The Star Wars universe is one of the largest fictional universes in existence. George Lucas’ original movie idea has since expanded and become a vast universe with thousands, if not millions of stories. Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian is just one of those stories, with the Disney+ TV show being one of the most popular and acclaimed iterations of the narrative. Today, we are going to explore and analyze the chronology of the series, as well as when does the Mandalorian takes place in the Star Wars timeline?
The Mandalorian takes place five years after Return of the Jedi and 25 years before The Force Awakens, which means that it takes place around 9 ABY (after the Battle of Yavin), during the early days of the New Republic and before the formation of the First Order.
When George Lucas launched the franchise in 1977, with the movie Star Wars (later titled Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope for continuity reasons), no one expected that it would become one of the biggest stories of the modern area. Star Wars wasn’t initially that successful, but as the years passed, the franchise became a cult classic, attracting generations of fans and now encompassing nine main continuity movies, video games, several TV shows, comic books and a variety of merchandise that made George Lucas famous. The franchise is today owned by Disney, but wherever it might go after the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars will undoubtedly remain one of the pivotal parts of modern culture.
Now, let us see the answer to the main question.
About The Mandalorian
The Mandalorian is an American space Western streaming television series created by Jon Favreau for Disney+. It premiered with the service’s launch in November 2019, and is the first live-action series in the Star Wars franchise.
Star Wars creator George Lucas began development on a live-action Star Wars television series by 2009, but the project was deemed too expensive to produce at the time. After he sold Lucasfilm to Disney in October 2012, work on a new Star Wars series began for Disney+. Favreau signed on in 2018, serving as head writer, director and showrunner.
He executive produces the show alongside Dave Filoni, Kathleen Kennedy, and Colin Wilson. The series’ title was announced in October 2018 with the start of filming at Manhattan Beach Studios in California. Visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic developed the StageCraft technology for the series, using virtual sets and a 360-degree video wall to create the series’ environments. This has since been adopted by other film and television productions.
The Mandalorian premiered on Disney+ on November 12, 2019. The eight-episode first season was met with positive reviews. It was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards and won seven Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. A second season premiered on October 30, 2020, and development work on a third season has begun at the moment of writing this article.
The story follows the adventures of a Mandalorian bounty hunter, Din Djarin (also referred to as “Mando”), as he takes on an important task by the mysterious “Client”, who has connections to the fallen Empire. He has to find the target and either kill it or bring it back. Mando accepts but finds a child from the same species as Jedi Grandmaster Yoda to be his target. Taking “The Child” with him, Mando grows fond of it and ultimately saves “The Child” from the clutches of “The Client”, not knowing that he is actually opposing the leader of the Imperial remnant, Moff Gideon, who is the real client.
Saving “The Child” from Gideon, Mando goes on a Galaxy-wide adventure to bring “The Child” back to its home planet and to its species, while exploring different parts and stories from the Star Wars universe along the way.
When Does The Mandalorian Take Place in The Star Wars Timeline?
The complete chronology of the Star Wars universe is so complex that it would probably take us several months to put everything into place. The sheer number of events in the timeline is enormous and most people don’t even try to comprehend everything at once, but just go slowly as they explore specific areas of the franchise’s history.
Still, a simplified chronology centered on the canon movies (and now TV shows) is readily available and most people use it as a completely valid reference point when talking about the series, despite the fact that it only depicts a small fragment of the Star Wars universe. After Disney’s acquisition of the franchise, the chronology of the main canon looks like this:
Now that you know the general outline, let us see when each installment takes place:
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace – 32 BBY
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones – 22 BBY
- The Clone Wars (movie and TV show) – 22-19 BBY
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith – 19 BBY
- Solo: A Star Wars Story – around 13-10 BBY (this is just an estimated date since Solo’s place within the timeline has never been confirmed)
- Star Wars Rebels – 5 BBY-1BBY
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 0 BBY (the same year as the original 1977 Star Wars: A New Hope, as it directly leads into it).
