Bounty hunting is a complicated profession, but maybe not as complicated as the ending of The Mandalorian’s premiere. The first episode in the first live-action Star Wars series is streaming now on Disney+, and it has an ending that’s actually game-changing to the canon of Star Wars. But if you’re a little confused by what just happened, well, you’re not alone. So let’s unpack exactly what we just saw and what it means for the Disney+ series.
And yes, that means spoilers for The Mandalorian ahead.
In The Mandalorian, Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) stars as a nameless bounty hunter from Mandalore in the aftermath of Star Wars: Return fo the Jedi. Though the Empire has fallen, peace has still not reached to the far edges of the galaxy. It is here where amoral individuals like the Mandalorian thrive.
At the beginning of the series, the Mandalorian accepts a risky job from an anonymous client (Werner Herzog) who wants a target, age 50, dead. After a trying journey, the Mandalorian reaches his target, only to discover that being 50 years old means something different for this species. The bounty hunter discovers that his “50-year-old” target is actually a goddamn infant, of the same species as Yoda. Whoa.
This is huge. Not only was Yoda thought to be the last of his kind (and permanently extinct with his death in Return of the Jedi), but this is the first we’ve come to learn anything about Yoda’s species.
Wait, that’s not Yoda?
No, the baby in The Mandalorian is not Yoda. But it does introduce a huge wrinkle in that Yoda was/is not the only one of his kind left in the galaxy.
Unlike most other pieces of Star Wars lore, Yoda’s species has never been explained in any way. It is actually unknown what species he is and what kind of society they had, so the mere existence of Yoda has been one of the biggest mysteries in Star Wars. The Mandalorian could change that forever.
In all likelihood, as we keep watching The Mandalorian, fans will come to learn what species Yoda and this infant come from. We may finally learn the species’ name, their society and civilization, and whether or not there are more like them out in the galaxy. It actually begs the question: When Yoda died, did he actually know if he was the last of his species or not?
So, when does The Mandalorian take place?
In case the “Baby Yoda” twist has you confused, rest assured, the show takes place after Return of the Jedi. Luke Skywalker and the Rebels have successfully toppled the Empire and are now building democracy anew in a galaxy far, far away. As we’ll see in The Force Awakens however, evil never dies, and the seeds of the First Order will be planted, possibly even in The Mandalorian.
If “Baby Yoda” threw you for a loop and you thought maybe The Mandalorian was some distant prequel, it’s not. Yoda lived and died before The Mandalorian begins. The baby is another individual of Yoda’s species, we’ve just yet to know more about them. After all, it wouldn’t be Star Wars unless there were a million questions.
The Mandalorian is streaming now on Disney+.