The Mandalorian has served up some of the Galaxy’s most stunning vistas: Nevarro, Arvala-7, as well as new looks at more familiar planets like Tatooine. Disney’s flagship streaming series brings us to one of its more eerie locations midway through its second season, as the eponymous Mandalorian hunts the planet’s burnt wilds for a Jedi.
The planet is named Corvus and it was first described by the Mandalorian Bo Katan Kryze as a forest planet. The viewer instead is brought to a charred planet under the oppressive rule of a tyrant and former Imperial warmonger, with the Mandalorian Din Djarin and Jedi Survivor Ahsoka Tano fighting for the freedom of the capital city of Calodan.
Key Details Up Front
Corvus was billed as a forest planet by Bo Katan. Seeing the reality of the planet’s natural state might have been shocking had the episode where it was first mentioned been immediately followed by a visit to the planet.
After another episode, the Razor Crest lands in the ashen forests near Calodan, and we are confronted with an eerily familiar charred landscape. The planet has been completely gutted for resources by the Governor and presumably the Empire.
Fun fact- Dave Filoni actually conceptualized the look of Corvus after the California wildfires. The stark silence and blackened tree trunks provide a strikingly unnatural visual for a planet that’s supposed to harbor a Jedi.
(spoilers for The Mandalorian to follow)
Corvus is an Outer Rim forest planet home to the city of Calodan. Besides being close to the water world Trask, it hasn’t been made entirely clear where Corvus is in relation to other planets in the Outer Rim. Ostensibly, Corvus is a forest planet under the rule of a regional governor at the behest of the Empire.
Besides the city of Calodan (sharp-eared viewers will catch that Dune reference), every bit of flora and fauna has been razed to the ground. At first glance, the only remnants of nature are some Lothal-cats in the city, Ashoka’s Convor (Force-sensitive owl), and some unnamed bipedal giants munching on the charred tree trunks. Corvus’ ecology has been almost completely eradicated by the regional governor in question: Morgan Elsbeth.
Corvus’ city of Calodan has the typical Star Wars small town fare: street vendors flogging roasted animals, baskets, floating or bubbling liquids in test tubes. Yet from the moment Din Djarin takes his first steps down the town’s main street, this oppressive air suffocates the entire town, as townsfolk scurry out of sight and offer each other scraps of food before the guards see. All the shots are structured to emphasize how cloistered and confined the city feels under the Governor’s rule.
Her oppression becomes apparent as the Mandalorian walked past the strung-up citizens being periodically electrocuted outside the Governor’s palace. Walking through the gates, the opulence and precision in the design of her garden conveys the mindset of someone who strives for absolute control over their environment.
The beskar spear she wields and offers to the Mandalorian as the reward for finding Ashoka Tano is yet another signpost to her previous conquests.
Flora and Fauna
All throughout the episode, large bipedal plant-eaters are seen mowing down the blackened tree trunks that are still standing. A convor, a Force-sensitive owl to which Ashoka has a strong connection to, is sitting on a tree branch observing the Mandalorian in the woods.
In the city of Calodan, a Lothal-cat is spotted during the final battle. The only signs of vegetation we see are the Governor’s fortress garden in Calodan and the simple mossy vegetation that grows in Ashoka’s presence. All in all, Corvus is a desolate, blackened rock fueling Governor Elsbeth’s oppressive rule.
Appearances-The Mandalorian S2E5: The Jedi
A Legacy of Violence
Morgan Elsbeth had a tumultuous childhood, growing up during one of the most expansive and ultimately destructive wars in the galaxy’s history. Her people were massacred during the conflict, and everything short of her life was taken from her. When the Empire rose to power, she took her opportunity to do some taking of her own.
She stoked the fires of the industrial side of the Empire, plundering worlds for their resources and leaving them scarred and near-lifeless. She became attached to the 7th Imperial Fleet and earned the patronage of fan-favorite Grand Admiral Thrawn.
