The Mandalorian explores an era of Star Wars history we’ve never seen before, at least not in live-action. Set just a few years after the “death” of Emperor Palpatine and the fall of the Empire, the Disney+ series takes place on the edge of the galaxy, far away from the main action of Return of the Jedi, but that doesn’t mean a few familiar faces won’t show up.
After all, plenty of iconic characters from Han Solo and Luke Skywalker to newer additions like Kylo Ren are somewhere out there during The Mandalorian. Where exactly? And is it possible they could show up on the Disney+ series? To answer, there’s one question we need to square away first.
When exactly does The Mandalorian take place?
The short answer is that The Mandalorian takes place five years after The Return of the Jedi — the third film in the original Star Wars trilogy where Luke Skywalker and his cyborg dad defeat Emperor Palpatine and destroy the second Death Star. In many Star Wars circles, this year is referred to as 9 ABY or 9 years “After the Battle of Yavin,” referring to the iconic space battle from A New Hope where Luke destroyed the First Death Star.
For further context, this is four years after the Battle of Jakku, which was the final major showdown between the Empire and the Rebels. That means Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda are all long-dead Force ghosts drifting through the aether by the time The Mandalorian begins.
In the grand scheme of the Skywalker saga with its three trilogies and two side movies, what does The Mandalorian’s timing mean for the bigger picture? Here’s a quick check-in with every major Star Wars character and where they are during the events of the series.
Let’s kill your “the Mandalorian is Boba Fett” theory right here because Boba Fett died five years ago after he fell into the Sarlacc pit early in Return of the Jedi. Boba Fett is dead — and he’s got 995 years left before he’s fully digested.
My personal dream is that Sebastian Stan will show up in The Mandalorian as a younger Luke Skywalker (the resemblance is uncanny!) We know that in the year that followed the Battle of Endor, Luke traveled the galaxy compelled by the Force to seek relics like a star compass and remnants of a Force-sensitive tree. (These events are depicted in the video game Star Wars: Battlefront II and comic Shattered Empire 4, respectively.)
It’s unclear exactly when Luke founded his disastrous new Jedi school that Ben Solo totally ruined, but that traumatic event supposedly didn’t happen until sometime between the years of 28 ABY and 33 ABY. There’s a huge gap of time from about 6 ABY until then during which Luke wandered the galaxy with R2-D2 looking for relics. For him to pop up somewhere on the Outer Rim to help out Baby Yoda seems totally possible from a canonical standpoint.
While Luke was off doing Jedi stuff after the original trilogy, it was left to Leia and Han to help lead the Rebels in mopping up the rest of the Imperial forces. Many of the events are chronicled in Chuck Wendig’s book trilogy called Star Wars: Aftermath, but the third novel ends when Leia gives birth to Ben Solo on the day the Empire finally surrendered to the New Republic in 5 ABY.
We know from Claudia Gray’s Bloodline novel that Leia went on to be a prominent senator in the New Republic, but all we know of these middle years is that Leia spent some time as a mother until Ben Solo joined Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy. She may have trained as a Jedi herself. Some Rise of Skywalker leaks tease that there may be a flashback to Leia sparring with Luke while she wields her own lightsaber.
During the events of The Mandalorian, however, Leia is about 28 years old and probably still taking care of young Ben Solo, who (spoiler alert) is about 4 years old. She’s probably living on the core world of Chandrila, which is very far from the Outer Rim worlds where the Disney+ series takes place.
Following the events of the original Star Wars trilogy, Han Solo and Leia Organa were married rather quickly on Endor. During Star Wars: Battlefront II, Han appears at Maz Kanata’s castle — with a huge beard, by the way — gathering some information that can help him and Chewbacca liberate the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk from Imperial control.
All of that business was wrapped up rather quickly, and as Leia resumed her career in politics following the birth of Ben Solo, Han founded a legitimate shipping company and took up racing on the side, living a life mostly away from his family. The canon novel Last Shot chronicles one team-up mission in 7 ABY where Han and Chewie help Lando Calrissian save Cloud City from disaster, but it’s unclear where Han wound up immediately after.
Han is about 41 during The Mandalorian and could be just about anywhere in the galaxy, so if you’re wondering if he can show up, the better question is whether or not Alden Ehrenreich would reprise the role after the disaster that was Solo: A Star Wars Story? For what it’s worth, he probably hasn’t joined back up with Chewie to resume smuggling… yet.
Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren
Surprise! The evil future Supreme Leader of the First Order is around 4 years old during The Mandalorian, probably bullying other kids on some kindergarten playground in Channa City on Chandrila.
As previously mentioned, Ben Solo was born in the early days of the New Republic and is very much alive by the time The Mandalorian kicks off. It’s even possible that he’s a young Padawan with a teeny blue lightsaber already training with his uncle Luke Skywalker. It’s far more likely, however, that he’s still just living at home with his mommy, Leia Organa.
