This Star Wars article contains spoilers for The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett
While The Mandalorian has already delivered so many adorable Grogu moments in season 3, the first episode, “The Apostate,” has also done a huge disservice to his story. The season 2 finale saw Grogu leave his adopted father to train with Luke Skywalker in an emotional cliffhanger, but the first episode of season 3 almost acts like this never happened.
Anyone who watched The Book of Boba Fett knows that Grogu abandoned his Jedi training in favor of exploring the galaxy with his space dad, but the many people who didn’t watch The Mandalorian spinoff series were left confused as to why and how the two got back together. We’ve argued many times that resolving The Mandalorian‘s most important conflict to date on another character’s show was a mistake, but instead of learning from this mistake and bridging the gap in a more cohesive way with the season 3 opener, Disney has doubled down on its decision for some reason.
“The Apostate” essentially has two big opportunities to fill in viewers on what happened to Grogu and Mando in The Book of Boba Fett – during the recap that opens the episode and within the episode itself. But unfortunately The Mandalorian does neither. The recap reminds us who the robot IG-11 is from season 1 and covers Djarin’s excommunication from his Mandalorian clan from Book of Boba Fett. Later, the episode even takes the time to address Cara Dune and actor Gina Carano’s absence, explaining where the character went after season 2. But there’s nothing on Grogu’s time with Luke, how Djarin forged the beskar spear into chainmail armor for the little guy, or how they reunited on Tatooine and got their new ship.
While this exclusion may not be a big deal for anyone who watched The Book of Boba Fett, it shows that Disney assumes that everyone who is watching The Mandalorian has both watched and remembers what happened in the spinoff series, too. Forcing your audience to watch seven episodes of a completely different (and subpar) spinoff so that you can understand the story of the main show is a big ask, especially for more casual fans who just want to tune into their Baby Yoda adventures once a week and then move on.
In fact, before the Boba Fett debacle, The Mandalorian was a great series for casual Star Wars fans. Sure, season 2 introduced characters like Bo-Katan Kryze and Ahsoka Tano, whose stories span other TV series like The Clone Wars and Rebels, but you don’t really have to watch them in order to understand the role they play in The Mandalorian. Everything you need to know about them in regards to The Mandalorian is explained on The Mandalorian. The easter eggs, references, and deeper lore are there as a bonus if you want to engage with them.
This isn’t to argue against interconnectivity across Star Wars series – with how lucrative the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become, expansive connected universes are almost inescapable at this point – but rather to question why a major emotional moment for Din and Grogu wasn’t even acknowledged in the first episode of season 3. Forgoing the ways of the Jedi and returning to Djarin of his own accord was a massive turning point for this character. It’s the kind of character moment that made us fall in love with this more intimate Star Wars story in the first place. Not addressing this decision at all in this episode not only confuses fans who expected to see Grogu doing cool Jedi stuff with Luke on The Mandalorian, but it also discounts the importance of this choice in Grogu’s journey.
Until Luke gave him the choice between the beskar armor and Yoda’s lightsaber in The Book of Boba Fett, Grogu had just kind of been along for the ride. First Mando had to protect him from bounty hunters, then the pair went on a quest to find a Jedi to train him. Returning to his adoptive father was the first time we really got to see Grogu make a decision about his own life and its trajectory, and it’s unfortunate that The Mandalorian failed to acknowledge it in the series’ return.
The Mandalorian season 3 streams Wednesdays on Disney+.