This article includes spoilers for The Mandalorian Season 2 finale episode ‘The Rescue’.
Let’s just be very clear here – Disney made a Force-disturbance level mistake by not handing over the reins of the Star Wars franchise to Jon Favreau and David Filoni when it bought over Lucasfilm years ago.
Season two of The Mandalorian has been racking up viewers every week and showrunner Favreau is certainly deserving of the love, adulation and recognition (with support from Filoni, a long time shepherd of the Star Wars TV universe).
Whoever said you can’t satisfy original trilogy fans whilst appealing to a new, younger audience (yes, we’re talking about you J.J.) hasn’t seen Favreau in action because the season finale, ‘The Rescue’, is a phenomenal ending to an already amazing season that manages to beautifully tie in narratives from Star Wars: Rebels, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and now, believe it or not, the Original Trilogy.
And we’re not talking about borrowing heavily from Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), who barely appeared in the trilogy, nor his amazing resurrection that has managed to satisfy long-time fans and draw in new ones.
‘The Rescue’ wastes little time jumping into the action from where the last 15 episodes left off, especially not after flexing one of the sickest ‘Previously on…’ reel we’ve ever seen – Bo-Katan, Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Boba Fett, Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), Darktroopers, the Darksaber, the Razor Crest exploding, a Jedi beacon and Grogu getting captured. Jon Favreau sir, you’ve dropped your mic.
The episode starts off with the Slave 1 hot on the tail of a shuttle carrying Dr. Pershing. Fett successfully disables the shuttle and Mando (Pedro Pascal) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano) board it. Not long after, a classic standoff ensues between Cara and the Imperial pilot who’s holding Pershing at gunpoint.
“I saw your planet destroyed,” he says. “I was on the Death Star”.
“Which one?” Cara responds. Sick burn.
For a pilot who professes he doesn’t have a death wish, he sure knows how to talk his mouth off about destroying Cara’s home planet, even claiming that the whole of the galaxy cheered along as they got rid of it. Well, jokes on him because we surely cheered when Cara shot his face off.
With the pilots gone and Dr. Pershing in custody, Mando’s next move is to enlist Bo-Katan in his rescue of Baby Yoda (WE CALLED THIS!). Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) appears upset that the Child is gone, but quickly dusts aside Mando’s plea for help when she realises that Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) has been holding the Child hostage. Angry, Fett claims that they’re not needed anyways and Koska Reeves (Sasha Banks) responds: “I didn’t know sidekicks were allowed to talk.” Bo-Katan then mocks Fett for being a clone and Fett goes in for a fight. Koska steps in and a little fight begins between the two. If it isn’t apparent, we love bar fights in the Star Wars universe.
Mando informs Bo-Katan that he’s able to track Gideon and promises the Darksaber and Gideon’s ship in return for their help to save Grogu. The Darksaber to Bo-Katan is like honey to bees so of course she’s on board.
We’ll keep the descriptions of the action scenes that come with boarding Gideon’s ship to a minimum so that you can watch it yourself but it involves a little bit of drama, a lot of Darktroopers, Gideon threatening to dismember Grogu with the Darksaber and Mando now being the rightful owner of the Darksaber.
Fast forward, and the gang finds themselves in a doomed battle with the Darktroopers when an unexpected arrival of a dark-hooded Jedi in an X-Wing wielding a familiar-looking green lightsaber comes to rescue them. Who else could it be but Luke Skywalker. THE Luke Skywalker. After fighting off the Darktroopers, we learn that he’s come to take Grogu away. Queue tears.
Mando was forced to say goodbye to Grogu – at least for the time being. Though it was hard for them both, Mando knows that it was the correct decision. But therein lies our dilemma – with Grogu in the hands of Luke, what exactly lies ahead for Mando in the next season? Here’s what we think.
With Mando in possession of the Darksaber and now, inherently being the rightful ruler of Mandalore – as with the rules of possessing the Darksaber – it is likely Mando’s first order of business would be to find a way to give it to Bo-Katan or maybe face the fact that the fate of Mandalore now lies heavily on his shoulders.
If Mando decides to rule Mandalore, this will present a very compelling arc for him. Especially since most of Season 1 and Season 2 focused on his relationship with Grogu. His journey in becoming a ruler will also be full of strife as his acquaintance/friend Bo-Katan has spent a long time trying to find the Darksaber and rule Mandalore. Will we get a Mando vs Bo-Katan fight next season? We will see.
