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The Mandalorian season 3 release date, cast, filming update, Rian Johnson and latest news

The Mandalorian season 3
(Image credit: Disney Plus)

The Mandalorian season 3 has hit the hyperspeed button. The mega-hit Disney Plus Star Wars series has reportedly started filming, which puts it on track for an early 2022 release date. And as we look to the release of The Mandalorian season 3, we're finding plenty of rumors along the way: Wookies may enter the series, and The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson still wants to direct an episode in this galaxy far, far away.

Season 2 closed out in spectacular and very surprising fashion — with a jaw-dropping return/cameo and news of The Book of Boba Fett, a Mandalorian spinoff. That conclusion creates a ton of questions about The Mandalorian season 3 and where its central characters, the titular bounty hunter and the Force-wielding Baby Yoda, will wind up.

In the finale, Mando/Din Djarin successfully rescued Grogu (we've learned that's Baby Yoda's real name) from the clutches of the evil Moff Gideon. Then, they were both saved from the Dark Troopers by none other than Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill, de-aged by CGI).

Afterward, Mando latter gently encouraged his adopted son to go with the Jedi for training. But before they parted, Din took off his helmet to say a tender goodbye (sob). 

So, the bounty hunter dad and his fosterling are on different paths. Now what? Here's what we know so far about The Mandalorian season 3.

The Mandalorian season 3 latest news (updated May 4)

  • Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is interested in helming an episode of The Mandalorian, if he can fit it into his schedule
  • The fan podcast Bespin Bulletin is circulating the rumor that Wookiees may appear in season 3.
  • Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal has been cast in a lead role in HBO's The Last of Us TV show

The Mandalorian season 3 release date

The Mandalorian season 3 release date has not been confirmed. 

At Disney Investor Day in December, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said that "the next chapter of The Mandalorian" would arrive Christmas 2021. However, the season 2 finale end credits played a scene featuring Boba Fett and Fennec Shand taking over Jabba the Hutt's old syndicate headquarters. That was followed by a title card announcing the spinoff The Book of Boba Fett is coming December 2021.

During an interview with Good Morning America, showrunner Jon Favreau confirmed that The Book of Boba Fett is that "next chapter" and the show is currently filming. 

The Mandalorian season 3 will begin filming April 5, 2021, according to Production List. Deseret News reporter Herb Scribner spotted the item in the entertainment industry publication and tweeted it: 

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Filming is likely to take two to three months. Post-production will require at least six months, possibly more, since The Mandalorian uses so many special effects. 

That puts season 3's release date somewhere in early 2022, which makes sense — it could premiere right after spinoff Book of Boba Fett concludes. 

The Mandalorian season 3 cast

The cast of The Mandalorian season 3 will almost certainly be led by Pedro Pascal as the titular character, Din Djarin. Pascal voices Mando and portrays him sans helmet, while a body double actor takes on the full suit. 

Pascal was recently named as one of the lead roles in HBO's adaptation of the video game, The Last of Us. But that won't preclude him from working on Mandalorian. More on that below.

One major cast member that will definitely not be returning is Gina Carano as Cara Dune. As multiple media outlets reported, Carano was fired for offensive social media posts, some of which were political in nature. 

As for other recurring cast members, Carl Weathers is likely to reappear as Greef Karga. Giancarlo Eposito's Moff Gideon was not killed in the season 2 finale and could continue to be a threat. 

Since Mando is now in possession of the Dark Saber, he may get caught up in the war for Mandalore, which could mean the return of Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan Kryze and Mercedes Varnado as Kosta Reeves.

Other cast members who may pop up again include Amy Sedaris as Peli Motto, Bill Burr as Migs Mayfeld, Horatio Sanz as Mythrol and Emily Swallow as The Armorer.

There may be crossovers with The Mandalorian's spinoffs. For The Book of Boba Fett, that's Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett and Ming-Na Wen as Fennec Shand. For Star Wars: Ahsoka, that's Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano.

