If you’ve spent any time on Twitter in the past week, you’ve likely encountered our newest meme, and the potential savior of a galaxy far, far away. Baby Yoda, as the little, green, Force-loving creature has been dubbed, first appeared at the end of The Mandalorian’s series premiere, and used the second episode to show off its ways with the Force, first attempting to patch up its traveling buddy’s cut and then lifting a massive beast off the ground (and then taking a long, very deserved nap). It is not difficult to understand why Baby Yoda has rapidly become a national icon. It is, quite simply, adorable.
Shine & rise. Morning it is. pic.twitter.com/3IywzOebyK— Baby Yoda (@BabyYodaBaby) November 18, 2019
Seriously, come on.
Baby Yoda, Force push me into a Mustafarian lava lake.
In the past half-century, no company has harnessed the power of cuteness the way Lucasfilm has. The droids and Ewoks in Return of the Jedi crawled so that the porgs and ice foxes in The Last Jedi could walk so that Baby Yoda could run (or like, float, I guess).
But aside from its debilitating cuteness, Baby Yoda is also a potentially game-changing character, and immediately after its (his? hers?) first appearance, fans started asking questions. What is Baby Yoda doing on this planet? What’s the deal with its little bassinet? Why did someone want Baby Yoda dead? Are there other Baby Yodas? Who are Baby Yoda’s parents? Can Baby Yoda use the Force? Is every baby of its species Force sensitive? How old does Baby Yoda have to be to no longer be a baby? And if you’re a fan of Binge Mode: How does Yoda reproduce?
Through two episodes of The Mandalorian, there are only a few things about Baby Yoda we know for certain:
- There is a Yoda-species child, referred to here as Baby Yoda since we don’t have a name for its species, or for the child itself.
- Baby Yoda is 50 years old. Not all species age the same; Yoda was 900 when he died.
- Being 50 years old means Baby Yoda was born the same year as the chosen one, Anakin Skywalker. (The Mandalorian takes place five years after the fall of the Empire, and Anakin was 45 when he sacrificed himself on the second Death Star.)
- Someone was keeping Baby Yoda on the desert planet Arvala-7.
- There are competing factions hunting Baby Yoda: the Mandalorian’s client and whoever hired the Bounty Droid to kill it.
- The Mandalorian’s client was flanked by a Kaminoan clone doctor. Kamino is where the Clone Troopers from the prequel trilogy were made, based on another famous Mandalorian: Jango Fett.
- Baby Yoda doesn’t yet exist in any other Star Wars canon.
That last point is the most pertinent. Barring a surprise cameo in December’s The Rise of Skywalker (vertical integration!), Baby Yoda will be absent through the new Star Wars trilogy. Rise reportedly takes place about a year after the events of The Last Jedi, which means it’s set about 26 years after the happenings in The Mandalorian. Since we’ve yet to see a 76ish-year-old green alien with incredible Force sensitivity bouncing around the galaxy, it’s a safe bet that Baby Yoda doesn’t factor into the end of the Skywalker saga.
So what happens to our favorite Force-sensitive little buddy? There are a few obvious outcomes.
Option 1: Baby Yoda dies or is held captive.
This is the bleakest timeline, wherein something good and pure like Baby Yoda loses its life, either to enemy insurgents, to the ex–Imperial officer’s Kaminoan doctor, or in self-sacrifice to save its Mandalorian pal. As mentioned, it doesn’t seem likely that Baby Yoda will appear in Rise, and a possible reason is because, well, it’s no longer around. We’ve already seen one person gunning for Baby Yoda (RIP, Taika Waititi droid), so whoever hired him will probably send others to finish the job. Maybe the Resistance isn’t talking about another Yoda because it passed long before they could utilize it.
Alternatively, it could be held captive for the duration of the new trilogy. The Kaminoan doctor was rather insistent that the Mando bring Baby Yoda back alive—presumably, he wants to run tests on the child, and maybe even clone it. In a handful of Star Wars video games and animated shows, fans have been introduced to the Inquisitors, Darth Vader’s saber-wielding, Force-knowledgeable agents tasked with hunting down the remaining Jedi after their purge. The Inquisitors were all fallen Jedi who served the Empire after Order 66, and effectively gave Vader a personal Sith army. Now, years after their disbandment and the Empire’s downfall, it makes sense that those wishing to restore Imperial order might want to rebuild their private fighting force. And what better template for the Kaminoan clone doctor to build from than a Force baby whose only other known members of its species were all Jedi Masters?
All this said, it feels unlikely that The Mandalorian would bring Baby Yoda such harm. Showrunner Jon Favreau did say that The Mandalorian would be dark, but still, this is Disney—they’re probably not killing any adorable babies.
Option 2: Baby Yoda goes into hiding.
The Star Wars saga is littered with protagonists whose journeys begin in exile. Anakin Skywalker was a nobody on a desert planet before Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon found him. Luke was that former nobody’s son, purposefully placed under the watchful eye of other nobodies on the same barren rock. Rey isn’t from Tatooine, but her homeworld of Jakku isn’t far off, aesthetically. Baby Yoda likely wasn’t born on Arvala-7, but its journey with us begins there.
Considering Baby Yoda’s absence from the newest trilogy of films—wouldn’t the Resistance want a powerful Force user on their side?—it makes sense that the child is somewhere in hiding. Not yet old enough to contribute to the cause, or fearing its involvement will put others at risk, Baby Yoda could be staying with the Yoda equivalent of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Or maybe Baby Yoda and the broom kid from the end of The Last Jedi are hanging out on Dagobah waiting to begin their training.
Option 3: Chill, Baby Yoda is still a baby.
By the time the events of Rise of Skywalker occur, Baby Yoda would theoretically be in its mid-70s—as old as or older than most major players—but by its species’ rate of aging, it would still be a toddler. Twenty-six years is not a lot of time for a creature who lives to be 900. Not much is known about Baby Yoda’s species, but presumably, at 76 years old it would still need help getting around and surviving.
It’s more than possible—likely, even—that the reason Baby Yoda doesn’t feature in either The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi, and likely won’t be in The Rise of Skywalker is that, well, it’s still a baby. It still likely floats around in its bassinet, lacks language skills, and is struggling to master that whole “not randomly eating space frogs” thing. It may be extremely Force-sensitive and valuable to whoever raises it (or harnesses its DNA), but by Rise of Skywalker, it probably still won’t be ready to fight the way we saw Yoda fight in Revenge of the Sith.
What will happen to Baby Yoda is still a mystery. Presumably, when faced with giving Baby Yoda to Werner Herzog and his clone scientist, the Mandalorian will renege on the agreement and choose to protect his tiny green charge. Whether that means the series ends with our young friend perishing, or going into hiding, or biding its time until it stars in its own Star Wars trilogy set hundreds of years in the future—Rian Johnson, think about it—is yet to be seen. Just please, God, don’t ever give us Angsty Teen Yoda. We get enough of that from Marvel.