The third season of The Mandalorian is over. While everyone was initially excited to see new adventures featuring the titular character and Grogu (or Baby Yoda as people still prefer to call him), general excitement for the show had seemed to decline. Surprisingly, in my opinion it was not because of the focus on Bo-Katan.
Now, what most people seem to forget about The Mandalorian is that the reason it was so good is because you didn’t even need to be a fan of Star Wars to get into it. A lot of that had to do with the relationship between the two main characters.
In case you’re not already familiar with the series, The Mandalorian focuses on a bounty hunter who becomes an adoptive father to a child named Grogu he was initially sent to capture. Over the course of the first season, we discover the kid is the same species as Yoda and can use the force. In the second season the titular character begins a mission to deliver Grogu to a Jedi to finish training him.
Towards the end after sending a call out Grogu is found by Luke Skywalker himself who arrives to take him away and train him as a Jedi. It was a very impactful and emotional moment to see Mando and Grogu say goodbye to each other. And if you haven’t been paying attention to the rest of the Star Wars franchise, you may have found yourself confused as to how Grogu returned to the picture in time for this season.
Now, most people with common sense knew that Grogu was coming back. Not only because he’s too cute but because he sells too many toys for Disney to just get rid of him. We all knew that the characters would eventually be reunited. What we didn’t expect was just how poorly the reunion was going to be handled.
In 2021 Disney released a spin off series The Book of Boba Fett, now given the title and the trailers and the posters for this show you would assume it would focus primarily on Boba Fett, a character that fans had been asking to get more of for years and it was….kind of. You see for the first few episodes The BOBF was about the main character. Then, without warning, about halfway through it turned into The Mandalorian season 2.5. Fans literally got two full episodes dedicated entirely to Mando that had almost nothing to do with the main plot involving Boba Fett. And in the season finale we got Grogu reuniting with his adoptive father, revoking the chance to train as a Jedi after being with Luke for what looked like a couple weeks at most.
As you can imagine this decision got kind of quite the mixed reception from fans and critics. On the one hand it was nice to see Mando and Grogu again because Book of Boba Fett was not really turning out to be as good as most people hoped for. On the other hand, many people were confused and trying to figure out why the show switched gears all of a sudden. Why were we getting the reunion between Mando and Grogu in a completely different show? Why does it feel like very little time had passed since they had even been separated?
It seemed like showrunners Jon Faverau and Dave Filoni just assumed people would watch The BOBF if they liked The Mandalorian. As I said before, however, there are fans who only cared to watch that show. And ignoring that was just a weird storytelling decision. The entire second season of The Mandalorian revolved around looking for a Jedi to train Grogu. To immediately get them back together, not even waiting until the next season of their own show, is bizarre and kind of makes that whole season feel pointless in retrospect.
Not to mention that the decision felt like a major disservice to Temuera Morrison who plays Boba Fett. To have his show be hijacked halfway through for the sole purpose of resolving another show’s storyline is misleading. While I’ve seen people’s arguments in favor of this decision, if the show was called something else, it might make more sense. But it wasn’t. It was titled and marketed as a series centered around a specific character who ultimately felt like an afterthought.
Seeing Mando have to say goodbye to Grogu was very emotional. The fact that we never really got to sit with them being apart feels like a missed opportunity.
And again, we all knew Grogu would come back at some point. At the very least, however, there should’ve been some time dedicated to showing Mando miss him and struggle without him. There also should have been more time showing Grogu struggle with Jedi training and missing his father so that when they got back together it’d feel way more powerful. As it is now if you only watch The Mandalorian you’d go straight from the emotional season two finale to season 3 opening thinking they either retconned the second season’s ending.
Suppose this had happened on The Walking Dead, specifically between seasons 6 and 7 where there was that cliffhanger and you couldn’t tell which person was going to die. Imagine if, instead of getting the answer to that in the next season’s premiere, it was revealed in a random episode of one of the show’s several spin-off series. It just wouldn’t make sense.
Recently Jon Faverau and Dave Filoni talked about this in the lead up to season three of The Mandalorian. They’re explanation seems to be that they just treat these shows (Mando, BOBF, Ahsoka) as the same big story. While I don’t believe there is anything wrong with that, each show should still be able to stand on their own. No show should have to come with a disclaimer about information that you won’t know or won’t get going in. With so much other content to keep up with these days, it demands too much from an audience who may not have the time to follow every installment. And it isolates those who might only care to see what’s new with Grogu.
I’m not saying I’ll stop watching The Mandalorian, but this entire season did feel weird as a result. I’m saying that there was nothing wrong with the way they were already telling this story. For every fans sake I hope that Filoni and Favreau return to the literal form that made this story so engaging in the first place.