How Luke Skywalker’s Reveal Changes the Course of The Mandalorian<\/em>

The following story contains spoilers for The Mandalorian Season 2 finale.

There have been hints all throughout the latter half of The Mandalorian‘s second season that a Jedi would be in the mix, coming to help and potentially save Grogu, also known as Baby Yoda. And in a complete finale shocker, the Jedi that showed up wasn’t a character from Rebels or The Clone Wars, and it wasn’t a Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) revival either. No, it was the big pumba himself: Luke Skywalker. Luke’s appearance, and taking in of Grogu, helps to fill in a crucial gap in the Star Wars world—what happened between the triumphs of Return of the Jedi and the grim time of The Force Awakens.

And fans should be pleased to know that while he looked a little different, Luke was played by none other than his original and only portrayer, Mark Hamill.

Many fans hoped Sebastian Stan would play a younger version of Luke (the resemblance is uncanny), but The Mandalorian wound up using de-aging technology to allow Hamill to play a version of Luke that in the timeline comes just a few years after the events of Return of the Jedi. (Hamill also returned to Star Wars to play an older version of Luke in The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker)

Luke’s role in The Mandalorian is short but utterly pivotal. Just after Mando defeats Moff Gideon and brings him alive to the rest of his party, Gideon reveals that an entire platoon of Dark Troopers has been deployed. Things look grim. That’s until an X-Wing boards the cruiser, and a hooded figure with a green lightsaber takes out all the dark troopers. Mando opens the door for this hooded figure. The hood comes down—it’s Luke, here to train Baby Yoda.

While that brings on a tender and utterly heartbreaking moment of goodbye between Grogu and a helmetless Din (who’s chopping onions?), we’re going to think for a second about what this means for the greater story. We know that Luke started a new Jedi order, and that that’s where he’s bringing Baby Yoda.

We also know that Ben Solo (later known as Kylo Ren) is part of this order, though we’re not sure at what point in the timeline all of these intertwine. But the fact that a very young Ben Solo and Baby Yoda probably know/knew each other at some point is an interesting development. Maybe Season 3 could cast a young Ben?

Season 2 ends and we’re left longing. Luke has taken Baby Yoda to his temple, and that’s not a bad thing. That’s the hero of the whole damn story. And yet we’re still left a little heartbroken for Mando losing who has effectively become a son to him. The Mandalorian is a story about Mando and Baby Yoda, so it feels like there’s a decent chance we’ll see what’s up with Grogu and Luke again—Mando did promise him, after all, and you know how those Mandalorians are with their oaths.

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