Joel Miller in the Last of Us and Dr. Pershing in The Mandalorian

‘The Mandalorian’ Perfectly Illustrates an Important Point About ‘The Last of Us’

Star Wars’ New Republic was never going to work—not because they didn’t want to try or because they were as “bad” as the Empire before them, but because they didn’t know what they were doing and their ideas of grandeur were always going to lead to a new rise in power unless someone stepped in and took charge in a positive way. That didn’t happen, and what we saw in episode 3 of season 3 of The Mandalorian, titled “The Convert,” is what happens when a society doesn’t know how to rebuild and the chaos that it can bring.

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But what is interesting now is that the failure of the New Republic does give us another perspective on the other hit show helmed by Din Djarin himself, Pedro Pascal: The Last of Us.

We’re coming into this fight roughly 7 years after Return of the Jedi, and they still don’t know exactly what to do about former Empire employees or the plethora of Imperial technologies they now have. And while many were angry about the fall of the New Republic in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, it always happened. In the EU before it, the New Republic still failed, and so the Disney era of Star Wars has just been honoring that failure.

Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) wasn’t really in the third episode of The Mandalorian, but the points about the New Republic and fighting against the Empire but not having plans of what to do after winning were also brought up in The Last of Us, with the Fireflies and their inability to plan anything with Ellie outside of their original warped ideas. And so it is interesting to take both The Mandalorian and The Last of Us and unpack them.

The Fireflies would never have succeeded

Rebellions are important, because you’re pushing back against the powers that be and making your voices heard, but in media, Rebellions often lead to those who have won not knowing what to do next. In Star Wars, we see the New Republic’s refusal to use anything given to them by the Empire despite how it might help them as a society. In The Last of Us, we’re seeing how this “rebellion” is filled with hopes and dreams but empty promises and botched plans.

Ellie was supposed to help provide a cure for the Cordyceps infection, but the Fireflies couldn’t even think of a way of trying to make a vaccine without first killing her and doing experiments. That’s not a great gameplan to just jump off with. Pair that with the New Republic’s ideas that the Empire was completely wrong in everything they did, and you have two failed societies because the rebels in question didn’t have a plan past one specific goal.

Joel not letting Ellie just get murdered for the sake of the Fireflies was, ultimately, the right move, but we’re seeing more shades of rebellion now in media, and it is fascinating to unpack. Rebellions are built on hope, as Rogue One taught us, but they’re also something that needs to have leadership behind it. It’s why things like The Hunger Games work in building a rebellion because there’s a new leadership team taking charge and planning society after the fall of the negative power.

What The Last of Us and The Mandalorian are doing is pointing out the flaws in both these systems, and it’s fascinating to see!

(featured image: Lucasfilm/HBO)


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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 work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.