Everyone’s favorite Star Wars character these days is a 50-year-old baby who’s lived in our hearts for only a week, and the pressing question we all need to be asking over the next month, assuming the precious Baby Yoda survives the events of The Mandalorian, is whether or not this creature has some role to play in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker?
The Mandalorian’s release schedule feels like a deliberate hint that there’s some kind of direct connection to The Rise of Skywalker. Episode 6 drops on Friday, December 13 like normal, but Episode 7 hits Disney+ on Wednesday, December 18 — that’s a day before the earliest Rise of Skywalker screenings. Then, the Season 1 finale of The Mandalorian will be released Friday, December 27 (a week after Episode IX). Why have the series be perfectly constructed around the release of the final movie if there wasn’t an important connection?
The Mandalorian may be about the bounty hunter, but the real heart and focus of she show is Baby Yoda. There’s still so much we don’t know — like its actual name or whether this creature is male or female — but the presence of a powerful Force user at this point in time is crucial. It also makes sense within the scope of these nine movies that in the present day of Episode IX, Baby Yoda will have grown up into a veritable badass young adult capable of incredible things. He/she may even be some kind of fledgling Jedi that could help in the final battle.
A big source of all the mystery and intrigue surrounding Baby Yoda is that, to this date, we know almost nothing about Yoda’s species beyond their longevity (Yoda died of old age around 900) and their strong connection to the Force (another of the species, Yaddle, was also on the Jedi Council in the prequel trilogy). Baby Yoda, true to his name, is still just a baby despite being 50 years old. He’s already powerful in the Force, and given the timeline of The Mandalorian and the new trilogy of Star Wars film, should Baby Yoda survive the next few episodes, he’ll be around 76 years old by the time The Rise of Skywalker happens.
Old enough to truly help the Resistance, he will be.
In Star Wars canon, Yoda began training Jedi 800 years before his death, which tells us that he attained at least the rank of Jedi Knight at 100 years of age — so a lot of maturing happens between the ages of 50 and 100 for these little green guys. There’s an important IRL book out there called The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force once regarded as non-canon that Rian Johnson essentially re-canonized in January 2018. The resource manual says it takes two decades for a Padawan to achieve the rank of Jedi Knight, and they only become a Master when they train a Padawan themselves to Knighthood, putting the track to Master at about 40 years — at least in the old ways of the Jedi Order.
For Yoda to have achieved all that he did by the age of 100, he would have had to begin his Jedi training by 60 years old — that’s a mere decade older than young Baby Yoda.
Based on all of these canonical clues, Baby Yoda should conceivably reach maturity somewhere between the age of 70 and 80 years old. Because Baby Yoda shares a birth year with Anakin Skywalker, we know he’ll be 76 during the events of Episode IX and probably on the cusp of adulthood similar to Anakin Skywalker in Episode II. Or, to put it another way, he might be at a similar point in his development in the Force to Rey.
The most crucial new Resistance ally in the new movie, he may be.
New episodes of The Mandalorian hit Disney+ on Friday mornings, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released in theaters December 20, 2019.