EDITOR’S NOTE: Special thanks to Nate from @nateflixandchill_ for his awesome deep dives into The Mandalorian. I hope you all enjoyed his insights as much as I did and hope to see more from him soon!
Hello there, and welcome to the final installment of The Mando Rewatch. Over the past several weeks I have been revisiting The Mandalorian, starting from the very beginning. I would like to thank those of you who have taken the time to read my incoherent ramblings as I looked back on this series. I hope that I was able to provide a unique point of view on not only the show, but on Star Wars in general. While writing these recaps, I have tried to demonstrate how The Mandalorian connects to the wider Star Wars universe. I have examined many of the recurring themes which are also present in the movies, animated series, novels, comic books, and video games. In this way, hopefully, I have been able to show you the familiar and poetic nature of Star Wars storytelling. Because, as George Lucas himself once said, “it’s like poetry, they rhyme.” I have always enjoyed looking for the rhyming stanzas. However, it is not only the themes which have connected The Mandalorian to the rest of the galaxy, because as the show has progressed, there are now several familiar characters which help to make the connection as well. Some have argued that this goes against what made the series so great in the first place. Mando is supposed to be a new character, in a new part of the galaxy, on a totally separate adventure, why does it have to be connected to Luke? To those people, I would suggest that you stop asking why, and instead, start asking why not? It’s very easy to nit-pick, but just try to remember that this is a Star Wars show. And Luke is Star Wars. Why is it surprising to see Luke Skywalker show up in the first ever live-action Star Wars television show? It would be weirder if he didn’t. I have said it many times before, there is nothing wrong with having some fun and embracing what you are. I have no problem whatsoever with a Star Wars show that has Luke Skywalker igniting the green and saving the day. In fact, I think it is one of the greatest moments in the history of television. I still get goosebumps just thinking about the first time I saw that X-Wing fly across the screen. I remember excitedly looking over to my wife and saying, “they aren’t actually going to do it, are they?” In hindsight, of course it had to be Luke, who else would it be? Because, when you really think about it, it makes the most sense for the story. Grogu is placed on a magic pedestal that enables him to call out to other Jedi across the galaxy. If it wasn’t Luke who answered the call, it would have felt very anticlimactic. He’s the hero. That’s what he does. The debate always reminds me of a cut-scene from the Battlefront II campaign in which Luke stumbles upon Del Meeko, an Imperial who is trapped in a cave and calling out for help. Luke hears Del screaming and immediately comes to his aid. Once free, Del suspiciously looks at Luke and says, “I know who you are, why did you free me?” Then Luke just smiles and says, “Because you asked.” That is who Luke Skywalker is. And, that is why it had to be Luke who came to the rescue in this aptly named episode – “The Rescue.” Afterall, one of his most iconic lines is “I’m Luke Skywalker, I’m here to rescue you!” Actually, it’s quite interesting to compare the young, amped up Luke who is just beginning his journey when he rescues Leia, to the quiet, reserved, full-fledged Jedi Knight in this episode. He doesn’t need to say “I’m here to rescue you,” because it goes without saying, he just rescued everyone. Indeed, Luke barely speaks at all. He only says what he needs to say, and he doesn’t care about anything other than helping Grogu. Yet, what he does say is very important thematically.
When Luke first arrives, Mando is quite hesitant, and he tells Luke that Grogu doesn’t want to leave. To which, Luke responds by saying, “He wants your permission. He is strong with the Force, but talent without training is nothing. I will give my life to protect the Child, but he will not be safe until he masters his abilities.” Hearing that Grogu will not be safe is enough to convince Mando to let the Child go. The only thing he cares about is Grogu’s safety. He doesn’t care about the dark saber, nor does he care about what happens to Moff Gideon. Mando even says at one point, “He (Grogu) is my only priority.” This isn’t about Mando’s quest anymore, he isn’t choosing to hand Grogu off to a Jedi because the Armourer told him to do it. Mando is willingly letting Grogu choose to go with Luke because it is what’s best for the Child. Mando just wants his son to be safe.