Rey’s no-good alcoholic filthy junk trader parents might not even be dating yet during The Mandalorian, because she won’t be born for another 6 years!
Perhaps the best pilot to ever exist in Star Wars, Poe Dameron, was born to Lieutenant Shara Bey and Sergeant Kes Dameron in 2 ABY in the midst of the original trilogy, making him 7 years old during The Mandalorian. It’s unlikely that he’d show up at all, but his parents might!
Both of Poe’s parents fought for the Rebellion during the Galactic Civil war. They met Leia, Luke, and other prominent heroes in that era. They eventually settled on Yavin 4 on the Outer Rim. If Mando ever happens to travel there, then it’s possible he might encounter the Damerons.
The boy that would be abducted by the First Order and forced into servitude as a stormtrooper labeled FN-2187 isn’t born until 11 ABY, which means that the Resistance hero we know as Finn is around -2 years old during The Mandalorian.
Project Resurrection, the First Order abduction program that built the stormtrooper army, probably hadn’t begun yet at this time.
Considering how ancient Snoke looks, he’s totally alive during The Mandalorian. He may already be toying with Ben Solo’s mind from afar, urging him on to give into the fear and anger by bullying other children. It’s even possible that he senses the presence of Baby Yoda across the galaxy.
All we really know about the First Order is that it was established before 21 ABY, but the early days could have been before or during the events of The Mandalorian. Werner Herzog’s creepy crime lord could be an early leader of the First Order trying to capture Baby Yoda for nefarious purposes. Snoke emerged from out of nowhere to assert control over what remained of the Empire, and that eventually coalesced into what we know as the First Order.
Following the events of the original trilogy, Chewbacca liberated his homeworld Kashyyyk with the help of Han Solo and other Rebels and later retired.
During The Mandalorian, Chewbacca is probably enjoying a peaceful retirement with a loving family you know very little about. He did team up with Han and Lando for a mission in Last Shot to save Cloud City two short years before The Mandalorian, but it won’t be for a few years more that he’ll rejoin Han’s smuggling activities leading up to the new trilogy.
During the events of Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath: Empire’s End novel, Lando Calrissian spends a lot of time and energy trying to liberate his precious Cloud City from lingering Imperial control, all in the year 5 ABY — a year after the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi. At some point shortly thereafter, he and Nunb are attacked on the Millennium Falcon during the comic Flight of the Falcon, Part 3: Home Again, and they fend off a bounty hunter.
Much of Lando’s time between the original and new trilogies remains untold other than these details, but we can presume that during The Mandalorian, he’s probably just hanging out on Cloud City with Lobot where he remains leading into The Rise of Skywalker. Bespin, the planet where Cloud City hovers, is in the Outer Rim territories, so it is probably somewhat close to where all the action of The Mandalorian takes place.
Many Star Wars fans may have absolutely no clue who Iden Versio is, but this former Imperial soldier joined the Rebellion in the months following the destruction of the Second Death Star. Played by actress Janina Gavankar, Versio is the protagonist of the Star Wars: Battlefront II video game. She was instrumental in defeating the Empire at the Battle of Jakku, and in the years that followed settled down with her fellow super-spy Del Meeko. Their daughter, Zay, actively recruits new members of the Resistance in the present day and has a noteworthy role in the Rise of Skywalker prequel novel Resistance Reborn
In theory, Iden and Del have not had Zay yet. She appears to be in her early 20s by the time the new trilogy happens (she has a key role in a Battlefront II DLC that takes place around the time of the new trilogy). It’s unlikely that The Mandalorian would feature a character from a video game, but Gavankar could very easily reprise her role on the show as a member of the Resistance looking for a place to settle down.
Speaking of characters from video games, the protagonist of Jedi: Fallen Order played by actor Cameron Monaghan was still a young Padawan during the Clone Wars, but during the events of the game around 5 years later, he’s grown into a 20-something adult. We won’t spoil whether or not he lives or dies in the game, but if he does survive, he’d be around 48 years old during The Mandalorian.
It does seem like it would be a miracle for him to survive that long, though.
Jar Jar Binks
After spending years in the Republic Senate, Jar Jar Binks helped introduce the legislation that gave the Emperor all his power. So you can kind of blame him for all the bad stuff to ever happen in the original trilogy. His people exiled him for it, and by the time Empire’s End happens in 5 ABY, Jar Jar performs as a street clown entertaining children on Naboo. He befriended a young refugee boy named Mapo and taught him the ways of the clown.
We can only assume that Jar Jar remains a clown on the streets of Theed City on Naboo, which is a Mid Rim territory far from the Mandalorian’s gunslinging. Here’s one character we hope remains in obscurity.
New episodes of The Mandalorian are added to Disney+ on Fridays.