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Baby Yoda’s Complete Timeline Explained (Including Grogu’s Backstory Pre-Mandalorian)

Grogu eating a blue cookie

“The Mandalorian” is one of the best things to come out of the “Star Wars” universe in a long time, thanks (in part) to the adorable Grogu — sometimes known as “the Child” or “Baby Yoda.” When the series first debuted in November of 2019 on Disney+, audiences were taken in by the impeccable story of a rouge Mandalorian wandering the galaxy after the fall of the Empire. However, it was the introduction of Grogu in Episode 1 that had people talking. After all, not much is known about Yoda’s race of people, so the story of who Grogu is and where he comes from was shrouded in mystery.

Now that “The Mandalorian” Season 3 is set to be released on March 1st, 2023, we’re breaking down everything we know about Grogu’s timeline so far. It’s true that “The Mandalorian” is ultimately a story about Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), but the mystery of Grogu really took hold of audiences, especially in Season 2 of “The Mandalorian” and during Din and Grogu’s arc in “The Book of Boba Fett.” Luckily, as we head into Season 3, we’ve got more answers about Grogu’s past that we can dig into.

Major spoilers ahead for Seasons 1 to 3 of “The Mandalorian.” You’ve been warned.

When does The Mandalorian take place?

Mando and Grogu by doorway

The entire “Star Wars” universe takes place in a galaxy far, far away, so it has its own way of measuring history. For example, when we look at dates, we use the acronyms BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era). “Star Wars” uses BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) and ABY (After the Battle of Yavin) instead.

The Battle of Yavin takes place in “Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope.” It’s when Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) joins a group of courageous Rebel Alliance fighters to attack the Death Star. While this is a smaller battle by “Star Wars” standards, it holds significant weight — Luke blasts the planet-destroying would-be omega-weapon into space dust, and the loss of the Death Star stands as a major setback for the Empire.

Seasons 1 and 2 of “The Mandalorian” begin in 9 ABY — that’s 25 years prior to “The Force Awakens” and five years after the events of “Return of the Jedi” (via Games Radar). Now that the Empire has been defeated, the Rebel Alliance is trying to rebuild the galaxy in a peaceful way. Meanwhile, the Mandalorians are still spread out and without a home. Din Djarin, aka Mando, is saved by a group of religious Mandalorians who train him in their ways as a bounty hunter. However, his entire life changes when he accepts a mission to collect a mysterious package for the now-fallen members of the Empire. He discovers the package is baby Grogu and decides to save him rather than let the Empire experiment on him.

Grogu is born in the year 41 BBY

Grogu standing outside

According to Sideshow, Grogu was likely born in the same year as Anakin Skywalker, 41 BBY, making him 50 years old by the time “The Mandalorian” begins. This tracks, as Mando is initially told that he must retrieve a 50-year-old asset and deliver him to his client. However, when he finds Grogu, he sees that he looks and acts like a baby. There’s a reason for this — Grogu is the same species as Yoda.

In the show, Mando is told that this species ages differently, and could live for centuries. But that’s about all we know about them. “Star Wars” creator George Lucas admitted to MovieFone that when he created Yoda, the Jedi Master was designed to fill the void left by Obi-Wan Kenobi’s death in “A New Hope.” Lucas knew that he needed someone to train Luke, so he made Yoda without much thought to any background for his species. However, he quite liked how the ambiguity gives Yoda an aura of mystery.

In keeping that mystery alive, “The Mandalorian” showrunners Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau decided to honor Lucas’ original idea of Yoda’s past being a mystery. Filoni told Vanity Fair, “Honestly, it’s something I never would’ve done,” as he wanted to respect what Lucas created.

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Grogu witnessed Order 66

Grogu watching Jedis fighting clones

Season 2 of “The Mandalorian” gives audiences more information regarding Grogu’s enigmatic past. As it’s established that he’s 50 years old and a Jedi, it stands to reason that Grogu would be around during the Clone Wars as a Padawan. Luckily, the show does not disappoint when detailing Grogu’s timeline.

