The Mandalorian: The Praetorian Guard in Star Wars explained
The Praetorian Guard return in the latest episode of The Mandalorian Season 3 – but who are they, and where have we seen them before in the Star Wars franchise?
In our review, we wrote: “It may have taken until Episode 7, but The Mandalorian Season 3 has finally returned to gunslinging, thrilling form – this is the Star Wars show we’ve been forced to wait for.”
The episode concludes with Din and Bo-Katan coming face to face once more with Moff Gideon, the Imperial Remnant villain hellbent on taking over Mandalore and forcing the Mandalorians to join his army.
Before he can take the darksaber, Bo-Katan and the others attempt to escape while Paz Vizsla holds off the surrounding troopers. He kills all of them, but he meets his maker at the hands of the Praetorian Guard – here’s everything you need to know.
Who are the Praetorian Guard in Star Wars?
The Praetorian Guard are a highly trained, mysterious group of bodyguards first seen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Their debut in The Mandalorian marks their first chronological appearance in the franchise.
As per the official Star Wars website, they’re described as being “clad in ornate crimson armor… these warriors guarded Supreme Leader Snoke, ready to meet any threat with a savage response.”
“The Guard consisted of eight sentinels divided into four pairs, with each pair brandishing unique weapons. Their red armor was a deliberate echo of that worn by Emperor Palpatine’s royal protectors. The Guard attacked Kylo Ren and Rey after the death of Snoke, with all eight falling in battle.”
Their namesake comes from an elite unit of the Imperial Roman army who served as personal bodyguards for ancient Roman emperors.
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This is the perfect excuse to rewatch the best fight in all of Star Wars:
While inspired by Return of the Jedi’s Imperial guards, these warriors came from the imagination of Rian Johnson. “The Emperor’s guards were very formal, and you always got the sense that they could fight, but they didn’t,” he earlier told EW.
“They looked like they were more ceremonial, and you never really saw them in action. The Praetorians, my brief to [costume designer] Michael Kaplan was that those guys have to be more like samurai. They have to be built to move, and you have to believe that they could step forward and engage if they have to. They have to seem dangerous.”
It’s unclear exactly who they serve during the time of The Mandalorian. At the beginning of Episode 7, Moff Gideon requests the guards from the forces of Brendol Hux and Gilad Pellaeon, both of whom support Grand Admiral Thrawn, who’s yet to make his return.
Will Thrawn be connected to Snoke and the First Order? Could Ahsoka and Dave Filoni’s ‘Heir to the Empire’ movie connect all of these dots? The sequel trilogy’s red herring hasn’t been mentioned outside those movies, but the Praetorian Guard are directly connected to him (albeit, the guards we see here are an earlier version, equipped with primitive weapons and trooper-esque helmets).
The Mandalorian Season 3 Episodes 1-7 are available to stream now. Check out our other coverage below:
The Mandalorian Season 3 cast | Season 3 episodes & release schedule | Season 3 runtimes | What time do new episodes of The Mandalorian drop? | When does The Mandalorian take place? | Who plays The Armorer? | What is a Mythosaur? | What are purrgil? | Where is Cara Dune? | Will there be a Mandalorian movie?