If The Mandalorian checks in with Baby Yoda, there may be more cameos by Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. And let's not forget that a young Ben Solo (later Kylo Ren) is about four years old at this point. 

The biggest potential Mandalorian season 3 casting news comes from regular Star Wars leaker Kessel Run Transmissions. Their most recent rumor says that Ezra Bridger, an important character from Star Wars Rebels, is joining an upcoming live-action project and that Aladdin star Mena Massoud has been cast as Ezra. Massoud stoked fan speculation himself by posting an Instagram with a quote from Ezra:

Ezra could make an appearance on The Mandalorian season 3, or he might just show up on Star Wars: Ahsoka. After all, the last we saw of Ahsoka, she was looking for Admiral Thrawn, who was last seen with Ezra in the Rebels finale.

Season 3 might bring another blast from the past in the form of Wookiees. The fan podcast Bespin Bulletin is circulating the rumor that Chewbacca's speces may make an appearance in the next installment. 

"Last year I heard rumors that a Wookiee or Wookiees may appear in The Mandalorian. I've heard of a Wookiee showing up again as of late from a secondary source and even saw proof that a Wookiee might be appearing in The Mandalorian Season 3 from a new source," Bespin Bulletin said. "I don't know if the Wookiee is of any significance, if it's a character we're familiar with, or if even just a background character. Just thought it was worth mentioning as we all love a fuzzball."

The Mandalorian season 3 story and episodes

The Mandalorian season 2 finale opened up a huge can of sandworms. The Mandalorian's first two seasons have revolved around Baby Yoda and now it's gone off to train with Luke, the show and the titular hero are facing an existential crisis.

Will Mando return to bounty hunting? Settle down on Navarro to police the planet with Cara and Greef? Or will he take full ownership of the Dark Saber and get involved in the fight to liberate Mandalore? 

If it's the latter, Bo-Katan may not be entirely happy about that. She asked for his help, but more as her underling/foot soldier. Bo-Katan covets that Dark Saber — but does she want it so much that she'll duel Din Djarin for it? 

Din has exhibited zero interest in intergalactic politics, so we're curious to see if (and how) he gets pulled into the greater Mandalorian saga.

The Mandalorian season 3 episodes and directors

While Disney hasn't confirmed anything yet, we're guessing that The Mandalorian season 3 will consist of eight episodes, just like the previous seasons. 

So far, there's no official word on the episode directors. In the past, Jon Favreau, Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard and Dave Filoni have sat in the chair. 

Could a past Star Wars director return for a Mandalorian season 3 episode? Writer Sariah Wilson tweeted that Rian Johnson, who directed The Last Jedi, expressed "he was dying to" try his hand at the Disney Plus series. Alas, he's very busy with Knives Out 2, which may prevent him from being able to come aboard.

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The Mandalorian season 3's Pedro Pascal news

As noted above, Pascal is starring in The Last of Us. But that doesn't mean Din Djarin is being written out of the show that bears his designation. Deadline explained, Pascal will "continue on the Star Wars series, where he is used sparingly because of the nature of his character, though The Last Of Us has him in first position."

In industry terms, "first position" means that Last of Us takes precedence for Pascal. However, since Mando mostly wears a helmet, he is rarely needed for more than voice work and stunt doubles play Mando much of the time. 

Pascal told IndieWire that playing the titular character is "a team effort ... four of us in that suit, with stunts. I relied on the years of physicality being on stage."

As for Mando's future, Pascal teased that there will be further "expansion of this world, where there are so many unexpected surprises and timelines that are going to be dealt with."

New timelines? Does that indicate a time jump? One would make a great deal of sense, now that Mando and Baby Yoda have parted ways. There's no way the biggest deal on the show just disappears entirely from it. The story could jump forward a few years down the road, after Grogu has received some training but requires Mando's help in some way — perhaps when one of Luke Skywalker's other trainees goes ballistic?