(Spoilers for Star Wars: The Mandalorian“Chapter 23: The Spies” ahead.) It’s possible that The Mandalorian will enrich the greater Star Wars story. As in, do so even far more than it already has. “Chapter 23: The Spies” makes that crystal clear.

Below are 12 takeaways from the episode. The takeaways are listed from most to least impactful on me.

1. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may no longer be whiplash, thanks to The Mandalorian

The Final Order (photo credit: Lucasfilm)

In “The Spies,” Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) mentions the Imperial remnant’s “grand plan” to remnant leaders. I wonder how much overlap there is between the grand plan and Emperor Sheev Palpatine’s (Ian McDiarmid) contingency plan. The latter was first referenced to in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The plans may in a sense be one and the same. The “grand plan” may include an end goal of bringing back Palpatine and showing the Final Order in The Rise of Skywalker. In Palpatine’s contingency plan, he preserves his life on the planet Exegol. There, the Final Order is nearby.

The Rise of Skywalker has been criticized for key story elements in the greater Star Wars story suddenly being introduced in the final chapter of the nine-part Star Wars Skywalker saga. (Palpatine’s return certainly is one of them.)

2. At least one repeated idea in The Force Awakens may make more sense, thanks to The Mandalorian

The First Order essentially is the Empire in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, besides being part of the Final Order in The Rise of Skywalker. With the First Order perhaps being a continuation of the Empire, the same monster is in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as was in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, rather than being a remix of it to a good degree.

3. Imperial heads in The Mandalorian

Brendol Hux (photo credit: Disney+)

Grand Admiral Thrawn! General Armitage Hux’s dad, Brendol Hux! (Brian Gleeson, the brother of Armitage Hux actor Domhnall Gleeson, plays Brendol Hux.)

Thrawn being mentioned in The Mandalorian and in the show or the upcoming Star Wars: Ahsoka gives a commonality to the New Republic era of which it’s a part with the pre-original trilogy show Star Wars Rebels. And a similar version of Thrawn in several ways originally comes from material post-Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. That material used to be canon.

Brendol Hux being an Imperial leader shows that nepotism almost certainly helped Armitage Hux gain a top position of power.

4. A tragedy in The Mandalorian?

Will The Mandalorian feature a tragedy of the Mandalorians falling to the Empire? A possible collision course begs that question.

5. The Empire and Star Wars productions

The Empire all being connected tying the shows together will make it so you need to watch more Star Wars to see the storylines connect together.

6. Grogu, droid operator

Grogu in Star Wars: The Mandalorian — Chapter 23: The Spies (photo credit: Disney+)

A droid being operated by Grogu is hilarious. For instance, when he has the droid say “no, no, no” many times.

The ‘no’s really drove home how a child acts. And in Grogu’s case, how a child acts in a droid.

7. Power exchange

Operating a droid, Grogu, a child, has more power than his dad (Din Djarin, played by Pedro Pascal, Brendan Wayne, Lateef Crowder) and holds the food so high that Din can’t reach it. And as I hear and in my children’s experience, it will make children so happy when they feel like they have the upper hand in power over adults. Thus, what Grogu does seems consistent with behavior by children.

8. Red guards

Having Imperial Red Guard personnel and the Empire in general helps have a bridge to the red guards of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. In essence, it also accounts for why the First Order and characteristics of it, like those guards, are very much the same as those seen in the original trilogy.

9. Din Djarin’s degree of protagonism

I’m not bothered by a show diminishing its protagonist, like Din, if larger story arcs like the aforementioned one regarding the Empire and First Order is what we get. Plus, what’s much more important is the quality of the storytelling. Which is tremendous.

10. Grogu’s Padawan years

Grogu applying things he learned from Jedi is awesome and part of the great storytelling in the show.

11. The Rise of Skywalker

Was The Rise of Skywalker made with the plan to introduce connective tissue from the original trilogy – Imperial aspects, really – to that film in post-Return of the Jedi productions like The Mandalorian? Probably not, but it’s fun to ask the question.

12. Brendan Wayne

Wayne is playing a role like John Wayne, one of his grandfathers, played. That’s because he’s playing a cowboy, essentially – a hero in a Western.

I was shocked that Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau took Grogu away from Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill, Graham Hamilton) in The Book of Boba Fett. That’s especially because Favreau put the characters together shortly before. However, I became fine with it because I realized that the story that Favreau wanted to tell – that he is passionate about telling – was another one. I thought it would result in good fruit.

It has so far. And at least to this point, “I’m so thrilled with what they are doing,” as I said out loud as I wrote this piece.

The season 3 finale of The Mandalorian premieres on Disney+ April 19.

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