really wouldn’t want to be the guy who updates din djarin about what happens to the new jedi order in about 20 years

Zoë Hayden
5 min readDec 19, 2020
grogu, a perfect baby who didn’t deserve any of this

This obviously contains spoilers through to the end of Season 2 of The Mandalorian.

The Mandalorian was a show that played with expectations, leading to both delight and beauty. The most valuable bounty in the galaxy is on the head of an infant. The rogue Mandalorian bounty hunter is a foundling child of the Death Watch whose convictions are based in both extreme trauma and self-imposed solitude. The Force exists in the plot in its purest form, as an ability to love and communicate and heal, and the main driving force of the action is to keep this from being used improperly and exploitatively. Unlike other Star Wars TV shows and films, which have relentlessly centered the Jedi Order and force-wielders who are driven to use their abilities for greater purposes, The Mandalorian was instead a story about individuals existing on the periphery.

This appeal deepened even as the show began to weave in other aspects of the Star Wars universe and lore. The relationship between Grogu and Din Djarin remained the focus. Amidst everything going on in the Galaxy, the show set up that it was these two individuals who were important, and that they had a connection to each other that was more urgent than current events. Evidently, however, this development and bond between the two central characters had an arbitrary endpoint. At the last possible moment, Luke fucking Skywalker shows up in an X-wing, acts like he’s better than everybody else, and takes Grogu away.

Ahsoka Tano’s refusal to train Grogu, for fear that he would turn out like Anakin, seemed to call out the fact that throughout Star Wars history, the Jedi and their powers have not consistently been a source of good. In light of the finale, what at the time seemed like good thematic storytelling seems instead like a strange and stilted sidebar. What if it were possible to learn about the nature of the Force without Skywalker men swaggering into the room to tell you about it? It was an interesting question which The Mandalorian posed and chose explicitly not to answer, for reasons that are unknown to me. Fan service? The irresistible urge to use computers to make 35-years-younger Mark Hamill appear on the screen?

It was cool to see Luke show up, admittedly; the way he plowed through the Dark Troopers like they were made of puff pastry, his quiet gayness, his infuriatingly Zen attitude about everything that is going on in Moff Gideon’s light cruiser. But the sanctimonious energy when he takes Grogu away from Din made my blood boil. I kept wanting him to furrow his brow, to say, “I can’t teach him anything right now that you haven’t already.” When Din says, “He doesn’t want to go with you,” I wanted Luke’s acknowledgement of this fact: “You’re right, he doesn’t.”

There’s something so patronizing about what we actually saw, something so infuriating. It felt like being told that this central relationship that we had all invested in as viewers was just a prologue to someone else’s story. And that feels unkind to Din Djarin, a character with whom we have gotten increasingly intimate and whose dedication to protecting Grogu as his son was so absolute. Din’s narrow focus on his own smaller world was broken down in stages over the course of the show, to the point that by the end of season 2, he had allies willing to do anything for him and Grogu. His ability to connect with others (even droids!) and feel empathy grew in proximity to Grogu, and reciprocally, Grogu became less fearful of using his powers in meaningful ways.

It would have been beautiful to see what Din and Grogu could have accomplished together, given more time. It stands to reason that they might have to part at some point, but the scene that separates father and son owed it to us as viewers, I think, to be on both Din’s and Grogu’s terms. Din was obligated, quested, to take Grogu to a Jedi. They did set this up. But instead of playing with our expectations and reinforcing that being a formally trained Jedi isn’t the only way to do good in the Galaxy, they sent Grogu to be trained by a man who would soon draw a lightsaber on Ben Solo while he is sleeping and push him over the edge towards the Dark Side.

Of course, we have examples in Star Wars canon of Jedis making good choices. Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger didn’t go to the dark side, though Ezra was tempted by Palpatine; neither of them ever drew a weapon on a sleeping child; Kanan took Ezra on as a padawan on a personal, individual basis rather than as part of a larger Jedi purpose; it just so happens that their individual roles were in the Rebellion. To free Lothal. To defeat the Empire. Ezra’s journey as a Jedi was so well-done in Star Wars: Rebels because it was just a part of his story, not the focal point.

There is a problem, I think, in the Star Wars canon of stating matter-of-factly that someone has “great power” without actually illustrating it, at least in the case of Skywalkers. The whole “Anakin was conceived by midi-chlorians” thing gives him a Jesus-esque origin story, then turns him into a murderous fascist, then redeems him at the moment of his death by deciding that letting someone else kill his son is just a bridge too far. If anything, the Skywalkers ought to be a cautionary tale about the corruption that can come with even the mere illusion of absolute power.

This isn’t to say that the Jedi are bad. Just that clearly there are some administrative and procedural issues that need to be sorted out about who is in charge here. It isn’t outlandish if you got a sinister vibe from Luke taking Grogu away from Din. Luke is a hot mess and he will spend decades struggling with his demons. What happens to Grogu after Luke and Ben fuck up the new Jedi Order? If you look at the whole long game of the Star Wars current canon, it doesn’t seem like a particularly great way to send Grogu off.

Of course, Din doesn’t know any of this. In his view, he completed his quest. It just seems so unfortunate that in a fictional universe where anything could have happened, and where the formal canon is held together with silly putty and paper clips, that the showrunners and Disney couldn’t have given us one fucking story that is about individual characters rather than the over-arching fuckup of the Skywalker family. The stories where Star Wars really shines are about found family in the midst of terrible events. The Mandalorian gave us a beautiful story about just that, and then blew it up to make it about something else altogether.