It was a moment we had all been dreading. After two seasons of watching the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda cement their father/son bond, the unthinkable happened: the pair were separated. Luke Skywalker arrived to take Grogu away for Jedi training as Din Djarin, fighting back tears, watched his adopted son leave. It may seem strange that Mando simply lets the Child leave with this mysterious person, but this was the best choice Din could have made – and undoubtedly the right thing to do.
Grogu wanting to return to training, having been so uninterested when in Ahsoka’s company, does not come out of nowhere. In the last few episodes of season 2, the artist-formerly-known-as-Baby Yoda goes through some seriously traumatic experiences. The little guy wakes up helpless on Tython to a small army of Dark Troopers taking him off to Moff Gideon. Grogu, in the sinister grip of the Empire, is completely unable to defend himself – sure he throws some stormtroopers around, but when Gideon gets out the Darksaber and taunts him, he’s so tired he can barely lift an arm, let alone fight. Why wouldn’t he want to learn to defend himself after that? Luke even points out that the Child won’t be safe until he’s mastered his abilities.
Then there’s Mando and Grogu’s deep bond. From making Baby Yoda a little lunch tray, to breaking his creed and removing his helmet to get the Child back from the Empire, Din Djarin truly loves Grogu. Would a good father let their child go off with a stranger? That’s not quite the case here. First, Din has faith in this Jedi, installed in him by Ahsoka. Second, it’s a selfless act, with Mando putting his adoptive son’s needs above his own wishes.
When Din thinks Grogu wants to stay with him, he says so to Luke. As soon as he finds out that Grogu is seeking permission to go, he immediately gives it – even though it breaks his heart. He really is Star Wars’ greatest dad. Part of parenthood involves letting children go their own way so they can become who they want to be; in real world terms, Din has basically let Baby Yoda go off to uni.
It’s the natural progression of their relationship. Mando has been supportive of Grogu learning about the Jedi throughout season 2 – in Chapter 14, the episode after Ahsoka informs him about Baby Yoda’s true capabilities, Din tells him, “You’re very special, kid,” and says, “We’re gonna find that place you belong, and they’re gonna take real good care of you.” All along, he recognised that the best thing for Grogu was to follow his own path. Din understands the lesson that Yoda imparts to Luke in The Last Jedi: “We are what they grow beyond.” That’s not only the “true burden of all masters,” but of all parents.
And Luke is certainly the best person to train Grogu. Unlike the Jedi of old, Luke has no fears about attachments. Ahsoka is wary of Baby Yoda’s connection to Mando, enough to turn down training him, but Luke does not feel the same way – and gives Grogu and Mando the time to say their emotional goodbyes. Luke understands the importance of attachments himself: in the end, what saved him from the Emperor and certain death in Return of the Jedi wasn’t some incredible Force power, but the love his own father, Darth Vader, held for him. Even Mando and Grogu’s farewell shares a lot of similarities with Luke and Vader’s goodbye: both fathers take their helmets off, Vader to look at Luke, and Din so Baby Yoda can look at him. It’s doubtful that Luke would ever try to sever the connection between Grogu and Mando, because he – more than any other Jedi – understands how important a family bond and the power of parental love can be.
It’s unlikely that Grogu and Din will remain apart for this exact reason. Mando promises Baby Yoda that they’ll see each other again one day, so we can hope for a happy reunion in The Mandalorian season 3. By then, the Child will probably have a better handle on his powers, and so will be a lot safer when he goes on his adventures with Din. Think how many times Grogu used his abilities to get Mando out of a tight spot in season 1 – if he can do all that and more without flopping down exhausted afterwards, that can only be a good thing. For now, as upsetting as it may be, Din letting Grogu go was the right decision.