Star Wars' Shadow Council: Who are the lurking powerful cabal of The Mandalorian
Moff Gideon is the tip of the iceburg when it comes to Imperial threats
Moff Gideon has been the main big bad of Disney+'s The Mandalorian. The former operative of the Imperial Security Bureau has crossed paths with Din Djarin on several occasions, mostly in his pursuit of Grogu. During 'Chapter 16: The Rescue', Gideon suffers defeat and is taken into custody by the New Republic. Though rumors circulate with regards to his whereabouts, his actual fate is left unanswered. What we do know is his prison transport was attacked, and though there is no trace of Gideon, there is a fragment of beskar alloy found amongst the wreckage.Spoilers for The Mandalorian season 3 episode 7 below.
We catch up with Elia Kane, the former Imperial communications officer who set up Dr. Pershing in 'Chapter 19: The Convert.' She never really defected and serves as a mole for Moff Gideon, who is alive and well (You know we wouldn't go an entire season with him poking his villainy head out).
What's more surprising is that after their communication, Gideon enters a highly guarded room where a conference is in progress with other Imperials via hologram. This cabal of warlords call themselves the Shadow Council, and as their name implies, they work together away from view to undermine the New Republic and bring back the glory of the Empire. Let's learn more about the secret group and their possible influence moving forward.
Who are the Shadow Council of Star Wars?
The Shadow Council in The Mandalorian isn't the first canonical version. The original iteration appears in the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy written by Chuck Wendig. The events occur in the period between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens where the Rebel Alliance, now called the New Republic, attempt to vanquish the remnants of the Galactic Empire.
The Shadow Council was initially created in book two, Aftermath: Life Debt. Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax forms the deep state organization to govern the territories still under Imperial control. Inaugural members include Brendol Hux, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, chief informational officer Ferric Obdur, Grand Moff Randd, and General Hodnar Borrum. The Shadow Council dissolves following the Battle of Jakku where Rax and Obdur are killed, and the Galactic Civil War officially ends.
Several years later, the Shadow Council is reformed where we see them in The Mandalorian. Like their predecessor, this new collection is covertly plotting the return of the Empire. There are several Imperial warlords present along with Gideon, Hux, and Captain Gilad Pellaeon. They purposely try to convey the image of independent remnants committing petty raids as to not draw attention to themselves. In reality, it is a well-coordinated effort biding their time until the right time to strike. Though it seems petty infighting and passive aggressive posturing dominate their meetings with only the common goal of restoring the Empire unifying them.
Who is Commandant Brendol Hux of the Shadow Council?
Brendol Hux is first introduced in The Secret Academy, the last book in the Servants of the Empire series written by Jason Fry. He is in charge of molding the next generation of soldiers at the Arkanis Academy. He has the unpopular idea of training future warriors at birth in order to create highly skillful and loyal units. Far superior to the poor shot, incompetent stormtroopers we're familiar with. They are known as the Commandant's Cadets and operate outside of the Imperial structure.
In the novel Aftermath: Life Debt, Hux is rescued from Arkanis by Rax while the planet is under siege by the New Republic. He becomes a member of the first Shadow Council and trains Rax's personal guard of child soldiers. Hux manages to survive the Battle of Jakku with his illegitimate son, Armitage Hux, who becomes a general in the First Order during the sequel trilogy.
Hux shows up for the first time in live action during 'Chapter 23: The Spies' of The Mandalorian. He has one of the higher positions in the Shadow Council because he is seen leading the conversation and is in charge of allocating resources to the other members. Hux is in charge of the project named Necromancer, which is to address the council's leadership concerns. He also has an obsession for clones, which he is chided for. Commandant Brendol Hux is played by Brian Gleeson.
Who is Captain Gilad Pellaeon of the Shadow Council?
Gilad Pellaeon has a long association with Grand Admiral Thrawn. He appears in the now Legends novel, Heir to the Empire, written by Timothy Zahn. He is the commanding officer of the Chimaera, and when Thrawn returns following the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi, he designates the Star Destroyer his flagship and makes Pellaeon his right-hand man.
The captain becomes canon in the series finale of Star Wars Rebels. He takes part in the blockade of Lothal and we hear his voice, played by Jim Cummings, when Thrawn contacts him during the purrgil assault of the Imperial fleet. Pellaeon survives the battle but his commanding officer is pulled into hyperspace by the purrgil.
Pellaeon also has a high position on the Shadow Council, probably because of his close proximity to Thrawn. He assures his colleagues of the Grand Admiral's imminent return and how it will help usher in another era of the Empire. Pellaeon is played by actor Xander Berkeley, who appeared in The Walking Dead as Gregory, the leader of the Hilltop community.
What does the Shadow Council mean for the future of Star Wars on screen?
With all these references to Grand Admiral Thrawn, it's no surprise that his live action debut is on its way. As we saw in the new Ahsoka teaser trailer, the blue skinned villain will play a significant part in the upcoming series.
The Shadow Council provides yet another link between several of the Disney+ shows. This isn't the first time aspects of Ahsoka and The Mandalorian have crossed paths and it's all building to something bigger. As announced during Star Wars Celebration, one of the new films fans can expect is a Dave Filoni directed feature. The movie will serve as a culmination of narratives found in The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Ahsoka so expect even more of the crossover nature amongst the shows moving forward.
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