Baby Yoda's latest babysitter just made sense of the Kessel Run in less than one minute.
When Mando drops off Baby Yoda at daycare/school on the planet Nevarro in the latest episode of The Mandalorian Season 2 ("Chapter 12: The Siege) we're meant to focus on the Child being adorable as he uses the Force to steal a delicious snack. But the background chatter from the protocol droid's lesson is really what you should be paying attention to — if you're still bothered by a fairly large Star Wars plot hole created by Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Here's how the classroom in The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 4 quickly, and sneakily, fixed everything wrong with the Kessel Run. Warning! Spoilers below.
Prior to Solo: A Star Wars Story, we'd never seen the planet Kessel on screen, right? We also saw the planet in the more recent Clone Wars episodes "Deal No Deal" and "Dangerous Debt." Prior to that, the Ghost also visited Kessel in Rebels.
But in Solo, there was one major difference from the way the planet was portrayed in animated Star Wars shows. In The Clone Wars, there wasn't a giant space lighting storm surrounding Kessel, but in Solo, there was. So what gives? Where was the lighting storm in The Clone Wars? And what's up with the space-weather that makes the "Kessel Run" such a big deal?
The problem with Kessel Run canon
When The Clone Wars Season 7 episode "Deal or No Deal" aired, some of us were slightly scandalized that the Silver Angel was able to jump to Kessel normally. Solo had already established that the Akkadese Maelstrom made it impossible to jump to Kessel normally because all of the gravity wells prevented regular hyperspace travel. In other words: a space-storm was the reason why the "Kessel Run" had to happen at all.
But, why was the Maelstrom not there in Clone Wars and Rebels? In 2018, Lucasfilm Story Group rep Matt Martin drew a map that jokingly suggested that Kessel had different orbits depending on the time of year. He also made it clear this was not canon, at least not then. But now, Martin's suggestion is canon, because the protocol droid teacher is talking about that very thing in The Mandalorian.
What the droid teacher said about Kessel
As Baby Yoda is trying to wrangle a cookie snack via his Force-powers, the droid teacher is giving a lesson about different types of orbits. Here's what is said:
"The Maelstrom surrounds Kessel and its three moons. As you learned yesterday, there are many systems in this galaxy. How many orbits are in the Kessel system? Do we at least remember that?"
Then an offscreen kid answers "Uh, two?" And the droid says: "Yes, very good. As the third moon of Kessel rotates its outer planet, you see the moon here travels in its same orbit. Now, who can track the path of the orbit here?"
Now, if you didn't manage to hear this, that's fine. This dialogue is barely audible, and really, the only way to get it all down is to put on the closed-captions and read what the droid is saying. Most people probably don't care, but here's why you should.
How The Mandalorian fixes everything
If you're questioning why toddlers and grade-school-aged young children are being given a lesson in complicated orbits around a planet larger known for its criminal exports, I guess you're going to have to take that up with the school board on the planet Nevarro. But for Star Wars fans still curious about Kessel and the Akkadese Maelstrom, this brief lesson seems to establish something big: One of Kessel's moons rotates Kessel itself. (Yes, that's right, Kessel rotates around the moon, and not the other way around.) Further, the Kessel system has "two orbits," which seems to imply the orbit of Kessel is changed depending on when it's interacting with this moon that moves it.
Bottom line: If Kessel's orbit gets changed depending on when this other moon is rotating it, then — according to shaky Star Wars-style space physics — Kessel could spend some time of the year outside of the Akkadese Maelstrom, thus, making any canon plot holes caused by Solo to be perfectly fine, thank you very much.
Will this ever come up again when someone is discussing the Kessel Run? It seems very likely. It's just too bad Baby Yoda wasn't taking notes.
The Mandalorian is streaming now on Disney+.