Season 1 of “The Mandalorian” generated an overwhelmingly positive reaction, boasting a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, most audience members would agree with the claim that this high score is mainly due to the presence of the cutest thing in the “Star Wars” universe: Grogu, or as most know him, Baby Yoda. Season 2 did slightly better, with a 94% rating. Season 2’s finale was both spectacular and controversial. The separation of Baby Yoda and the Mandalorian has led many to wonder if Season 3 will do as well since it seems the next season will focus on the Mandalorian and Mandalore instead of the father-Yoda relationship that’s been in the spotlight so far.
“The Mandalorian” Season 2 finale is action-packed and tense, but the most memorable part is gut-wrenching. The show is well-known for nailing action scenes, but this emotional goodbye left many in tears. Accurately titled “The Rescue,” the finale follows Mando as he chases down Moff Gideon to free Grogu. This climatic episode sees Mando call in all the favors he has collected in the two seasons to rescue his adopted son, so we see Cara Dune, Boba Fett and his sidekick, and Bo-Katan and her follower help Mando.
After tricking Moff Gideon into not firing at them, Mando party-crashes the Imperial Cruiser and goes to work. With such a powerful and highly skilled group, how could they not fail? But there is a legion of deadly Dark Troopers aboard. A great fight scene between one of them and Mando shows how overpowered they are, with the rest hammering methodically in the background trying to get Mando.
Mando finds Grogu and fights Moff Gideon, who is armed with the mysterious Darksaber. Thank god for Mando’s armor, or he would have been dead 10 times over already. Little does Mando know that because he defeated the wielder of the Darksaber, he now holds the right to rule Mandalore, which makes him a threat to Bob-Katan. He just wanted Grogu back.
The episode drums up the tension by having the whole group fenced in as all the Dark Troopers hammer on the doors to get to them. Just when all seems lost, a mysterious Jedi cuts through the Dark Troopers; Grogu seems to be communicating with them. This Jedi is revealed to be Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill overlayed with de-aging technology. This sparked controversy, but Mark Hamill called his cameo in the show “the greatest gift.”
“The Mandalorian” ends the season with Luke taking Grogu away with him, triggering a heart-breaking moment between Mando and Grogu where Mando once again takes his helmet off. Disclaimer: At this moment, all I was thinking was that the others in the room were probably craning to see what Mando looked like.
This episode felt like it should have ended the show. Where could it go from here? Baby Yoda is gone, presumably taken to the same Jedi Academy where Kylo Ren will be trained by Luke. The post-credits scene led many to believe the show was shifting to follow the story of Boba Fett; however, it has been revealed that this will be a separate show.
Season 3 must focus on Mando alone now. We can speculate that it will revolve around Mandalore and the Darksaber since Mando could not just give the Darksaber to Bo-Katan because she is all about tradition all of a sudden. While this is an interesting storyline, I suspect that the absence of Baby Yoda will cause ratings to plummet, unless he reappears at some point.
Most likely, Mando will join Bo-Katan to fight for Mandalore. Bo-Katan and her followers revealed to Mando that he was rescued by a cult called The Children of the Watch who were hell-bent on the ancient traditions of Mandalorians that were no longer present in society. This led him to question all he knew, but this was left on the backburner since the main plot was about Grogu. Now that Baby Yoda is no longer driving the plot, Season 3 will allow Mando to explore his identity a bit more, guided by Bo-Katan. We have already seen Mando stray from the strict rule of never revealing his face as he searched for Grogu, taking his helmet off twice in the presence of other people. This may happen more in Season 3.
The big question is, will Bo-Katan have to fight Mando for the throne? Obviously, Mando doesn’t want it, but he unintentionally has the right to rule now that he wields the Darksaber. I doubt Bo-Katan would be able to defeat him, but he doesn’t want to rule Mandalore. How will they get around this situation?
The three new spin-off TV shows, “Rangers of the New Republic,” “Ahsoka” and “The Book of Boba Fett,” will take place in the same timeline as “The Mandalorian,” so crossover episodes are likely or, at least, will reference one another. In terms of time frame, Season 3 is expected to appear on Disney+ in early 2022, with a trailer coming in mid-2021.