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The Mandalorian S3 Episode 5 Is Setting Up The Rise Of A Major Star Wars Faction

Contains spoilers for "The Mandalorian" Season 3 Episode 5

While the first half of "The Mandalorian" Season 3 has been perfectly content to soldier on without a clear overarching antagonist, "Chapter 21: The Pirate" teases a major impeding change on this front. As pirate king Gorian Shard (Nonso Anozie) sets out to reap a terrifying vengeance on Navarro, Greef Karga's (Carl Weathers) distress call reaches Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee). The Adelphi Ranger Captain turns out to be a crucial part of the episode, as he ignores red tape by heading for Coruscant to ask permission to help Karga's people. 

Teva's pleads to Colonel Tuttle (Tim Meadows) fall on deaf ears, forcing the Captain to seek help from the Children of the Watch instead. However, the reason he's so adamant in helping Navarro is the real banger, here. Teva believes that Shard's attack is connected to Moff Gideon's (Giancarlo Esposito) antics, and that both factions are mere symptoms of a grander Imperial comeback attempt that revolves heavily around Navarro. The fact that Gideon's old underling Elia Kane (Katy M. O'Brian) has inserted herself in the Coruscant command center and actively undermines Teva's quest confirms that the pilot is on the right track. 

As the attack on Bo-Katan's (Katee Sackhoff) fortress on Kalevala proves, whoever's making moves behind the scenes has pretty impressive firepower at their disposal. In fact, it appears that "The Mandalorian" Season 3 is setting up the rise of a pretty major "Star Wars" villain faction, which may very well turn out to be a proto-version of the First Order.

A mysterious Imperial force is out there, and the First Order is the most likely suspect

The ground zero of the "Star Wars" universe's timeline is the climactic Battle of Yavin of "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope." "The Mandalorian" kicks off in the year 9 ABY (After Battle of Yavin), an early period of very, very relative peace, with the New Republic at least somewhat in control of the situation. However, little does anyone know that the Emperor's (Ian McDiarmid) contingency plans are already in place — and said contingency is fast on its way to become the First Order. Knowing that both Elia Kane and the recently liberated Moff Gideon are extremely loyal to the Empire, and that they're heavily implied to be working in cahoots with Gorian Shard's pirates, it's more than likely that they're all affiliated with a larger mass of Imperial forces — the early makings of the First Order, if you will. 

Of course, because all three characters are "The Mandalorian" originals, it's always possible that the show is setting up a curveball by introducing another original character to loom over them all as the head of their faction. There's also the possibility that Moff Gideon remains the Big Bad of the show, and the others are simply following his orders as he orchestrates his daring escape. For what it's worth, the episode's biggest cameo — "Star Wars Rebels" fan favorite Zeb Orrelios (voiced by Steve Blum), of all people — might hint at the return of some "Rebels"-era villain, as well. Still, regardless of who's pulling the strings, the enemy is clearly far bigger and badder than Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and his allies have expected. 

The First Order's Snoke would be a logical choice for the show's next Big Bad

If "The Mandalorian" plans to follow the First Order route, we're unlikely to see many of the faction's younger faces like Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Hux (Domnhall Gleeson), or Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie). However, there's one major First Order figure who's very much around at this point of the galaxy's history. 

As the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga revealed, the Emperor is very big on cloning, and the suspiciously easily-defeated Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) was but a genetic strandcast of old Palpatine all along. Now, Snoke was already alive during the events of "The Mandalorian," making moves and disposing enemies on his way to the top of the First Order pyramid. While the events of his existence before "The Force Awakens" have been chronicled in typically extensive "Star Wars" fashion, his story remains largely untold in live action, and his background features plenty of handy gaps that could easily accommodate a side hustle as a Mando villain. 

Introducing a young(ish), ambitious Snoke as the power behind Gideon and others would be a great way to deliver a huge wham moment at the end of "The Mandalorian" Season 3. It would also provide a chance to expand on the character's backstory, and perhaps even redeem the chronically underwhelming villain to an extent. The possibilities would be endless. Who knows? Maybe his face looks like that in the sequel trilogy because he was unwise enough to duel Grogu back in the day.