The Mandalorian Season 2 Finale Did The Absolute Last Thing We Expected
Dave Filoni is, essentially, George Lucas’ padawan learner when it comes to making Star Wars. Yet, where Lucas seemed determined not to give the fans exactly what they wanted, Filoni seems committed to doing just that. In The Mandalorian season 2 finale, Filoni, Jon Favreau, and director Peyton Reed, deliver something that fans have been waiting to see since the credits rolled on Return of the Jedi. They also made storytelling decisions that all-but blow up the series as fans have come to know it. Where they go from here is anyone’s guess. In short, the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian gave fans what they wanted, a surprise that’s obvious in retrospect, and a decision that’s sure to set Star Wars discourse ablaze until the season 3 premiere.
Without yet getting into spoilers, much of this episode is what fans expected. Titled “The Rescue,” much of the episode is straight-up violent conflict. If I had any criticism for this episode, it would be that there weren’t enough quiet moments with the characters. There are a lot of pivotal moments in characters’ journeys at play in this episode. And beyond mere reaction, we don’t get much of a sense about how anyone other than Din Djarin feels through it all.
Because it’s Star Wars, this finale will likely be divisive. Up until the season 2 finale, The Mandalorian has been largely immune to Star Wars Discourse™. Sure, there’s been some minor controversy over Grogu’s eating habits or Bo-Katan’s armor. Yet, the events of this episode tie into the larger Star Wars stories in big ways. There are direct references to all three trilogies and animated series.
Okay, spoilers to follow.
Holy Shit, It’s Luke Skywalker
Image via Disney+
In the episode where Boba Fett returns, fan speculation about which Jedi answered Grogu’s call on Tython ran rampant. My least favorite theory was that an old Mace Windu would show up. Some people thought Cal Kestis from Jedi: Fallen Order would show up. Others, due to Ahsoka Tano dropping Thrawn’s name, expected Ezra from Star Wars Rebels. However, there is only one Jedi active at this time, and thus was the only possible answer: Luke Skywalker. (My money was on an original character who could travel with them since I don’t expect them to take Baby Yoda off of the series.) The reason fans floated those other names is because most of us (myself included) never thought Luke was an option. Apparently, he was.
Luke Skywalker is Star Wars’ most important character. Much of The Last Jedi backlash came because fans were unhappy with the way his character turned out. However, others were irked they never got see Master Skywalker kicking ass with a lightsaber. Yet, the standoff on Crait was the perfect Light Side fight. Luke made no offensive moves, and his actions saved everyone left alive on that planet, good and bad guys alike. In the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian though, Luke is left to face only droids. Thus, he gets his version of the Darth Vader scene from the end of Rogue One. Also, the look of fear on Moff Gideon’s face when he arrives is a testament to the acting prowess of perennial villain Giancarlo Esposito. He heavily implies that Grogu’s blood was meant to bring Palpatine back. He’s a true believer. And Luke Skywalker is the only person in the universe who got the better of Sheev Palpatine.
The Show Must Go On
Image via Disney+
The other completely unexpected thing that happens is that Grogu left with him. They made it clear that Din Djarin had every intention of seeing the child again. And the scene in which he revealed his face to Grogu? Lovely. Still, one has to wonder what The Mandalorian is without Baby Yoda? What happens next is anyone’s guess, but with Luke Skywalker showing up in the finale, it’s clear that anything is on the table.
Every important character made it out of the finale alive. Moff Gideon is still among the living, despite his best efforts. Cara Dune, played by Gina Carano, will likely be turning him into the New Republic along with Dr. Pershing. That will help her clout and net Din Djarin a nice bounty. Bo-Katan Kryze, played by Katee Sackhoff, also made it out alive. But she’s got a problem.
When Din Djarin won the Darksaber from Gideon, it put Bo-Katan in a bind. Even though Sabine gave her the Darksaber in Rebels, she lost it in battle to Gideon. (At least, that’s what’s implied.) So, she would have to fight Din Djarin to make her claim to the symbol of Mandalore stick. Din could care less, of course. His only thoughts are about Grogu and his safety. Yet, this seems like it may be something that would play a big role in season 3, which arrives on Disney+ in Christmas of 2021.
What’s Next for The Mandalorian (and Boba Fett)
Image via Disney+
The biggest news out of the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian is news of one more spinoff not mentioned on Disney Investor’s Day. The Book of Boba Fett will be coming to Disney+ in December of 2021. Nonetheless, the report that Temuera Morrison’s beloved bounty hunter will play a major role in season 3 could be true. If the series lands in December as well, it may only be a short run of four episodes like Obi-Wan Kenobi is rumored to be. It could lead right into The Mandalorian season 3, with Boba Fett and Din Djarin comrades-in-arms. Although, some folks are thinking that The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett are the same show, which is a possibility I did not consider. (UPDATE: We got an answer.)
We also know that Rangers of the New Republic and Ahsoka are set during the timeline of this series. That means that both Din Djarin and Grogu might show up in them. They are also building to an event series, of which we know nothing about. Yet, a prediction I feel safe making is that Grogu will return to Din Djarin. The relationship at the heart of this series is the one between the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda. The series owes a lot to the classic manga Lone Wolf and Cub. Only, the Lone Wolf doesn’t work as well without the cub. However, will the Grogu that returns be the same as the one who left? If they do revert back to the status quo, there’s something that feels quite final about this episode. Whereas Chapter 8 of The Mandalorian was a beginning, the season 2 finale is very much an ending.
Honestly, I am not sure how I feel about this particular chapter, and that’s usually the hallmark of a good Star Wars story. All I know is that I can’t wait to see what they give us next.
The Book of Boba Fett debuts in December of 2021 and The Mandalorian season 3 is slated for a Christmas release, both on Disney+
What did you think of The Mandalorian season 2 finale? Share your thoughts, reactions, and theories about what comes next in the comments below.
Featured image via screengrab
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.