“Grogu?” “Grogu.” “Grogu!” Mando says the new name out loud at least a dozen times in the first few minutes of this week’s episode but we’re still not buying it – he’ll always be Baby Yoda to us (along with the rest of the Internet).
As season two heads into its endgame, ‘Chapter 14: The Tragedy’ packs a lot of story into a very short episode. More old faces turn up, more avengers start assembling, and more threads are connected to the wider Star Wars universe. Directed by indie pioneer Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn, Sin City), it’s a rough and ready showdown that takes place almost entirely on one big rock – the culmination of two seasons’ worth of backstory building and the jumping off point for whatever’s coming next.
Mando and Baby Yoda (sorry Disney) are finally heading to the Seeing Stone on Tython – the legendary Jedi holy site where Baby Yoda will get to decide his own fate. The pair do a brief bit of bonding on the ship (Baby Yoda honing his Jedi powers by messing around with the cockpit’s control panels), but it feels like it might be the last quiet moment they get together for a while.
Making it to the Seeing Stone on top of a slightly Californian-looking mountain, Baby Yoda slips into a trance and starts broadcasting the force into space in a big pillar of blue light. As Ahsoka explained last week, if there are any other Jedis left in the universe, they’ll be able to hear his message and come to him – offering him a chance to find a teacher, and us a chance to geek out about who might turn up.
Before all that though, someone else shows up first. We already got a glimpse of Boba Fett’s big return in the season two episode one, but here he makes a proper comeback in the form of Temuera Morrison, the same actor who played Jango Fett (Boba’s Dad) and all the clones in the prequel trilogy films.
Depending on which trilogy you grew up with, Boba’s reappearance might be even more of a big deal than Ahsoka’s live action debut last week. First showing up in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back (well, technically he first appeared in the now disgraced 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, but no one wants to remember that…), Boba Fett is pretty much the whole reason we have The Mandalorian – the coolest looking Star Wars character who’s wasted potential in the films made him a cult fan favourite.
Turning up here to nab his armour back from Mando, Boba brings Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) with him (also back from the dead, after being left in the sand by Mando in ‘Chapter 5’) and the three have a quick argument before teaming up to fight an entire army of stormtroopers. Moff Gideon has been tracking Mando’s ship and he’s finally here to capture Baby Yoda – setting up a solid Star Wars siege that matches Mando, Boba and Fennec against waves of Imperial baddies.
Luckily, Boba has learned how to fight properly in the last 37 years since he got accidentally toppled into the Sarlacc Pitt by a blind Han Solo in Return Of The Jedi (1983), and Rodriguez recasts him here more like a Star Wars John Wick – getting at least a couple of badass action-hero moments that would have gotten a standing ovation in the cinema if he’d pulled them off in any of his movies.
And then… tragedy. Just when the empire looks like it’s beaten, Moff Gideon sends a squadron of crack Dark Trooper terminators down to scoop up Baby Yoda – blowing up Mando’s ship and getting away just in time. Will Mando, Boba and Fennec be able to catch up with him? Will Cara Dune (Gina Carano) just sit back and watch? How will springing ‘Chapter 6’ sharpshooter Mayfield (Bill Burr) from prison help? Will Baby Yoda get any better at smashing stormtrooper’s heads together? The last few minutes give us a glimpse of what’s coming, but it already looks like there are way too many loose ends to tie up neatly in just two chapters… season three is already calling.
- Fans who know their Star Wars ships will recognise Slave I before Boba Fett even gets out of it.
- The Dark Troopers were first seen in the video game Star Wars: Dark Forces, but this is their first appearance on film.
- The Empire Comms Officer is played by Katy O’Brian, who also played Kimball in TV series Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.