The Mandalorian Season 3 Finale Disproves The Oldest Baby Yoda Fan Theory
The reason behind one mystery throughout all three seasons of The Mandalorian has finally been explained.
The reason why Moff Gideon wanted Baby Yoda and the secret to Dr. Pershing’s experiments have finally been explained. And it appears, one assumption fans have made since 2019 has been proven untrue. Very quickly, with one brief revelation, the Season 3 finale of The Mandalorian laid out exactly what was going on with Moff Gideon’s obsession with Grogu the whole time. And it’s not exactly what anyone thought. Spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian Season 3 finale, “The Return.”
As the combined Mandalorian forces fight back against Moff Gideon and his Imperial forces, Mando and Grogu discover a room filled with clones of one person — Gideon himself. There are no Snokes here, nor are there any Palpatines. Moff Gideon’s entire plan was not part of the larger plot to use cloning tech to bring Palps back to life, nor was it part of a coordinated effort among all the Imperial Remnants. Instead, what we learn is that Gideon was trying to create Force-attuned clones of himself, as a kind of glorified pet project. He tells Mando that the clones would have had “the best parts of me, but improved, by adding the one thing I never had — the Force.”
Gideon says he was “isolating the potential to use the Force.” This means that way back in Season 1 when the Client (Werner Herzog) and Dr. Pershing had Grogu strapped to the bed, they were trying to extract midi-chlorians. It also means that in Season 2, when Gideon said he just wanted Grogu because he needed a bit of his blood, he was mostly telling the truth. And this revelation — combined with some new information from Episode 7 — oddly paints the entire series in a different light.
Moff Gideon was acting alone
The Mandalorian Season 3 finale, as well as elements of the previous episode, “The Spies,” has recontextualized the actions of Moff Gideon throughout the entire series, and interestingly makes him seem less powerful than we once thought. In a sense, Moff Gideon is a Star Wars hobbyist, someone who wishes that he had cool armor like the Mandalorians or the ability to use the Force like a Jedi. Because he doesn’t have these things, he tries to steal aspects of these cultures for himself, and his future clones.
In “The Spies,” Moff Gideon tells Commandant Hux that he’s not interested in making clones after Hux accuses him of conducting experiments on Nevarro. The thing is, that’s exactly what Gideon was doing, in direct conflict with the Empire’s own plans. Not only was Moff Gideon obsessed with aspects of the Jedi, the Sith, and the Mandalorians, but he was also deeply narcissistic to the point of being maybe a little bit impractical.
In “The Convert,” Dr. Pershing says his research was “at the behest of a desperate individual intent on using cloning technology to secure more power for himself.” It’s now clear that individual wasn’t Palpatine, it was Gideon. Why Pershing didn’t just name him outright in his speech is odd, but it’s also unclear what Gideon’s endgame with his clones really was. Did he plan to transfer his consciousness into the bodies once they were imbued with the Force? If so, that plan is very similar to what Palpatine pulled off in the Legends comic Dark Empire. Or was Gideon just planning on having a bunch of copies of himself all hang out together? And if that was the plan, how could he ensure they followed his orders?
How Mandalorian Season 3 sets up Ahsoka
The details of the rest of Gideon’s plan will probably never come to light. And when it comes to the various warlords of the Imperial Remnant, the Mando Season 3 finale paves the way for a new big bad to dominate everyone else. Whereas Moff Gideon felt like the most powerful remaining Imperial back in Mando Season 1, it’s now clear there are several warlords, and that all those competing voices will likely be unified under Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Because Ahsoka takes place in the same time period as The Mandalorian, it stands to reason that the new Imperial status quo will be a big part of that series. Moff Gideon’s defeat ties up loose ends for Mando, and demystifies years of complicated internet theories, all trying to figure out just exactly how Palpatine returned. But at this point, all of these plotlines seem resolved. So when Ahsoka Tano has to face Imperials in her own series, she won’t have any baggage leftover from The Mandalorian.