“The Mandalorian” has become a fan-favorite Star Wars show, with “Baby Yoda” taking over the internet, merchandise, and the Disney theme parks.
And with the release of “The Mandalorian” season 3 finale this week on Disney+, it seems Disney has changed its character conventions overnight – so just how will this affect the Disney Parks?
(Beware, if you haven’t seen the final episode of Season 3 of “The Mandalorian”, there are spoilers ahead!)
Many Star Wars fans were feeling a level of nervousness going into the season finale “The Return,” with clues released from both actors and producers sending heart rates rising across the galaxy.
The penultimate episode of season 3, “The Spies,” ended with Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) captured by Moff Gideon in a top-secret Imperial installation on Mandalore with Bo-Katan helplessly looking on. With Gideon’s plans to eradicate what’s left of the Mandalorians and replace them with his own super soldiers, it seemed Din’s future wasn’t looking bright.
Stunt actor Brendan Wayne posted a cryptic Instagram Story after the premiere of “The Spies,” writing, “This next episode is gonna make you wish you hadn’t asked for more…it might hurt too much.” Wayne, along with Lateef Crowder, is one of the actors who actually wears the Beskar armor for most of Din’s scenes on the show, while Pascal primarily performs the character’s voice. Fans took his words to mean that Din Djarin was going to meet his end.
Furthermore, executive producer Dave Filoni, who was revealed to be directing a Mandoverse movie for Lucasfilm, said to Collider:
“[Fans] have a lot to take in, and I think with any good ending there’s the moment you’re in it when you’re cheering and you feel satisfied, but then there’s a little bit after that where you think back at all the things that happened. Maybe you start to put them together in a different way and you realize it’s an ending, but there are other things happening out there in the galaxy that now you know more about.”
This “ending” that would “hurt too much” all seemed to hint that Pedro Pascal’s Mandalorian was going to die in the finale. And this would be very on-brand for Disney.
Grogu would sadly, lose his “Daddy.” Of course, Disney characters have a way of losing their parents.
Think about it. There’s Tarzan, who loses both his parents to a dangerous leopard. There is Cinderella, who is orphaned with an evil stepmother, There is Ariel, who has lost her mother; Elsa and Anna, whose parents – the King and Queen – both die in Frozen (2013); Bambi, whose mother is killed; and don’t get us started on Simba and the death of his father, Mufasa.
Many of these Disney parent deaths have left children in tears (we know we are still traumatized by that death scene in The Lion King (1994)), but often, these parental deaths provide the catalyst for the movie’s narrative. They are the background story that gives a purpose to the hero’s goal and shapes the character’s journey. Sometimes, losing a parent can be the start of the main adventure.
But in the final episode of “The Mandalorian” Season 3, instead of becoming an orphan, young Grogu gains a parent.
In a very wholesome finale that “hurt” in a different way than expected, Din Djarin offered to officially adopt Grogu as his son in order to start the youngling’s journey following “The Way.”
The Armorer formally gives “Baby Yoda” the full name of “Din Grogu,” bonding him with his new adoptive father, Din Djarin:
“You are now Din Grogu, Mandalorian apprentice.”
Following the ceremony, Din Djarin and Din Grogu venture off together as they prepare for the next steps in Grogu’s development. They move to Nevarro, where Din Djarin takes up contract work with the New Republic.
This ending differs so much from the usual Disney standard of a sad parental death. It will be interesting to see if and how this affects the character meet and greet in Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and whether we can expect Disney Imagineers to recreate their cozy Nevarro home in the future – complete with frogs.
Din Djarin actor, Pedro Pascal, has found himself a hot commodity in the television sphere, becoming one of the highest-paid TV actors in his latest hit show, “The Last of Us” on HBO.
Back in November 2022, Din Djarin and Grogu made their Disney Park debuts at Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge in Anaheim, California. It wasn’t until March 2023 that the Mandalorian pair made their appearance in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.
The character meet and greet was eagerly awaited, and opened a whole galaxy of possibilities for Disney. Guests are able to meet and interact with different characters from the ever-expanding Star Wars universe when they visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Resort and the Walt Disney World Resort, including Boba Fett and Fennec Shand. Will Bo-Katan, the Armorer, or even Moff Gideon make their appearance soon?
All we know is that now in the Disney Parks, we have a meet and greet with an actual father and son duo like never before.