Here's Why Fans of 'The Mandalorian' Should Check Out the ‘Star Wars’ Animated Shows

Opinion
Disney XD

So…it’s been a month since Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) let his adoptive son go to Jedi training across the galaxy in The Mandalorian — and accidentally became the ruler of a whole planet (like Jon Snow, he doesn’t want it!)

With such a massive cliffhanger and no continuation of Mando’s adventures until 2022, fans are bound to be suffering withdrawals. Thankfully, there’s plenty of Mandalorian lore to explore in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels (and Star Wars: The Bad Batch, which will be released later this year). Here’s why fans of The Mandalorian should consider delving into the animated corner of that beloved galaxy far, far away.

A Deeper Understanding of the Characters

The Mandalorian excels at making its characters accessible to everyone, whether viewers have only watched the movies, or they’ve read the novels, pored over the comic books and relished every minute of every show. With that said, a perk of watching The Clone Wars and Rebels is that it delves more into the personalities and histories of specific characters who showed up in Season 2. Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson in The Mandalorian) and Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) have larger roles in the animated programs. Given that the former is getting her own spinoff and the latter will likely take on a larger role in Season 3, now’s the time to brush up on their histories. The Bad Batch is poised to explore Fennec Shand’s (Ming-Na Wen) backstory, since she’s confirmed to appear (and be voiced by Ming-Na Wen!) — which will help you when The Book of Boba Fett premieres in December.

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The Child needs some looking after, and his 'adoptive' dad is doing a pretty great job of it.

Some of the Characters Might Show Up in Season 3

In Season 2, we got Bo-Katan and Ahsoka — and in Season 3, it seems likely we’ll see more characters from Rebels and The Clone Wars, which were also helmed by Dave Filoni. While it’s not clear yet who might show up (Sabine Wren, at least, seems likely — and there are a few theories floating around that the Armorer (Emily Swallow) debuted in The Clone Wars), it’s always fun to understand the characters before they make their live-action debut. And, bonus — then you can tell your friends who’ve only seen the movies all about them when they ask, “Who’s that?”

 

Disney+/Lucasfilm

Learn More About the Darksaber

If you were mystified or intrigued by the glowing weapon that makes Din the newly reluctant Mand’alor, you’ll enjoy discovering its journey through the animated shows. The Darksaber has had a long and complicated path and changed hands plenty of times before Bo-Katan wielded it and lost it, and the rules pertaining to its ownership aren’t quite as rigid as The Mandalorian makes it seem. We won’t spoil anything here, but one of its previous owners might be familiar to fans of the prequels.

Tie-Ins with the Larger Star Wars World

The Clone Wars and Rebels, especially, are also worth watching for tie-ins to the movies. If you liked Obi-Wan and Anakin’s camaraderie, you’ll love seeing them again in The Clone Wars; if you were scratching your head when Ahsoka asked about Grand Admiral Thrawn, you’ll be confused no more after watching Rebels. While you shouldn’t expect Luke (Mark Hamill), Leia (Carrie Fisher) or Han (Harrison Ford) to appear, plenty of prequel-era fan favorites show up.

They’re Becoming Integral to Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ Universe

While we think it’s likely The Mandalorian will remain open to bringing in characters and stories from all the Star Wars properties, there’s no denying that Season 2 brought characters and storylines from the animated series to the forefront. It’s likely that the circumstances under which Bo first obtained the Darksaber — which we won’t spoil here! — will become incredibly important in Season 3, and you’ll need to watch Rebels to fully understand that. Plus, a good chunk of Bo-Katan’s character and history are rooted in The Clone Wars. Whether she sides with Din or turns against him, you’ll benefit from understanding her better when next year comes. Plus, The Bad Batch is entirely centered around characters who first showed up in the animated programs,  so you’ll want to watch The Clone Wars first!

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'I wanted to be sure she felt familiar [to fans],' Sackhoff says of playing the character she voiced on 'Clone Wars' and 'Rebels.'

They’re Really, Really Good

There’s a good reason many fans consider The Clone Wars to be some of the best storytelling in the Star Wars world. On the surface they appear to be geared toward children, but don’t let that deceive you — like Avatar: The Last Airbender (a beloved animated show for many, regardless of age) they’re packed with compelling characters and incredible story arcs, and there are plenty of emotional moments that are among the most powerful in the saga. So, whether you’re missing Mando, looking to deepen your understanding of Mandalorian history or dank farrik,  or you just want some new Star Wars in your life, The Clone Wars, Rebels and The Bad Batch are absolutely worth watching.

The Clone Wars, Now Streaming, Disney+

Star Wars: Rebels, Now Streaming, Disney+

Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Premieres 2021, Disney+