Attack of the Filoni! Clone Wars/Rebels/Resistance creator Dave Filoni wrote and directed The Mandalorian Chapter 13: The Jedi, and it has all the love and thematic resonance we’ve come to expect from his stories.
Usually, we break things down into non-spoiler and spoiler. But there’s really nothing to say about this chapter that isn’t a spoiler. And if you’re on the internet right now, you’ve probably already been spoiled for this chapter. So let’s get right into it.
In the midst of all the exciting reveals (we’ll get into that), it’s easy to miss that this is the smallest scale episode of the season. Like most of Season One, we spend a lot of time on the horizontal plane, relatively earthbound. We’re not getting into epic dogfights like Chapter 10 or diving off cliffs like Chapter 12. But this chapter doesn’t need all that. This chapter carries emotional weight.
Everyone’s talking about it: Ahsoka Tano. Perhaps the worst-kept secret in Star Wars history, Rosario Dawson has taken the baton from voice-actor Ashley Eckstein to bring this fan-favorite into live action.
As expected from Filoni and Dawson, the transition is pitch perfect. There’s a bit of necessary awkwardness in seeing such a well-known animated character suddenly grounded in actual human movements and expression. But beyond that mental bump, this chapter fulfills every Clone Wars fan’s wildest dreams.
By now, Mandalorian has really mastered its episodic style. Nearly every chapter forms a self-contained story while also advancing the main plot. A lot of viewers have been trained to see “self-contained” as “filler,” but this episode shows why that is not the case.
So let’s break down two of the biggest plot developments from this chapter:
First—Baby Yoda has a name, and that name is Grogu. Just in time for Hasbro to finish writing “The Child” on a billion cardboard packages.
Initial fan reactions have varied. Personally, I think “Grogu” fits just right. It matches the goofy, two-syllable tone of “Yoda.” But, importantly, it’s not overly cute. The sound contains a hint of “gremlin” or “goblin.”
But more important than the name, the backstory. It’s easy to forget, but way back in Chapter 1, we learned that Grogu is 50 years old (born the same year as Anakin Skywalker, perhaps incidentally). In retrospect, it seems obvious that Grogu would have trained in the Jedi temple. Why else would his powers be so refined?
But more than explanatory power, this adds a real emotional weight. Grogu isn’t all cuteness and blue macarons. He’s lost people. He’s seen things. When Mando rescued him, it was more than a physical rescue. Mando’s role as a father is repairing Grogu’s broken emotional trust.
And second—Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Until now, Mandalorian has done an amazing job of tying canon together without stumbling into fan-service. Every reference and cameo has served a purpose for the greater story.
But what is the purpose of Thrawn here? Some fans are already speculating about an Ahsoka spin-off, picking up her search for Ezra and the Grand Admiral. But that itself shows how alien the name-drop feels to this story.
For those of us who love Rebels and pumped our fist when animated Thrawn debuted at Celebration, this reveal works great. But what about for the Mando fans who haven’t read the novels? Who haven’t watched the animated shows?
I imagine those fans had no trouble with the appearance of Bo-Katan or Cobb Vanth or Ahsoka, because in those instances, the show told us everything we needed. But the Thrawn name-drop feels like an unearned climax. The whole chapter builds toward the reveal of that name, but for a good half of the audience, the reaction was likely a resounding “Huh?”
That said, this show hasn’t steered us wrong yet. I’m excited to see whatever Favreau and Filoni cook up for the future of Thrawn and Ahsoka.
Be Mindful of the Future (But not at the expense of the moment)
So what comes next? The show’s future feels more open than ever. Let’s review a few of the open plot threads:
Tython. Mando and Grogu are on their way to Tython to contact … someone. Perhaps another Jedi will reach out and offer to train Grogu. But which Jedi? Ezra? Luke? Ahsoka again, rethinking her choice?
Doubtless, Mando will encounter some troubles on the way there. We know that Moff Gideon is tracking them, and his army of Dark Troopers is sure to appear sometime soon. And now that Mando has a way to fight the Darksaber, we can expect a memorable fight.
And let’s not forget that Boba Fett is still waiting out there somewhere. Perhaps he’s still on Tatooine. Perhaps he’s closer than we think.
Merch We Need
We already have some good Ahsoka figures, but another wouldn’t hurt. And those HK assassin droids would also make a fine edition to the Black Series collection.
But on a different note, I’m interested to see how long it takes for all the Baby Yoda merch to start saying “Grogu” on the packages.
We’re gearing up for a grand finale to a great season. The show could go almost anywhere from here. But hopefully, it’s not too long until we see everyone’s favorite Togruta again.