Who Really Freed Moff Gideon on THE MANDALORIAN?

Spoiler Alert

“Chapter 21” of The Mandalorian confirmed Moff Gideon never made it to trial. Someone led a deadly escape in space to help him escape the New Republic’s judgment. Who came to the genocidal Imperial officer’s aid? Ranger Carson Teva found evidence that seemingly indicated Mandalorians freed Gideon, but did they really? Some evil forces would love nothing more than to pit the New Republic against the remaining survivors of Mandalore. And they had both the Beskar steel and desire to do just that. Let’s look at who could have helped Moff Gideon escape.

What Spaceship Did Carson Teva Find on The Mandalorian?

The wreckage of a transport ship floating in space on The Mandalorian

New Republic Ranger Carson Teva patrols the Outer Rim at the end of the episode. While flying his X-wing there he found a “derelict Lambda shuttle” floating in space. Teva learned about report about a missing spacecraft in the region, but further details were “classified.” Thanks to flight logs, though, Teva and Lieutenant Reed identified the wreckage. It was the New Republic prison transport that was taking Moff Gideon to stand trial. The rumors that Gideon never made it to that trial turned out to be true.

The vessel showed “evidence of being attacked,” and the New Republic soldiers on board all perished during the assault. However, Teva’s probe didn’t find Moff Gideon’s body with the other victims. As Teva said, “This was an extraction.” Someone took Moff Gideon alive.

A screen showing a dead body floating in a space craft with its gloved arm in the forefront on The Mandalorian

Who would risk their life to take an infamous war criminal into custody themselves? The only evidence Teva found points to the famous group of warriors who saved Nevarro earlier in the episode. And they have reason to hate Moff Gideon more than anyone.

Why Did Carson Teva Believe a Mandalorian Took Moff Gideon?

Teva’s probe found a “fragment of beskar alloy” embedded in the ship’s cabin wall. Beskar is the sacred steel the Mandalorians use. It’s what they make their armor from. Beskar’s natural strength, which would still be quite formidable even in an alloy, makes it highly valuable. It’s also incredibly hard to find, even for Mandalorians. The Empire stole most of it before the Great Purge of Mandalore.

 A blue svan of a ship's wall with damage and a piece of beskar alloy sticking out of it on The Mandalorian

The Great Purge is why most surviving Mandalorians like Paz Vizsla want to see Moff Gideon dead rather than see him stand trial. Gideon is responsible for the mass bombing that killed millions on Mandalore and left the planet a desolate wasteland. He nearly exterminated all Mandalorians.

Had Din Djarin executed him rather than hand him over to the New Republic, they would have the justice they seek.

Which Mandalorians Might Have Captured Moff Gideon?

Sabine Wren with her arm on Bo-Katan's shoulder in front of Ursa Wren on Star Wars Rebels

If a Mandalorian really did take Moff Gideon from a transport we can eliminate some obvious, well-known suspects. That includes Star Wars Rebels’ Sabine Wren. The character, who will soon make her live-action debut in Ahsoka, might have wanted the Imperial officer dead, but she wouldn’t execute a prisoner. She also would not have killed New Republic soldiers. Sabine also seems unlikely to have interfered with a pending trial from the government she helped install.

The members of the Watch covert wouldn’t have cared about that. A few might have even been okay killing New Republic guards to avenge their home world and fallen brethren. However, as “Chapter 21” made clear, they don’t even have ships to pull off a space raid. Paz Vizsla and those who feel the same had the motive but not the means.

A bloodied and battered Moff Gideon sits on the floor on The Mandalorian

Boba Fett does have a ship, but he is also far too busy establishing his rule on Tatooine as daimyo. It seems highly implausible that, if he even had the desire, he would have the opportunity to find Moff Gideon. Neither would he want to draw the ire of the New Republic when he wants them to stay out of his business in the Outer Rim.

If a Mandalorian that Star Wars fans already know did this it’s likely one we haven’t seen in live-action yet. That would include someone like Sabine Wren’s mother and head of her powerful clan, Ursa Wren. She helped name Bo-Katan ruler of Mandalore when multiple clans united against Imperial rule of the planet on Star Wars Rebels. That was before the Great Purge. Fenn Rau, Mandalore’s last Protector who served the Empire before joining with his fellow warriors to oppose Imperial rule, is another suspect capable of such a raid.

Fenn Rau without his helmet pulls his glvoe tight on Star Wars Rebels

Both Ursa Wren and and Fenn Rau are viable options for which Mandalorian might have taken Moff Gideon. Both certainly had the motive and capabilities to do so. But there’s plenty of reason to think no Mandalorian participated in this extraction at all. Even more evidence points to that beskar alloy being part of a setup designed to pit the New Republic against Mandalorians.

Did Someone Frame Mandalorians for Moff Gideon’s Escape?

