Tragedy! Lightsaber battles! Mando-on-Mando conflict! Yes, The Mandalorian season two finale had it all – but alongside all the exciting callbacks, cameos and fight scenes it also featured a particularly emotional scene between Pedro Pascal’s titular bounty hunter and his young charge Baby Yoda, aka Grogu.
We’ll be dealing with some major spoilers in this story, so if for some reason you haven’t watched Chapter 16: The Rescue yet but did still decide to read a piece all about it, look away now (Or if you have seen it and need a safe space to decompress, why not check out our latest The Mandalorian review?)
OK, here we go. After defeating Moff Gideon and being rescued by Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) it was time for Din Djarin (Pascal) to hand over Grogu to the Jedi at last.
“He is strong with the Force. But talent without training is nothing,” Luke tells him.
“I will give my life to protect the Child. But he will not be safe until he masters his abilities.”
Thus convinced, Din said goodbye in a particularly emotional scene, removing his helmet and showing Baby Yoda his face for the first time.
“I’ll see you again – I promise,” he says, shortly before Luke and R2-D2 take Grogu away, presumably to Master Skywalker’s nascent Jedi Temple. By the episode’s conclusion the Mandalorian is left standing alone, watching Grogu walk away before the episode cuts to black.
So is this the end of the Mando/Baby Yoda partnership? Will The Mandalorian season three be a Grogu-free zone? Well, we hope not. If nothing else, the Star Wars sequel trilogy taught us that Luke’s Jedi experiment ended in tears (hopefully the Child left before Kylo burned it all down), making Grogu’s entry into it slightly less inspiring than it might have been.
But more importantly, it’s hard to imagine The Mandalorian working without Baby Yoda. While the behind-the-scenes team were reportedly surprised by how popular he became there’s no doubt now that he’s the star of the show, with many viewers more interested in seeing Grogu and what he gets up to than the wider plots of the series.
He’s a pop culture icon, a merchandising hit and a brilliant symbol for The Mandalorian, and it’s hard to see them just sending him offstage forever while Pedro Pascal plays with the Darksaber for three more seasons.
On the other hand, it would rather undercut the tragedy and emotion of the season two finale if he is just back in the first episode of the next series, so perhaps there’s a middle ground. We had one or two episodes without him this season, after all – the penultimate episode had him captured off-screen and he only turned up at the end of the season one premiere, for example – so we might be able to manage the same when season three begins.
Showrunner Jon Favreau won’t want to ruin this emotional farewell, or test his viewers’ suspension of disbelief by having Grogu return from Luke’s training too quickly. But equally the show’s creators won’t want him gone forever any more than the fans will, with Mando’s promise to see The Child again hinting at a grand reunion in the future.
For now we’ll just have to wait and see, with The Mandalorian season three set to arrive around Christmas next year shortly after a Boba Fett spin-off series, The Book of Boba Fett (which may gauge how well a Star Wars Disney+ series can function without an adorable muppet).
Whether our Baby Yoda-less existence will just last this year or longer into future episodes is anyone’s guess. Either way, it’s going to be almost as tragic for Star Wars fans as this last farewell was for poor old Mando.
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