Mandalorian Season 3's Biggest Twist Has Sidelined Its Greatest Character
The heir to the throne of Mandalore is all alone. But why?
The greatest Mandalorian of them all has been ditched by all of her friends. In the strangest twist in the premiere of The Mandalorian Season 3, a huge development has taken place off-screen. The heir apparent to the throne of Mandalore, Bo-Katan Kryze is suddenly in a very strange position. Here’s what happened, why this is a bummer of Bo-Katan fans, and how Mando Season 3 could be setting up her comeback.
Spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian Season 3, Episode 1, “The Apostate.”
The Darksaber explains Bo-Katan’s problem
In the opening of The Mandalorian Season 3, Bo-Katan is all alone in a castle on a Mandalorian planet called Kalevala. Previously, this planet was mentioned only in The Clone Wars in the episodes “Voyage of Temptation” and “Duchess of Mandalore.” Back then, the Duchess of Mandalore was Bo-Katan’s sister, Satine Kryze. But in the Star Wars timeline, that was 21 BBY, and we’re in roughly 11 ABY, meaning, chronologically, it’s been 32 years since anyone has talked about Kalevala, at least that we’re aware of.
Once on Kalevla, Bo-Katan tells Mando that all of her followers ditched her because, without the Darksaber, nobody took her seriously as the leader of the Mandalorian people. This references canon for The Clone Wars, Rebels, and the finale of Mando Season 2. Unless you win the Darksaber from somebody in combat, you can’t truly claim it, meaning Bo-Katan couldn’t just take the saber from Din Djarin in “The Rescue.” At the time, this made a lot of people wonder if Mando himself would end up becoming the leader of all Mandalorians.
But, in her head, Bo-Katan is the most worthy person to assume that throne, a throne which she more or less has, even though she has zero actual power. In terms of her backstory in Clone Wars and Rebels, it actually makes more sense that she would be the true leader of the Mandalorian people, simply because she’s been fighting to keep her planet safe — in one way or another — long before the Empire even existed.
Sidelining Bo-Katan is suspicious
The fact that the first episode seems to low-key write out Bo-Katan from the central action is odd. In Season 2, Bo-Katan provided nesassary context for the existence of the sect known as “The Children of the Watch.” These followers of “The Way,” consider themselves true Mandalorians, while the rest of the Mandalorian culture does not. Mando’s desire to be accepted back into the Watch is, so far, the driving narrative force of Season 3. Because Bo-Katan is opposed to the Watch, and everything it stands for, Mando ditches her and continues his quest to find the sacred waters that exist underneath the surface of Mandalore.
Essentially, one of the biggest badasses in Star Wars canon — and certainly one of the best characters in The Mandalorian series — is used only for exposition in this episode. Bo-Katan certainly deserves better, but her bitterness toward Mando is understandable. She’s risked a lot to help him, and at this point, helping him brought her nothing good. Then again, it feels possible that some of her followers would have jumped ship even if Mando hadn’t gotten the Darksaber. If Moff Gideon had somehow never lost the Darksaber, would Bo-Katan’s people — the Nite Owls — have still followed her? All Mandalorians behave in mysterious ways, but right now, the jury’s out on whether or not the unorthodox ones are way more mercurial than the orthodox ones.
Will Mando Season 3 be Bo-Katan’s revenge?
Although the arc of Mandalorian Season 3 has yet to be fully revealed, “The Apostate” does give the sense that the season isn’t just about Mando himself, but rather, about the entire Mandalorian creed. We know that people born on Mandalore (or in the Mandalore system) are, Mandalorians, but we also know that the definition of a Mandalorian extends well beyond that. Grogu is an honorary member, which is made overly clear in this episode as Din teaches him about what it means to be Mandalorian.
So, although Bo-Katan is ditched by Mando at the end of this episode, she does represent, essentially, what the entire season might be about: Will the Mandalorians find unity again, and in doing so redefine the rules of what they can and can’t do? Much like the Jedi, the Mandalorians are defined as much by their rigidity as by their coolness. And, at this point, Mandalorian Season 3 is suggesting that no matter how cool they might be, the only way they’re going to survive is to loosen up.
The Mandalorian Season 3 airs new episodes on Wednesdays on Disney+.