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There's A Special Release Date For The Mandalorian Chapter 7

Good news, Mandalorian fans: Disney+ has an early Christmas gift for you.

The seventh episode of the streamer's smash hit series will be arriving a little bit sooner than the other installments. The series typically drops new episodes every Friday, but Chapter 7 will make its debut on Wednesday, December 18. (via TV Guide)

The episode will be the second-to-last of The Mandalorian's first season; yes, we know, we can also hardly believe that this stellar first outing for the series will be coming to an end so soon. Fortunately, season 2 is already before the cameras, so we probably won't have to wait too terribly long for more episodes; if we had to venture a guess, we find it likely that "Mando" will be making his return sometime in the fall of 2020. 

Disney+ helpfully included a bit of scintillating information in the press release announcing the change of release date for Chapter 7. The episode's logline indicates that an "old rival" of the Mandalorian will be popping up, and that he'll be out not to renew their rivalry, but to make peace. Will this offer be a duplicitous one? The Mandalorian has served up plenty of intrigue this season, so we find it to be possible. 

Accompanying the press release was a single image: one depicting Giancarlo Esposito (Better Call Saul) in his role as Moff Gideon, a former governor during the days of the Galactic Empire. Either Gideon will be the old rival featured in the episode, or the House of Mouse is engaging in some serious misdirection; we're going with the former, and we can't wait to finally see the uber-talented Esposito make his Mandalorian debut.

Why is The Mandalorian chapter 7 being released early?

You may have noticed that due to being pushed up, Chapter 7 of The Mandalorian will avoid dropping on a pretty significant date: December 20, which just happens to be the release date of a small, unheralded film titled Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. It stands to reason that Disney+ would want Mando-heads (we just coined that, thank you very much) to be able to catch the latest episode of their favorite series as soon as it drops, without having to worry about whether their Rise of Skywalker viewing plans will interfere. That's probably part of the reason for Chapter 7's early release date, but there's another pretty cool one, as well.

Did we say that ol' Mickey had an early Christmas present for you? We lied; he actually has two. Accompanying the seventh episode of The Mandalorian will be an extra-special sneak peek at Rise of Skywalker, one which will be exclusive to Disney+ subscribers. (via Collider)

Obviously, this wouldn't be nearly as cool of a surprise if said sneak peek were dropping the same day as the movie. Why not just give us the preview along with Chapter 6, you ask? Well, we can only guess, but we're pretty sure it's because Disney and Lucasfilm would rather give the entirety of the internet only two days, rather than a full week, to dissect the footage six ways from Sunday. 

Will The Mandalorian cross over with Rise of Skywalker?

We know what you're thinking: does this mean that The Mandalorian will in some way cross over with Rise of Skywalker? Is that crazy theory about Baby Yoda correct, and will he be the key to the return of Emperor Palpatine? Holy crap, will Mando himself show up to kick ass in the movie's third act?

We hate to burst anyone's bubble, but we don't think any of that will be happening. That would require a level of corporate synergy rarely (if ever) seen outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and as we've pointed out before, it seems highly unlikely that The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau and Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams could have coordinated such a crossover without it coming to the attention of somebody.

No, we're pretty sure that the sneak preview is simply a little gift to Mandalorian fans for making the series the most in-demand original streaming property in the U.S., and of course, it should also get them plenty psyched to secure their tickets for the movie — those that haven't already, that is.

One thing we can say for certain: it's a heck of a great time to be a Star Wars fan. The Mandalorian has proven that the galaxy far, far away can make an absolutely smashing setting for a prestige television series, and Rise of Skywalker is looking for all the world like a totally epic conclusion to one of the most beloved cinematic sagas of all time.

It's only a matter of days before we can finally feast our eyes on the flick, so get excited, and remember: the Force will be with you. Always.