Many franchises make the claim that “it’s all connected.” Their shows, their movies, their books, all of it is a part of one big narrative experience. Many claim it, but rarely does it actually happen.
Star Wars went above and beyond in 2020 to prove that connectivity. Maul showing up a couple of years ago in Solo: A Star Wars Story was only the beginning, because once again, here comes The Mandalorian.
Fans of The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels were likely bouncing off of the walls with Mando’s Season 2. Ahsoka Tano finally made her way to live-action, now being played by Rosario Dawson. Bo-Katan Kryze made the trip as well, though she continued to be played by Katee Sackhoff, who gave the character voice in both of the aforementioned animated series.
Plot points from both of those shows proved pivotal, and all of that happened after the series went and did something truly insane — it brought in a character who had been created for a Star Wars novel.
Timothy Olyphant (man of talent, man of looks) hit the screen as Cobb Vanth in Chapter 9, continuing a story arc that began years ago in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy.
If you didn’t read that book, or watch the other shows? You were given all of the information you needed, and the show played just fine. If you are someone who goes in for every show, every book, every comic, and every game? The Mandalorian proved to be a major hub of connectivity, and we didn’t think that was possible.
The gates are now wide open for other animated characters to make the Saw Gerrera leap, though a few could theoretically make the Bo-Katan leap… meaning that the actor who first voiced them in animation could continue to play them in live-action. Kevin McKidd as Fenn Rau instantly comes to mind, mostly because he’s great and we want it to happen. Fenn Rau is almost always on our minds… just ask Dr. Richard Nygard. He’s heard all about it.
Besides that, there are so many great characters that only exist in the books and comics of the new canon. The Vanth inclusion proved that wanting Doctor Aphra to appear in a series is not a foolish cause. It could actually happen. When Vanth happens, anything can happen. Put that in your slambook, Bullock. Ad friggin hoc, free friggin gratis.