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He has a name!
No more Baby Yoda and no more “The Child.” The kid formerly known as all of those things has a name, and we learned it from a trusted source.
Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian, "The Jedi," was a seismic charge of Star Wars reveals. The episode’s writer/director, Dave “Chosen One” Filoni, apparently decided to go absolutely insane and throw every chicken into the pot. We saw some of it coming, but other things? We did not. See. Coming.
We knew that it was nothing but open sky after Bo-Katan Kryze showed up a couple weeks ago, but come on. As C-3PO might say, this was madness. We’re absolutely and utterly here for it.
***WARNING: From this point forward, there will be huge spoilers for The Mandalorian, Chapter 13. If you haven’t seen it yet, do not read any further. Get out of here, Dewey! You don’t want any part of this.***
Baby Yoda no more — his name is Grogu. Speak it. Live it. Love it. Say it many times in rapid succession. He grew up in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and was hidden away when the Empire rose to power.
How do we know this? Ahsoka Tano communes with him and tells Mando what she learns. It was widely expected that Ahsoka (now played by Rosario Dawson) would appear this week, and she did. What some of us did not expect was how well Dawson would capture Ahsoka’s gestures, looks, and mannerisms from animation. We’ll miss Ashley Eckstein, and she’ll always be Ahsoka in our hearts. That said, Dawson does a damn fine job of carrying the torch.
Ahsoka’s info dump about Grogu brings many classic Star Wars moments into the mix, culminating in her refusal to train him. He harbors a lot of fear, he’s very attached to Mando, and he is going to have to choose his own path. She sets Mando and Grogu on a new journey before sauntering off at the end of the episode.
Baby’s real name isn’t the only one she lets slip, though. After Ahsoka duels and defeats the episode’s villain (played by Bruce Lee’s goddaughter, Diana Inosanto Lee), Ahsoka asks her about someone else.
“Where is Grand Admiral Thrawn?”
Whaaaaaa? The last time we saw everyone’s favorite blue-skinned, art-loving Chiss was in the finale of Star Wars Rebels, in which he was trapped in the tentacles of a Purrgil. He went zooming off with them and Ezra Bridger, and we don’t know where they went. We only know that in that show’s epilogue, Sabine Wren says that it’s time to find Ezra and bring him home. Ahsoka joins her to go and make this happen.
Many fans (ourselves included) are randy as hell for a “Search for Ezra” series starring Sabine and Ahsoka. Animated, live-action, we don’t care at this point. It would be fair to think that if Ahsoka and Sabine did ever find Ezra, they’d also find Thrawn. This episode takes place around five or six years after those two set off on their journey, and here we have Ahsoka asking someone where Thrawn is.
We seriously didn’t think that we’d hear that name in this episode, but a year ago, we didn’t think we’d ever really see Ahsoka in live-action. Here we are. This one utterance of the name brings up many, many questions.
Did Ahsoka and Sabine successfully find Ezra as well as Thrawn? Are both of those characters back in play? Is Thrawn back to his old tricks in this part of the galaxy, to the point where Ahsoka has to track him down and give him the business? Has he started an art gallery that will try to steal memberships away from the Frick?
Another possibility is that this is a part of the search itself. If Ahsoka finds Thrawn, she’ll find Ezra. There’s a lot of story yet to be filled in here (Sabine's nowhere in sight in this episode), but just saying Thrawn's name makes it clear that we’re going to get the story at some point. You don’t bring in Rosario Dawson to play Ahsoka Tano and have her in just one episode. She’ll be back. She’s looking for Grand Admiral Thrawn, so either on this show or another one, she’ll find him. When she does, we’re bound to get a big update on what happened after Ahsoka and Sabine shipped off.
This then leads us to other questions: If Thrawn does show up, who will play him? Lars Mikkelsen had the honor on Rebels, and he's an established physical screen presence with a great look. They could go the same route here that they went with Katee Sackhoff and just keep him in the role, or, they could do what they did with Ahsoka, and bring in... Benedict Cumberbatch? (Maybe? We're just spitballin' here.) If Ezra or Sabine shows up, we realistically have no idea who would play them. We can’t believe we’re even writing this because we never gave serious thought to either character appearing in The Mandalorian. It was only ever a fun thing to think about, a lark at most. No more than that. Now? It’s a distinct possibility.
Also distinct possibilities: everything and anything. This episode brought back HK droids from Knights of the Old Republic. It had Mando outdraw Michael Biehn. It had Ahsoka sending Mando and his son (don’t @ us) to a Jedi Temple that we’ve never heard of.
It also told us that the child’s name is Grogu.
It’s an artistic miracle that this show is real.