When the Mandalorian first began airing in 2019 we were told that this series would begin in the year 9 ABY, or 9 years after the Battle of Yavin, in which the first Death Star was destroyed. This means that 5 years have now passed since the events of Return of the Jedi and about 4 years since the Empire’s remaining forces were defeated in the Battle of Jakku. But fast forward to 2023 and the Mandalorian is now airing its third season, and while there’s clear evidence of time having passed between the first and third seasons, it’s incredibly difficult to determine exactly how much time that actually is. In fact it’s so unclear that Wookieepedia still claims that season 3 is occurring in 9 ABY. But can this be true? According to showrunner Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian, along with The Book of Boba Fett spin-off series, has now covered “many years,” a quote which quickly turned the internet upside down. Today we’re going to cover all the context of this quote as well as others from Favreau, Dave Filoni and more, and compare that to the show itself to determine how much time we believe to have actually passed. Welcome to Geekritique. My name is Dakota, and I’ll be your forensic chronologist for the day as we dissect what’s really going on here.
The prevailing upset many seem to have encountered at the thought of The Mandalorian occurring over an extended period of time is that it simply does not feel like much time actually passes between episodes. All the major events and trials in Mando and Grogu’s life since their adventures began occur solely within the confines of the episodes they appear in, at least as far as we’re made aware. As such we have learned next to nothing about the supposed time jumps between episodes and seasons, and all meaningful character growth happens exclusively on the adventures we see on screen. This serialized format gives the impression that, aside from the time allotted for hyperspace travel, nothing happens to Mando and Grogu until we pick back up with them, which in turn makes it feel as though very little time is passing at all. But according to Jon Favreau that isn’t the case.
Twitter user Blacklight first broke the news via CoveredGeekly’s Star Wars handle that “Jon Favreau confirms the events of ‘THE MANDALORIAN’ Seasons 1 and 2 take place over “many years” and that Grogu trained with Luke for “two years” until being reunited with Din in ‘THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT’.” The tweet abridged a quote from a Skytalkers roundtable interview with Favreau and few others. The internet got a bit heated, which is par for the course with any Star Wars news in general, but this was a level of confusion I hadn’t seen from the fandom in a long while. Even as someone who regularly studies fictional timelines, this was particularly hard to believe. Based on what we are shown between the beginning of Mando season 1 and the end of Book of Boba Fett, it’s difficult to imagine much more than a year elapsing. Even Star Wars writer Adam Christopher, who was originally tasked to pen the now scrapped Mandalorian original novel made the point that it’s absurd to think Grogu spent two years with Luke on Ossus and got absolutely nowhere with him.
A screenshot of a Gizmodo interview with Favreau quickly began floating around Twitter in which many confused what Favreau said in that interview with what he actually meant in the Skytalkers roundtable interview. Talking with Gizmodo, Favreau claims “the two years between when the last episode aired of season two and now allowed for time to pass.” Now let’s compare that with his SkyTalkers podcast appearance, which is what CoveredGeekly was quoting. “…And then we know that he’s been rescued and spent many years with the Mandalorian–went back with Luke. Now, we’ve been two years apart from him, there, training.” The two quotes seem to assert different things. The first quote claims that the real world time difference of two years between the second and third seasons allow for some in-universe time to pass. The second quote claims that not only did Mando spend multiple years with Grogu, but that Grogu also spent two years training with Luke, meaning Mandalorian season 3 is somewhere around 13 ABY now, which I think may be a bit much. The quotes tell two very different stories, but perhaps they paint a wider picture. Let’s dig a bit deeper.
We’ve thankfully been given a few more quotes from Favreau and others that we can compare. Dave Filoni doesn’t appear to believe that even a year has passed between the start of season 1 and the beginning of Season 3. He told TVLine “While I don’t have my specific notes in front of me, I don’t think we’re quite to 10 ABY.” This is clearly in contrast to what Favreau asserted, but they both agree to having detailed notes on the timeline. Favreau told TVLine “We talk about this so much, especially since we have Ahsoka and Skeleton Crew coming up, which are taking place in the same time period…. But yes, we’re still in the first third of the second gap in the nine-movie Skywalker Saga.” He says a lot there so let’s break it down. The 3 trilogies are broken up by 2 long gaps in the timeline. The first gap would be the 19 years between episodes 3 and 4, and the second gap, the one the Mandalorian fits in, is the 30 years between episodes 6 and 7. The way Favreau and Filoni have seemingly broken up that second gap is by cutting it into 3 10-year segments, and the first third of that second gap spans the years between 4 ABY and 14 ABY. So if The Mandalorian Season 3 occurs within that first third, then at least everyone is still in agreement that by the start of Mandalorian season 3, no more than 4 or 5 years have passed.
Though now it seems we have two separate ideas as to how much time has passed across the Disney+ series, with Filoni claiming less than 1 year and Favreau claiming upwards of 4 years. I think they’re both incorrect and we’re sitting closer to somewhere between those two estimates.
