The Mandalorian season 3 trailer promises more of Grogu’s Order 66 flashbacks, and its cameo setup supports a worrying theory about who saved him.
The Mandalorian season 3 trailer promises more of Grogu’s Order 66 flashbacks, and supports a worrying theory about who saves him. Grogu’s backstory is intrinsically linked to Order 66, since it was revealed the child was smuggled out of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant while the purge – and Anakin Skywalker’s slaughter – was underway. The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett have built this into a key mystery, which has naturally led to several suspects on who saved Grogu.
While there are theories that range from the plausible (such as Jocasta Nu) to the near-impossible (Mace Windu?!), The Mandalorian season 3 trailer supports arguably the most concerning of them all: Anakin Skywalker himself.
The theory goes that Anakin – due to a combination of his own inner turmoil alongside the baby’s resemblance to Yoda – would have decided to spare him from the massacre. Star Wars has constantly been tinkering with Order 66 – retconning events and revealing multiple new survivors – and also Anakin’s own arc. StarWars.com even previously referred to Darth Vader as an “anti-hero,” and it has further explored the duality of the character, which could even extend to him saving (or at least sparing) Grogu during Order 66.
The Mandalorian Season 3 Trailer Makes Anakin Saving Grogu More Likely
Although it would still be a major Star Wars retcon, the theory Anakin saved Grogu during Order 66 takes on greater credence (and pertinence) thanks to The Mandalorian season 3 trailer. Not only does it once again show Grogu’s flashbacks to the purge, with multiple Jedi before him, lightsabers at the ready, but it clearly sets up Anakin himself appearing. The scene in question certainly makes it look as though a lightsaber is being used to cut through the door by some mysterious attack and, given the timeline and location are firmly during Anakin’s attack, him being on the other side of it would not be a shock at this point.
That itself lends some more credability to the theory, as it will better confirm he had the means and opportunity to spare Grogu’s life (although exactly how Grogu was then spirited away to the hidden location he lived in for years remains unclear). More than that, though, is that an Anakin cameo in The Mandalorian would certainly need to have a deeper meaning. He’s the defining figure of the Skywalker saga, and so not someone who should just be used lightly for a quick cameo (and while The Mandalorian has had plenty of Star Wars cameos, the biggest – such as Luke Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano – have been key plot drivers).
So if Anakin is indeed appearing, then it’s reasonable to assume it isn’t just to show him killing some Jedi. That doesn’t add anything that isn’t already part of his character arc from Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, and would just feel like a cheap bit of fan service. It’s easy to show Grogu’s rescue (and rescuer) without Anakin – the scene from the trailer is all that’s really necessary for contextualizing it – unless, of course, said savior is Anakin himself.
Why Anakin Skywalker Shouldn’t Save Grogu From Order 66
Anakin Skywalker being the savior in Grogu’s Order 66 flashbacks would fit with Disney’s approach to the character, but that’s exactly why it shouldn’t happen. Darth Vader is one of the greatest movie villains of all time for a reason, and while his redemption does factor into that, his incredible power, intimidating presence, and evil factor established him as such long before he turned against the Emperor in Return of the Jedi. There’s nothing wrong with Vader being evil after turning to the dark side, because it is inherently part of his character, and no need to change that to enhance his redemption.
If anything, the opposite is true. By having Vader be an “anti-hero” or seeing Anakin save Grogu, it suggests that he had never completely fallen to the dark side. That ultimately weakens his redemption, shifting it from a father returning to the light thanks to the actions of his son (and Anakin being the Chosen One) into a messier, he-was-never-truly-bad narrative that doesn’t pack the same punch and undercuts the original trilogy way too much. Redemption is a core theme in Star Wars, but it rests on the idea that anyone can be redeemed; that it’s never too late to return to the light. Saving Grogu would instead suggest Anakin never fully shut it out to begin with.
That is not to say Anakin/Vader cannot be a complex figure. Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s exploration of Anakin’s fall, and of how the Jedi’s failings contributed to him joining the dark side, are an example of how he can be portrayed as complicated and have depth added to his arc without impacting the core nature of it. The Mandalorian season 3 having him save Grogu would, unfortunately, be going too far, and be unnecessary to boot. There are plenty Jedi – those known to audiences and others not – who could have saved Grogu during Order 66. Anakin doing so would feel forced, overshadowing the story and throwing his entire arc out of the original trilogy’s perfect balance.