It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a year since The Mandalorian Season 2 made its debut.
The highly anticipated sophomore season on Disney+ delivered for Star Wars fans in just about every way imaginable. Boba Fett getting into the mix, Bo-Katan Kryze and Ahsoka Tano making their live-action debuts, Grogu's name and background reveal, and the triumphant return of Luke Skywalker were just a few of the many iconic moments Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni delivered.
For all intents and purposes, the first two seasons of The Mandalorian are one long story.
While Season 2 doesn't pick up moments after its predecessor, the events are directly informed by the way the narrative begins - culminating in the conclusion of Din and Grogu's journey together (at least, for now).
The key player who set Mando on his path for Season 2 wasn't actually present at all. Emily Swallow's The Armorer served as the leader for Mando's underground group on Nevarro until the Imperial Remnant wiped them out, though she survived to tell the tale and relay her limited knowledge on the Force and the Jedi.
A character who did return for the second season was Omid Abtahi's Dr. Pershing. The Imperial scientist's motives and background remain a mystery, but an appearance of what seemed to be a Snoke, coupled with a hint from The Bad Batch finale, suggests the good doctor is working on cloning Force-sensitive beings.
The future of these characters has remained uncertain, but during a recent event both actors discussed potential returns to their roles in Season 3...
Emily Swallow & Omid Abtahi Talk The Mandalorian Season 3
The Direct had the pleasure of attending this year's Dragon Con event, where a panel dedicated to The Mandalorian was hosted with special guests Emily Swallow and Omid Abtahi. One of the natural questions to arise was whether the performers would be returning for The Mandalorian Season 3, to which Swallow initially feigned ignorance:
"Season 3 of what?"
Once the jokes subsided, the actress made clear she was in no position to comment on the matter:
"I can neither confirm, nor deny."
Abtahi seemed to project uncertainty about any developments:
"I'm always hopeful... we'll see."
Swallow's response to a question regarding potential penance for those breaking the Mandalorian creed was perhaps more indicative of future plans for the character:
"Interesting question. I'm trying to figure out what I can say [...] I would imagine that there has to be some sort of punishment, and I hope there would be redemption. I think there has to be redemption, because I think there's always redemption in Star Wars."
Will The Armorer and Dr. Pershing Return?
It seems fairly certain that both characters will be appearing in Star Wars again.
The Armorer served somewhat of a mentor and guide role for Din in The Mandalorian Season 1, but with his quest to return Grogu to the Jedi now fulfilled, the focus for the main character and the series is seemingly headed towards Mandalore.
What became of the planet during what Moff Gideon referred to as "The Night of a Thousand Tears" is still unknown, but it's hard to imagine a series titled The Mandalorian not getting into the restoration of the planet. After all, in return for her help in storming Gideon's cruiser, Bo-Katan demanded that Mando join her effort to reclaim the planet; the story has been set on a silver platter.
One has to imagine that The Armorer, then, would find her way back into the narrative. Perhaps Mando seeks her out, looking for trusted Mandalorian allies that follow his creed. This would certainly make Swallow's general comments about penance more interesting, as Din broke the creed twice in Season 2. With Bo-Katan wanting the Darksaber and a likely conflict between her and Mando brewing over leadership, dropping this on The Armorer would be a good way to alienate the main hero from his former mentor.
Beyond that, Swallow contemplating what she's able to say would seem to suggest that she's under an NDA, which would only be the case in this scenario if she's set to return. It shouldn't come as a surprise if the actress does reprise her role in Season 3.
As for Abtahi, there are a few directions Dr. Pershing could be taken. While Pershing's work is tied to Grogu and Gideon, it doesn't necessarily have to be done in The Mandalorian. Things for the scientist were left somewhat unclear in Season 2's finale, but it should be assumed that he's now in New Republic custody.
If that's the case, could it be more likely that Pershing returns in a series like Rangers of the New Republic? Maybe something the Republic learns from him will jump-start the events of the show, and it would be a good way of serving as connective tissue to The Mandalorian.
Moff Gideon's story certainly isn't over, and from what Giancarlo Esposito has said it seems like his character will be primarily featured in The Mandalorian. It's practically a given that there will be some kind of jailbreak that gets him back to his Imperial Remnant forces, and whatever plans he may have now that the efforts with Grogu have been foiled could still include Pershing to some degree.
Whether or not it's in Season 3, both characters should fully be expected to return. The latest reports have indicated that the third season is currently in production, so for all fans know Swallow and Abtahi could already be back at work playing their respective roles.
The Mandalorian Season 3 is expected to debut in late 2022 on Disney+.