The Mandalorian Season 4 Still Needs to Solve the Show's Original Mystery
Who was IG-11 originally working for?
The Mandalorian still doesn’t seem to know what to do with IG-11, the bounty-hunting assassin droid voiced by Taika Waititi. Despite a brief role in the series’ first season, IG made an irrevocable impact on Mandalorian fans. IG was first introduced as a ruthless killer, assigned to terminate the same asset that Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) has been sent to collect. Later, we learn that said asset is, in fact, Grogu — and though Djarin ends up destroying IG in order to protect the little guy, the droid does return in the Season 1 finale. The next time we see IG-11, he’s been reprogrammed by Kuiil (Nick Nolte) and tasked with protecting Grogu no matter what. His new directive eventually leads to an impressive sacrifice, and one of the strongest arcs in the series to date.
Two seasons later though, The Mandalorian has undercut his sacrifice at nearly every turn. From the very beginning, Djarin is adamant about resurrecting IG — even if it means tearing down the statue that the citizens of Nevarro erected to honor him. Said memorial was built from IG’s remaining scrap parts, so it was essentially his grave. After a series of complications involving IG’s fried memory circuit, his body becomes a vehicle for young Grogu — again, not exactly a respectful stance on Droid autonomy. Eventually, Djarin finally gets his hands on the tech needed to bring IG back from the dead. It’s meant to be a heartwarming moment, but it still cheapens the emotional weight of IG’s death in Season 1. More than that, it’s inadvertently brought up an IG-related mystery that The Mandalorian, to this day, hasn’t bothered to answer.
Though Din Djarin and IG-11 briefly work together in the Season 1 premiere, their conflicting directives quickly put them at odds. Shortly after the pair first meet Grogu, IG makes a clear move to kill him. “The commission was quite specific,” IG tells Djarin. “The asset was to be terminated.”
This conflicts slightly with Djarin’s own instructions: when he was hired by The Client (Werner Herzog), he was told to bring the asset in alive, or else settle for a smaller payment. The Client — and, by extension, the Imperial Remnant — didn’t care if Grogu arrived in one piece. But IG-11 was explicitly told to kill. Apart from the obvious tension this creates, this doesn’t make much sense. While there’s a chance that IG oversimplified the brief, it’s more likely that he was hired by an entirely different client — and one that was definitely not related to Moff Gideon, whose plan would’ve required Grogu to be brought in alive. The question is: who would have wanted Grogu dead?
It’s important to note that multiple bounty hunters tried to kill Grogu after that first altercation, but that was only after Djarin defied the guild and rescued him from the Empire. But someone tried to have Grogu killed from the very beginning, and The Mandalorian seems to have forgotten that little detail.
That said, IG-11 is back in action, this time as the new Marshal of Nevarro. Though his old memories are probably still fried, his return gives The Mandalorian the opportunity to revisit its forgotten plot hole.