Regardless of your feelings about The Last Jedi, we can all agree that Canto Bight is the biggest wretched hive of scum and villainy in all of Star Wars because it’s the source of profiteering of all sorts of weapons. In fact, in the post- Return of the Jedi economy, it seems very likely that Canto Bight is even more pivotal to the larger politics of the Star Wars galaxy than we might have guessed. One throwaway line in The Mandalorian Episode 6 might be more than a joke, and could suggest a huge power dynamic that let the First Order get its mojo together.
Minor spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian episode 6, “Chapter 6 “The Prisoner.”
Okay, so, the joke in this episode of The Mandalorian is pretty light. Mayfeld (Bill Burr) takes a glance at Mando’s ship and just says: “Looks like a slot machine on Canto Bight.”
So, if you just think about this for one second, here’s all two pieces of relevant information that should sink in:
- Canto Bight — a city on the planet Cantonica — has an operating casino at this point in the Star Wars timeline, you know, nearly three decades before Finn and Rose go there in The Last Jedi.
- Mayfeld as been there.
While these pieces of information alone don’t mean a whole lot, if you think about it a certain way, the reference to Canto Bight could be kind of pointed. In The Last Jedi, it’s outright stated that the only reason the wealthy patrons of Canto Bight have tons of money is that they are all in some kind of illegal weapons-selling business. Now, according to canon, Canto Bight had a casino that was operating during the Rebellion era, but then again, we only get that information from Lando, the kind of person you would expect to find in Canto Bight.
You wouldn’t expect to find Mayfeld in Canto Bight. Unless, of course, at this point in time, Canto Bight is already an epicenter for illegal trade and high-end deals. The short version of this is pretty simple: After the fall of the Empire, the New Republic is actually having a pretty hard time keeping the peace, and so, large crime syndicates have already quietly started controlling things behind the scenes. If having a peaceful galaxy means things have been unprofitable for certain big mobs, then it stands to reason that war profiteers – maybe operating out of Canto Bight — are looking to figure out a way to start-up a giant war in the stars again.
It doesn’t really matter which fictional Star Wars crime syndicate is operating on Canto Bight during the time of The Mandalorian; the Hutts, the Pykes, Crimson Dawn, take your pick. The point is, if a big-deal crime organization is already in control of that city, then it follows that the origins of the First Order could possibly start here. Not the twisted political ideology of course, but the weapons.
The Last Jedi makes it pretty clear that the weapons dealers don’t really care who they are selling starfighters and bombs to, as long as they make money. So the fact that this criminal enterprise is thriving right after the events of Return of the Jedi, suggests the New Republic’s biggest enemy wasn’t really the First Order, but instead, shady space mobs who were figuring out how to make money off of weapons.
Then again, maybe Bill Burr was just messing around.
The Mandalorian is airing now on Disney+.