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Why The Survivor Captain From The Mandalorian Looks So Familiar

Chapter 23 of "The Mandalorian" sees Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) returning to the Great Forge of Mandalore as a part of their plan to reclaim the planet and rebuild their civilization. There they discover a group of Mandalorian survivors who never left the planet after the "Great Purge;" a genocidal campaign by the Galactic Empire that wiped out most of Mandalore's population and reduced the planet's surface to rubble.

This clan of survivors is led by an older Mandalorian with a shock of gray hair, who recalls the horrors of the Great Purge and how his people were tortured and punished long after the war was over. If this grizzled survivor captain looks familiar to you, it's because he's actually played by actor Charles Parnell, who has been working across television and film for nearly 20 years. Here's where you might have seen Parnell before his appearance in "The Mandalorian."

Parnell played Derek Frye on All my Children

Following several minor television roles throughout the early 2000s (which included guest spots on shows like "Hack" and "Law and Order"), Charles Parnell scored his first breakout role on the iconic American soap opera "All My Children" in 2005 — playing police chief Derek Frye.

Derek Frye began the series as a detective within the small, chaotic town of Pine Valley, eventually working his way up to police chief and becoming involved with some of the series' most iconic crimes, murders, and mysteries. Frye was also romantically involved with a host of different women throughout his time in the series, including fellow officer Mimi Reed (Shari Headley), small business owner Opal Cortlandt (Jill Larson), and Krystal Carey (Bobbie Eakes).

Parnell was actually the second actor to take on the role, succeeding William Christian, and would go on to star in 80 episodes of "All My Children" up until his own departure from the series in 2008. Indeed, Parnell's performance as this hard-nosed detective remains one of his most iconic roles to date, and any soap opera fans ought to have recognized him immediately once he appeared in "The Mandalorian."

Played a variety of small roles from 2008 to 2014

Following his time on "All My Children," Charles Parnell went on to appear in a wide variety of films and television series throughout the late 2000s, usually in small guest roles lasting only a single episode.

In 2008 alone, he starred in "CSI: Miami" (appearing as FBI Agent Jacobs in the episode "Gone Baby Gone"), "Bones" (playing Captain Blake in the episode "The Passenger in the Oven"), Law and Order," and four episodes of Dennis Hopper's "Crash." In 2009, Parnell appeared in similar high-profile series like "90210" and "NCIS," and starred in another episode of "CSI: Miami" (albeit, playing a different character).

2014 saw the actor playing the Director of the CIA in "Transformers: Age of Extinction," the fourth installment in the enormously popular "Transformers" franchise. Parnell cropped up across all sorts of different television and film projects during this time, though it wasn't until the release of TNT's "The Last Ship" that he found his next major role on television.

He was a main cast member of TNT's The Last Ship

Premiering in 2014, "The Last Ship" is an action drama series inspired by the William Brinkley novel of the same name. The show centers around the crew of a United States Navy Destroyer called the USS Nathan James, who find themselves among the last living humans on the planet after a global pandemic eradicates more than 80% of life on the mainland.

Within the series, Charles Parnell plays Senior Enlisted Advisor Russell "Russ" Jeter, the oldest (and by far the most decorated) member of the crew. Having been behind the wheel of an accidental car crash that killed his wife and children, Russ is wracked with guilt and shame throughout his entire time within the series — though he does still work his way up to becoming the Master Chief Petty Officer of the US Navy by the time Season 5 rolls around.

Parnell appeared in all 56 episodes of "The Last Ship," right up to its series finale in 2018, making Russell Jeter one of his most memorable characters to date.

Had an important role in the 2022 blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick

In 2022, Charles Parnell starred in the record-setting blockbuster "Top Gun: Maverick," playing former pilot and current head of the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center Solomon "Warlock" Bates

Warlock and Vice Admiral Beau "Cyclone" Simpson (Jon Hamm) are responsible for overseeing the operation at the core of "Top Gun: Maverick," which sends a group of elite Top Gun graduates on a mission to destroy an unsanctioned uranium enrichment plant. Warlock explains the operation in detail to Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise) near the start of the film, and can later be seen in the command center leading cheers for the fighter pilots after they successfully bomb the site.

Despite never entering the cockpit, Warlock is a crucial part of the film as he provides the exposition and information needed to get Maverick on his way toward this one final mission. 

Charles Parnell's latest appearance in "The Mandalorian" marks just another time that the prolific actor has worked in some of the most popular films and television series on the planet, and one has to hope we'll see more of the actor as the team moves forward with their plan to recapture Mandalore.