One of the most mysterious groups of Star Wars warriors has only been glimpsed once onscreen. Until now. After their epic fight against Rey and Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi, the all-red, extremely deadly Praetorian Guards have returned in the penultimate episode of The Mandalorian Season 3. But, chronologically, this is the first appearance of the Praetorian Guards on screen, meaning The Mandalorian is not so subtly rebooting their origin. Here’s what it might mean for the Season 3 finale, and all of Star Wars canon, too.
Spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian Season 3, Episode 7, “The Spies.”
The brainchild of Rian Johnson, the all-red Praetorian Guards were initially created for The Last Jedi. At that time, they seemed to serve Supreme Leader Snoke exclusively and were formidable enough that they gave Rey and Kylo Ren — two pretty fierce lightsaber wielders — a run for their money. In The Mandalorian, we’re specifically told at the top of the episode that Moff Gideon is requisitioning Praetorian Guards from the combined forces of Commandant Hux and Admiral Pellaeon; two Imperial officials who, apparently, are aware of the return of Grand Admiral Thrawn. In a meeting of the “Shadow Council” of Imperial Warlords, Gideon demands resources in thwarting the Mandalorians once and for all. And in the final moments of the episode, we see that these Praetorian Guards can easily take out one of the biggest Mando warriors, Paz Vizsla. (In a three-against-one fight, but still.)
In fact, the defeat of Paz Vizsla suggests that the Praetorian Guards might have a bigger story, which is only now about to be explored.
How Mando could change Last Jedi canon
In the larger timeline of Star Wars, the two appearances of the Praetorian Guards — in Mando and The Last Jedi — are about 25 years apart. Because the story of The Mandalorian takes place much closer to the classic trilogy than it does the sequels, this firmly establishes that Praetorian Guards come from the reign of the Empire, and were not invented by Snoke or the First Order.
But more interestingly, by reintroducing the character of Brendol Hux — the eventual father of General Hux from the sequel films — Mando is starting to connect the dots between the Imperial Remnant and what will eventually result in the First Order in The Force Awakens. This leads to a slightly more interesting question: Could some of these Praetorian Guards in The Mandalorian be the same people who fight Kylo Ren and Rey in The Last Jedi?
The kneejerk response to that question might be that the guards would be too old 25 years later, but Star Wars has a long tradition of formidable space warriors sticking around for several decades. For example, Bo-Katan was an adult during the Clone Wars, which was about 30 years before the events of The Mandalorian. This makes her roughly 50 years old in The Mandalorian, a fact that Katee Sackhoff confirmed in March 2023 in a roundtable for Fangirlblog.com. Ahsoka is also older than you might think, to say nothing of the fact that Darth Vader was around 45 in Return of the Jedi.
So with that in mind, it’s very possible a few of these guards that attack Paz Vizsla are the exact same people who fight Rey and Kylo in The Last Jedi. And if that’s true, one of the most popular lightsaber battles in all of Star Wars just got a very different spin.