After she left Thrawn’s service, Elsbeth set up shop on Corvus and continued to do what she was best at: stealing a planet’s resources and subjugating the populace. The animals, the plant life, and the people are all put to Morgan Elsbeth’s spear, so to say.
A Jedi Plagues Her, Not the Planet
In classic stranger-blows-into-town fashion, everything changes once Ashoka Tano comes to Corvus. She starts making trouble for the Governor but more importantly, animals and plants are returning to the part of the forest where The Mandalorian finds her.
Her neck of the woods is the only place on the entire planet that has any signs of life. This is a nice visual touch and communicates how someone strong in the Light Side of the Force can positively affect the natural world around them.
After a joint operation to liberate Calodan, The Mandalorian and Ashoka Tano manage to unseat Elsbeth and free the planet from her rule. Several shots and even the storyline itself is reminiscent of the Samurai and Western films that inspired George Lucas, who incidentally also was one of the original creators of Ashoka Tano’s character.
While Ashoka and the Mandalorian are leaving to pursue their own quests, it is apparent after Elsbeth is overthrown that the planet is beginning to heal somewhat. Perhaps some years down the road, Corvus will become the forest planet it was originally described as.
Other than its appearance in the Mandalorian, Corvus doesn’t have the expansive, significant place in the galactic timeline that planets like Tatooine have. While that may be disappointing for some, it is more of an indicator of the planet’s larger role in the story versus the planet having some sordid history that’s being “saved” for another episode. The planet was meant to be an extension of Morgan Elsbeth’s corrosive influence- a visual motif representing her destruction and oppression.
The Mandalorian is the perfect show set in our favorite galaxy for this kind of short and sweet world-building. The use of Corvus in the show was economical, putting a more firm descriptor on it.
Subtle but striking visual design with a small scope and personal exploration of the local culture and people. Worlds in The Mandalorian have that quality, having been affected in all the same ways as each other- Imperial occupation, exploitation, and oppression.
Some planets like Tatooine and Nevarro have storylines that explore the culture and people. Although the depth that those explorations have for the various series’ planets ranges from complex and interesting (Tusken culture on Tatooine) to simple and surface-level (Nevarro as a bounty hunter hive-turned “regular” locale).
What this makes possible on a planet like Corvus with no “native” intelligent life forms is the exploration of how the environment is affected positively or negatively by civilization and how that same environment affects the resident civilization.
Question: What happened to the planet Corvus?
Answer: Morgan Elsbeth and her forces have burned away much of the planet’s forest in the pursuit of its natural resources. Star Wars has slowly but surely shifted more focus in its media on the environmental impact of an oppressive force like the Empire on the worlds it conquers.
Question: Why was Ashoka on Corvus?
Answer: Morgan Elsbeth held patronage to Grand Admiral Thrawn, who at this point in the timeline is alive but missing somewhere in the galaxy. Ashoka Tano is on a personal quest to find Grand Admiral Thrawn because you can’t exactly build a new Republic with one of the most cunning Imperial battle strategists still alive and kicking. Ashoka is there to liberate the planet Elsbeth is ruling, with the added bonus of getting some pertinent information on Thrawns whereabouts.
Question: What happened to Corvus after Ashoka left?
Answer: Somewhat unclear. I think it’s safe to say that life for Calodan and Corvus greatly improves once the Magistrate and her army is defeated. A compassionate citizen that the Mandalorian meets and who he helps rescue the former Magistrate’s captives is elected to that same position by his peers. Star Wars has never been the sort of complex to elaborate on differing administration’s specific political views; it’s safe to assume that the new Magistrate will help Corvus revert back to the lush forest world it once was.
There you have it! Now you know about one of the more brand new editions in the Star Wars planetary index. The Mandalorian has just the right sort of setup to have entire worlds that allow for the sort of simple storytelling as was in this episode.
With the cinematography and plotline of the movies that inspired George Lucas to write Star Wars in the first place. Remember to read our other Star Wars planet guides and watch The Mandalorian and the rest of Star Wars on Disney+ and wherever movies can be rented/purchased/streamed.
For more interesting readings about Star Wars, check out the following articles: