Dave Filoni returns to the directors seat for this weeks episode of ‘The Mandalorian’, titled, “The Jedi”, and boy does he deliver! There’s so much to unpack, but before I do, here’s your formal warning…
Being the Padawan to George Lucas’ Master, we knew Filoni was gonna bring the heat. And after this episode, it seems like Dave Filoni may have finally become the master.
I kid, obviously, Lucas’ is irreplaceable, but Filoni directed the hell out of this weeks episode. From the Japanese influences of the cityscape to the samurai feel of the ‘rogue’ Jedi, that gave off huge Avatar The Last Airbender vibes, this episode was extremely well done.
A lot of fans had criticisms of the Filoni directed episodes in the first season, but I thought they were all great. And now, it seems like he’s more in his element. And for good reason, because he got to bring to life one of his own creations, Ahsoka Tano!
Making her live-action debut, being portrayed by Rosario Dawson, Ahsoka has finally made it to the big leagues after years of being a fan favorite all the way back since the days of the Clone Wars. And now many more fans will start to see why.
Arriving on the planet of Corvus, Mando is hired by the Magistrate to kill a Jedi. This is where he finds Ahsoka Tano, the Jedi Bo Katan tasked him with finding. Mando explains to Ashoka his predicament with the child and asks her to train him. After that we’re treated to some big reveals. But before Ahsoka can commit, she asks Mando for help in taking over the small town and restoring it back. So they do. Mandalorian and Jedi working together, Ahsoka defeats the Magistrate in a duel and Mando aids in freeing the citizens of the city. In the end Ahsoka acknowledges “the Childs” attachment to Mando insists he keep him. She then instructs Mando to take him to a Jedi temple and let the child choose his own path.
I was nervous about Ahsoka’s depiction in live action. Especially since her animation voice actress, Ashley Eckstein, wasn’t gonna be reprising the role. And I’ll admit it took me a while to get use to a slightly different voice for the character. But as the episode went I felt myself getting more invested and buying into Rosarios interpretation of the character. And it’s no doubt Filoni’s direction was a big part of that.
From the opening scene, the samurai imagery was so well done in establishing the tone for where this character is at in her life. She’s no longer the helpless little kid a Jedi found on a battlefield. And seeing her maturity along with her optimistic spirit was pure joy. And the way they depicted her fighting style along with her lightsaber combat was straight out of Clone Wars. Rosario Dawson nailed the mannerisms and made the transition from animation to live-action seamless. So if you’re a Clone Wars or Ashoka fan, you probably left this episode with a huge smile on your face, and maybe a tear or two as well.
It looks like a lot of theories are gonna have to be put to bed because we got some big answers in this episode. For starters, the “child’s” name is actually “Grogu“. So I guess we can stop calling him “Baby Yoda”, but I doubt that habit will go away.
We also found out that “Grogu” was raised on the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. And was hidden during the final days of the Clone Wars. He had been trained by multiple Jedi, but was eventually taken after he was hidden.
This is interesting because I’m pretty sure the training they were talking about was force training, not necessarily lightsaber training. I had originally theorized that his species were naturally connected to the force in a powerful way. But since he has had prior training, it seems like there’s a chance he’ll continue that training. And with Ashoka’s instruction for Mando to take him to a temple, to potentially commune with a Jedi, it looks like they’re going in that direction. And last time I checked, the only Jedi around after the fall of the Empire is a certain Tatooine farm-boy, named, Luke Skywalker.
After watching this episode, it seemed like it was chockful of answers. And initially, I wasn’t a fan because months of speculation and mystery was gone just like that. We found out the child’s name, where it’s from, and its past all in one episode. And also, Ahsoka appeared!
But then I got thinking, the way this series is going, I think they’re gearing up for something bigger. With the mention of Thrawn, the direction of this show has way bigger implications than initially expected. With the absence of Sabine Wren, I’m certain she and Ashoka are currently searching for their lost Jedi friend, Ezra Bridger. And with “Grogu” reaching out through the force on a Jedi temple, maybe he’s the catalyst to finding him.
All these crossovers with Clone Wars and Rebels luminaries isn’t for cheap cameos, but they actually have huge story implications. I’m convinced Disney wants to use this show to connect to the sequel trilogy in some way and branch out into many other different shows. Don’t be surprised if Disney comes out with a live-action Rebels sequel. Maybe they’ll even call it “The Mandalorian And The Jedi“.
There are so many things that could happen, the more answers we get the more questions I have. Will Grogu be the way to Ezra and thus Thrawn? Will Ashoka team up with Mando? Will Luke Skywalker show up and train Ezra and Grogu? Will Thrawn join the fragmented Empire and restore it to its former glory? So many questions and I can’t wait to see where this series goes!
Overall, this episode was great. I love the nods to Kevin Kiner’s Ahsoka theme and John Williams’ Yoda theme that Ludwig Goranson incorporated. He doesn’t steal much from the other films, so I was delighted to hear those motifs. I also love the Kill Bill inspired final fight with Ahsoka and the Magistrate. And overall, I just love what they’re setting up. I was worried about all the answers we were getting, but I think it just lends credence to the fact that this show has a lot more to do.
I can only imagine what the last 3 episodes are gonna be like. You can tell Disney’s investment in this show wasn’t just for small bounty hunter adventures, but is the catalyst for the future of Star Wars going forward. And there’s no people I would rather have at the forefront of Star Wars than Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau.
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