The Book of Boba Fett ended with an action-packed finale this week, but the best parts of a disjointed season of Star Wars TV had nothing to do with the former bounty hunter. After years of Star Wars fans hoping and waiting to see Boba Fett get a story of his own, Din Djarin and Baby Yoda stole the show from the man who made Mandalorian armor famous in the first place.
Mando and Grogu’s adventures in The Mandalorian revitalized the franchise from a galaxy far, far away after the Star Wars sequel trilogy failed to deliver. In doing so, the series paved the way for a number of spinoffs—the first being The Book of Boba Fett, which like The Mandalorian was created by Jon Favreau, with Dave Filoni on board as EP. Despite consisting of only seven episodes, though—already one short of the totals in each of The Mandalorian’s two seasons—Book of Boba Fett dedicated two of its chapters to Din and Grogu’s story. For two weeks in a row, Boba Fett didn’t say a word, just like the good old days.
The Mandalorian’s third season, which is in production now, is expected to debut in December. While the upcoming releases of Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Bad Batch, and Andor will keep Star Wars fans busy until then, Book of Boba Fett has given us plenty to consider about what could come next for Mando and Baby Yoda. Let’s discuss where things stand with The Mandalorian after the conclusion of The Book of Boba Fett, and where the flagship series may head from here.
The Mandalorian Takeover
After The Book of Boba Fett spent its first four episodes establishing what happened to Boba between his presumed death in the sarlacc pit in Return of the Jedi and his triumphant return in The Mandalorian (along with his present-day attempts to take control over his former employer’s territory on Tatooine), “Return of the Mandalorian” picked up where The Mandalorian ended. Although the episode ultimately serves the narrative purpose of bringing Mando back to help Fett take on the Pykes, it isn’t until the very end that Fennec Shand arrives to weave Djarin back into the relegated plot of Book of Boba Fett. In that intervening near-hour of television, major Mandalorian story developments occur: Mando reconnects with the remaining members of the Children of the Watch, picks up some Darksaber lore, and gets excommunicated from the tribe after he admits to breaking their cardinal rule of wearing a helmet at all times (at least in front of others). For the sake of Book of Boba Fett, the Mandalorian’s problems are immaterial to what’s at stake for Tatooine’s newest daimyo, yet they’re crucial to what lies ahead for the former foundling.
In the following episode, Book of Boba Fett doubles down on its Mandalorian interlude by focusing on Grogu as he learns the ways of the Force under Luke Skywalker. “From the Desert Comes a Stranger” serves as a wonderful homage to three phases of Star Wars, including a fitting parallel to Luke’s training sessions with Yoda on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back, as the former student becomes the master. When Luke took custody of Grogu during the finale of The Mandalorian’s second season, the most pressing question in fans’ minds was when we’d see Baby Yoda again. By the end of Book of Boba Fett, not only is that question answered, but Grogu is already back into the care of his Mando dad. It’s a bold and arguably overly abrupt development, considering how recently Mando completed his difficult quest by delivering Grogu to Luke, as well as the fact that his reunion with Grogu in the heat of Boba’s battle is rather rushed.
The Book of Boba Fett’s finale even ends not with the show’s title character, but with Mando and Baby Yoda, back in space and back to their old ways as Din begrudgingly acquiesces to Grogu’s cuteness and satisfies his need for speed in the newly refurbished Naboo starfighter. With perhaps the biggest lingering questions heading into The Mandalorian’s third season—whether and when Baby Yoda and Mandalorian would be reunited—already answered, the series will resume under entirely different circumstances and without its greatest source of emotional stakes at its disposal.
At the end of “From the Desert Comes a Stranger,” Master Skywalker presents young Grogu with a critical decision—one that seemed all but resolved during Din’s helmetless, tearful goodbye to his small companion at the end of The Mandalorian’s second season. Grogu must choose between a gift of beskar armor from Djarin or Yoda’s lightsaber from Luke, though the decision goes much deeper. “If you choose the armor, you’ll return to your friend, the Mandalorian,” Luke explains to a wide-eyed Grogu. “However, you will be giving in to attachment to those that you love, and forsaking the way of the Jedi. But if you choose the lightsaber, you will be the first student in my academy, and I will train you to be a great Jedi. It will take you many years to master the ways of the Force, and you may never see the Mandalorian again. Because, Grogu, a short time for you is a lifetime for someone else.”
Of course, Grogu chooses the armor and returns to the Mandalorian just in time to help save the day in Book of Boba Fett’s finale, but the decision comes with consequences, as well as a newly-created element for The Mandalorian to explore when it returns. From a certain point of view, it’s not a great call in the long run, either for Grogu or for a galaxy that’s almost out of Jedi. As Luke makes abundantly clear, Mando will grow old before Baby Yoda will earn the right to an elder nickname, and even de-aging CGI won’t save Master Skywalker from suffering the same fate. Based on the feats Grogu performs with the Force in the sixth and seventh episodes—such as performing flips and taking down massive annihilator droids without immediately falling into a deep sleep—staying with Luke looks like the far better option than following around a former bounty hunter. Then again, given what we know about how Luke’s academy ends, Grogu might be saving himself from a worse fate than stunting his skills.
