Now that Star Wars has moved on from the "Skywalker Saga," it seems live-action streaming television is the hot new medium for Disney's big franchises. With the recent announcement of 10 new Star Wars series, it begs the question of how these shows will connect.
Lucasfilm's first foray into streaming, The Mandalorian, took its time connecting to the broader franchise before diving in headfirst in Season 2 culminating with the return of a famous Jedi in the season finale. But with even more shows on the way, there may be a massive Star Wars crossover event in our future, with a fan-favorite Big Bad at the center.
Mandalorian Season 3 could be all about Thrawn
Back in December, Redditor LewdSkeletor1313 suggested Grand Admiral Thrawn would become an overarching villain for the entire franchise, like Thanos in the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only is Thrawn a great villain on par with Thanos, but they're also both aliens with unique coloring. The comparisons write themselves.
Grand Admiral Thrawn, a Chiss Imperial officer with a love for strategy and art, was originally just a Legends icon but was brought into canon in Star Wars: Rebels. He was alluded to in Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian, "The Jedi," as the bad guy Ahsoka Tano was actually pursuing. Could he play villain in multiple series?
Ahsoka Tano's spinoff Ahsoka will surely include him as a villain, so this theory isn't completely baseless. Including The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Rangers of the New Republic shouldn't be difficult either, as they all take place around the same time.
As it stands, Moff Gideon is the main villain of The Mandalorian, but he'd be outranked by Thrawn. Both Thrawn and Moff Gideon also experimented with cloning and transference of Force abilities. It's possible we may even see them work together.
The theory kind of falls apart when spread out to other shows. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor, and The Bad Batch are both firmly set before the events of the original trilogy, and by the time of The Mandalorian, Obi-Wan and Cassian Andor are both confirmed to be dead. The other show set in the past, The Acolyte, would prove an issue as it's set in the last days of the High Republic. Unless they freeze the protagonist in carbonite, Captain America-style, a crossover may be impossible.
Then again, even just having a supervillain looming over the four different shows in the Mandalorian Streaming Universe could be a huge deal, especially if that villain is an interesting one like Thrawn.
Thrawn might not be the main villain of The Mandalorian Season 3
A second theory by Redditor AlthurPenTargaryen9E proposes another Marvel Cinematic Universe analogy: Thrawn could instead serve as a Loki-like figure, the first foe to defeat as one part of a larger puzzle. This theory speculates the future of the Star Wars franchise lies in the Thrawn conflict introducing wider elements like Snoke, providing more context to the sequel trilogy — and potential for epic crossovers and team-ups between series.
While a massive, era-spanning crossover may be a bit too lofty to hope for at this point, it's very possible the addition of a super-genius villain like Thrawn could prompt Mando and Grogu to fight by Ahsoka's side, or Boba Fett to come to the rescue yet again. His inclusion could even lead to a larger villain that could serve as the antagonist in a future trilogy of Star Wars movies.
The Mandalorian Streaming Universe returns in December 2021 with The Book of Boba Fett on Disney+.