There are multiple themes merging together in this scene. First of all, and most obviously, the theme of family, as well as the father-son connection – which is what Star Wars is all about. However, diving a little deeper, this scene really touches on the theme of attachment. This is one of the most important themes in Star Wars, especially the prequels. It was Anakin’s possessive form of attachment that led to his fall. He loved too selfishly, and his fear of losing those he loved is what eventually led him to embrace the dark side. In this scene, Mando is able to let go of Grogu, and he is also able to convince Grogu to let go as well. When Mando removes his helmet, he looks Grogu in the eyes and says, “Alright, pal. It’s time to go. Don’t be afraid.” This recalls the conversation he previously had with Ahsoka in “Chapter 13.” Ahsoka tells Mando that she could sense the fear in Grogu, and that Grogu was afraid of losing his connection with Mando. When Mando says “don’t be afraid,” that is his way of telling Grogu that it’s okay to let go. This shows a selfless form of attachment, and a selfless way of loving. And, as we know, an act of selflessness is a key ingredient to Star Wars storytelling.
At the same time, this scene also touches on the theme of choice. Grogu is a walking symbol of choice, and he has been throughout the entire series. The choices Mando has made have had a lasting effect on the Child, but ultimately, Grogu must choose his own path. It is important to note that Luke never reaches for Grogu until Grogu reaches for Luke first. Therefore, Grogu chooses to go with Luke out of his own free will. He willingly chooses to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi (after seeing R2-D2 ).
Finally, we have to talk about Mando removing his helmet. Obviously, this is reminiscent of Vader asking Luke to remove his helmet in Return of the Jedi. You half-expect Mando to come out and say, “Just for once, let me look on you with my own eyes.” It’s a heartbreaking moment, but it means so much for the growth of his character. It ties into the overriding theme of what it means to be Mandalorian, but also to the greater Star Wars theme of the mechanical vs. the living. This is a theme that is present in all of Star Wars, it even becomes personified in Darth Vader himself – and Mando for that matter. For example, earlier in the episode, when Dr. Pershing is warning Mando about Moff Gideon’s dark troopers, he says that “these are third-generation design. They are no longer suits. The human inside was the final weakness to be solved. They’re droids.” Well, throughout the course of this series Mando has demonstrated that the human inside represents the opposite of what Dr. Pershing believes. And it was Grogu who helped Mando find that humanity inside the armour. Without Grogu, Mando could have easily become a soulless bounty hunter trapped inside his armour. With the helmet on, he looks very mechanical, and his strict Mandalorian dogma removes a lot of his individuality, as well as his humanity. There is little to separate him from a droid at first glance. Yet, his bond with Grogu has changed him over time, and he is no longer hiding himself away inside the armour. Therefore, when Mando removes his helmet in order to convince his son (and himself) not to be afraid of letting go, he proves that the human inside is his greatest strength, not the “final weakness.”
I could go on forever talking about this episode. I didn’t even get into the whole thing about Mando now being the rightful ruler of Mandalore and all its people after taking possession of the dark saber, or the nitty-gritty of Luke’s hallway scene, or the amazing post-credit scene with Boba Fett at Jabba’s palace. Needless to say, there is a lot of story left to tell for these characters going forward. I know some people think that this episode felt like a series finale, but it wasn’t. Favreau and Filoni aren’t just going to hand Grogu over to Luke and let us all worry about whether or not Kylo Ren kills the little guy in a few years. I believe that Mando and Grogu will end up together in the end. Afterall, Grogu is the moneymaker for this series, we definitely haven’t seen the last of him. I am also very excited to see the story play out of how the foundling, Din Djarin, will eventually rise to become the saviour of Mandalore. Whenever we get season three, it’s going to be epic. The Book of Boba Fett is coming next, and I can’t wait for that, but trust me, this is not the end of The Mandalorian. It is, however, the end of The Mando Rewatch.
I have spoken,