To really ascertain when The Mandalorian Season 3 takes place, we have to examine where it starts, and piece together all the major jumps from there. We know it starts in 9 ABY, but at what point during that year does the show actually begin? I think there’s some pretty significant reasons to believe it begins in the third quarter of 9 ABY. In the very first episode Mythrol claims “I haven’t evacuated since the Solstice.” A throwaway line, sure, but something we can work off of. Every planet has a solstice, and an individual like Mythrol, who’s been on the run for some time, has likely been to a number of planets recently. As such I don’t think it’s likely that Mythrol was referring to the Solstice of the planet that Din found him on, or even any of the planets he was on recently, but instead a Solstice Din Djarin would be familiar with. That being the solstice featured on the Galactic Standard Calendar, which revolves around Coruscant’s year cycle. This Coruscant Standard year-cycle is conveniently almost identical to our own, and by mirroring when the solstices occur on Earth to Coruscant, we can assume one Solstice happens mid-year, and the other happens at the end of the year. We also know that Mythrol says “I was hoping to be free for, uh, Life Day.” In the real world, Life Day is celebrated on November 17th, and considering the Galactic Standard Calendar is loosely based on our real-world calendar, we can surmise that Life Day in the Star Wars universe occurs sometime around the equivalent of our November 17th, or about 88% through the Standard Galactic Year. This places the first episode, or Chapter, of The Mandalorian at some point in the third or early fourth quarter of 9 ABY.
I don’t feel the need to break down exactly how much time passes between each episode, but upwards of two months pass throughout the first season at least. We know that in Chapter 4: Sanctuary alone, they likely spend several weeks on the planet Sorgan hiding from the Empire. And by the time the second season rolls around we see some significant time has elapsed thanks to the sudden gentrification of Nevarro City. Between the end of season 1 and when we head to Nevarro again in season 2, the entire town has had a makeover. This took time and energy. It’s undetermined exactly how much time passes between seasons, but it’s easy enough to suggest that six months at least have passed between the two seasons, and that’s a highly conservative estimate. I would normally suggest more time than that, but not much at all appears to have happened to our protagonists in that break between seasons, so 6 months kinda works. Add on top of that another couple months for season 2 to end, and for Grogu to head off with Luke to train, and we’re well into 10 ABY at this stage.
Now, if you thought The Mandalorian was bad about describing its lapse of time, the Book of Boba Fett is even worse, as the primary events of the present day roll into one another in quick succession with each episode, without any seeming breaks in the narrative. Favreau originally claimed Grogu was with Luke for two years, but are we really to believe that Mando went without a ship for two years? Or that he didn’t start training with the Darksaber for two years? No, it’s unlikely more than even a couple months pass before Grogu is back in Mando’s care. So did Favreau simply misspeak? When asked by Variety what he meant exactly by his statement, he said “I don’t know if I said many years, it’s probably about the real time that we’ve experienced. So it was the end of Season 2 when they said goodbye, we checked in in The Book of Boba Fett about a year ago when they parted company again, and then he rejoined the Mandalorian. So now, I think somewhere in there, somewhere more than one and less than, you know, somewhere between zero and two years.”
Now this changes things quite a bit. Perhaps he did simply misspeak when discussing the length of time Grogu was with Luke, and perhaps he meant that during the two years the show was off air in real time, that allowed for Grogu to spend some in-universe time with Luke Skywalker. That makes a lot more sense. This quote with Variety gives us some leeway with how much time passes between seasons two and three. So how much time actually does pass and are we still in 10 ABY at the start of season 3? Again, it’s difficult to say, as Din Djarin and Grogu don’t seem to have advanced their personal arcs at all in the time between the end of the Book of Boba Fett and the start of The Mandalorian season 3. Grogu hasn’t shown any sign of physically aging, though that’s fine, as his species ages particularly slowly. And Din Djarin is only now beginning his quest to bathe in the Living Waters below the Mines of Mandalore, though that too is fine because we can write this off as he needed proof that the surface of Mandalore was visitable before he took on that journey.
Regardless, outside of Grogu and Mando, there is plenty of proof early on in the season that helps color in how much time has gone by. Nevarro City is no longer just a gentrified neighborhood, but a place of prosperity, with seemingly plenty of work to go around. Members of Moff Gideon’s rogue branch of Imperials have now undergone treatment within the Amnesty Program to rehabilitate them to life within the New Republic. Bo-Katan Kryze is no longer leading her clan of Mandalorians, as they’ve all abandoned her now that she has no claim to the throne without the Darksaber. All of this would take significant time. Speaking to Deadline, Katee Sackhoff claims “If you go by the timeline that Jon and Dave are acting on, in that it’s been a few years. She has had time to lose all her people.” Even Grogu, while not looking any older than when he was first introduced, has shown a level of agency this season that we’ve never seen from him. Again these are all events that can’t have simply happened overnight, and altogether this leads me to assume that at the very least a whole year has passed between seasons 2 and 3 of Mando. My best estimation is that Season 3 of The Mandalorian begins well into 11 ABY.
Of course this is all just informed speculation. Without any official word on these events, it’s tough to put a solid timestamp on any of it. Thankfully we’re only about a month away from getting some official word on it via the upcoming DK guidebook, Star Wars: Timelines. It’s a canonical reference book from authors Kristin Baver, Jason Fry, Cole Horton, Amy Richau, and Clayton Sandell that will hopefully shed some light on not only where The Mandalorian takes place and the time elapsed between seasons, but about other minor areas across the Star Wars Timeline. That book is dropping on April 25th in the US and the 27th in the UK, and you can find a preorder link here. I’m very excited about it and I can’t wait to get my hands on it so I can review some of it here on the channel. Thanks guys, have a good one.