Heartbreaking! The Mandalorian may never see Baby Yoda again! The season 2 finale of The Mandalorian certainly makes us think that Mando has given up his guardianship of little Grogu, and thus, creating an unexpected ending for the popular Star Wars TV series. But what if we’ve got this all wrong? Since Season 1, it’s pretty clear that Mando is the adoptive father of Baby Yoda. And now that his bond with the Child is, arguably, stronger than ever, we could assume that the introduction of a new father figure isn’t in fact about creating a proxy parent at all. Spoiler alert, but the introduction of Luke Skywalker into The Mandalorian is, for parents, simply the introduction of a super-nanny.
For Din Djarin, a working, single parent, Luke Skywalker’s dramatic entrance in The Mandalorian Season 2 finale is pretty much like someone from Care.com showing up for a job interview with an unbelievable resume and great references. Yes, Disney+ wants us to think Baby Yoda and Mando are being split up forever, but let’s think about this in terms of real parents. Mando hasn’t had a break with childcare, for what, like a year? Straight? Sure, he’s dropped off Baby Yoda with Amy Sedaris, the Frog Lady, and that random droid-led school on the planet Nevarro, but none of this represents a permanent childcare solution.
Further, as we saw in the Ahsoka episode, Mando’s inexperience with parenting, and total lack of help in caring for Baby Yoda, has led to him being something of a helicopter parent. When Ahsoka tested Baby Yoda with some basic Jedi levitation action, Mando hovered and made things ten times worse. This isn’t really his fault, helicopter parenting is an impulse that comes pretty naturally, and often, with the best of intentions. And yet, parents often need outside help in figuring out how to let go of controlling all aspects of their kids’ lives. When Luke Skywalker showed up in the Season 2 finale, he very pointedly said that Grogu “will not be safe until he learns to master his abilities.”
Luke is giving Mando a fairly hard lesson in not being a helicopter parent: Kids can’t learn and grow if their parents are always taking away obstacles. Luke’s approach toward Baby Yoda is that of a teacher or childcare expert. Sure, he might have some sentimental feelings about Baby Yoda, considering how similar the baby looks to his old buddy, you know, regular Yoda. But, Luke’s wisdom is the kind of advice that is often so hard for parents to hear.
In order for our kids to get better and grow into functioning, self-sufficient people, we have to figure out how to let go. Anyone who has ever had their kid screaming after they dropped them off at daycare knows how Mando feels in this moment. Baby Yoda is tugging on his leg, not ready to leave just yet.
Luckily, like a good babysitter, Luke has plenty to offer to redirect the Child. In this case, without the super-fun new toy that is R2-D2, it seems possible that Baby Yoda would have never been convinced to go with Luke. Parents in real life can relate, and sometimes, when our children are playing with actual Star Wars toys, the analogy here bizarrely loses any of its metaphorical power. In real life and in Star Wars life, kids like cool R2-D2 things. Play is just as important as learning, and R2 is arguably the best kind of STEM toy there is.
Should fans expect Mando and Baby Yoda to be reunited? Maybe. Maybe not. The specifics on The Mandalorian Season 3 are sketchy, other than the idea we’re getting some kind of spin-off called The Book of Boba Fett. But, for parents, the scene that plays out at the end of the big Mando finale doesn’t have to be the end. Instead, this is a scene we’ve experienced many times and will continue to live through again and again.
If we want, we can all imagine Mando picking up Baby Yoda from Luke’s school in the next season or a future Star Wars movie. If we were drawing up a list of candidates to be a great babysitter for Baby Yoda, Mando pretty much hit the jackpot with Luke. And for that alone, we should all be happy.