'The Mandalorian' Welcomes in the Bigger 'Star Wars' Universe in Its Season 2 Finale
We figured something like this would happen.
This article contains major spoilers up through The Mandalorian Season 2 finale, "The Rescue."
Part of the joy of watching The Mandalorian, especially in its first season, was watching a piece of the Star Wars galaxy play out that had little or nothing to do with the grand space opera we've seen on the big screen. Mando himself operates in the backwaters, on a planet no one else goes to, dealing with small-time crimes and sinister gang bosses. Since meeting The Artist Formerly Known As Baby Yoda now known as Grogu, he's found himself wrapped up in a larger scheme that has grown to involve other Mandalorians, other worlds, and at least one other Jedi over the course of the show's second season, which has kept the grounded feeling of Season 1 even while expanding into a more familiar Star Wars universe.
In the Season 2 finale, "The Rescue," Mando's search to unite Grogu with someone who can teach him to master his abilities comes to an end, with more than enough fanservice. After boarding Moff Gideon's Imperial cruiser and dispatching every Stormtrooper they find, new Republic Marshal Cara Dune and sharpshooter Fennec Shand, who have recently teamed up with Mandalorian warriors Bo-Katan Kryze and Koska Reeves, take control of the bridge while Mando fights off a robotic Dark Trooper, ejects the rest of them into the vacuum of space, and takes Grogu back from Moff Gideon—following a cool Darksaber vs. Beskar spear fight, of course. But when he brings the captured Gideon up to the bridge, he informs Mando that he is now the wielder of the Darksaber, since he won it in battle against Gideon. Which throws a huge sword-sized wrench into Bo-Katan's plans to return to Mandalore with the Darksaber and reunite the decimated Mandalorian tribes.
And then, an alarm bell rings as the legions of Dark Troopers Mando jettisoned return to the cruiser via their rocket feet and proceed all the way to the bridge, pounding on the blast doors and nearly pulling them open before ANOTHER surprise character drops in on an X-wing. Yes, it's the unknown Jedi warrior Grogu contacted while he was sitting on that big rock two episodes ago, who flips and kicks and parkours around the platoon of droid soldiers like a little jumping bean, fighting them off one by one with (gasp) a green lightsaber. When he arrives at the bridge, he removes his black hood to reveal himself as none other than Luke Skywalker, that guy who blew up the Empire that one time.
Luke (voiced by Hamill but played by "double for Jedi" Max Lloyd Jones with a digitally de-aged Hamill face pasted on, as this franchise continues to do, despite everyone's pleas against it) asks for Grogu to come with him, and Grogu and Mando share a very emotional goodbye, during which Mando removes his helmet so that his young companion can finally see his face. R2-D2 even shows up, for some reason, and he and Grogu share some affectionate beeps. Luke scoops Grogu up in his arms and the trio leaves as Mando lets his eyes get sorta misty.
And that's it! End of the season, and end of any notion that The Mandalorian was allowed to be its own distinct thing. Maybe that's not entirely true, and maybe with Grogu gone (though probably not for long), The Mandalorian can shed some of the weight of all these added storylines and references to things that happened long ago. They do keep a little bit of the memory of that small-scale feeling in this episode, when Mando looks Luke Skywalker up and down and asks if he's a Jedi, clearly with NO idea of who he's in the presence of. Guess there's not a lot of daily news in this galaxy.
But as soon as Ahsoka Tano—who had a very good, very brief one-episode appearance that didn't require you to know she was a major character in another piece of this franchise—advised Mando to take Grogu somewhere where he could contact another Jedi, I grew slightly concerned. The Mandalorian is exciting as another "war against the Empire" show, but it's much more engaging and charming as a Western pastiche about a gunslinger who gets into weekly conflicts that are resolved after 45 minutes, with some sci-fi stuff thrown in. Maybe it was too much to hope for that The Mandalorian could remain something self-contained when it's part of a media franchise that continues to needlessly indebt itself to a narrative that was concluded 40 years ago.
So, where do we go from here? Grogu has gone off with Luke, who has or will soon start up the Jedi school where he trained young Ben Solo before he became Kylo Ren. It's unlikely that the show will follow that plotline much, since it's called The Mandalorian and not Jedi School, but we wouldn't be surprised if Grogu showed back up later on. Mando will probably be cajoled into returning to Mandalore with Bo-Katan and Koska, since he has the Darksaber and is the rightful ruler of the planet. Something tells me he's not gonna take that well.
Also, if you stuck around past the credits, you know that Boba Fett and Fennec Shand are getting their own show, The Book of Boba Fett, which is coming December 2021. We are unlikely to catch up with Mando for a while, and Disney may figure that the new Boba Fett show is enough to tide us over until 2022. Which is a bummer, but if Season 3 is anything like what this season indicates it will be, that VFX budget is gonna get way bigger.
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