This Star Wars: The Mandalorian article contains spoilers.
I know. No one really wants to consider the edgiest villain in the galaxy touching a hair on Grogu’s head with malice. But The Mandalorian takes place at a time when the events of the Sequel Trilogy are already being seeded. All this, the lawless Outer Rim and the ineffective New Republic police, will be swallowed up by the First Order eventually. And Grogu has a long enough lifespan to see this and many other governments rise and fall. How might his story intersect with the Sequel Trilogy timeline?
Just in case this article stresses you out as much it does me, take a moment for some Grogu Meditation. Close your eyes. Breathe in. Picture the little guy eating a macaron with his heavily armored dad. Breathe out.
Okay, let’s break this down:
Thanks to the season 2 finale, “The Rescue,” we now know that Luke Skywalker does indeed take Grogu as his student to be trained in the ways of the Force. In the years immediately after Return of the Jedi, Luke is busy learning all he can about the old Jedi Order and building his own academy, the same one we’ll see burning in flashbacks throughout the Sequel Trilogy and the comic book miniseries The Rise of Kylo Ren by Charles Soule and Will Sliney. But there’s a lot of time between The Mandalorian and anything we’ve seen elsewhere.
Let’s run some numbers. The Mandalorian takes place in 9 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin). Meanwhile, The Force Awakens takes place in 34 ABY, and Ben Solo was born in 5 ABY. The academy existed until about 28 ABY, at which point Ben destroyed it and became Kylo Ren. Just 19 years after the events of “The Rescue,” Grogu wouldn’t even be 100. He’d still be a child in terms of the way his species ages. So it’s almost certain he’d be alive when Luke’s academy fell.
But Ben’s betrayal wasn’t an organized massacre like Order 66. He doesn’t go from room to room striking down students like Anakin did with the younglings in Revenge of the Sith.
In The Rise of Kylo Ren, we learn Ben is surprised by his own dark side powers. His anger leads to large storm clouds forming over the temple that strike it with lightning, burning it down and killing most of the other students inside in the process. At one point, Ben tries to run into the temple to save whoever is left inside but is knocked back by another explosion of lightning. A mysterious voice in his head tells him that the fate of his fellow students is Luke’s fault, and it’s pretty clear in the scene that this is Snoke’s voice (aka the Emperor) compelling Ben to commit atrocities and become Kylo Ren.
Ben does kill the three Jedi survivors who chase after him after the massacre, but even then, he seems hesitant to take their lives. It seems at this early stage in his transformation that he wouldn’t have the stomach to kill a likely still defenseless Grogu.
So what if Baby Yoda was trapped in the burning Jedi Temple? We already know he can protect himself from fire with the Force, as he did in “Redemption.” That said, this is all speculation. We don’t know where Grogu’s story is headed next after Luke takes him.
Judging by how timid Disney has been about exploring more of Luke’s post-Return of the Jedi story, it’s likely that we won’t learn more about his academy for some time, especially as the books and some of the shows turn to the High Republic era. That means that there will be almost two decades of Grogu’s life that will likely remain unwritten for the next few years. Anything could happen to Grogu in that time. There’s even the chance Kylo Ren could encounter Grogu much later, before the official emergence of the First Order but after his fall and Luke’s self-imposed exile.
But let’s be honest: is Grogu’s time away from The Mandalorian really going to stick? From a narrative standpoint, it would be surprising if Grogu and Din Djarin were really apart for long. The bond between the child and his surprise father figure is at the core of what’s made the show a success. Why would Disney want to break from such a captivating formula?
We know there are definitely more seasons of The Mandalorian coming, and with Pedro Pascal on board, the little guy probably will be too. Does that mean Luke returns him for some reason? Or that Din changes his mind about leaving the child behind like he did in season one? These are questions we just don’t have answers to yet.
So, will Kylo Ren end the baby’s story? Probably not, except maybe metaphorically in that the Sequel Trilogy pretty much exists in a different universe from what’s happening on the show. Maybe that will change; after all, it’s still unclear whether Moff Gideon is using the baby’s DNA for Emperor Palpatine’s Snoke project.
Honestly, the biggest argument against whether Baby Yoda is now doomed to be destroyed because of the Jedi Master he stays with is a tonal one. Star Wars is about darkness sometimes, but much more often about hope and light. Or maybe I’m just trying to get some sleep tonight. Remember the meditation!