sabacc cards.
One factor with the potential to delay The Mandalorian season 3, however, is leading man Pedro Pascal's commitment to HBO's live-action series based on Naughty Dog's critically acclaimed videogame The Last of Us, where he’s starring as Joel Miller. Production got under way on the new show in early July, and Pascal's contract with HBO means The Last of Us is in "first position" – in Hollywood speak, that means it takes precedence over any other shows the actor might work on, including The Mandalorian.
The Last of Us doesn't necessarily mean the end of the world for Mando, however – especially as he's not always the actor inside that famous helmet, as season 1 director Bryce Dallas Howard revealed to Vulture in 2019. Besides, as Esposito pointed out at GalaxyCon Raleigh, “We never have to wait for Pedro”.
We'll update this section once we have confirmation on an official launch date.
The Mandalorian season 3 cast
Spoilers follow for The Mandalorian season 2. Don't go any further unless you want the series ruined for you.
While there's no officially confirmed supporting cast for season 3 yet, Pedro Pascal will return (at least some of the time) as Din Djarin, aka The Mandalorian.
Other actors returning next season are unclear – no surprise, seeing as Lucasfilm tend to enjoy keeping guest stars secret until new episodes debut on Disney Plus – but the show now has a big ensemble to pick and choose from.
We fully expect to see Katee Sackhoff's Bo-Katan Kryze appear again – perhaps season 3 will dig further into her quest to restore Mandalore – while Carl Weathers (Greef Karga) is likely to pop up at some point.
Gina Carano, however, isn't returning as former Rebel Shock Trooper Cara Dune. We've touched on this further down, so jump ahead if you want to know why.
Giancarlo Esposito seems fairly confident he'll turn up again as rogue Imperial Moff Gideon in season 3. "I have a feeling you'll see more of me next season. More than likely you're going to see a lot of Moff Gideon," the actor told Entertainment Weekly. With his life spared by Mando in the season 2 finale, the Imperial bigwig clearly has a bigger part to play in the post-Return of the Jedi universe. And besides, why ditch a perfectly good villain?
It's also possible that Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) will appear again after their starring roles in the upcoming The Book of Boba Fett, but that's by no means certain. The events of that show will probably shed light on that.
"I don't know, you'll probably find out before I do,” said Ming-Na when Digital Spy asked her about a possible appearance in The Mandalorian season 3. “You guys have your feelers out on everything. I mean, come on, I didn't even know I was shooting The Book of Boba Fett, so you're asking the wrong person.
"We're so secretive about everything, right?" she added. "We don't call the shows, the shows. The contracts are always under different names. The show is under different names. When I was told I was going to become a season regular, I just automatically assumed it was for The Mandalorian season 3. So for two weeks, while I was working with Tem [Temuera Morrison] and Robert [Rodriguez, The Book of Boba Fett executive producer], I had no idea that I was actually shooting the spin-off!"
Additionally, rumors surrounding an appearance from the Wookiees have emerged . According to the Bespin Bulletin podcast, sources close to season 3's production have suggested that a Wookiee will be making an appearance in the show. Naturally, there's no confirmation as to whether this is true, so we're staying skeptical for now. If you're interested in viewing the rumor yourself, though, check out the Instagram post below:
The Mandalorian season 3 story
We think there are two big plot threads from season 2 that The Mandalorian season 3 has to pay off. First, who will wield the Darksaber? And, second, when will Grogu – also known as The Child/Baby Yoda – return to Din Djarin's care following his time training with Jedi Master Luke Skywalker?
At the end of season 2, Mando won the Darksaber weapon – the Mandalorian blade highly coveted by Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) in her journey to reclaim the throne of Mandalore – from Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). However, he couldn't simply hand it over to Bo-Katan, and tensions mounted as it became clear that she and Mando were going to have to duel in order for her to claim the weapon. This plot thread should be picked up again in The Mandalorian season 3, as any further developments were scuppered by the impromptu appearance of Luke Skywalker in the season finale.
“The way that Lucasfilm left me in season 2...” Sackhoff told SlashFilm, “one of the roads that could be gone down – absolutely, you'd think – would be the unfinished business [about Bo-Katan and the Mandalorians]. But that is so far above my pay grade, and you just don't know, right? As a fan of the show, I'm just excited to see what they come up with.