In addition, Mandalorians have had a pretty bad history with non-native rulers running their planet. Whilst Mando’s new found status might help legitimise foundlings like himself, things in Mandalore run differently as compared to other planets in the galaxy.
When we met Bo-Katan in ‘The Heiress’, she made it clear that she’s after one thing and one thing only – the Darksaber. The Darksaber is key for her ascendant as Mandalore’s ruler and she won’t stop at nothing to retrieve it from Gideon. Though, there’s one problem now. The Darksaber is Mando’s.
Bo-Katan wasn’t too pleased with the realization that Mando had defeated Gideon and become the new rightful owner of the Darksaber. It is likely she’ll continue with her plan in season 3, but how that plays out depends on her relationship with Mando.
In ‘The Rescue’ we see Mando insist she take the Darksaber from him but she doesn’t. She may challenge Mando to a duel – which given Mando’s apprehensiveness to wield it, he may just accept it – but whether or not she beats him in combat is a different story. If all fails, Bo-Katan may just need to yield and honour Mandalorian culture that whoever holds the Darksaber is the rightful ruler.
Cara’s always been a loyal friend and ally of Mando and she’s clearly formed a fondness for the kid, but she’s got other priorities and motives. After Gideon kidnapped Grogu, she felt it was in her duty to get him as Marshal of the New Republic.
During the rescue, she made a point to request Gideon be kept alive so that she can use him and his knowledge to her advantage. By bringing Gideon to justice, Cara will be much more involved in the New Republic so it’s unclear if she’ll be free enough to follow Mando around on his adventures. Though we’re not completely cancelling out her potential feature as her presence could potentially provide the groundwork for the spinoff series The Rangers of the New Republic.
With Esposito revealing that a fourth season is coming, it is likely his character Gideon will remain very much alive and present in season 3. With Cara taking her responsibilities as Marshal seriously, she will see to it that he is kept alive too.
It may be that Gideon could have been leading a small fraction of what’s left of the empire and him collecting Grogu’s blood may just be a small piece of a very big puzzle. Since they did get Grogu’s blood in the end, the plan is still moving forward – with or without him. Though it may suck to see Gideon play a passive prisoner instead of a big galaxy baddie, it may just secure him a bigger role in season 4.
Now that Grogu has left with Luke and R2D2 at the end of ‘The Rescue’, most viewers will be wondering what the future holds for the beloved character. In the episode, Luke promised to protect him with his life and would be providing him direct Jedi training. It was difficult to see Mando and Grogu part but it’s what’s best… for now.
Yes, we know what happened to the future Jedi Master and while Luke’s life between the end of Return of the Jedi (RotJ) and his re-appearance on the distant planet of Act-To at the end of The Force Awakens (TFA) weren’t discussed much, what we do know is that he did try to restore the Jedi order via training Force-powerful students. If memory serves, it did not go well.
One of his students went on a murderous rampage and killed all the students. The student in question? Luke’s nephew Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren. Could it be that Grogu’s fate is to be murdered by Ben Solo? It’s a dark turn, but it’s not completely out of the question.
Keeping things light, it could be that Grogu went to get training like how children go to summer camp or boarding school and come back at the end of season 3 powerful and ready to take on more adventures with Mando. It would be a shame to never see the small fella ever again.
Of course, one of the wildest, if not more challenging aspects that is offered here, is if the current crop of Disney+ Star Wars shows can not only somehow fill the gaps between RotJ and TFA, but possibly retconning some details in those movies, by providing a different perspective. A proper redemption for Luke? Some sensible reason why some characters behaved the way they did? Now, we’re not asking Disney to remove the Sequel Trilogy from the Star Wars franchise, the way Disney removed a chunk of pre-Disney Star Wars lore under the Legends imprint, but faith in Favreau we have.
With that, there is still so much more to learn about the upcoming season. What lies ahead is not concrete yet as creator Favreau definitely has a knack to spice things up and take fans by surprise. It is going to be a long wait, but it will surely be worth it.
Season 3 of The Mandalorian is slated to premiere Christmas 2021 on Disney+.