While watching the very first episode of The Mandalorian, a certain character caught my attention, “Baby Yoda,” you’re probably already thinking. And while I do love the Child with all my heart, I am referring to Dr. Pershing.
Played by Omid Abtahi, Dr. Pershing is an associate of the Client and is possibly affiliated with Kaminoan cloners. But it wasn’t this affiliation that made Pershing stick out to me. I honestly didn’t even notice the first time around. It was that the actor playing him is, like me, Iranian. Excitement ensued in my Iranian family, as it always does when one of our own makes it big. “That guy, the doctor! He’s Iranian!”.
Given that we have so little to work with, representation-wise, seeing a face that looked like someone we might know was a cause to celebrate. Not to mention a source of humor. Doctors are stereotypically one of the few professions “permitted” for an Iranian child, and it’s nice to see this was still the case a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. But Dr. Pershing is not coded as Iranian, or Middle Eastern in any capacity. He simply exists to serve the story. While I am personally a fan of this approach, I do also think it’s high time we saw more explicitly coded, positive Middle Eastern representation in this universe, considering what we have been given so far.