This Star Wars article contains spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian.
The Book of Boba Fett did the inevitable when it brought back The Mandalorian protagonist Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) for a continuation of his own Disney+ adventures. In an episode almost entirely without the main characters from Boba Fett, Din gains a new ship, learns more about the Darksaber, and mourns the departure of Jedi baby, Grogu.
By the end of “Return of the Mandalorian,” it even seems like Din is going to stick around for the rest of the series, but not just to help Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) protect their hold on the Tatooine underworld. Before joining the battle against the Pykes, Din tells Fennec that he needs to find Grogu first to make sure he’s okay. But it’s unclear whether this long-awaited reunion will happen on The Book of Boba Fett or on The Mandalorian season 3.
Here are our theories:
Will Din and Grogu Reunite in The Book of Boba Fett?
First, let’s get the big question out of the way: will Grogu return on The Book of Boba Fett? It doesn’t seem likely. Disney and Lucasfilm will probably wait for The Mandalorian season 3 to show fans that reunion, as just one more incentive to tune into the show’s return later this year.
Even though episode 5 of The Book of Boba Fett played like a good installment of The Mandalorian, it still doesn’t convey any information that couldn’t be easily visually conveyed in season 3. As much as Disney wants Lucasfilm to adopt more Marvel-style serial storytelling across different franchises, it doesn’t seem wise to downplay the events and main characters of The Book of Boba Fett by benching them while the more interesting threads from The Mandalorian unfold. “Return of the Mandalorian” is probably just meant to be a teaser for what’s to come later this year.
But does Din leaving Tatooine at the end of the episode mean he won’t be back in time for the rest of The Book of Boba Fett? Well, it’s very possible that Din and Grogu will have their reunion off-screen during the events of episode 6. The bounty hunter could theb return to save the day in the Boba Fett finale, with The Mandalorian season 3 premiere flashing back to Din’s reunion with Grogu.
That raises an even bigger question: where is Grogu? The Star Wars galaxy is vast, full of places to explore, but Din seems certain about where to find his little friend. Based on what we know about Luke Skywalker’s own post-Return of the Jedi adventures, we can make a few educated guesses as to where Din will eventually find Grogu…
Where Is Grogu During The Book of Boba Fett?
The tie-in books and comics provide clues as to where Grogu and Luke went after the season two finale of The Mandalorian. “Return of the Mandalorian” takes place in 9 ABY (in other words, five years after Return of the Jedi). While this is largely unexplored territory for Luke’s own Disney canon story, we do know a few things about what Luke was doing in the time period that connects the Original Trilogy with the Sequels.
After the final defeat of the Empire at the Battle of Jakku (which happened before the events of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett), Luke set out to rebuild the Jedi Order. He began by going on a search for Jedi knowledge and artifacts, often traveling the galaxy with explorer and non-Force-sensitive Force devotee Lor San Tekka — you might remember him as the older gentleman Poe Dameron seeks out at the beginning of The Force Awakens. It’s possible Grogu is adventuring with the two of them during the time of The Book of Boba Fett, along for the ride while they search for the sacred Jedi texts that will go on to make an appearance in The Last Jedi. (Fun fact: by the time of The Mandalorian era, Luke has already acquired the compass that will eventually lead him to Ahch-To as well as the Force tree that will grow there.)
But we also know Grogu became one of Luke’s first students. What we don’t know for sure is when Luke officially opened his Jedi Academy, which first officially shows up in the comics around 19 ABY. Of course, we know tragedy awaits this academy at the hands of Luke’s own nephew, Ben Solo, who was born in 5 ABY and began his Jedi training with Luke around 15 ABY, six years after Grogu. We don’t see Grogu in any of Ben’s comic book adventures with Luke, which suggests the little Baby Yoda probably wasn’t present when Ben turned to the dark side and destroyed his uncle’s hidden Jedi Temple. Yes, we’re relieved too.
The Luke or Luuke Theory
There’s also another, rather more far-fetched fan theory that a) explains why Grogu isn’t at Luke’s academy later, and b) paves the way for Din to get his adopted son back for good. What if the person who rescued Grogu on the Imperial cruiser isn’t Luke Skywalker at all? What if Din unknowingly entrusted Grogu’s care to an evil dark side clone of Luke?
We have to go back to the now non-canon Legends continuity to explain this one. You see, in the 9 ABY of the old timeline, Luke was cloned by an insane dark Jedi named Joruus C’baoth, who was himself a clone of a Prequel era Jedi Master. Joruus hoped to train this Luke clone as his dark side apprentice as part of his plan to take over the Imperial remnant for himself. The humorously named “Luuke” appeared in the generally well-regarded novel The Last Command, the third and final book in Timothy Zahn’s formative Thrawn trilogy.
So why is this far-out theory so captivating? Well, The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have used elements from this book trilogy before. The most obvious callback is the reference to Grand Admiral Thrawn himself in The Mandalorian season 2 episode “The Jedi,” in which it’s revealed that Ahsoka Tano is hunting the Imperial villain. First brought back into canon in the animated series Rebels by Filoni, Thrawn has long been speculated to be the big bad of not only the Ahsoka live-action series coming to Disney+ but the big bad of The Mandalorian era shows as a whole, with the Imperial commander pulling all of the strings across all of the series. Lucasfilm has even announced a big crossover event for these shows, which could chronicle the final battle with Thrawn.
There are also canon stories that could be setting up a clone Luke twist. In The Last Command, we learn Luuke was cloned from the genetic material extracted from Luke’s severed hand, and we know Lucasfilm has long been interested in bringing back the hand for the Disney era — J.J. Abrams once considered using the severed appendage as a plot point in The Force Awakens, for example. The hand finally made a reappearance in last year’s canon comic book Darth Vader #11. The issue reveals that it was recovered by Emperor Palpatine, who then took it to the hidden Sith temple on Exegol for an unknown purpose. Coincidentally, this temple is also where Palpatine is developing the clone technology needed for his eventual return in The Rise of Skywalker. After the Emperor’s first death, could Thrawn have taken the hand and figured out a way to clone Luke? (Of course, this would contradict how Palpatine struggled to make a Force-sensitive clone vessel for himself.)
But how likely is the Luuke twist to happen on Disney+? Luke’s appearance in The Mandalorian seems like it was intended to be a moment of hope and recognition, not a setup for a “gotcha” later. While Disney has been happy to include book characters in the shows, even obscure ones like Cobb Vanth, Luuke is definitely on the pulpier end of the spectrum. Revealing the Dark Trooper-wrecking Luke wasn’t Luke at all would also likely draw the ire of some fans who felt they’d finally received the version of the Jedi hero they’d always wanted to see after the Original Trilogy. It’s discourse Disney would probably like to avoid after The Last Jedi…
On the other hand, including a Luke clone would create a reason for Din to start out on another quest to get his adopted son back, and could potentially bring the various cloning plots (Boba Fett, Grogu and the Imperial remnant, maybe even the Snokes from the Sequel Trilogy) together. It could even explain the imperfect likeness that comes from digital de-aging. Plus, who doesn’t want to see Din’s Darksaber go up against a lightsaber in live action?
Regardless of whether or not Luke is Luuke, there are plenty of possibilities for where The Mandalorian could go next. The relationship between Din and Grogu is core to the show, which means we’re sure to see this unlikely duo together again soon.