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Unlike ‘Andor,’ ‘Mandalorian’ is going all in on ‘Star Wars’ lore. Here’s what to know

Everyone’s favorite space father-son duo is finally back.

The third season of “The Mandalorian,” which launched on Disney+ on Wednesday, follows the now-excommunicated Din Djarin’s (Pedro Pascal) journey to redemption as he cares for his Force-sensitive attacker Grogu (aka Baby Yoda).

“The Mandalorian” Chapter 17, titled “The Apostate”, picks up after the events of “The Book of Boba Fett”, in which Din was reunited with his adorable youngster after sending him to be trained by Jedi- Master Luke Skywalker. from “The Mandalorian” Season 2.

With a few action sequences, in-universe gags, and references, the episode highlights what made “The Mandalorian” such a hit: It’s a fun (and funny) adventure story with heroes that are generally easy to find. It’s a classic, accessible ‘Star Wars’, with a deft handling of Easter eggs and lore that can please old fans as well as pique the curiosity of those new to the franchise. “The Mandalorian” has proven that blaster shootings and the antics of a hungry, adorable toddler remain entertaining.

Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu go for a walk in ‘The Mandalorian’.

(Lucasfilm Ltd.)

It’s almost in stark contrast to “Andor,” the latest critically acclaimed “Star Wars” series, which was hailed as a “prestige” political thriller for its ambitious narration that showed the galaxy far, far away the space opera- transcend genre. While “Andor” is no less faithfully rooted in “Star Wars” than it was in “The Mandalorian,” it didn’t rely on familiar factors like the Jedi and the Force — or nostalgia — to make its points. One of “Andor’s” strengths was in showing how commoners live under Imperial rule when powerful space wizards or honor-bound warriors aren’t there to save the day. “Andor” took risks that appealed to longtime “Star Wars” fans who craved more complex or “mature” stories set in the beloved universe, as well as newcomers to the franchise who are simply interested in Good television.

With Season 3, it looks like “The Mandalorian” will delve even deeper into Mandalorian and “Star Wars” lore. The series has dropped many hints over the course of its run about the fate of Mandalore and the reasons for the splintering of the Mandalorian diaspora, but much of its recent history remains untold. There is also a lot of Mandalorian backstory that has been captured in the animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels”. Perhaps Season 3 of “The Mandalorian” will finally reveal what happened between Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) leading the Mandalorians against the Galactic Empire in “Rebels” and her first appearance in “The Mandalorian.”

The connections and references to the wider ‘Star Wars’ universe have always been a hallmark of ‘The Mandalorian’ – the most popular character being a Force wielder who resembles a famous Jedi Master – and Season 3 wastes no time with plunging it into that vast sandbox of alien races and locations. Below are some of the key references in the season so far.

The children of the guard: Din is a (former) member of a Mandalorian sect known as the Children of the Watch, which according to Bo-Katan Kryze is a sect dedicated to the ancient customs of Mandalore and has broken away from the rest of the Mandalorian society. They appear to have a connection to the Death Watch, a Mandalorian terrorist group introduced in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”

two little alien mechanics and an alien toddler looking over metal scraps

A pair of Anzellan droidsmiths and Grogu in ‘The Mandalorian’.

(Lucasfilm Ltd.)

purrgil: Grogu sees large shadows of tentacled creatures outside his window as he and Din travel through hyperspace. These were most likely cetacean creatures known as purrgil that live in space. Purrgils were first introduced in “Star Wars Rebels” where a certain Jedi padawan was able to bond with them using the Force.

Anzellan droidsmiths: Not even Grogu could resist the cuteness of the little species described by Greef Karga as “the best droidsmiths of the Outer Rim”. Droidsmith Babu Frik, who appeared in “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker”, was the first Anzellan to appear in the franchise.

Kalevala: Din takes Grogu to Kalevala, “another planet in the Mandalorian system.” The planet is the homeworld of House Kryze and was first mentioned in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”

a warrior woman lounging on a throne

Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) in her castle on Kalevala in ‘The Mandalorian’.

(Lucasfilm Ltd.)