One of The Mandalorian’s biggest selling points – the verdant, cute ‘n’ cuddly Baby Yoda – was also one of its best-kept secrets, with the reveal of ‘The Child’ kept under wraps until the first episode’s airing on Disney+ in November 2019 despite a huge level of outside interest in Star Wars’ first live-action series.
The commitment to secrecy was such that lucrative toy versions of Baby Yoda were delayed until much later to keep the truth hidden, making for a genuinely surprising pop culture moment – assuming you weren’t a UK fan, who had the whole thing spoiled by the five-month delay before Disney+ arrived here. Not that I’m bitter.
Clearly, the Mandalorian crew knew how to handle their secrecy – which makes the regular flurry of reveals about what we can expect from season two over the past few months all the more surprising. First, we learnt that Rosario Dawson may be playing fan-favourite animated character Ahsoka Tano, then that the prequel movies’ Temuera Morrison would be playing classic series character Boba Fett.
Then we learned that Aliens’ Michael Biehn would be part of the cast as a rogue bounty hunter, followed by the news that Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) would be joining the series as well, apparently reprising a part she voiced in animation for the Clone Wars TV series.
Most recently, Timothy Olyphant was unveiled as part of the cast – and now /Film (who have to be credited with many of these great scoops) more or less revealed exactly which character he’s playing, also revealing some details about Boba Fett’s return in the process.
Really you have to wonder – what gives? If LucasFilm could keep Baby Yoda, a crucial character in every single episode, out of the news, why has so much info about the new season leaked out, so many months before transmission this October?
Are secrets slipping out more as the team continue season two postproduction in lockdown? Are the journalists just getting better sources? Is there just more interest so people are working harder to find things out?
Somehow, that all seems doubtful – if anything, you’d think the bigger interest would have been before the series even debuted – and unless you believe this is just Disney’s way of making the whole world live the UK’s Mandalorian spoiler nightmare, it’s tempting to wonder if there’s something else going on.
I have one theory. What if these spoilers are getting out there because… they don’t matter? What if the reason these apparently massive castings and storyline leaks aren’t being kept behind a ring of Beskar Steel secrecy is because there’s something even bigger lurking in the shadows?
In other words, what if the reason the Mandalorian crew seem more relaxed about secrecy this year is because we’re not actually finding out the real secrets?
The whole thing reminds me of the most recent season of Doctor Who, a phrase I say worryingly often in day-to-day life but that applies particularly in this case. While Jodie Whittaker’s first series was so shrouded in secrecy we knew next to nothing about the episodes before it started, her follow-up in 2020 had many more details released beforehand.
The reason why we could know about the Cybermen, the Judoon and everything else before the series? Because the real twists – the return of the Master, and a new Doctor – were even bigger.
While The Mandalorian’s secrets aren’t being released in the same way through official channels, it’s hard not to wonder if the show’s creative team are being a little bit more relaxed with what they are protecting because there’s even more to hide than we know.
In other words, the return of Boba Fett could be small fry. Prepare for The Mandalorian to go much, much bigger…
The Mandalorian returns to Disney+ in October 2020