The Mandalorian has killed off characters early and often. To be clear, most have not been Game of Thrones-like deaths. Instead, it makes most of them one-episode-and-done figures. IG-11 doesn't make it out of the premiere, for example. Mando takes out Toro Calican in the same episode he's introduced, in an adventure that seemingly killed off Ming-Na Wen's Fennec Shand as soon as she arrived. But in the penultimate episode, it looked like the show killed off a character who'd stuck around long enough for viewers to care about. But is Kuiil really dead on The Mandalorian? Warning: Spoilers for The Mandalorian Season 1 follow.
Kuiil is the Ugnaught who Mando meets in the very first episode, who helps him on the road to finding his quarry, Baby Yoda. Kuiil wants the kid gone from the planet to stop the endless stream of bounty hunters coming to search for him. But he's also a kindly man, one who has lived a long time and seen some terrible things. So when Mando comes back to Arvala-7 to ask for Kuiil's help, he reluctantly agrees.
The reason Mando needs Kuiil is that he needs someone he can trust to help take care of Baby Yoda. Greef, the head of the Bounty Hunter's Guild, has asked for Mando to return and help overthrow the Client, who has taken over Navarro in the wake of Baby Yoda's disappearance. Mando senses a trap and wants Kuiil to be Baby Yoda's protector.
Kuiil agrees, but he has a few stipulations. One: They're taking the blurrgs. Two: They're taking IG-11.
IG-11 is alive. Kuiil collected the remains of the droid Mando shot in the head once everyone departed after Baby Yoda left. He rebuilt the droid as a helper bot. Mando doesn't trust IG-11, and he's not convinced the original killer programming won't suddenly override Kuiil's reconfiguration. So he insists IG-11 stay on the Razor Crest when they arrive at Navarro.
Everything goes wrong on the planet. Greef originally planned to betray Mando, and though he has a change of heart, Mando decides Kuiil should ride back with Baby Yoda to the Razor Crest. But Kuiil doesn't make it back in time. Just as he reaches the Razor Crest, two scout troopers crest the ridge.
Shots are fired, and Kuill lies on the ground. The scout troopers scoop up Baby Yoda and ride away.
But is Kuiil dead? The show makes a big deal out of his rescue of IG-11, with a lengthy flashback showing how Kuiil restored the droid with loving care. IG-11 came along for a reason. Call it Chekhov's droid; you don't bring him back in Episode 7 unless there's a use for him in the finale. And what better way to prove he's no longer a killer than to save a character fans love?