During their brief encounter in Episode 6, Ahsoka explains to Mando that his presence around Grogu would only make it more difficult for Grogu to focus on his training, and Djarin ultimately agrees with the sentiment. But when Grogu is given the choice, he commits to that prohibited attachment and returns to Djarin on Tatooine. There’s always the chance that Grogu will resume his training with Luke, just as Skywalker once did with Yoda after making a similar choice to aid his friends against his master’s best wishes during The Empire Strikes Back. (Come to think of it, the guy’s kind of a hypocrite for skipping that part of his story, no?) Luke will later agree to train Ben Solo, who doesn’t immediately cut all ties to the rest of his family, so unless the future Kylo Ren is a special nepotism case, Luke must come around on the attachment issue eventually. For now, heading into the third season of The Mandalorian, it seems as if Djarin will have to grapple with the fact that he helped sway Grogu’s future and could endanger his chances of becoming a great Jedi by depriving him of further training and continuing to put him in danger.
The sixth episode of Book of Boba Fett also gives us a brief, yet intriguing glimpse of something that Star Wars fans have been wondering about since the first time Baby Yoda used the Force on The Mandalorian: the mystery of his past. With a little help from Luke, a flashback reveals Grogu’s repressed memories of Order 66, as the Padawan witnesses three Jedi being gunned down by clone troopers. But before we could see how Baby Yoda was saved, the flashback comes to an end. It’s the most important revelation of Baby Yoda’s past since Ahsoka announced his real name—Peli Motto might not like it, but hey, a name’s a name—and it’s (hopefully) just a teaser of more details to come. Almost 30 years elapsed between Grogu surviving Order 66 and meeting Mando, and as of yet we know nothing about what he was doing during those decades. That could change in Season 3.
The Darksaber and the Throne of Mandalore
Grogu’s schooling aside, the biggest source of uncertainty heading into the new season of The Mandalorian now surrounds the Darksaber and what the Mandalorian will choose to do with the legendary weapon. Back in “The Rescue,” Bo-Katan Kryze was insistent on being the one to defeat Moff Gideon, the previous owner of the Darksaber, though she provided little explanation of her reasoning. Thanks to the poor communication on her part, the Mandalorian defeated Gideon himself, and to Bo-Katan’s horror, Din gained ownership of the Darksaber and a claim to rule Mandalore in the process. Though Djarin, unlike Bo-Katan, had no interest in the Mandalorian throne, winning the Darksaber in combat made it Mando’s right and duty to liberate and rule his culture’s captured, shattered homeworld.
All of this Mandalorian drama was overshadowed in the Season 2 finale by the simultaneous return of Luke Skywalker and Grogu’s emotional farewell, but the fifth episode of Book of Boba Fett resurfaces the stakes surrounding the Darksaber while providing further context. As the Armorer explains to Mando, Mandalorian lore—or at least the extremist Armorer’s interpretation of it—states that if the Darksaber is won in battle, “one warrior will defeat 20, and the multitudes will fall before it.” Conversely, if it isn’t won in combat, “it will be a curse unto the nation: Mandalore will be laid to waste, and its people scattered to the four winds.” The Armorer asserts that the latter type of transfer is precisely what doomed Mandalore, leading to its fall to the Empire under the rule of Bo-Katan, who assumed possession of the Darksaber as a gift from Sabine Wren.
While all of this exposition has little to do with Boba Fett’s war with the Pykes, it provides a foundation for The Mandalorian to build upon, and a setup for a potential duel with Bo-Katan as she awaits her coveted redemption. Paz Vizsla, of the Vizsla clan that created and traditionally retained control of the blade, has already (unsuccessfully) challenged Djarin for the right to wield the Darksaber, and he likely won’t be the last. In a way, it would be fitting if Grogu were to bear the blade, given that its original owner, Tarre Vizsla, was both a Mandalorian and a Jedi. No one wants to see Grogu fight Din—perish the thought—but Grogu could win the weapon from someone else who claims it from Mando. Maybe the Armorer can make him a helmet to go with it.
The Mandalorian will almost certainly pick up this thread that leads back to Mandalore, and a rumored Bo-Katan spinoff could follow it even further after the events of the upcoming season. In addition to the Darksaber, though, Mando has another key reason to make his way to Mandalore, as it provides the only opportunity for him to claim redemption of his own after being cast out of his clan for removing his helmet. When Mando begs for the Armorer’s forgiveness after he admits to breaking this archaic rule, she explains that there is only one way to return to his tribe: “According to creed, one may only be redeemed in the living waters beneath the mines of Mandalore.”
“But the mines have all been destroyed.” Djarin responds.
“This is the way,” the Armorer says. (Very helpful.)
Beyond his adorable green companion, there is nothing that Mando cares more about than his tribe and the creed they live by. Even after he’s exiled, he continues to abide by the way of the Mandalorians, and he almost dies for his beliefs alongside Boba Fett on Tatooine. Maybe that will change in Season 3: Mando could decide to reject his adoptive tribe’s rigid code, as Grogu has rejected the Jedi’s. One way or another, though, all paths seem to lead back to Mandalore, and thanks to what transpired on The Book of Boba Fett, Baby Yoda may be going along for the ride.