Warning: this is the way towards major spoilers for The Mandalorian season 2 episode 8, so turn back now if you haven’t seen the finale!
The Mandalorian season 2 episode 8 saw plenty of huge moments – from the eponymous Din Djarin winning ownership of the Darksaber, to the Dark Troopers finally getting the chance to show off their terrifying might. Perhaps the biggest moment of the episode, though, was the triumphant return of a legendary Jedi – Luke Skywalker himself came to save the day, and baby Grogu went with him to continue his training in the Force.
Composer Ludwig Göransson has spoken about how he created the music for Luke’s return, as well as why he chose to include a particularly memorable tune from the original trilogy. “I basically wrote a new theme for Luke there because I wanted the reveal to be a surprise, I didn't want to hint at anything,” he told Insider (opens in new tab). “When you see him show up in the X-Wing there's electric guitar and a children's choir playing. It kind of sets the tone. Then by the end, it's a nice transition from heroic mystery theme into the Force theme.”
He added: “When Luke takes his hood off we all wanted people at home to stand up on their feet and feel this power... It was an obvious choice to put it in there at that moment.”
The Force theme, heard so often throughout the Skywalker saga, is most strongly associated with Luke in A New Hope, when the then-farmboy gazed into Tatooine’s double-sunset. It plays when Luke first comes face to face with Mando and Grogu. Before that, while he's lightsabering his way through a hallway of Dark Troopers Rogue One-style, the choir theme can be heard.
Of course, the Jedi’s return was followed by The Mandalorian’s most heart-breaking scene yet. Baby Yoda and Mando say farewell, with the gunslinger taking his helmet off for only the third time in the entire series.
Göransson revealed he found out about the scene two months in advance of scoring the episode to give him time to prepare, and explained his approach to the music, which was to combine The Mandalorian’s recognisable themes: “I tied in a lot of the music from every episode and put the themes together in a way that made it feel special.”