Star Wars looks set to embrace its expanded universe like never before with The Mandalorian's second season.
For casual fans, this means certain storylines may require a bit of context. While the Star Wars books and animated shows haven't tended to be necessary for understanding the main live-action films in the past, The Mandalorian season two will reportedly incorporate an unprecedented number of storylines from outside the Star Wars movies, including some beloved animated characters and even one character who has only ever appeared in a series of books.
The show will likely try to do so in a way that still makes some sense for newcomers. But for those interested in more background, here's a brief primer on the Star Wars material outside of the films that may come into play.
Bo-Katan and the Darksaber
When Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) was shown to be carrying a black lightsaber at the end of season one, it was a stunner for fans who knew what it was: the Darksaber.
This Mandalorian lightsaber dates back more than a thousand years, and it was created by the first Mandalorian to become a member of the Jedi Order, Tarre Vizsla. As explained in an episode of Star Wars Rebels, the animated series that ran from 2014 to 2018, the Darksaber was a symbol used by House Vizsla, one of the various Mandalorian houses, to unite the people and rule Mandalore. Between the events of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, it ends up with Death Watch, the group of violent Mandalorians who rescued our main character, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), as a child in The Mandalorian's season one finale.
By the end of Star Wars Rebels, Mandalorian Sabine Wren passes the Darksaber to Bo-Katan Kryze, former member of Death Watch and sister of the late duchess of Mandalore, who planned to use it to unite the Mandalorian clans together against the Empire. What exactly took place between that moment and The Mandalorian, in which Moff Gideon somehow has the weapon and Mandalore was apparently "shattered by the Empire," isn't entirely clear. Bo-Katan herself will reportedly appear in the show, though, so it's possible we'll learn more in a flashback. Din Djarin could also potentially come across her while searching for other Mandalorians.
Just keep in mind, though, that the Darksaber is quite symbolically significant to the Mandalorians, and so, given that Gideon seems to have been involved in massacring them, seeing him going around with the weapon likely won't sit well with Din.
Cobb Vanth and Boba Fett
The Mandalorian is reportedly set to bring back Boba Fett, something those who read the Star Wars books theorized might be coming since 2015. While it hasn't yet been confirmed in canon that Boba Fett survived falling into the sarlacc pit on Tatooine in Return of the Jedi, there were some hints in the Star Wars: Aftermath novels by Chuck Wendig.
The first book introduces us to Cobb Vanth, a sheriff on Tatooine who wears Mandalorian armor that's heavily implied to be Boba Fett's. Cobb buys it off Jawas who happen to also have pieces of a "Hutt sail barge" — you'll recall Jabba the Hutt's sail barge was destroyed in the same battle where Boba fell into the sarlacc — and the armor is described as having "been through hell" and apparently been damaged by acid. The second Aftermath book makes it even clearer by explaining that Jawas pulled armor out of the sarlacc, which was evidently injured by the sail barge wreckage. Cobb's armor is also described as looking "familiar."
What the books could be implying, then, is that the Jawas found a still-alive Boba Fett in the sarlacc and removed his armor to later sell to Cobb Vanth. The sarlacc being injured may also help explain how Boba survived.
For The Mandalorian season two, it's been reported that Cobb Vanth will make an appearance and be played by Timothy Olyphant. How he'll become relevant to the show's plot is anyone's guess, although one theory is that we'll see Boba Fett return to retrieve his armor. But the first time we see someone wearing the Boba Fett armor in The Mandalorian, this might actually end up being Cobb Vanth, not Boba himself.
Undoubtedly the most beloved Star Wars character to have never appeared in the live-action movies (not counting a voice cameo in The Rise of Skywalker) is Ahsoka Tano, who will reportedly be played by Rosario Dawson this season.
First introduced in the 2008 animated movie Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Ahsoka was Anakin Skywalker's Padawan learner, who then evolved over the course of The Clone Wars TV series from a cocky young kid into a wise Jedi hero. She tragically sees the failings of the Jedi Order firsthand, though, as near the end of The Clone Wars, the Jedi Council falsely accuses her of murder and expels her from the Order. While Ahsoka's name is soon cleared, she decides to walk away from her Jedi life (though she does continue to use the Force and wield a lightsaber).
Years later, Ahsoka pops up on Star Wars Rebels, where she helps the rebels after her former master Anakin becomes Darth Vader. Rebels' series finale saw its main Jedi protagonist, Ezra Bridger, disappear into hyperspace after fighting Grand Admiral Thrawn aboard a Star Destroyer. In the show's final scene, Ahsoka, cloaked in a white robe Gandalf-style, decides she'll set out to find Ezra with Sabine Wren, the Mandalorian who was one of the show's titular rebels. This cliffhanger has yet to be followed up on, so when we meet Ahsoka during The Mandalorian, which is set only a few years later, she may still be on that mission to find Ezra. Expect to hear his name dropped, and we also may get an explanation as to where Sabine is if she doesn't show up herself.
These are the major connections that have been reported to be on the way. But given that The Mandalorian successfully kept Baby Yoda under wraps until the season one premiere, there could be some more big surprises in store when the season kicks off on Oct. 30.