Of all the things we were expecting to show up in The Mandalorian season 2, episode 4, that certainly wasn’t it. Potentially big, saga-spanning spoilers follow so, if you haven’t watched the episode yet, now might be the time to jetpack on out of here.
Spoilers for The Mandalorian season 2 follow…
During “The Siege” which, handily, features a siege on an Empire base on Navarro, Mando, Greef, and Cara chance upon some shadowy Imperial experiments.
They also uncover playback of an Imperial scientist – who was last seen performing tests on Baby Yoda in the first season – sending a video message to Moff Gideon, by way of providing a massive exposition dump.
In the update, he outlines what they’ve been working on in secret: the donor (presumably The Child) has the highest “M-count” they could find for a transfusion. But the subject’s body “rejected the blood.”
Who could he be talking about? The most obvious theory surely surrounds the clone bodies and return of Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The “M-count”, of course, means Midichlorians – cells that allow users with great quantities of them to use the Force – and means the Force is in play somewhere. Palpatine is certainly the first thing that comes to mind in that regard, and this could be the beginning of retroactively charting the Empire’s plans to bring back their leader.
As we know from The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary, Palpatine was eventually able to transfer his consciousness to a (flawed) clone body. Could we be seeing the start of that process here?
Maybe. More likely, it's the origins of Snoke, the cloned Supreme Leader introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens who was secretly under the control of Palpatine. Those tubes certainly look Snoke-like and, at the 19-minute mark in the episode, the audio cues sound eerily like Snoke's theme from the sequel trilogy. In fact, you can hear the same guttural singing that soundtracked Snoke's entry into the Skywalker saga.
Perhaps Snoke was simply a failed Emperor clone, as they were unable to fully rebuild the Emperor? There is, however, another theory to ponder. Moff Gideon already has a stack of Dark Trooper suits lined up on his Imperial ship. The best way to fill them – unless he’s using droids – is with clone bodies. Either way, it’s not good news for the galaxy.
If The Mandalorian does tie into Palps’ big return (or Snoke's origins), it shows Disney’s confidence in letting the series dictate not only the future of the franchise, but to clean up its past transgressions too. Or maybe it’s all just Snoke and mirrors for an even bigger scheme?