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The Mandalorian Season 3 Finale: Let's Talk About What Happened With Moff Gideon

The Mandalorian's main villain finally revealed his big plan, and we're left with more questions than answers.

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As one would expect, the Season 3 finale of The Mandalorian brought us some major story developments--and none of them were bigger than the reveal, finally, of what the hell Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) wanted Grogu for at the beginning of the series.

Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Chapter 24 of The Mandalorian.

Moff Gideon has always been an odd character, because he was created for The Mandalorian but the series has made attempts to retroactively tie him to existing characters and storylines--something they had to do after they showed him wielding the Darksaber in the Season 1 finale.

But this week, we finally found out for the first time what his deal is in the present. He's been implementing plans and doing machinations for three seasons of television--the man who hired Din Djarin to capture Grogu in the series premiere was doing so on Gideon's behalf. But The Mandalorian has danced around what his plans actually are.

Between last week's episode and this one, though, we've got a pretty clear picture: Moff Gideon needed Grogu's blood to create Force-sensitive clones of himself, which he would equip with beskar Dark Trooper armor. And then, with this power, he would rule the reborn Empire, which has been secretly reorganizaing itself under Thrawn.

But even while we were learning about these plans, they seemingly were ended by Din Djarin and Bo-Katan and the rest of the Mandalorian force on Mandalore. Din Djarin destroyed all those clones, and Gideon himself was incinerated by that crashing Mandalorian cruiser. Moff Gideon's story is over, by all appearances.

Or is it?

Is Moff Gideon actually dead?

In the first two seasons of The Mandalorian, Moff Gideon sported a thin mustache. This season, when Gideon finally showed up for the first time last week, that mustache was missing. And now we find out he had a lot of clones of himself right before he's killed? It doesn't smell right, and that clean-shaven look could be a tell that the Gideon we saw die is just one of his clones--with the real Gideon and/or other clones possibly still out there somewhere.

There's gotta be something more to this. The Mandalorian played Gideon's obsession with Grogu as a mystery for so long that it would be awkward to finally explain it right as Gideon is killed off and his storyline ended. We're talking about the main villain of the series here. Unless Disney is having some kind of contract dispute with Giancarlo Esposito, it would be strange for Jon Favreau and the other powers that be in Star Wars TV to just toss this story thread aside completely.

Think about just the time they've invested in this thread this season. A month ago, we had an entire episode about Dr. Pershing, the Imperial scientist who worked for Gideon's client in Season 1. And that was the longest episode of the series even though it barely had any Mandalorians in it.

Closing off Pershing's story served to set up this whole deal with Gideon's clones, as well as Gideon's machinations within the Empire--he had Pershing killed to prevent the other Imperials from having the technology to create their own Force-sensitive clones. And then he proposed to his peers in the Imperial Shadow Council that they need somebody other than Thrawn to lead them (presumably he meant himself).

This has been way too much legwork to only add up to an Easter egg about how Emperor Palpatine came back to life in The Rise of Skywalker. Gideon's story can't be over yet. But Gideon himself might not be a part of it.

Aside from the most obvious conclusion that the main story thread of The Mandalorian is over and the series' plot will get a full refresh in Season 4, there are two main possibilities for what could be happening with Gideon. The first is the one mentioned already: that the Gideon who died in this episode was one of the clones, and the real Gideon is alive elsewhere pulling the strings. While we know it's possible since we saw those other clones, this episode did not actually hint at this possibility in any way, and all the other characters think he's dead.

The other possibility is that Gideon is being replaced by Grand Admiral Thrawn as the main villain of this era of Star Wars. We know Thrawn will be finally making his live-action debut in the Ahsoka series in August and that he's active in the present--it's possible that Thrawn, who's mainly known for being the smartest person in any room he could ever conceivably enter, was somehow orchestrating this for some reason.

Unfortunately for us, Thrawn didn't receive even the vaguest allusion in the Mandalorian Season 3 finale, so we know basically nothing about what he's doing. We just know he's doing something. And if he has secretly been behind Gideon, hopefully this will all make more sense after we watch Ahsoka later this year.

Phil Owen on Google+

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