(WARNING: Spoilers for The Mandalorian series premiere will be found below.)
Before the Disney+ series The Mandalorian premiered, the New York Times teased that the first episode “contains a dramatic Star Wars-universe spoiler.” There was no additional information, no indication of whether the “spoiler” refers to a person, a droid, or a location. Turns out, it’s none of the above — it’s a Yoda. Kind of. Let me explain.
In the closing moments of the episode, the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) tracks down the asset he was sent to retrieve by the Client (Werner Herzog). IG-11, voiced by Taika Waititi, is also unexpectedly on-site, and while they originally agree to split the profits 50-50, the Mandalorian blasts the bounty hunter droid before it does the same to what they’re both there for: an alien that looks exactly like Yoda… but a baby (Yoda is baby). How is that possible? The Mandalorian is set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi, when Luke’s mischievous Dagobah master became a Force ghost; he was approximately 900 years old at the time of his death, while the baby is said to be 50. So, could it be his offspring? Maybe Yoda and Yaddle, who appears in the prequels, got into some Skinner and Krabappel-style antics in the Jedi Council closet. But probably not.
— Cifiriv (@Virific) November 12, 2019
Either way, this not-Yoda is likely the last of its species. You might even call it The Last Yoda. (Unlike, say, Watto, who we know is a Toydarian, we never learn the name of Yoda’s species. As George Lucas once explained, “So he’s a mystery character, he’s a magical character. He has no background. He comes and he goes. He’s the subversive secret mysterious stranger that enters the film and to then exits at the end.”) We don’t know why the Client and Dr. Pershing want the “asset” and what they’re planning to do with it (although, considering they’re protected by a group of Stormtroopers, it’s probably nothing good), or who hired IG-11, but we do know why the Mandalorian didn’t shoot it.
As we see through a series of quick flashbacks, we see that his parents were killed. The Mandalorian sees a fellow orphan, and doesn’t want to harm a child. Even if the child is 50 years old (“species age differently”). Plus, y’know, the money’s better this way. We’ll find out more during episode two, which premieres this Friday, November 15.