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The Mandalorian: That Ch 23 Praetorian Guard Ending Explained

Contains spoilers for "The Mandalorian" Season 3, Episode 6 — "Chapter 23: The Spies"

In the brand new episode of "The Mandalorian," titled "The Spies," Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and her new collection of unified Mandalorian clans decide to scout and set up a safe perimeter on their devastated home world. While exploring the surface, Bo-Katan and her allies soon find other Mandalorian survivors on the planet and a massive and hostile indigenous life form that attacks their ship. Forced underground, the Mandalorians are led into a trap where they soon face the architect of their planet's destruction, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). Though Gideon decides to do what villains do best and monologue, the group of Mandalorians use this time to escape, thanks to the quick thinking of Bo-Katan. However, to provide cover for their retreat, Paz Vizsla (Tait Fletcher) stays behind, and he soon faces three members of the red-clad Praetorian Guard.

Known for their bright red armor, flowing capes, and unique weaponry, the Praetorian Guard are some of the best fighters the Empire has to offer. Often trained in martial arts and weaponry, the Praetorian Guard are explicitly taught to engage in close-quarters combat to fight Jedi and other Force Users. More often than not, each member of the Praetorian Guard wields a different kind of weapon, which makes fighting each of them somewhat of a unique experience. Some may use energy spears, while others may use vibroblades or whips. 

Needless to say, even though Vizsla tries his very best, he is outnumbered and under-equipped to deal with such dangerous and skilled foes, and the last image of him consists of him slinking to the ground after suffering several wounds.

The Praetorian Guard are the best fighters the Empire has to offer

As a refresher, at the start of the episode Moff Gideon requests his fellow members in the Shadow Council to supply TIE Bombers and members of the Praetorian Guard for protection. This question for additional Imperial resources is initially met with resistance from his fellow conspirators, but they soon relent and capitulate when faced with the prospect of a unified Mandalore. These Praetorian Guard aren't the first time "Star Wars" audiences have seen this specific brand of elite soldier, with this particular iteration also present in "The Last Jedi" during the fight between Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Rey (Daisy Ridley), and Snoke (Andy Serkis).

However, besides the bright colors and exotic weapons of the Praetorian Guard, these soldiers are also outfitted with exceptionally robust armor that can deflect regular blaster shots and even resist glancing lightsaber blows. This further reinforces that the Praetorian Guard are meant to fight Jedi, but such protection comes at a cost. To deflect lightsabers and blaster shots, the armor for Praetorian Guard is several layers thick. In addition, it has tremendous energy coursing through the armor pieces to create an electromagnetic field. This field is the primary mechanism for the armor's resilience, though it tends to cause its wearer tremendous pain and discomfort from the radiant heat and energy.

The predecessors of the Praetorian Guard are Emperor Palpatine's Royal Guard

Unsurprisingly, the Praetorian Guard featured in both "The Mandalorian" and "The Last Jedi" are the successors of the Imperial Royal Guards for Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). These Royal Guards, in turn, were first formed during the events of the prequel trilogy and were initially called the Red Guard — tasked with protecting the Chancellor of the Senate. One aspect is shared among all of these units, though. They are some of the best, most loyal soldiers and always protect high-value operatives and leaders. Though it is unlikely that Paz Vizsla survived his fight with the Praetorian Guard, this scene serves as a transitional step between events from the original and new trilogies, with this new order of Guards created from the ashes of their predecessors.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly (via MovieWeb), "The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson explained the design origin of the Praetorian Guard by saying, "The Emperor's guards were very formal, and you always got the sense that they could fight, but they didn't. They looked like they were more ceremonial, and you never really saw them in action. The Praetorians, my brief to [costume designer] Michael Kaplan was that those guys have to be more like samurai. They have to be built to move, and you have to believe that they could step forward and engage if they have to. They have to seem dangerous. They're his personal guards. They stick with [Snoke]. So they're essentially bodyguards."

Still, if one is to ever see a member of the Praetorian Guard brandishing a weapon, they best prepare for a fight, even if one is a Jedi, Sith, or Mandalorian.