The Mandalorian’s Most Shocking Cameo Yet Finally Solves A Prequel Mystery
Whatever happened to the Separatists?
Everyone knows that the ending of the Clone Wars in Revenge of the Sith was also the ending of the Separatists, but what The Mandalorian just proved is — maybe it wasn’t? In a truly shocking series of cameos, Mando Season 3, Episode 6 just dug deep into a strange mystery from the Star Wars prequels and revealed a slightly more complicated backstory than we’d previously assumed.
Spoilers ahead for “Guns for Hire.”
As Din Djarin and Bo-Katan track down the wayward group of Mandalorians, their search brings them to the planet Plazir-15, which from a Star Wars point of view, feels straight out of an episode of Doctor Who or Star Trek; in a good way. For this episode, Mando and Bo-Katan are on a planet-of-the-week adventure, and these people need them to stop their malfunctioning droids from destroying their sci-fi domed city life, straight from Logan’s Run.
Enter Jack Black as Captain Bombardier and Lizzo as The Duchess of Plazir in two of the most unexpected cameos in The Mandalorian to date. From these two we learn the complicated rules of this society: no weapons are allowed inside the domed cities unless there’s a cultural technicality, which is fine for Din and Bo-Katan, but, oddly does not apply to the huge armies of Mandalorians who live outside of the cities and have been hired by Plazir. If Mando and Bo-Katan want access to those people, they have to fix the droid problem first.
What results is a Disney version of a Blade Runner investigation, which introduces Mando and Bo-Katan to Commissioner Helgait, played by the legendary Christopher Lloyd, perhaps most famous as Doc Brown in Back to the Future. Though it should be noted that because Lloyd was in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, he’s now on a very short list of actors who have been in both Star Trek and Star Wars. (Lloyd’s last major role in a science fiction TV series was the SyFy Channel’s 12 Monkeys in 2018).
Helgait tells Mando and Bo-Katan that the droids can’t be turned off, because the people of Plazir rely on the automation they offer. In turn, the investigation yields the revelation that there is not a robot uprising happening here, but instead, in a kind of reversal from the revolution we saw from L3-37 in Solo, these droids are fine with a life of service, and, as such are not behind the various droid attacks. They want the attacks to stop too.
In the final twist, we learn how cranky Christopher Lloyd isn’t just a cameo, he’s the mastermind! The denouement of the episode reveals that Commissioner Helgait is the one who has been reprogramming the droids, and his motivations are directly from the Star Wars prequels. Turns out Plazir is an independent planet because it was once a Separatist planet, though Helgait says “Separatist is a pejorative term.” And adds “Count Dooku was a visionary — he was cut short in his prime by the Jedi enforcer!”
Bo-Katan doesn’t have time for this monologue about space politics, but this bit of backstory is very revealing. The Mandalorian takes place about a decade after the events of A New Hope and about five years after Return of the Jedi. This puts it about 30 years since the events of Revenge of the Sith, meaning, that in just over three decades there have been three dominant galactic powers — the Republic, the Empire, and the New Republic. On top of that, in this short time period, there have also been two formal rebellions: the Separatist war that incited the Clone Wars, and of course, the Rebellion against the Empire. This means that in the lifetimes of people like Helgait instability and civil war has been the norm, not once, but twice. As this episode reminds us, Mando hates droids because Battle Droids from the Separatists' army in the Clone Wars made him an orphan.
So, amid a slightly goofy episode, The Mandalorian’s Christopher Lloyd cameo answers a question nobody ever thought to ask: What happened to all the loyal Separatists after Palpatine created the Empire? The audience is aware the entire Separatist movement was contrived by Dooku and Palpatine to create a war, but for the true believers in that movement, things would feel very different. By depicting Helgait as a fanatic who also loves droids, The Mandalorian reminds us that the events of the Clone Wars weren’t that long ago and that everything in the Star Wars saga — at least when it comes to the live-action shows and the movies — unfolds over the course of less than a century.
The history of the Star Wars galaxy might seem carved up because of the way we’ve watched it happen, but for the people who lived through it, Count Dooku, the Clone Wars, and hiring a droid army to do your dirty work, all happened very, very recently. Christopher Lloyd was there when Count Dooku was swinging his red saber. But, remember, so was Bo-Katan.
The Mandalorian streams on Disney+.