Dr. Penn Pershing doing a speech on the Mandalorian

‘The Mandalorian’ Isn’t Trying To Be Anything Other Than Truthful to Its Characters

The Mandalorian has come back with season 3, and with it has come a sea of questions and complaints online. It’s not a bad thing; the show is not immune to criticism, but it is a bit wild what people are harping on—and this most recent episode, titled “The Convert,” has had a lot of people talking.

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I’ve seen a string of complaints about this week’s episode of The Mandalorian online that really don’t make sense to me, most of them being about how the episode was just trying to be Andor and failing at it, which is wrong for a lot of reasons. First, in terms of whether there might actually have been any cross-inspiration, The Mandalorian S3 was in production up until roughly spring of 2022. Andor came out in September of 2022, so they had no idea the impact that the series would have or what people enjoyed about it.

What The Mandalorian has been doing, though, is giving arcs to characters within a larger show, and that’s honestly kind of cool. It started with season 2 of the series, when we got to see what Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) was going through, and then it carried on through The Book of Boba Fett in a more obvious fashion. Now, The Mandalorian has done it with the character of Dr. Penn Pershing (Omid Abtahi).

It’s just … character development?

Look, it’s just that the show gave time to a character we hadn’t spent time with before. That’s what this boils down to. And he just so happens to be a former employee of the Empire and someone who worked with Moff Gideon. We have seen him in the background, wanting to experiment on Grogu and learn more about him, and we get to know even more about his work in this episode.

So while Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff), and Grogu are trying to escape to safety, we get to head to Coruscant to see what’s going on with Pershing and his new life post-Empire. It isn’t trying to be anything but faithful to its characters, because if they just let the evil guys be evil without any exploration of their characters, then it wouldn’t really be Star Wars.

The New Republic always fails

Another argument I’ve seen is that it really “tampers” with the happy ending of Return of the Jedi, but that has always been the case. This isn’t a sequel trilogy thing. The New Republic failed in the Expanded Universe; it failed before Disney took over, and even if it wasn’t J.J. Abrams and the sequel trilogy, the New Republic would still have to fail. That’s just what this story was going towards, no matter what. Because it is a reflection of how actual regimes fall and those who take over don’t know how to change what was put in place or lead on their own.

One of the aspects of the episode that really works is that it highlights just how ill-prepared the New Republic was for the fall of the Empire, a very real thing that could happen. And the idea that they want to just throw everything out that the Empire did but “rebrand it” as their own isn’t that outrageous of a thought process given actual history. The point is: All of this has happened post-Return of the Jedi.

If you wanted to think everyone had a happy ending with the fall of Palpatine and Vader’s hold on them, then that’s on your viewing of Star Wars.

(featured image: Lucasfilm)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her current obsession is Glen Powell's dog, Brisket. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.