'Mandalorian' theory explains his tragic backstory with a Star Wars deep cut

Life Day could become even more important.

We know based on flashbacks from the first three Mandalorian episodes that the title character was a foundling (or orphan, in Star Wars speak) after his parents died in an attack by the Trade Federation’s Super Battle Droids. Beyond that, his origin story remains a mystery — could Obi-Wan be involved? — but one subtle detail in those flashbacks could shed new light on our pal Mando’s murky backstory.

If you can recall, in the flashbacks we’ve seen so far, everyone is wearing red robes. Why does this matter? Because it seems to confirm that the attack happened on Life Day.

Essentially the Christmas of the Star Wars galaxy, Life Day is a somewhat controversial holiday because of its 1978 debut in the maligned Star Wars Holiday Special that takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The special was so terrible and terrifying (the sight of Chewie’s son will give you nightmares) that Lucasfilm, Disney, and George Lucas have all tried to ignore its existence. Lucas once supposedly said, “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.”

Why does this abominable spin-off movie matter now with The Mandalorian?

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Chewie wears a bright red robe to celebrate Life Day in the 'Star Wars Holiday Special'.

Despite Life Day’s former connection exclusively to the Wookiees of Kasyyyk, an Easter egg in the first few minutes of The Mandalorian Episode 1 essentially canonized Life Day as something important to the wider galaxy, despite the holiday being ignored by most of Star Wars for decades. Mando’s first bounty, a blue-gilled alien called a Mythrol, chatters about wanting to go home and visit family for Life Day right before Mando freezes him in carbonite.

Was this moment necessary foreshadowing? It would set up an important reveal later on that Mando and his people wear red Life Day robes because this massacre happens on Life Day? Even Vanity Fair’s Anthony Breznican tweeted about this possibility earlier this week. Other fans on Reddit also discussed this theory, along with an alternate theory that they wear red robes because they’re all Disciples of the Whills on the planet Jedha (featured in Rogue One). Most of the disciples wear similar red robes.

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The intricate pattern on the chest of young Mando's robes is interesting to note.

Either of these explanations feels possible — even both do — but young Mando’s robes also have a design that’s more intricate than the simple Life Day robes or those worn by the Disciples of the Whills. They could represent a unique Mandalorian subculture that we haven’t seen before.

The presence of those particular Super Battle Droids, however, also provides an important clue about when this flashback takes place. Led by the Sith Lord Count Dooku, Separatists used these droids in Attack of the Clones, The Clone Wars, and Revenge of the Sith. These events happened roughly between 22 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin from A New Hope) and 19 BBY; That’s 31 years before The Mandalorian, which means that the character known as the Mandalorian is probably just over 40 years old.

Separatists may have attacked an innocent group of humans on what’s essentially Christmas Day in the Star Wars universe during the Clone Wars. Given one particular quote from The Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau, it seems possible that an upcoming episode of the show might grapple directly with the holiday, and it could air close to real-life Christmas.

“Oh I would definitely be interested in doing a holiday special,” Favreau told Variety at a fan event for the show. “And I’m not going to say who I would be interested in. But one of the people is the member of the cast in an upcoming episode of the show. So we’ll leave it at that for now.”

Favreau’s response feels rather cryptic, as if there’s an important member of the cast from an upcoming episode that already has connections to the holiday. The final two episode of Season 1 air before and after Christmas on December 18 and 27, so we’ll probably learn all about Baby Yoda’s fate and Mando’s personal history just as The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters.

That might make this feel like the best Christmas for Star Wars fans even if it’s the worst Life Day for poor Mando.


New episodes of The Mandalorian are added to Disney+ every Friday morning.