The best hang in the universe might be happening on the set of The Mandalorian. It’s ostensibly a show about a lone bounty hunter making his way through a dangerous galaxy, but really it’s a show about a cute Baby Yoda puppet hanging out with comedians and/or character actors. Maybe it’s because comedians can make a strong impression quickly, or because Jon Favreau just likes hanging out with cool people (see also: the premise of his Netflix food show), but this fringe of the galaxy seems almost entirely populated by people who have a tight five at the ready.
As The Mandalorian continues into its second season, we’ve decided it was only appropriate to continue to update our ranking of the most compelling people Mando and friends run into along the way. We’re only considering actors and characters who make minor appearances in the story (sorry to Taika Waititi’s killer droid), and who are at least somewhat recognizable outside of the Star Wars–verse (so, alas, voice actors from the Clone Wars series do not count). On to the ranking!
Jake Cannavale As Toro Calican (Chapter 5)
Did you know that Bobby Cannavale and Jenny Lumet had a son who is now 24 years old? Well, maybe you did if you watched Nurse Jackie, but The Mandalorian is here to really remind you of that fact. Jake Cannavale plays the junior bounty hunter who tries to cross Mando, and quickly learns that is not so good of an idea. Not the most glamorous part, but congrats to Cannavale for landing this big role. And also for having very strong, very negative opinions about The Rise of Skywalker. Go off, Jake!
Titus Welliver As Imperial Captain (Chapter 11)
Lost’s very own Man in Black gets only a few minutes of screen time as a radical Imperial officer working with Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon. He’s piloting a transport ship that Mando and Bo-Katan infiltrate. Once they get inside, he decides to shoot the other Imperial officers onboard and try to crash the ship instead of being captured. Then he implies he knows something about Gideon’s mysterious darksaber, but before Bo-Katan can get anything more out of him, he activates some cyanide-like death pill and dies. Okay, bye!
Richard Ayoade As Zero (Chapter 6)
In a similar vein to casting the delightful Waititi as the killer droid IG-11, we have the delightful Richard Ayoade as the killer droid Zero. You gotta love the idea of going from The IT Crowd to playing an actual computerized being, but Zero loses points for (1) turning on Baby Yoda, and (2) always wearing a mask, so that we didn’t actually get to see Ayoade’s quizzical mug juxtaposed against The Mandalorian’s typically gritty production design.
Jason Sudeikis, Drew Hale, and Adam Pally As Bike Scout Troopers (Chapters 7 and 8)
I would love to see The Mandalorian’s chattering Scout Troopers get their own Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are in Space–style spinoff in which they wander around the background of various galactic events and try to please their Imperial masters. That said, these guys never take their masks off, so they lose points despite their charming voice performances. Plus they punch Baby Yoda, which is a real no-no.
Clancy Brown As Burg (Chapter 6)
Ming-Na Wen As Fennec Shand (Chapter 5)
One of the badder-ass badasses in the world of The Mandalorian, Fennec (yes, like the fox) is an assassin Mando tracks down with the help of Toro Calican. Despite her skills, the two of them manage to take her captive, and Toro later kills her after she tempts him with the possibility of capturing Baby Yoda. Solid badassery from Wen, but sadly she loses points for suggesting anyone harm Baby Yoda, and also for being killed by Jake Cannavale (just … not the best look).
Asif Ali As Caben and Eugene Cordero As Stoke (Chapter 4)
You want a delightful pair of goofy villagers? You get a delightful pair of goofy villagers! (Yes, I am treating Eugene Cordero’s casting as an Other Space homage. The four other people who watched Other Space better be with me on this.)
Mark Boone Junior As Ranzar Malk (Chapter 6)
If you need a grizzled guy with a giant beard, obviously you call up a guy from Sons of Anarchy. Mark Boone Junior brings you grizzled with aplomb.
Natalia Tena As Xi’an (Chapter 6)
It’s Tonks from Harry Potter, and also Osha from Game of Thrones, but in space now! Tena played Xi’an, a mercenary who also had a romantic past with The Mandalorian’s resident single dad. Props to her for pulling off the alien makeup along with a strong lip, and also bringing out some more humanity from Mando.
Julia Jones As Omera (Chapter 4)
In order to lean into samurai-movie homage, The Mandalorian traveled to a planet called Sorgan, which has plentiful broth for Baby Yoda to sip and also a village in desperate need of rescuing. Jones, formerly of Twilight and Westworld and the rare actor to claim Native American descent to get a role in a Star Wars property, played a local farmer who happens to have mysteriously good aim with a blaster. She’s got one of the least comedic guest roles in The Mandalorian, but she carries it well, and gives the series a lot more depth when it desperately needs it.
Bill Burr As Mayfield (Chapter 6)
As has been pointed out on Twitter, Bill Burr’s presence in The Mandalorian implies the existence of a Space Boston, which really adds to the delight of his appearance as an Imperial sharpshooter. Is there a Boston-esque planet where he learned his trade? Do Imperial sharpshooters go to Space BU? So much of this is so fun to ponder that it’s a pity Burr couldn’t be higher on this list, but my man dropped Baby Yoda, and we cannot stand for that.
Katee Sackhoff As Bo-Katan Kryze (Chapter 11)
Reveals upon reveals abound here: There are other Mandalorians wandering around! They take off their helmets! One of them is Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck! But with red hair! She voiced the same character in the Clone Wars series! A great moment for The Mandalorian tying together a bunch of Star Wars lore, sure, but also a great moment for Katee Sackhoff continuing her campaign of being a space badass in every known sci-fi franchise. Gotta respect her commitment to a bit.
Timothy Olyphant As Cobb Vanth (Chapter 9)
Traveling back to Tatooine for the millionth time in the season two premiere, Mando meets up with a local marshal named Cobb Vanth who happens to be wearing Mandalorian armor (it might be Boba Fett’s own armor, if we’re going off other Star Wars lore). That’s cool and all, but what’s really important is that Timothy Olyphant is playing the marshal and Timothy Olyphant looks fine. The salt-and-pepper hair! The gruff mumbling with echoes of Deadwood and Justified! The fact that this serves as an excuse for me to say he was very funny in Santa Clarita Diet! At one point Timothy Olyphant pronounces the words “silicax crystals” and I cooed with delight. This is the way to legitimize the western side of your space western. Good work, Mandalorian.
Ida Darvish As Common House Proprietor, A.k.a. the Spotchka Lady (Chapter 4)
Aside from Baby Yoda, we at Vulture have one hero, and that hero is the Spotchka Lady, who offers Mando some of that blue beverage when he buys Baby Yoda bone broth and tries to get information from her about Gina Carano. What’s not to like? She’s got a little rag to wipe down her hands, she just took down a Grinjer so she apparently has some bones at the ready, and she says “Welcome, travelers!” like a video-game NPC, and “Yes, sir” with appropriate sarcasm and confusion when Mando flicks a coin at her. The Spotchka Lady: a delight!
Amy Sedaris As Peli Motto (Chapters 5 and 9)
The peak of incongruous Mandalorian cameos arrives in the form of Amy Sedaris, wearing a Ripley-from-Alien wig and playing a hardened mechanic who also becomes a loving caregiver to Baby Yoda for an episode. What’s delightful about this performance is that Sedaris is ostensibly playing a character, but she’s clearly also playing Amy Sedaris, engaging with the world of Star Wars with semi-ironic detachment and amusement. She’s in a galaxy far, far away, but she’s not abandoning her trademark quirks. I hope Peli comes back for a few more episodes, if only because Disney+ paychecks could fund so many more of Sedaris’s home crafting projects.