'The Mandalorian': What That First Episode Reveal Means
[This story contains spoilers for episode one of The Mandalorian.]
And so, by the end of the first episode, we finally discover just what The Mandalorian’s mysterious asset actually is.
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In the final moments of the episode, Mando (Pedro Pascal) comes across baby Yoda. Not literally, of course; the series is set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi, which means that Yoda has been dead for five years, and the baby in the carrier is, apparently, 50 years old. But it’s a baby from the same species as the beloved Jedi Master, a species so rare that it officially doesn’t have a name in official canon yet; the appearance of a baby is, in terms of Star Wars lore, potentially a big deal.
There are a lot of assumptions being made both internally and externally with regard to The Mandalorian as a show and the Mandalorian, as a character, as to what’s actually happening with his target. For all we know right now, the baby Yoda is…well, just a baby. But there’s certainly the potential for it to be something more, and that’s a suspicion seemingly shared by characters inside the show itself; why else would the remainders of the Empire be willing to pay so much to find them, or so many others have attacked the base where they were? Something seems to be up with the baby. But what?
The most obvious answers come from the fact that the baby is the same species as Yoda. Does that species have an unusually strong connection with the Force? (That might explain why the Imperials want the baby; they might want to study them to find out what’s going on with Midi-Chlorians.) Or, even more enticingly, is the baby actually related to Yoda in some way?
There also may be a clue to be found in the fact that the baby is 50 years old. The seeming discrepancy isn’t really a big deal; Yoda was canonically over 800 at the time of his death, so it can safely be assumed that that species ages very slowly, but assuming the 50-year figure is accurate, we can place their birth around 41 BBY in the official Star Wars calendar — curiously enough, the same year that Anakin Skywalker was born in canon, given the timing of The Mandalorian. This could, perhaps, be another baby born to give balance to the Force.
Externally from the story of The Mandalorian, the baby’s appearance is significant in that it’s only the third member of this species to appear in Star Wars canon; even casual fans are familiar with Yoda, but fewer remember Yaddle, a female member of the species who also sat on the Jedi council in 1999’s Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. (Her appearance strengthens the idea that this species is particularly adept in the ways of the Force, with the only two examples both appearing on the Jedi high council, for what it’s worth.) Even beyond what else happens in the story of The Mandalorian, the series appears set to expand the mythos of the Star Wars galaxy considerably.
Or, maybe, all of this is far too speculative and a distraction from what seems a fairly heavy influence from Lone Wolf and Cub for the rest of the series. Sometimes a baby is just a baby, after all. More will become apparent as The Mandalorian continues, with episode two debuting Friday, and the series continuing Fridays for the rest of the season on Disney+
by Sheraz Farooqi
by Graeme McMillan