Why The Mandalorian’s Morgan Elsbeth Matters To Star Wars

From its beginnings, star wars has been a galaxy full of intriguing characters. While the Disney canon has been derided by some as lacking this element, in truth, there have been many fascinating people whose contributions to the fabric of the franchise’s narrative have made it as vibrant as ever.


Among these many beings of various shapes and sizes, however, is Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth, an antagonistic figure from another era, who briefly faced off against some of the most capable fighters in the galaxy. She has a certain appeal for that alone, but she also serves as the first word in many questions about the future of her adversaries, the future of the galaxy, and, perhaps, even the franchise itself.

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Who is Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth?

Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth is the main antagonist of the fifth episode of The Mandalorian“Chapter 13: The Jedi” of the second season. She and a force of security troops and battle droids, led by a cameo by Michael Biehn, ruled over a remote village on the planet Corvus, her homeworld. During the episode, her small empire was thwarted by the efforts of Din Djarin and Ahsoka Tano, freeing the townspeople from Elsbeth’s oppression. In an attempt to cast her as more than just a tyrant, however, the episode also hinted at hints of the Magistrate’s origins, mentioning that his people had been slaughtered during the Clone Wars decades prior.

Some have speculated that this massacre could have been that of the Nightsisters by General Grievous, making her from the same tribe as Dooku’s personal assassin, Asajj Ventress, while others propose that she could have being a member of the Ming-Po, a tribe native to the planet Carlac, which was wiped out by the Death Watch before Tano herself finally intervened. This last possibility involves both Tano and his ally Djarin Bo-Katan Kryze, whose involvement in the terrorist group Death Watch before its fragmentation could also be key to future events. It has also been stated that Elsbeth had a major influence on the construction of Imperial Starfleet and its technological terrors. It’s an alarming prospect when you also consider that Elsbeth’s duel with Tano resulted in the latter demanding to meet the former’s master: Grand Admiral Thrawn.

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Who is Grand Admiral Thrawn?

For those who aren’t in the know, Grand Admiral Thrawn is one of the most beloved characters of all time. star wars‘ Extensive library of ancillary material, first appearing in the trilogy of novels that bears his name from science fiction legend Timothy Zahn. These books, which helped launch the popularity of the Legends canon among what was then a new wave of franchise fans, detailed the rise and fall of Thrawn, an alien from the galactic fringe who nevertheless achieved one of the highest possible ranks in the human-centric Galactic Empire due to his strategic genius. When Legends was replaced by the new canon after the Disney acquisition, Thrawn was one of the first characters fans asked to be brought back into the fold, and it followed several new Zahn novels.

For Elsbeth, being in cahoots with Thrawn signals several things. It may even help explain her proficiency with the beskar spear, as she was able to hold her own against Tano for some time despite the Jedi being trained by her Order at perhaps the height of her power. Tano also defeated several Imperial Inquisitors while escaping from her former master, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader; it was during this time that she entered into an alliance with the rebel group known as the Phoenix Cell, including the Force-sensitive Ezra Bridger, whom she helped train in the ways of the Jedi. Bridger eventually confronted Thrawn aboard his flagship, who was sent into hyperspace to parts unknown during the duel, and the two have since vanished from galactic events.

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What are the implications of Elsbeth’s work for Thrawn?

Whether Elsbeth is allied with Thrawn at all signals that he has returned from this involuntary exile, though what state he and Bridger were in after their fight remains to be seen. Given Thrawn’s history in legends and canon, the fact that he took a master shipbuilder under his wing should raise serious concerns for the fledgling New Republic he and Elsbeth now stand against. In ancient lore, Thrawn was able to determine the location of a lost fleet of battleships and outfit them with Spaarti cloning cylinders stolen from one of the Emperor’s many warehouses. If he were to find similar technology wherever his ship was sent during his confrontation with Bridger, it would make sense for him to team up with someone like Elsbeth to provide the basis for a new Imperial Navy.

Some fans are worried about how a showdown between Thrawn and Tano might play out, for a variety of reasons. After the initial peak of seeing Luke Skywalker in action once again dissipated, criticism was leveled at the storytelling of The Mandalorianand most serious at the feet of Boba Fett’s Book, which was less well received almost from the start among fans. The disappointing death of fan-favorite bounty hunter Cad Bane was particularly alarming, and while his return is anticipated by some, there’s certainly fear that Thrawn will meet a similar fate. Tano’s future is also uncertain; during Rey’s duel with Palpatine in the maligned Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, the Jedi’s voice can be heard alongside others, offering words of encouragement. However, all other Jedi whose voices were heard were dead by this time, signaling that Tano may have met his end before the rise of the First Order; at least that would explain his absence.

Elsbeth, and by extension her “master” Thrawn, are one of the most interesting new plot threads to introduce to the crowd of star wars shows released in recent years. Whether she’s actually the harbinger of a shadow empire lurking on the fringes, preparing to strike, or just meant to serve as an arrow pointing at Thrawn, hopefully we’ll see more of her in the next series. What is his ultimate fate, as well as that of Tano and Thrawn, remains to be seen.

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