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope – 0 BBY/0 ABY (as the Battle of Yavin occurs during the film, this is a little confusing, but it’s important to know that it is the same year)
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – 3 ABY
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi – 4 ABY
- The Mandalorian – 9 ABY
- Star Wars Resistance – 34 ABY
- Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens – 34 ABY
- Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi – 34 ABY (since Episode VII ends exactly where Episode VIII begins, the movies take place in the same year)
- Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker – 35 ABY
As we can see, The Mandalorian is definitely part of the post-Empire, New Republic area. Intrinsically, we think that it embodies the spirit of the “Original Trilogy” more than any other production sequel and we would consider it a part of that segment of the franchise, despite the different elements that lead into the “Sequel Trilogy”. How much detail The Mandalorian is going to provide and what timespan it will eventually encompass during its run remains to be seen, but it is certainly going to be interesting seeing all the stories and potential crossovers that this show might offer.
Does The Mandalorian take place after Return of the Jedi?
Simply put, yes. The Mandalorian takes place around 9 ABY (after the Battle of Yavin, as depicted in A New Hope). We know this because Favreau confirmed that the show takes place five years after Return of the Jedi, whose Battle of Endor takes place in 4 ABY, i.e., four years after the destruction of the first Death Star. This is how we know that the show takes place after the events of the Return of the Jedi and Luke Skywalker’s important victory over Darth Vader.
The chronology of The Mandalorian
Now that we’ve placed the series within the franchise, we are going to talk about the internal chronology of the series and the characters, placing the latter also within the context of the franchise.
The Mandalorian is currently in its second season has aired a total of 11 episodes at the moment of writing this article. The second season will also contain eight episodes, like the first, which brings the two-season total to 16 episodes. A third season is already in production. This is the episode list:
|“Chapter 1: The Mandalorian”
|November 12, 2019
|“Chapter 2: The Child”
|November 15, 2019
|“Chapter 3: The Sin”
|November 22, 2019
|“Chapter 4: Sanctuary”
|November 29, 2019
|“Chapter 5: The Gunslinger”
|December 6, 2019
|“Chapter 6: The Prisoner”
|December 13, 2019
|“Chapter 7: The Reckoning”
|December 18, 2019
|“Chapter 8: Redemption”
|December 27, 2019
|“Chapter 9: The Marshal”
|October 30, 2020
|“Chapter 10: The Passenger”
|November 6, 2020
|“Chapter 11: The Heiress”
|November 13, 2020
|“Chapter 12: The Siege”
|November 20, 2020
|“Chapter 13: The Jedi”
|November 27, 2020
|“Chapter 14: The Tragedy”
|December 4, 2020
|“Chapter 15: The Believer”
|December 11, 2020
|“Chapter 16: The Rescue”
|December 18, 2020
As for the first season, all the episodes are confirmed to be set in 9 ABY and it is quite obvious from the plot that they encompass a relatively short time period and that the episodes are all set within one, linear timeline. The second season has a time skip, that much is clear, but we actually don’t know how big that skip is. It could be a few days, it could be a few months; we know it’s not a big one, but some time definitely has passed between chapters 8 and 9. The second season itself also follows a linear narrative, but we still don’t know how long after season one it takes place. This means that season two could be set in 10 ABY, perhaps, since we don’t actually know any particular details.
Now let us see how the two individual characters’ chronologies fit in.
Din Djarin’s chronology
The Mandalorian, whose real name is Din Djarin, is the main character of The Mandalorian and one of the last true Mandalorians. In the TV show, he is portrayed by actor Pedro Pascal, who is never seen without his helmet, as “that is the Way” prescribed by the Mandalorian Code.
Din Djarin was a child living in Aq Vetina, when a group of Separatist battle droids raided the settlement sometime after the Fall of the Republic. The Separatists wrecked the settlement and slaughtered most of its inhabitants, but Mando’s parents hid him in a hatch to save him. The hatch was then opened by a B2-series super battle droid, which attempted to fire on the child. Before it could, however, the battle droid was destroyed by a Mandalorian warrior of the Death Watch.
Other members of the Death Watch soon intervened and destroyed the droids, saving the surviving inhabitants of Aq Vetina. The Mandalorian who saved him also took Din Djaring in as a foundling and soon taught him the Way of the Mandalorians. After the fall of the Galactic Empire, Djarin made a reputation for himself as a member of the Bounty Hunters’ Guild, collecting bounties as he traveled across the galaxy’s Outer Rim Territories—far from the authority of the New Republic—in his personal starship, the Razor Crest.
At the start of The Mandalorian, Djarin was hired on Navarro by a client of an Imperial remnant faction, who offered a substantial reward for the acquisition of an asset located on the world Arvala-7. Upon seeing the asset itself, they discovered that it was in fact a Force-sensitive child who belonged to the same species as Jedi Grand Master Yoda. Djarin, who was tasked with bringing the Child saved the infant from other bounty hunters, taking him into his custody.
