12 Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Rebels episodes to watch to fully understand The Mandalorian

Star Wars: Clone Wars, Rebels, and the Mandalorian
(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

The Mandalorian season 2, episode 3 has introduced Bo-Katan Kryze, a character from The Clone Wars TV series. Naturally, that's gotten fans interested in the animated show, and how much it's connected to The Mandalorian (hint hint: it's a lot). 

However, with over 130 episodes, digesting the entirety of Star Wars: The Clone Wars isn't exactly an easy feat, or a plausible one - at least not before this season of The Mandalorian ends. And then you've also gotta watch Star Wars Rebels, which features its own cast of new characters and some recurring Clone Wars favorites and has a whopping 75 episodes.

Instead of sitting down for over 200 episodes of television, you could just learn the basics about the battles The Armorer herself teased in The Mandalorian season one - you know, the "battles between Mandalore the Great and an order of sorcerers called Jedi." Considering Bo-Katan herself has sent Din Djarin looking for a Jedi called Ahsoka Tano, you should brush up on your Clone Wars/Rebels history. That's why we've gathered all the essential episodes from both animated series that will help you understand the rich history that informs The Mandalorian. 

So, with The Mandalorian season 2 now on Disney Plus, make sure you watch these Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels episodes on there as well. Then you'll become an expert on all things Mandalore.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Mandalore episodes 

(Image credit: Lucasfilm Animation)

The Clone Wars season 2, episodes 12-14 

The first Mandalore arc in The Clone Wars begins with season 2, episode 12 "The Mandalore Plot," where Obi-Wan Kenobi heads to the planet to investigate rumors of a resurgence of a Mandalorian splinter group called Death Watch. At this point, Mandalore is ruled by a pacifist government led by Duchess Satine Kryze, put in place after the New Mandalorian peace movement defeated traditionalists who sought to continue the planet's history of warmongering. New Mandalore is neutral in the Clone Wars, but Death Watch aligns themselves with Separatist leader Count Dooku and attempts to stage a coup against Satine. These three episodes will give you some great insight into Mandalore's conflicted and bloody history ahead of more Mandalore-centric stories to come.

The Clone Wars season 5, episodes 14-16 

This three-episode arc is essential to understanding the Mandalorians' role in the Clone Wars, and how often the planet and its people seem to be perpetually caught in-between conflicts. It's by far the most important arc about Mandalore. Darth Maul and his brother, Savage Opress, are building their crime syndicate and use Mandalore as a base of operations, pulling Death Watch members into their circuit. It's at this point that the Duchess Satine's sister, Bo-Katan Kryze, herself a member of Death Watch, becomes the leader of a faction of dissidents. This is also when Darth Maul claims the Darksaber from Pre Viszla, the Death Watch leader voiced by The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau.  

The Clone Wars season 7, episodes 9 and 10

The final season of The Clone Wars has an important Mandalorian arc that involves Ahsoka Tano and Bo-Katan working together to overthrow Darth Maul's reign on Mandalore. Considering Bo-Katan has already appeared in this season, and Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano is all but confirmed, their dynamic in The Clone Wars may give us some insight into how they may interact in the live-action series. While much of these two episodes focus on Ahsoka and Maul, the Siege of Mandalore is an important Clone Wars battle, and one shapes the planet's future.

Star Wars Rebels Mandalore episodes 

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Star Wars Rebels season 3, episodes 15 and 16 

Even though the entire series has a Mandalorian as a main character (Sabine Wren), there are certain Rebels episodes that are key, and this two-episode arc is one of them. It explains some deep Mandalore/Jedi lore, and puts the Darksaber back in the hands of a Mandalorian  – the aforementioned Sabine Wren, who returns to her family in an attempt to free Mandalore from Imperial rule. The second episode in this arc, "The Legacy of Mandalore" explains Mandalorian houses and clans, which will help you understand Din Djarin and Baby Yoda's clan of two. Daw. 

Star Wars Rebels season 4, episode 1 and 2

There's a whole lot of Mandalore in these two episodes, aptly titled "Heroes of Mandalore Part 1 and 2." Sabine, wielding the Darksaber, leads a mission to free her father (and the planet) from the Empire's clutches. What ultimately happens explains why the Mandalorians of the Disney Plus original series hates the Empire so much – it's brutal. The second episode in this arc brings back Bo-Katan, who receives the Darksaber from Sabine in what seems to be a happy ending. Unfortunately, we know that somehow Moff Gideon gets that Darksaber and the people of Mandalore end up in hiding. They can't catch a break.

So there you have it, 13 episodes you should watch ahead of The Mandalorian season 2 that will have you an expert on all things Mandalore. Considering these episodes clock in at around 20 minutes apiece, you can easily get through them before The Mandalorian season 2 ends. And if you need even more to watch, check out the best shows on Disney Plus.

Alyssa Mercante

Alyssa Mercante is an editor and features writer at GamesRadar based out of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to entering the industry, she got her Masters's degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University with a dissertation focusing on contemporary indie games. She spends most of her time playing competitive shooters and in-depth RPGs and was recently on a PAX Panel about the best bars in video games. In her spare time Alyssa rescues cats, practices her Italian, and plays soccer.