What Does the Empire Want with THE MANDALORIAN’s Bounty?

The following contains major spoilers for the first two episodes of Lucasfilm and Disney+’s The Mandalorian. We recommend watching both episodes before reading further. Unless you’re a fearless warrior, of course.

The first episode of The Mandalorian set up quite a few facts about the lawless post-Return of the Jedi universe. In addition to just being an awesome action series, of course. First is that the Empire still exists… or at least there are still active Empire loyalists. Werner Herzog’s mysterious Client wears Imperial insignia and has a cadre of beaten-up Stormtroopers in his employ. Second is that the Imperials still have some money and clout. The Client gives Mando bars of precious Beskar steel, which may still be the most valuable metal in the galaxy. People keep talking about how the Empire lost, but after the revelation in episode two, it feels more like they’re biding their time.

Last chance to remain spoiler-free!

The Mandalorian, created by Jon Favreau


The cliffhanger at the end of episode one showed us the bounty no other hunter had been able to capture. Turns out, it was a (5o-year-old) baby of the same species as Yoda. The Mandalorian, a foundling himself, decides not to kill the child as IG-11 wanted, instead taking it back with him. After an action-filled and quite fun adventure where the Mando tries to ransack a Jawa Sandcrawler to retrieve stolen ship pieces, we get another huge revelation.

The baby bounty in Disney+'s The Mandalorian.


The Mandalorian must retrieve an egg to give to the Jawas in exchange for his parts. But the layer of that egg is a massive, big-horned beast. Mando gets his butt handed to him and very nearly dies, but the baby uses force powers to pick up the beast and drop it so Mando can put it down. It’s a moment of considerable awe, and one that confuses our heroic Mandalorian. What is this kid? Well, the answer is: valuable.

The Empire clearly wants this child for nefarious purposes. And those nefarious purposes are directly referencing real-life events. In a theory on SlashFilm, people have noted Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) wears a particular insignia on his uniform. That insignia appears to resemble the emblen we see in the clone factory in Attack of the Clones. This means Dr. Pershing knows how to clone things, and the Empire wants the force-strong infant to clone a new master race of soldiers with force powers. Or maybe even resurrect the Emperor. (Who knows, really?)

Young clones in the Kamino facility in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones


This would also explain why the Client doesn’t seem to care if the child lives or dies. You’d think if he wanted the baby for its own powers, he’d want to keep it safe. But he doesn’t; he just wants the kid for its midichlorians. Yoda, we hear in The Phantom Menace, has a higher midichlorian count than any Jedi, until Anakin. So maybe his species, if they’re force-users, are naturally midichlorian-rich.

The Empire has always been an allegory for the Nazi party, from their uniforms to their basic stance on everything. Heck, even calling the soldiers “stormtroopers” is Nazi iconography. Infamously, Dr. Josef Mengele performed ghastly genetic tests, and he specifically tested twins for eugenics research. After the war, Mengele and other Nazis made their way to South America. Some believe he continued these tests in Argentina and Brazil through the 1960s.

Werner Herzog's mysterious and sinister Client in The Mandalorian.


So if the remnants of the Empire want to harvest midichlorians and clone an army of force-using warriors, this one little Yoda-baby is the perfect place to start. Now all we need to know is whether the Mandalorian will turn him over. Judging by the Lone Wolf and Cub stuff in this episode, we’re guessing he probably won’t.

Featured Image: Lucasfilm

Kyle Anderson is the Senior Editor for Nerdist. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Twitter!

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