“The Mandalorian” doesn’t try to explain “Somehow Palpatine came back”, does it?

In this week episode of The Mandalorianwe barely got any real mandalorian time, with the series choosing instead to focus on Dr. Pershing, the former Imperial scientist who is set up by former Imperial communications officer Gideon Kane, and ending the episode with his mind wiped with useful information.

These informations ? The Mandalorian goes out of his way to speak in depth about the knowledge that Pershing has and wants to continue to pursue, cloning and genetic engineering. And as soon as they started talking about it, alarms started ringing in my head.

The most logical place for this to happen is where I really hope it doesn’t. It would be an elaborate explanation for Palpatine’s return in the new Star Wars trilogy, but really just the third movie, Rise of Skywalker. We know that Pershing was working with genetic material from Grogu himself, an extremely powerful being, and when we think of Force users and cloning, Palpatine is obviously what comes to mind.

There’s even a line here about the failure of his early experiments, which I consider a nod to the genetic monsters that were Snoke and the failed Snoke clones that we’ll see later in Rise of Skywalker, which seem being the first attempts to bring the Emperor back to life. Then they finally do, but it looks like they will without Dr. Pershing, given his new memory lapse.

I really, really hope that’s not it. For what? Because at this point I think it’s pretty well established that Palpatine’s sudden return in Rise of Skywalker, as well as Snoke’s explanation and Palpatine’s DNA reveal of Rey, were all botched retcons invented by JJ Abrams to try to salvage a trilogy that Rian Johnson shot left in The Last Jedi. But what is quite clear to anyone with eyes is that there was Never a cohesive plan in place for the full trilogy, hence the famous “one way or another, Palpatine came back”, line and improvised overarching storyline.

I would say it’s an absolutely terrible use of resources to spend time trying to connect the current plot of The Mandalorian, one of the only good Star Wars things that Disney is currently producing, to try to justify or explain one of his worst new-era decisions, bringing Palpatine back.

Sometimes it works. I mean, Rogue One was a great movie that was basically about explaining Why there was a rift in the Death Star where a single X-Wing could blow everything up. But in this case, no, I don’t want Mando and Grogu embedded in a big story about how Palpatine was cloned and hidden and amassed his absurdly huge army of Death Star Destroyers. It was all stupid and obviously made up on the fly. We don’t need to spend a season or two of The Mandalorian being embedded in 20-year-old vindications and diving deep into those events.

I’m afraid it’s inevitable, though, because I don’t know what the whole episode about Pershing and his cloning ambitions would be for otherwise. And while I’m not currently watching The Bad Batch, I’m told there are elements of that storyline that lean in that same direction as well. Not good.

The Mandalorian was at its best when it was totally separate from the main Star Wars saga. But we’ve bumped into Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker before and it didn’t go too well, and now, if we’re heading into Palpatine territory, it seems like a place this series was never meant to go. Thrawn stuff, I guess that’s fine with me, and we know we’re heading there for the Ahsoka series at least. But no, any time spent justifying Palpatine’s return during much better productions is a complete waste.

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