In the Season 2 finale of “The Mandalorian” — which first streamed on Disney+ on Dec. 18, 2020, over two years ago — Mando (Pedro Pascal) bid a moving farewell to Grogu, handing over his adorably wee ward to Grogu’s new Jedi master, Luke Skywalker (played by a digitally de-aged Mark Hamill). The wrenching final scene culminated in Mando removing his helmet — violating the core precept of Mandalorian doctrine — so Grogu could see his face for the first time. It felt like the definitive end of a two-season journey, one painstakingly crafted by executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni to reset the show and send it into a new storytelling galaxy.
As the trailers for Season 3 of “The Mandalorian” have already made clear, however, the new season will begin on March 1 with Mando and Grogu back together. It’s almost as if the events of the Season 2 finale hadn’t happened.
That is, if you didn’t watch “The Book of Boba Fett.”
That show, which ran largely in January and February 2022, concerned the Tatooine-based exploits of Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) following their experiences with Mando in Season 2. But the fifth and sixth episodes of “The Book of Boba Fett” shifted focus entirely to catching up with what had happened to Mando and Grogu. It was, to say the least, rather jarring, as if “The Book of Boba Fett” had lost interest in its title character’s story and decided to become Season 2.5 of “The Mandalorian” instead.
These Mando-centric episodes of “The Book of Boba Fett” weren’t just cute, one-off interludes, either — they were enormously consequential, setting the fundamental stakes for what’s to come in Season 3 of “The Mandalorian”: What Mando needs to do, where he needs to do it, and how he will get there. Here’s what you need to know.
The Darksaber Is No Mere Weapon
At the end of Season 2, Mando defeated Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) in battle and won his weapon, the Darksaber, in the process. On “The Book of Boba Fett,” we see Mando attempting, and failing, to use the Darksaber while in combat, so much so that he injures himself with the blade. Later, he tells the Armorer (Emily Swallow) that it feels like the Darksaber gets heavier with every blow; she replies that he’s fighting the blade because his mind is too distracted from his grief over losing Grogu.
The Armorer also tells Mando that whoever wins the Darksaber in combat has won the right to rule Mandalore, but anyone who wields the weapon without having won it will be cursed, and bring ruin to the planet. As fans of the “Star Wars” animated series “The Clone Wars” know, that is exactly what transpired when Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) was given the Darksaber and then attempted to take control of Mandalore. Instead, the Empire bombed the entire planet, transforming it into a wasteland — an offensive we actually see on “The Book of Boba Fett.”
Doesn’t this seem like crucial information that audiences who’ve watched only “The Mandalorian” would want to know to understand what’s happening on the show? There’s more!
Mando Needs to Return to Mandalore
Mando learns all this backstory about the Darksaber while visiting the Armorer within the bowels of Glavis Ringworld, a space station housed within an immense ringed structure that spins around a small star — one of the most visually evocative new environments presented in the Disney era of “Star Wars.” The Armorer has created a new Covert there for their tribe of Mandalorians, and she asks Mando if he’s ever removed his helmet. Mando confesses he has, and the Armorer’s verdict is swift and devastating: “Then you are a Mandalorian no more.”
To regain his status within the only family Mando has ever known, the Armorer tells Mando his only recourse is to be washed within “the living waters beneath the mines of Mandalore” — quite a difficult task when the planet has been reduced to rubble.
Mando Has a New Ship
Another big hurdle for Mando at the end of Season 2 was the destruction of his ship, the Razor Crest. To replace it, Mando travels to Tatooine — not to see Boba Fett, but to see mechanic extraordinaire Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris), who reassembles an old Naboo N-1 Starfighter from 1999’s “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” into Mando’s scorchingly fast new ride. It’s a delightful sequence that “Mandalorian” fans certainly would have enjoyed watching on the show itself, but instead unfolded on “The Book of Boba Fett” even though it had nothing to do with Boba Fett’s story.
Anyway, Mando’s svelte new ship has no room for lodging or much storage, but Peli was able to swap out the droid slot for a second cockpit seat just big enough for a wee passenger. Almost as if she knew where Mando would be heading next.
Grogu Is Stronger With the Force, but No Longer Studying the Ways of the Jedi
Episode 6 of “The Book of Boba Fett” shifted to the sun-dappled planet Ossus, where Luke is training Grogu in the ways of the Jedi. When Mando arrives, he’s intercepted by Jedi warrior Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), who tells him that his presence would only disturb Grogu’s training. Mando decides to leave, but not before passing along to Ahsoka a gift for Grogu: beskar chainmail armor made expressly to fit little Grogu.
Luke observes that Grogu is also suffering from a scattered mind due to his separation from the only father he’s ever known. (We also learn that Grogu was present on Coruscant during the devastating purge of Jedi known as Order 66, a repressed memory that Luke helps Grogu to unlock.) So Luke gives Grogu a choice by way of two possible gifts: If Grogu chooses the beskar armor, he will cease his training and return to Mando; if Grogu chooses Yoda’s lightsaber (!), he will commit to becoming a Jedi.
Grogu, naturally, chooses the armor. He returns to Mando in the “Book of Boba Fett” Season 1 finale, a deeply emotional moment that barely matters at all to Boba Fett but means a great deal to Mando, Grogu and fans of “The Mandalorian.”