“Chapter 5” of The Book of Boba Fett turned out to really be episode 17 of The Mandalorian. Because while Fennec Shand secured Din Djarin’s “muscle” (eventually), this installment had little to do with Tatooine’s daimyo. What it did give us was a whole lot of insight into what lies ahead for the most beloved surrogate dad in the galaxy far, far away. He’s hoping for a big reunion with a tiny green tyke—a child who could be the key to saving Mandalore and its people.
The Great Purge of Mandalore
The Book of Boba Fett provided the first-ever live action look at Mandalore. Unlike the glistening technological marvel seen on The Clone Wars, the planet only appeared here briefly via a devastating flashback. The Empire destroyed the Mandalorian home world during a massacre known as “The Great Purge.” The Galactic Empire had decided, sometime around the Battle of Yavin, that the valuable planet was too difficult to control any longer. Rather than abandon it and its people, the Empire firebombed Mandalore and stole its beskar steel. The worst of the attack, which saw the domed capitol city Sundari wiped out, happened during the “Night of a Thousand Tears.” The Empire sent droids to kill what few survivors remained.
According to the Armorer, Moff Gideon was responsible for the atrocity and the deaths of millions of Mandalorians. The stolen Darksaber served as a token of his destruction, which left the planet a wasteland some believe is cursed. The only Mandalorians still remaining had primarily been off world during the Purge. They are now scattered throughout the galaxy. While most are still members of a small clan, Mandalorians are not united. There is hope though. Mandalorians speak of a prophesy that says one warrior will bring them back together and lead them.
The Curse and Hope of the Darksaber
Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian Jedi, crafted the ancient lightsaber known as the Darksaber more than one thousand years ago. We’ve covered the history of that beautiful and imposing weapon previously. But we now know even more about the legend surrounding it. Mandalorians believe the one who wields it can unite and lead all of Mandalore, so long as they won the Darksaber “by creed in battle.” But the Armorer, a member of the strict hardline religious cult known as the Tribe, told Din Djarin there’s a more ominous side of that prophesy.
If, however, it is not won in combat, and falls into the hands of the undeserving, it will be a curse unto the nation. Mandalore will be laid to waste and its people scattered to the four winds.
That prophesy already came true. Bo-Katan Kryze, who so desperately wanted to win back the Darksaber from Moff Gideon, did not originally claim it in combat. Sabine Wren found it and gave it to Bo-Katan. Her subsequent reign was short and Mandalore fell to the Empire. When the truly undeserving Moff Gideon took the Darksaber before the Great Purge of Mandalore the dark prophesy proved true,
The Armorer might be a hardline zealot, but even Bo-Katan tacitly agrees with her now. Bo-Katan refused to take the Darksaber when Din Djarin tried to give it to her in The Mandalorian‘s season two finale. If she ever wants to unite Mandalore again, Bo-Katan will have to fight him for it, the way Paz Vizsla, ancestor of the sword’s creator, tried to win it from him in this episode. But holding the Darksaber does not mean you earn absolute loyalty immediately.
A Mandalorian Without a Home or a Tribe
Despite rightfully possessing the Darksaber, Din Djarin’s reunion with the two remaining members of the Tribe did not last long. The Armorer asked if he had ever removed his helmet in front of anyone. When he admitted he had she declared him an “ apostate,” excommunicating from the hardcore religious sect. Although Bo-Katan and the Nite Owls showed Din that most Mandalorians don’t follow such a strict creed, he wanted to atone for his transgression and rejoin the Tribe.
Unfortunately for him the only way to earn redemption is to bathe “in the living waters beneath the mines of Mandalore.” But the Empire destroyed those mines along with everything else on the planet. So for now Din Djarin is a man without a planet, a clan, or a tribe. This episode wasn’t without hope for him though. Nor for fans of The Mandalorian and found families. It indicated he might once again see his adopted son. And that son could be the future of both the Jedi and Mandalore.
