Meant for people who have seen the finale
Saying goodbye to the little one is hard. We didn’t love Grogu because he was cute; we loved him because we got to know him. How couldn’t we get to know him? Grogu’s face was plastered all over Facebook, on the side of busses, on our coffee mugs, our kids’ backpacks, lunchboxes, everywhere. Releasing the very asset that sold “The Mandalorian” to a broad audience beyond Star Wars fans is a death-defying move on Disney’s end. We will see if it pays off in December of 2021, where we will most probably be following King Boba’s story.
The swell of emotion viewers felt when saying goodbye to Grogu was overwhelming but not manipulative on the filmmaker’s end. The farewell was a reminder of those we had to say goodbye to, whether it be a loved one or a pet. Two weeks ago, my dog passed away. Like most dealing with grief, the actual moments of emotion didn’t strike me for some time. Thinking in the back of my head that I must be some subhuman monster, I tried to make myself cry, but the tears just couldn’t come out. Come Thursday night, when Grogu wanted to see his nonbiological papa’s own eyes, I wept in a way I haven’t since I was a boy witnessing the ending of “The Cider House Rules.”
The end of “Cider House” struck me since it reminded me how lucky I was to have a family who loved me. Whether it be through the bloodline or not. Mando’s end reminded me of all the times I had to say goodbye, from when I went off to college to when I lost those who were close to me. There are several deaths in film and television that are compelling works of cinema. At least they try to be. Hardly ever do we get to know a character on a mass scale that we got to know Grogu. Saying the name Grogu itself is problematic for audiences to fathom. Our connection to the boy made us call him Baby Yoda, or as Disney wanted us to say for the longest time, the child. Although a puppet, we felt like he was our youngster. When the mighty Werner Herzog grew a connection to the instrument himself on set, proclaiming, “You are cowards; leave it.” as the crew attempted to move it in favor of a CGI model, the Mando team knew they had something special.
Din Djarin was the audience’s conscious brought to the screen. When introduced to the little guy, he immediately touches his finger, reminiscent of Michaelangelo’s creation of Adam. Din doesn’t want to call the child Grogu. When attempting to say it out loud, he uses the name much like how we use certain noises to make our pet’s ears perk up. He has trouble accepting or acknowledging Grogu’s individuality. The connection between the two is similar to a parent who watches their child move out of their home for the first time in 17 years. They don’t want to let go, but they know it must be done for the greater good. Their kid will come back one day, but they don’t know when that may be.
Telling Grogu, “I’ll see you again, I promise.” Grogu’s nonverbal request to see Mando’s face before he departs was his way of affectionately letting Din be aware, “We both know that might not be the case, but it will be okay.” As Grogu’s palm touched Djarin’s face, attempting desperately to hold back his emotions, Director Peyton Reed channels his inner “E.T.” with Grogu giving his “I’ll be right here” moment. Ludwig Göransson’s music swells up with the door closing, similar to John Williams’ score as E.T.’s spaceship departs, the scene cuts to black. We know the truth is we may never see Grogu again, but we can’t accept it yet. Moments like this is Star Wars at its purest. It’s about a family’s bond that’s thicker than any Ancenstory.com result can give you.
Flashes of holding your mom or husband’s hand on a hospital bed may have struck your subconscious. Images of me petting my dog’s head as her lifeless eyes look out into the void slammed me like a freight train upon the second viewing. Like Din promising Grogu he’ll see him again one day, I said to my deceased pet, “I’ll see you on the other side.” R2D2’s appearance was the warming guardian angel standing beside the gatekeeper at the kingdom of heaven, making Grogu aware that he will make new friends. Mando’s chapter closes along with the doors introducing a new book to our lives. We musn’t forget that Grogu isn’t what initially drew us to “The Mandalorian.”
Originally it was the prospect of the Bounty Hunter show. The man who takes on jobs, whoever the client might be, whether it’s the New Republic or a hut, it doesn’t matter. It was the edgy format that made “The Mandalorian” so attractive. Perhaps the story will go back to its original marketing roots with “The Book of Boba Fett,” maybe it will link us straight back to Din Djarin or an entirely other Bounty Hunter we haven’t met before. Either way, our loved one is now gone, so we must accept what’s in the future ahead of us. Star Wars has always universally been about growing up. George Lucas has stated multiple times that it’s made for 12-year-olds.
The story of fathers and sons is a familiar Star Wars tale. Luke moves out of Tatooine with the aid of Obi-Wan Kenobi when his relatives are killed. Anakin Skywalker is freed from slavery when acquired by Qui Gon Jin to become a Jedi. When they come back home, there’s nothing left for them. Luke had no more family; Anakin’s mother died in his arms when attempting to rescue her. Rey’s family was nonexistent. The only one she ever formed was the people she met when departing Jaku. Ezra Bridger never had parents. So he developed a new kinship with his rebel friends. Grogu experienced trauma before; now, he may see it again when Kylo Ren goes on a mass Jedi killing spree, further lamenting his absence from Din’s life. Hopefully, he’ll be saved before that happens. Star Wars is a reminder that we say goodbye to our childhoods to say hello to adulthood. But as the writers of “The Mandolorian” are aware, no matter how far we may travel, our youth never escapes us.