HEAT VISION

How 'The Mandalorian' Revelations Set a New Course for 'Star Wars'

The Mandalorian
Lucasfilm Ltd.
The live-action reveal of a fan-favorite character, as well as new details about The Child, all build toward grander plans for a galaxy far, far away.

[This story contains sopilers for The Mandalorian episode "The Jedi"].

The Child has a name, and it’s Grogu. Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian, “The Jedi” is filled with all the revelations one might expect given the episode’s title, and The Child’s name is only the least of it. Written and directed by Dave Filoni “The Jedi” brings one of Filoni’s most beloved Star Wars creations into live-action for the first time: Ahsoka Tano. Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) was central to the narrative of the animated series, The Clone Wars, and as Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice, she felt the full weight of his turn to the dark side. Filoni followed Ahsoka’s path in Star Wars Rebels, and the last time fans saw her was in the series finale, set after Return of the Jedi, where she and the Mandalorian Sabine Wren set out to search for the Jedi Erza Bridger who became lost in the uncharted regions of the galaxy following a battle with Grand Admiral Thrawn. Ahsoka’s appearance in The Mandalorian obviously comes with a lot of story baggage, likely opening up several doors for fans unfamiliar with the character and the episode’s references to explore. But with questions of Thrawn and Ezra to be saved for another day, what’s most essential to “The Jedi” is how it impacts Grogu’s past and destiny.

Since The Mandalorian began, fans have circulated theories about Grogu’s origins. He is one of the rare species in Star Wars that doesn’t have a name, and only two others of his kind, Yoda and Yaddle have been seen in the Star Wars canon. The assumption was that Grogu was recently stolen from his homeworld of force sensitive people, but it turns out he’s no stranger to the force or the Jedi. Ahsoka reveals that Grogu was at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and, along with other younglings, was taught the ways of the force by many masters. Presumably this even includes Yoda himself. But when Order 66 happened and the Jedi were mostly wiped out, which includes Anakin infamously killing the Temple’s younglings, Grogu was secreted away by a Jedi who sought to hide him from the Empire. Ahsoka reveals that Grogu’s memories during this time are dark and full of fear, his use of the force weakened by his blocked memories.

It’s already known that Grogu is about 50 years old, and was born the same year as Anakin Skywalker, complicating the Jedi Prophecy that haunts Anakin for the duration of his life. Yet, given the slow aging process of his species, and that Order 66 took place about 30 years before The Mandalorian, it seems pretty obvious that Grogu hasn’t developed much in that time, raising questions of how long Jedi training takes for species that don’t age at a human rate. It seems Grogu only has a preliminary knowledge of the force, but perhaps his untapped memories are the key to further skills. It’s pretty funny to imagine Grogu, at his size, wielding a lightsaber, but Ahsoka expresses deep concern that Gogru is too old, and too consumed by fear to begin Jedi training again, especially after Anakin fell to the dark side after similar concerns.

But Ahsoka tells Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) of an ancient Jedi Temple through which Grogu can reach out through the force and perhaps connect with another Jedi willing to train him, though there are very few left.

Ahsoka’s lack of willingness to train Grogu isn’t just about the similarities she feels may lead him down the same path as Anakin, but also because she saw the failings of the Jedi Order up close as they became political puppets, causing her to leave the Order during the Clone Wars. Though she is still called a Jedi, her white lightsabers reflect neutrality, neither light side nor dark. She is something else, an alternative path perhaps. But the path to the Jedi still remains. Luke Skywalker is out there somewhere, and despite it being five years since the destruction of the second Death Star it seems he has not begun building a new Jedi Order.

It’s possible his path crosses with Grogu’s, but Filoni has talked about The Mandalorian being a series that doesn’t use the biggest toys in the chest, making Skywalker’s appearance seem unlikely. As for the other Jedi, if Ahsoka is still looking for Thrawn then she may not have found Ezra yet. It seems like a certainty given the big name drop near the end of the episode that Thrawn, Ezra, and Sabine will make their live-action appearances eventually.

There’s also the possibility that Grogu could reach out and find Cal Kestis, the Jedi from the canon video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, who hopefully managed to live through the events of the original trilogy. But it’s also just as likely that The Mandalorian introduces a new Jedi figure. What seems apparent though is that for Grogu’s Jedi training to work, he can’t be separated from Din, as the two have formed a father-son connection.

It seems the old ways of the Jedi, separating children from their parents, has to be left in the past if Grogu is to reach his full potential. So the question then becomes, who will be the Jedi willing to join Grogu and Din? And what happens when Grogu is faced with the pull of two parents, one Mandalorian and one Jedi, whose people have historically been at war with one another? For as many questions as the most recent episode of The Mandalorian answered, it also left viewers with infinitely more questions about Grogu’s fate, and the path he will choose with the threats of Gideon, Fett, and Thrawn on the rise.

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