A Gift for Grogu
The Jedi, at least before the Galactic Empire, believed in cutting off all emotional ties to their past lives. The Armorer told Din this is why he would not be able to see Grogu again. But as he pointed out, that is not the way of Mandalorians who believe in loyalty and solidarity. And he views Grogu as a Mandalorian “foundling,” same as himself. Din Djarin wants to see the tiny Padawan, and when he does he will come bearing a gift forged by the Armorer. The Armorer used the beskar spear Ahsoka Tano gave Din, because the weapon was essentially sacrilegious. Beskar can pierce beskar, and therefore the sacred Mandalorian steel is not meant to exist as a weapon, lest it harm a Mandalorian.
The Book of Boba Fett did not give us a clear look at the small gift she forged. Only the tiny chain links that fell during the process. Could Din be carrying a type of beskar chainmail for Grogu? Or another piece of protective armor that is linked together? Those questions won’t matter if Din cannot answer a far more important one: where did Luke Skywalker take the green tyke?
The answer to that question might put Grogu in great danger. But it might also save his life.
The Many Threats That Await Grogu
Moff Gideon is alive. But Paz Vizsla and the Armorer do not have confidence the New Republic will exact the justice they seek for their people and their planet. Nor that the New Republic will hold the Imperial officer forever. Neither should Star Wars fans. As far as we know, Moff Gideon is an architect in what we know will be the successful cloning of Sheev Palpatine. And Gideon wanted Grogu for his blood, which he now needs more of. This episode served as an ominous reminder of why the dark side seeks the Child.
If/when Moff escapes, he will probably resume his hunt for Grogu. And if Din finds the Jedi-in-training, he might accidentally lead Moff Gideon right to him. Locating a Mandalorian bounty hunter is easier than finding the galaxy’s most powerful Jedi. Even if Din doesn’t give Gideon a path to follow he might still put Grogu in danger by by reconnecting with the youth. Din’s appearance might make it too hard for Luke to continue training Grogu, who misses his Mando dad. Luke knows love for a parent helped send his father Anakin down a dark path.
However, long term, that might be the best thing for Grogu. A far more dangerous threat awaits Grogu and his kind in the future. Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren are coming for Luke Skywalker and his students. They will destroy Luke’s Jedi Temple and send the famed hero into self-imposed exile. When the Knights of Ren do arrive for vengeance, Grogu might very well be one of their victims… unless he’s no longer under Luke Skywalker’s care when they attack.
And if Grogu’s future lies elsewhere we might know exactly where he’s going: Mandalore.
The Future of the Jedi and Mandalore
Mandalore sits in ruins, but some, like Bo-Katan, don’t think it is truly cursed. And if the right warrior claims the Darksaber, they could reunite the scattered Mandalorians and rebuild their home world. That warrior could be Din Djarin. Or it could be his foundling. While it’s impossible to imagine Grogu and Din in combat, it is possible to imagine a scenario where someone bests Din or steals the Darksaber, only for the more powerful Grogu to then defeat that person in battle.
Then, for the first time since its creation, a Mandalorian Jedi would hold the Darksaber. And with it the hope of Mandalore and its people. This episode provided reason for all Mandalorians to have hope too. Prophesy spoke of the planet’s demise and old legends speak of its revival. The Armorer told Din, “The songs of eons past foretold of the mythosaur rising up to herald a new age of Mandalore.” The mythosaur remains the symbol of the Tribe and other Mandalorians. Din followed that symbol to find the Tribe in this episode. However, none of them have ever seen the legendary creature. That doesn’t mean it’s not out there somewhere, though.
The galaxy far, far away is full of legends. It also contains a small green child and his Mandalorian father who together defeated another monstrous beast, the mudhorn. Just as it’s also home to a legendary bounty hunter, the new daimyo of Tatooine, who in “Chapter 4” bragged about riding beasts far bigger than a rancor—a beast that could be the mythosaur. And if the mythosaur exists, Mandalore might rise from the ashes under a new leader who could also ensure the future of the Jedi order for hundreds of years.
Lucasfilm unexpectedly delivered an episode of The Mandalorian. But the greatest sign for what awaits that show in season three and beyond might have come from The Book of Boba Fett.
Originally published January 26, 2022.
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.