Star Wars fans were treated to the first-ever live-action TV show set in the galaxy far, far away last year, to much hype and acclaim in The Mandalorian. The Mandalorian returned for its second season opener, The Marshal, with a few surprises for hardcore fans.
Not only was there that reveal just before the credits rolled, fans of the new expanded canon were treated with the appearance of Cobb Vanth, the titular marshal, who had before this only made brief appearances in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath novels. It’s a deep cut, so deep that even the most hardcore of fans may not have known who he was before this.
But it got me thinking about characters from the expanded universe making their way into the new shows/films, and why it isn’t done more often. The usual practice from Lucasfilm is to filter characters already seen in the movies down to the novels, which makes sense, but with the rich characters created in other media, it’s a big missed opportunity not to push them forward.
Ever since Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars way back in 2012, when they announced everything from this point would be connected, I’ve been waiting to see characters and stories from the books, games, and even the animated shows brought in to the live-action stuff, not just the other way around.
What characters have we already seen in The Mandalorian?
The one character that I have been waiting to see brought over into live-action is Ahsoka Tano, who was created for The Clone Wars series. Ahsoka is the character who most fans have wanted to see for years, and it looks like our wish has been granted as she is also set to make an appearance in The Mandalorian season two.
I am glad they aren’t throwing loads of characters into the mix without thinking it through, but I still think more can be done. The first time of note that a character was brought into a movie from another form was in Rogue One, where Forest Whitaker played Saw Gerrera, who had first appeared in The Clone Wars, later to be voiced by Whitaker himself in Rebels.
This is probably the most high-profile crossover that has happened so far, but for a while this was the only one. Darth Maul made a surprise cameo at the end of Solo, which was great for fans who had been following the animated shows up to that point but would definitely have confused viewers who last seen him get chopped in half in The Phantom Menace.
It’s a thin line to walk, balancing when to bring a character or plot in without alienating the audience. The Maul one works because it is not a central part of the movie, just a little tidbit as the film is close to the credits, so if it does leave anyone confused it’s nothing a quick Google search can’t clear up. If Maul popped up in the first act with no explanation, then that would be a different story.
There is also the option to bring over characters from the now Legends stories. Grand Admiral Thrawn, probably the most popular character from Legends, was brought back to much hype in Rebels, and while his original books are no longer canon, bringing him in with new stories was a smart move if you ask me. He has not yet made the leap over to live-action, but who knows, maybe one day in the future.
Who should we see next?
The obvious question is who should they use next? As mentioned above, Ahsoka is the clear frontrunner, but apart from that, it’s a tough one.
There are a few names that come to mind, Captain Rex being one of them; one of the last surviving Clone troopers. While he has been seen briefly on the big screen before, most of his time has been spent on The Clone Wars and Rebels. An interesting story could be told with him, I’m just not sure where he’d fit.
Cad Bane, an awesome looking bounty hunter (aren’t they all) from The Clone Wars would be really cool to see live action. But I think the main point to take from all of this is that it depends on the story being told.
If the character fits the story, then have at it. Now is a great time to start building on the foundations of great canon writers like Chuck Wendig, Timothy Zahn and Claudia Gray, as Disney+ has opened the door to a whole new world of Star Wars storytelling.
As much as I would Capital L love to see an Ahsoka movie on the big screen, I think putting these types of characters into the new TV shows is a safer bet right now, and it seems that’s what Lucasfilm think as well. And with the likes of the Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cassian Andor series’ already announced, I would hope that more characters from the depths of the Star Wars universe pop up here and there.
I’m still of the belief that a Solo spinoff series could work really well, and a whole heap of characters could pop in and out, episode to episode, and be something special. I can dream. I’d be worried about how certain characters could be handled, but if The Marshal is anything to go off, I think we’re in safe hands.
I’ve got a good feeling about this. Roll on the rest of The Mandalorian season two. P.S. The petition for a Hondo Ohnaka series starts here.
What do you make of this news? Which Star Wars characters would you like to see turn up in The Mandalorian? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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