'The Mandalorian' Welcomes in the Bigger 'Star Wars' Universe in Its Season 2 Finale

We figured something like this would happen.


This article contains major spoilers up through The Mandalorian Season 2 finale, “The Rescue.”

Part of the joy of watching The Mandalorian, especially in its first season, was watching a piece of the Star Wars galaxy play out that had little or nothing to do with the grand space opera we’ve seen on the big screen. Mando himself operates in the backwaters, on a planet no one else goes to, dealing with small-time crimes and sinister gang bosses. Since meeting The Artist Formerly Known As Baby Yoda now known as Grogu, he’s found himself wrapped up in a larger scheme that has grown to involve other Mandalorians, other worlds, and at least one other Jedi over the course of the show’s second season, which has kept the grounded feeling of Season 1 even while expanding into a more familiar Star Wars universe.

In the Season 2 finale, “The Rescue,” Mando’s search to unite Grogu with someone who can teach him to master his abilities comes to an end, with more than enough fanservice. After boarding Moff Gideon’s Imperial cruiser and dispatching every Stormtrooper they find, new Republic Marshal Cara Dune and sharpshooter Fennec Shand, who have recently teamed up with Mandalorian warriors Bo-Katan Kryze and Koska Reeves, take control of the bridge while Mando fights off a robotic Dark Trooper, ejects the rest of them into the vacuum of space, and takes Grogu back from Moff Gideon-following a cool Darksaber vs. Beskar spear fight, of course. But when he brings the captured Gideon up to the bridge, he informs Mando that he is now the wielder of the Darksaber, since he won it in battle against Gideon. Which throws a huge sword-sized wrench into Bo-Katan’s plans to return to Mandalore with the Darksaber and reunite the decimated Mandalorian tribes.

And then, an alarm bell rings as the legions of Dark Troopers Mando jettisoned return to the cruiser via their rocket feet and proceed all the way to the bridge, pounding on the blast doors and nearly pulling them open before ANOTHER surprise character drops in on an X-wing. Yes, it’s the unknown Jedi warrior Grogu contacted while he was sitting on that big rock two episodes ago, who flips and kicks and parkours around the platoon of droid soldiers like a little jumping bean, fighting them off one by one with (gasp) a green lightsaber. When he arrives at the bridge, he removes his black hood to reveal himself as none other than Luke Skywalker, that guy who blew up the Empire that one time.


Luke (voiced by Hamill but played by “double for Jedi” Max Lloyd Jones with a digitally de-aged Hamill face pasted on, as this franchise continues to do, despite everyone’s pleas against it) asks for Grogu to come with him, and Grogu and Mando share a very emotional goodbye, during which Mando removes his helmet so that his young companion can finally see his face. R2-D2 even shows up, for some reason, and he and Grogu share some affectionate beeps. Luke scoops Grogu up in his arms and the trio leaves as Mando lets his eyes get sorta misty.

And that’s it! End of the season, and end of any notion that The Mandalorian was allowed to be its own distinct thing. Maybe that’s not entirely true, and maybe with Grogu gone (though probably not for long), The Mandalorian can shed some of the weight of all these added storylines and references to things that happened long ago. They do keep a little bit of the memory of that small-scale feeling in this episode, when Mando looks Luke Skywalker up and down and asks if he’s a Jedi, clearly with NO idea of who he’s in the presence of. Guess there’s not a lot of daily news in this galaxy.

But as soon as Ahsoka Tano-who had a very good, very brief one-episode appearance that didn’t require you to know she was a major character in another piece of this franchise-advised Mando to take Grogu somewhere where he could contact another Jedi, I grew slightly concerned. The Mandalorian is exciting as another “war against the Empire” show, but it’s much more engaging and charming as a Western pastiche about a gunslinger who gets into weekly conflicts that are resolved after 45 minutes, with some sci-fi stuff thrown in. Maybe it was too much to hope for that The Mandalorian could remain something self-contained when it’s part of a media franchise that continues to needlessly indebt itself to a narrative that was concluded 40 years ago.

So, where do we go from here? Grogu has gone off with Luke, who has or will soon start up the Jedi school where he trained young Ben Solo before he became Kylo Ren. It’s unlikely that the show will follow that plotline much, since it’s called The Mandalorian and not Jedi School, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Grogu showed back up later on. Mando will probably be cajoled into returning to Mandalore with Bo-Katan and Koska, since he has the Darksaber and is the rightful ruler of the planet. Something tells me he’s not gonna take that well.

Also, if you stuck around past the credits, you know that Boba Fett and Fennec Shand are getting their own show, The Book of Boba Fett, which is coming December 2021. We are unlikely to catch up with Mando for a while, and Disney may figure that the new Boba Fett show is enough to tide us over until 2022. Which is a bummer, but if Season 3 is anything like what this season indicates it will be, that VFX budget is gonna get way bigger.Need help finding something to watch? Sign up here for our weekly Streamail newsletter to get streaming recommendations delivered straight to your inbox.

Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.


Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.


Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.


BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.


Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.