The Mandalorian Just Proved the New Republic Isn’t Much Better Than the Empire
In a 2019 interview, Favreau promised EW that The Mandalorian would show the rise of the First Order and bridge the gap between the Original and Sequel Trilogies. Now, the pieces are starting to come together, and we’re learning that the fall of the New Republic really begins from within its own borders. As one affluent and apathetic Coruscant resident tells Pershing in the latest episode, “Empire, Rebels, New Republic, I can’t keep track.” To be honest, neither can we. To a degree, they’re starting to look like extensions of each other.
Is the New Republic Any Better Than the Empire?
“The Convert” is the first time we really get to explore Coruscant during the New Republic era, and it honestly doesn’t look much fun to live there. The New Republic prides itself on avoiding the Empire’s xenophobia, but underneath all the celebrations of Benduday (Friday) and Dr. Pershing enjoying glowing ice lollies with Elia Kane, it has a similarly controlling grip on its citizens.
We learn how some of those who served the Empire have been reintegrated into society as part of the Amnesty Program. In reality, the Amnesty Program seems to be a cushy prison for those former Imperials the New Republic deems as valuable. Because Pershing is a brilliant scientist, he’s a shoe-in for the Amnesty Program, but once he’s welcomed back to Coruscant, it becomes very clear the New Republic doesn’t actually intend to let him live as a free citizen in this new “utopia.”
Pershing’s only allowed to visit certain places on Coruscant and has to regularly check-in with what amounts to a droid parole officer. He’s not allowed to really choose what role he wants to play in this new society, and is relegated to a mind-numbing desk job helping dismantle Imperial equipment rather than continue his research into cloning. Although his true intention is to use cloning to make advancements in medicine that could save millions, that research is strictly forbidden by the New Republic (which, fair enough, since it was a clone army that Palpatine initially used to destroy the Jedi and subjugate the galaxy).
Notably, Dr. Pershing’s new life under the New Republic mirrors the mundane side of the galaxy fans loved so much in Andor — in particular, the parallels between Pershing’s low-level job archiving Imperial technology and the shamed Syril Karn working at the Imperial Bureau of Standards filing reports. Like the Empire, the New Republic is very into its bureaucratic systems, surveilling, documenting, and red tape, as Pershing learns when he suggests he could show his bosses how to use Imperial tech for good. The Doctor’s menial position eventually leads him to question whether he’s actually contributing anything valuable to society, or if he’s just meant to live out the rest of his days following orders blindly in service of the New Republic, just as he did when under the employ of the Empire.
Whether Pershing was coerced into working for the Empire or not, he reveals in his speech at the opera house how organ cloning could’ve saved his mother from a disease, which led to the belief his work could be used for good…in the right hands. But while seemingly against cloning for now, the New Republic isn’t above using other dangerous Imperial technology when the situation calls for it.