On the subject of Luke, the other big plot point we expect to be picked up in season 3 is the fate of Grogu after the artist formerly known as Baby Yoda went off with Luke to be trained in the ways of the Force. "He is strong with the Force, but talent without training is nothing,” said Skywalker. “I will give my life to protect the Child... but he will not be safe until he masters his abilities."
Mando promises he'll see Grogu again, but when? We would be shocked not to see the little green guy again next season.
What's more, if indeed he does reappear, season 3 may see Grogu flex even more Force-based powers than those he used in seasons 1 and 2. "This child has magic powers, [is] 50 years old, and can see the future,” Esposito told a young fan at GalaxyCon, “and we want everyone to know, eventually on this show, that [Grogu] could save our universe."
Moff Gideon’s pursuit of Grogu is “for a very different reason than many people think," Esposito added. So, in addition to levitating, choking and shield-making, Baby Yoda can apparently see the future – which is an ability we’ve come across before in the troubled visions of Anakin and Luke Skywalker.
Then, of course, there's the resurgent Empire to deal with. Moff Gideon's ship is just one small part of the Imperial remnant forces out there waiting to be dealt with, and we know that Imperial leader Grand Admiral Thrawn is alive and being hunted by Ahsoka Tano.
We expect the Thrawn story to form the basis of the upcoming Ahsoka live-action show, but it's possible we'll see it picked up again in The Mandalorian, too.
It's also likely that we'll see more hints at what Grogu's blood is being used for by the Empire. It seemed fairly obvious the show was pointing at the cloned origins of the sequel trilogy’s puppet villain Supreme Leader Snoke, and the eventual return of Emperor Palpatine that would make us sigh with disappointment in 2019's The Rise of Skywalker. We'll have to see if season 3 addresses this or not. (A cloning subplot could also tie into The Bad Batch season 2, where we encountered an Imperial scientist wearing a uniform very similar to that of The Mandalorian's Dr Pershing.)
Some members of the cast do at least have an idea of where the show is heading. In an interview with IndieWire in January, Pascal teased that he's aware of "what the plan is" for season 3 and beyond, but obviously couldn't elaborate on it due to spoilers and NDA agreements in his contract.
“I can’t share it (the plot), he said. "They're in the expansion of this world, where there are so many unexpected surprises and timelines that are going to be dealt with. If the character were to cross over into these worlds, it will be utilized in a way that isn’t meant to be expected. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise of whether or not characters from the show we already know are crossing over.”
The Mandalorian season 3: Gina Carano won't return
Due to an offensive social media post, Gina Carano was removed from all future Lucasfilm projects. "Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future," the company said in a statement. That means you won't see her in future Star Wars shows, including The Mandalorian season 3. Carano has since fired back over her removal from the show, with the actress claiming that she had been "bullied" by Disney and LucasFilm – accusations that both companies have strenuously denied (h/t BBC).
It's unclear if this means the Cara Dune character is being retired or if she'll be recast. The Mandalorian's showrunners could easily find a way to kill her off-screen but, until we know for sure, we'll wait to see what Favreau and company decide to do with Cara Dune. The fact that the Rangers of the New Republic spin-off – widely rumored to focus on Dune – has been mothballed by Lucasfilm suggests we may have seen the last of the character.
The Mandalorian season 3 spin-offs explained
The Mandalorian has two spin-offs in the works: The Book of Boba Fett, which we've talked about already, and Ahsoka. Both are set to take place in the timeframe of the main show, around five years after Return of the Jedi. (The previously mentioned Rangers of the New Republic would also have been set during the same period, until Lucasfilm and Disney put it on ice – or should that be carbonite?)
Most intriguingly, there's a plan for this sub-universe of shows to converge into a larger story. It sounds a little like what Netflix did in uniting its various Marvel superhero TV shows in the miniseries The Defenders, but we'd expect Disney and Lucasfilm's plans to be better received than the Netflix crossover series was.
"These interconnected shows, along with future stories, will excite new audiences embrace our most passionate fans, and culminate in a climactic story event," explained Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy during Disney's Investor Day stream in late 2020.
It sounds to us, then, that we're going to see either a miniseries or movie-length episode that brings these stories together – though we wouldn't expect to see that for a few years from now.
First, let's get The Mandalorian season 3 out of the way...