Pilot Carson Teva in his X-wing with his helmet and goggles on from The Mandalorian

Beskar is not just a metal Mandalorians use to protect themselves, beskar is sacred. It comes from the mines underneath the Living Waters of Mandalore where the mythosaur lives. It would be disrespectful for any Mandalorian to use beskar as part of an alloy. Not only would that weaken the metal’s natural strength and durability, it would be sacrilegious.

But even if Carson Teva was wrong about it being an alloy, how would a piece of it get embedded in the ship? As the Armorer made clear previously, beskar is only used for armor and not weapons because beskar can pierce beskar itself. It’s why she melted down Moff Gideon’s beskar steel into a chainmail shirt for Grogu. So how would a New Republic prison guard manage to break off of a piece of Mandalorian armor during a surprise attack? That seems all but impossible. No weapon a prison guard used would do anything more than surface damage to beskar, even a beskar alloy.

The rear view of a wrecked transport ship with an X-wing in front of it from The MAndalorian

For a piece of beskar alloy to end up stuck in the cabin’s wall it either came from a weapon no Mandalorian would use, or someone intentionally placed it there. In either case, that beskar alloy “evidence” seems to absolve any Mandalorian far more than it implicates them.

If this was a setup designed to frame Mandalorians and free Gideon, the most likely culprits are allies of the Imperial officer who a) don’t care about killing New Republic soldiers, b) have the ability to pull off a daring extraction, c) have access to beskar, and d) don’t want Mandalorians working with the newly established government.

Two prime candidates fit that criteria.

Did Grand Admiral Thrawn Rescue Moff Gideon and Frame Mandalorians?

The blue-skinned Grand Admiral Thrawn in his white Imperial suit from Star Wars Rebels

Thrawn is coming. The Star Wars Rebels villain and Imperial Grand Admiral will soon make his live-action debut on the Ahsoka series. Only, he might already be back. When we first saw Ahsoka Tano on The Mandalorian she was already interrogating Empire sympathizers about Thrawn’s whereabouts. That indicated he already made it back from the void of deep space Ezra Bridger and the purrgil took him to in Rebels series’ finale.

And this season someone with a whole lot of Imperial firepower bombed Bo-Katan Kryze’s family castle. Was it Thrawn commanding those remnants of the Emperor’s forces?

If anyone could operate from the shadows to work against the New Republic, all while setting the government against Mandalorians everywhere, it’s the cunning strategist with an affection for collecting valuable remnants—remnants like beskar—from his fallen enemies.

He’s the best ally Gideon could have anywhere, two dangerous men deeply loyal to the Empire.

Thrawn would’t even need to dip into his personal collection to find the beskar needed to frame Mandalorians, though. The Empire stole all of the steel it could before the Great Purge. Din Djarin’s bounty from Werner Herzog’s Imperial officer for finding Grogu in the show’s first episode was a large cache of beskar.

That stolen hoard of Mandalore’s sacred metal is why there’s another obvious candidate for who would have framed Mandalorians for Gideon’s escape: Kane. And the Moff’s loyal servant, now working as a secret agent for the New Republic, knew why it was so urgent to fabricate evidence against her old enemies

Did Moff Gideon’s Loyal Servant Kane Frame the Mandalorians for His Escape?

New Republic officer Kane and Ranger pilot Carson Teva stand next to each other before a desk on The Mandalorian

As Douglas Adams wrote in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is.” No one, not even a Ranger, is likely to accidentally come upon anything out in the galaxy. Not unless they’re specifically looking for it. Its even more unlikely they would stumble across a tiny spacecraft carrying incriminating evidence against a group the Empire hates. It’s far more likely someone wanted him Teva to find that transport.

When he found it is also revealing. What are the odds Carson Teva just so happened to locate that particular wreckage when he did? Right after he facilitated Nevarro’s rescue by the very Mandalorians it seems betrayed the New Republic?

Katy O'Brian's Kane in her blue uniform on The Mandalorian

The newly established government and Mandalorians are both enemies of the Empire. The last thing Imperial officers would want is to see them working together. And who would have known that’s exactly what might happen/was happening? Kane, who was there when Teva asked for the New Republic’s help in saving Nevarro. Especially when she learned the pilot then convinced Din Djarin to take up Greef Karga’s cause for him. The Empire has spies everywhere. Not that an independent planet’s successful stand against pirates, led by a fleet of Mandalorians, wouldn’t be big news everywhere.

The episode showed Kane is clearly still working for Gideon, who rumor says is living on Nevarro itself, now home to Mandalorians. Considering what we’ve seen her get away with right under the New Republic’s nose, she’s more than capable of orchestrating a setup designed to pit the New Republic against Mandalorians. She and her fellow Imperial allies could have planted the beskar alloy long after the attack, then made sure Teva found it.

The Great Purge didn’t kill every Mandalorian. Now they’re trying to rebuild a life for themselves during this new age of the galaxy. What would be more sinister than the Empire getting the New Republic to finish the job it couldn’t, all while robbing itself of a powerful ally?

Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at     @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.

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