Over the weekend, a hashtag/emoji combo for “The Mauldalorian” began to trend on Twitter. Star Wars fans who encountered it online were mostly confused — was this an announcement for a new foe on The Mandalorian? Did Disney accidentally spoil an upcoming pivotal plot point of Star Wars: The Clone Wars via an emoji reveal? The story isn’t as juicy as some might spin it up to be, but it does introduce some meaty lore from the animated Star Wars Rebels and the Star Wars comics into the final season of Clone Wars.
On Feb. 21, the official Disney Plus Twitter account revealed the hashtags and emojis for the newest season of Clone Wars. In addition to the known characters — Ahsoka, Captain Rex, and Mace Windu, for example — the tweet prompted fans to search for a hidden emoji.
While some cheeky users commented with the emojis of Star Wars characters who also appear in Clone Wars (for instance, R2-D2), others discovered that the actual secret hashtag appeared to be #TheMauldalorian, which brings up a wee little Mandalorian helmet with the spikes and coloring of Sith villain Darth Maul.
So what is the Mauldalorian? Where does that wacky helmet come from? The helm is the hallmark of the Mandalorian super commandos, a group of Mandalorian warriors who served Darth Maul’s criminal syndicate, the Shadow Collective, during the Clone Wars. Despite being cut in half by Obi-Wan in Phantom Menace, Darth Maul actually survived the ordeal, and out of sheer hatred, managed to reconstruct his body at the cost of his mind. His brother found him and stabilized him, and then Maul took over half the planet of Mandalore.
To show allegiance to their new leader, while still wearing their traditional armor, the Mandalorian super-commandos modified their helmets to reflect Darth Maul’s look. The group appeared in one episode of season 5 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, though some members, such as commander Gar Saxon, logged time in Star Wars Rebels as well. The Mandalorian super-commandos make their biggest appearances in the Darth Maul comic miniseries, which was adapted from unproduced scripts for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and sees through Maul’s arc as he takes over Mandalore.
The emoji tease #TheMauldalorian seems to refer to a specific member of the Mandalorian super-commando group, but it isn’t clear yet which one it is. It could be commander Gar Saxon, who appeared in Rebels, or perhaps his fellow commander Rook Kast, who only had a comic appearance. It might be a completely new character.
No Mauldalorian appeared in the Clone Wars season premiere, and neither did Darth Maul, though we know from the trailers that the series will eventually feature Darth Maul facing off against Ahsoka. Whether that showdown will also involve Mauldalorians is yet to be seen.
Some fans seemed concerned that Disney had unintentionally spoiled a key plot point in Clone Wars, but this is more a case of the company building hype by teasing the approaching appearance of some fan-favorite characters. Will the Mauldalorians appear in The Mandalorian, though? We won’t know until October, when season 2 of The Mandalorian premieres. Though, we may note that as of the time of The Mandalorian, Maul is dead, since Obi-Wan Kenobi killed him in Star Wars Rebels, and burned his corpse. Maybe that’ll finally keep him from coming back?