With Chapter 13, "The Jedi," The Mandalorian delivered arguably its best episode yet, largely thanks to the introduction of Rosario Dawson bringing The Clone Wars' Ahsoka Tano to live-action for the first time. Not only was it one of the coolest and most gorgeous debuts in all of Star Wars-dom, but Ahsoka also dropped a ton of expositive knowledge that fans have been waiting ages for, such as Baby Yoda's real name and his abridged backstory. What's more, her knowledge led to Yoda being specifically referenced for the very first time in the show, though the Jedi Master's name wasn't the only callback to the original trilogy.
Any Star Wars fans who were watching the episode at a louder volume – as opposed to having to keep things relatively quiet in the middle of the night when "The Jedi" first hit streaming – may have noticed something familiar about the background music in that moment. Executive producer, episode director and Ahsoka Tano creator Dave Filoni was pumped that The Mandalorian composer found a way to bring another Yoda element into that moment, saying this to Vanity Fair:
She sees this child and names the name Yoda for the first time in our show. Ludwig Göransson does a really masterful thing where the music, just for a moment, becomes John Williams’ 'Yoda's Theme.' Those are those little overlapping moments that I just love, and it's why I've always insisted on using Star Wars music so fleetingly because you don't want that unless you're talking about that character. It's their music. We had an opportunity to just give it a little grace moment.
While recognizing that temporary callback to The Empire Strikes Back isn't necessary to enjoy The Mandalorian's info-bomb scene, and also doesn't offer any further insight into the name Grogu, it's definitely an awesome wink-and-nod to fans who could recognize John Williams' Star Wars themes under any and all circumstances. It would have been superb had that scene also set up a deeper specific connection between Yoda and Grogu, I guess we can remain content with Ludwig Göransson's always engaging score.
Dave Filoni also talked about that moment being a more distinct tribute to the character of Yoda himself and all the great minds that came together to bring the wrinkled li'l dude to life. In his words:
It’s just an acknowledgement to that great performance by Frank Oz and the great character design. There's no way that the name Yoda Baby wasn't going to happen just given the stature of Yoda himself, so I think it's a nice nod to the history. We can honor people who really put this thing on the map.
For those who want a quick comparison point, or anyone who just wants to go on a mental vacation to Dagobah, you can check out "Yoda's Theme" within the video below.
Yoda almost definitely won't be showing up in person (so to speak) during The Mandalorian's run on Disney+, but that doesn't mean Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau don't have other major Star Wars franchise cameos in mind for future episodes. We're already hoping to get Katee Sackhoff's Bo-Katan back in Season 2 or Season 3 (or even digitally and arbitrarily inserted into Season 1 episodes), and Ahsoka Tano opened up this fictional world even further by also namedropping Thrawn and later advising Mando to make a trip out to the planet Tython.
Baby Yoda is meant to visit the ruins of an old Jedi temple on Tython, where he will presumably make contact with someone else from the Jedi Order, though it remains to be seen who that might be. Not that fans have been speculating like crazy or anything. Who thinks we're going to get a Skywalker reference out of this one? Could Ezra Bridger arrive at some point?
New episodes of The Mandalorian hit Disney+ on Fridays at 3:01 a.m. ET. While waiting to hear more about what's coming to this increasingly exciting universe, be sure to stay tuned to our Fall 2020 TV premiere schedule and our Winter and Spring 2021 TV rundown to see all the new and returning shows popping up soon.