Discovering the Child’s Force-sensitivity during his time on Arvala-7, Djarin then took the Child back to the Client and collected his reward. However, the Mandalorian warrior had already begun to form a bond with the infant. Feeling remorseful for subjecting the Child to a cruel fate, Djarin entered the facility where the Child was kept and rescued him from the Imperials stationed there and later fended off Guild hunters with the help of the Tribe. The two would go on to embark on various adventures around the galaxy as they formed a close bond and escaped Moff Gideon, who was set on acquiring the Child for himself.
As we can see, most of Mando’s story is intrinsically connected to The Mandalorian, but his backstory is what interests us, because it will show us how to place him in the general timeline.
We don’t know much about Din’s birth, but we know that he was born at some point before 19 BBY (before the Battle of Yavin) and that he is, if we are to deduce based on actor Pedro Pascal’s age, around 45 years of age in 9 ABY. This would mean that he was born around 35 BBY, which would put his birth date just before or during the events of The Phantom Menace. But, this doesn’t make much sense, meaning that Mando is younger than the actor portraying him. How do we know that?
Well, the Republic fell in 19 BBY, as we know from Revenge of the Sith, and the attack on Din’s settlement happened around that time, but definitely not before. As we can see from the footage in The Mandalorian, Din Djarin was a child at the time, a boy of roughly 10 years of age, which means that he was born around 29 BBY, sometime during the Old Republic and between the events of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. This means that he is around 40 years of age during The Mandalorian, which is not much younger than Pedro Pascal, but it is still worth a mention. In any case, Din Djarin is definitely a character associated with the Old Republic, which does explain why he is so different from the “Sequel Trilogy” characters.
“The Child’s” (Baby Yoda) chronology
The Child, colloquially known as Baby Yoda, is the second main character from Disney’s series The Mandalorian. He is an infant belonging to the same species as legendary Jedi Grandmaster Yoda, but his heritage, as well as the name of his species, remains unknown. He is operated by several puppeteers during the course of the show.
The Child was born around 41 BBY, and was held at an encampment run by Nikto mercenaries on Arvala-7 during the New Republic Era. While still an infant at the age of fifty years old, he was sought by an Imperial who hired a Mandalorian bounty hunter named Din Djarin to retrieve him.
However, Djarin chose not to leave the Child with the Imperials and saved him from the Imperial remnant facility. After attempting to hide with the Child along the fringes of the galaxy, Djarin returned to Navarro to deal with the Imperials chasing the Child in hopes of keeping him safe. In the process, the Child became a Mandalorian foundling and the single other member of Djarin’s newly created clan.
Sadly, not much is known about the child. It is known that he is a member of Yoda’s species, meaning that he has an exceptionally long lifespan, which explains his slow aging. Namely, as we know, the boy is 50 years old in The Mandalorian, which would put his birth around 41 BBY, since the show takes place in 9 ABY. Give or take a couple of years, we’re not much off when it comes to his birth date.
This means that the Child was born well before the events of The Phantom Menace, which would still put him on the list of Old Republic characters, but well before Lucas’ story actually begins. And while the child is expected to live – unless Favreau has something else planned for him – well after even the “Sequel Trilogy”, it remains a mystery how Yoda never mentioned a Force-sensitive youngling from his own species. Certainly, it’s because The Mandalorian wasn’t even planned at the time so it would’ve been impossible for Yoda to anticipate this, but it is an interesting in-universe question that might need answering at some point.
Conclusion – How does The Mandalorian fit into the Star Wars timeline?
Now that we have given you all the data, we can offer a brief summary that will tell you everything you need to know in a few sentences.
Seeing how The Mandalorian is set in 9 ABY, the show simultaneously works both as a prequel and as a sequel. It is a prequel to the “Sequel Trilogy” (Episodes VII-IX) and Jon Favreau has stated that the show is going to explore the origins of the First Order, which played a major role in the “Sequel Trilogy”. In that way, The Mandalorian is definitely a prequel.
But, at the same time, the show explores the aftermath of the Battle of Yavin and the early days of the New Republic, which means that it is a sequel to the “Original Trilogy” (Episodes IV-VI), continuing the story of the Rebellion’s heritage. So, at the same time, The Mandalorian is both a prequel and a sequel, filling the gap between two very important periods in the history of the franchise.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!