What if the ending of The Mandalorian Season 2 was really the end of Baby Yoda? While it makes a certain amount of sense that the appearance of Luke Skywalker in "The Rescue," is a kind of happy cliffhanger, we might not be taking this big final scene at face value.
We don't know much about what will happen in The Mandalorian Season 3, but show creator Jon Favreau did admit recently that incorporating Luke into the finale of Season 2, wasn't always in the cards. While that doesn't mean much for what's already happened, this kind of flexibility suggests that Grogu and Din Djarin's future is pretty much unpredictable. After all, we didn't even know Baby Yoda existed until The Mandalorian's first episode in 2019. So can the show exist with him?
Mandalorian Season 3: Goodbye Grogu?
The idea that Din Djarin has parted with Baby Yoda is heartbreaking on one level, but from a storytelling perspective, it's kind of liberating. Generally speaking, one of the reasons you don't have action heroes driving around with infants and toddlers is because it's dangerous and narratively inconvenient.
Let's face it. In The Mandalorian Season 1, there was a novelty to watching Mando figure out how to incorporate caring for a baby while being a murdering bounty hunter. But in Season 2, The Mandalorian frequently got around this by letting Mando drop off Baby Yoda with other people on a regular basis.
Yes, the search for a safe haven for Baby Yoda drove the movements of Mando in both seasons, but by Season 2, Grogu was just kind of there a lot of the time. Those awesome Force-powers Baby Yoda used in Season 1 were mostly absent in Season 2, making the character less of a person, and more of a prop. (The obvious exception to this is the excellent episode "The Jedi," in which we actually found out Baby Yoda's name is Grogu and that Mando is a pushy helicopter parent trying to get his kid to perform under pressure.)
And yet, The Mandalorian is still an action-adventure series, which means that unless Baby Yoda has a massive growth spurt or starts using Jedi mind-tricks to help Mando track down bounties, the show was stuck with a limited number of plots. In real life, people with babies tend to quit doing whatever complicated or child-averse professional work they're in. If Mando was realistically going to become Baby Yoda's full-time dad, he'd just move to Sorgan (the planet from Season 1, "The Sanctuary,") and settle down with Omera.
In real life, this is what people do. For parallel Star Wars examples, look no further than every other parent in Star Wars. Galen Erso literally retired and hid his family away from the Empire. Bail Organa only let his adopted daughter start toting a blaster when she was a grown-up, and Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru did their best to give Luke a safe, and urban life. Even Obi-Wan retired to help keep that baby safe!
Mandalorian Season 3 could feel a lot more like Star Wars
The larger point is probably becoming obvious: Darth Vader was able to be a space badass because he was unaware he had children. Han Solo went back to being a space smuggler because his adult son turned to the Dark Side and became an evil warlord. So, if you're going to have a show called The Mandalorian and there's going to be a whiff of realism (or, you know, reliability) then Mando and Baby Yoda can't be on the run forever. It's bad parenting, and sadly, dull storytelling.
All of this strongly suggests that The Mandalorian Season 3 could pull a soft reboot that didn't involve Baby Yoda in any way, shape, or form. In December 2021, we're supposed to be getting The Book of Boba Fett, which, in a way, could prepare audiences for what a new Bounty Hunter- centric Star Wars show without a cutesy kid will feel like. (Feels pretty unlikely Boba Fett is going to get an adopted kid, right?)
If The Mandalorian Season 3 does manage to avoid bringing back Baby Yoda (at least for a little while) then suddenly, the show could take-off in an exciting new direction. In Seasons 1 and 2, Mando's actions have been relegated to hiding, fighting, protecting, searching, and worrying. If Baby Yoda is out of the picture, he could actually do anything. This simple fact would allow the character of Mando to grow beyond being just the guy who takes care of Baby Yoda. And if that happens, then the show might be able to live up to its eponymous, and bold title.
Who is The Mandalorian without Baby Yoda? It might be great to find out.
The Mandalorian Season 3 is expected sometime in 2022.