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The History Of Operation Cinder In The Mandalorian Explained

With several decades of Star Wars lore at its disposal, Disney+'s The Mandalorian is never short of material for its nonstop barrage of references and Easter eggs. As the sci-fi epic's latest episode, "Chapter 15: The Believer," proves, even the simple act of raising a toast can hide bloody lore that less nuanced franchises would happily use for a whole array of movies.  

The episode focuses heavily on Migs Mayfeld (Bill Burr), a mercenary and former Imperial sharpshooter who isn't on particularly good terms with Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) but whose skills are instrumental for Din's quest to rescue Grogu the "Baby Yoda" from Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). As the pair infiltrate an Imperial refinery, they find themselves having a drink with an officer. Luckily, the potentially tense situation is soon defused when Mayfeld manages to impress the officer by raising a toast to something called "Operation Cinder." 

It turns out that the officer is right to be impressed, because this particular operation ranks among the most impressive atrocities in the Galactic Empire's history — which is saying something when the regime in question already has two separate Death Stars in its résumé. Let's take a look at the history of The Mandalorian's Operation Cinder.  

Operation Cinder was the Emperor's contingency plan

In a nutshell, Operation Cinder is what happened after the cameras stopped rolling at the end of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. After the fall of both Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) and Darth Vader (physically portrayed by David Prowse and Sebastian Shaw and voiced by James Earl Jones), the Empire doesn't just curl up and waste away immediately. Instead, they launch Operation Cinder: the Emperor's contingency plan, designed to make sure that if he dies unexpectedly, both his enemies and the Empire will perish as well. 

The dramatic and devastating military operation takes place mere weeks after the Battle of Endor. With a series of climate-disrupting satellite arrays, the Empire targets a number of planets, most famously Palpatine's own homeworld, Naboo. The satellite attacks cause the planets' climate systems to go haywire and tear through their ecosystems with extreme electric storms and other highly destructive weather events. The operation lasts for at least three months and causes an unknown (but presumably massive) amount of casualties. Fortunately, the New Republic ultimately wins the raging Galactic Civil War and is able to stop the Empire from using the mayhem to retreat to the Unknown Regions to rest and rebuild. 

So far, Operation Cinder has only appeared in video games, comics, and assorted tie-in material. With a simple toast on The Mandalorian, this terrible — and, let's face it, movie-worthy — Star Wars event has now officially entered the main franchise. Efficient man, that Mr. Mayfeld.