Grogu is able to share with Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) that he was raised in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, and in 19 BBY, he witnessed and survived Order 66. Ahsoka deduces that someone protected him and took him out of the Temple, but everything after that is murky as Grogu has seemingly blocked those memories.

Order 66 is a dark moment in “Star Wars” history. It’s when the Empire enacts inhibitor chips that have been installed in every clone trooper’s brain. These chips enforce temporary total obedience in the soldiers, as they were originally designed to prevent the clones from being too aggressive like their source, Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison). However, the Empire uses the chips to dictate the clones’ behavior patterns, and in the words of clone trooper Fives, the chips are “built into our genetic code to make us do whatever someone wants . even kill the Jedi.”

Across various “Star Wars” properties, audiences have witnessed the brutality of Order 66, from “Revenge of the Sith,” “The Clone Wars,” and even in video games like “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.” Now we can add “The Mandalorian” to that list, as poor Grogu saw it all go down.

Grogu’s connection with the Emperor

Tank containing unrecognizable body

Here’s what we know: Grogu was training to be a Jedi and manages to escape Order 66; the Empire commissions Mando to collect Grogu for them, and 26 years later, Palpatine returns . somehow. But what we don’t know is how Grogu and Emperor Palpatine are connected . Or do we?

“The Mandalorian” details glimpses of a cloning facility in Season 2, Episode 4, “The Siege.” The episode sees Mando and his team infiltrate an old Imperial base, as they believe it to be an easy target. However, they soon discover how wrong they are — the base is a fully operational science station with curious experiments. The station’s scientists explain that their experiments heavily involve midi-chlorians taken from Grogu. The station has cloning tanks with bodies in them that look mysteriously similar to that of Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Perhaps the leftover Imperials are attempting to extract Grogu’s midi-chlorian count in the hopes of creating a Force-sensitive clone. This could mean a lot of things — for example, perhaps they’re attempting to make Force-sensitive troopers. But, in theory, it could also link Grogu to Snoke.

Introduced in “The Force Awakens,” Snoke is the Supreme Leader of the First Order, a military group born out of the fallen Empire. He manipulates and mentors Luke’s nephew Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) toward the dark side before Kylo betrays and kills him. Ultimately, it’s revealed that Snoke is just a pawn created by the Empire as Palpatine works from the shadows to return and rule the galaxy . somehow. Not much is known about Snoke’s past, just that Palpatine created him. And perhaps “The Mandalorian” will detail just how he did that by using Grogu’s midi-chlorians to create a powerful Force user.

Grogu on the run

Mercenaries shooting guns

With the Empire hunting down the remaining Jedi after Order 66, Grogu has an excellent reason to keep his head down during those years. Perhaps as a result, not much is known about his time prior to meeting Mando. One thing is clear, though — once the rebels take down the Empire, they begin looking for Grogu in order to experiment with his midi-chlorians. At some point, they are able to successfully capture him before he’s taken by Nikto mercenaries. This is when the Imperials commission Mando to retrieve Grogu and return him to their scientists for further testing. Luckily, Mando chooses to save Grogu instead, and the two have been on the run ever since.

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How the Nikto mercenaries manage to capture Grogu from the Imperials is unclear, but once word spreads that they have him, it becomes an all-out battle for Mando in order to safely retrieve the Child.

However, there is a Reddit theory out there that suggests the Nikto mercenaries are actually the good guys, as they rescue Grogu from the Imperials and fight to protect him against the bounty hunters looking to collect. According to Reddit user r/FanTheories, the mercenaries could be prisoners or former slaves of the Empire laying down their lives to protect an innocent child from being delivered the same fate they experienced at the hands of the Imperials.

Ahsoka refuses to train Grogu

Ahsoka and Grogu hold hands

Season 2 of “The Mandalorian” really ties together the “Star Wars” universe. Not only does it pull on events from the films, but it also brings in characters from “The Clone Wars” with live-action actors. In Episode 3, “The Heiress,” Mando meets Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) from “The Clone Wars.” She teaches Mando more about Mandalorian culture and eventually shares her knowledge of the Jedi, as she fought with them once upon a time. She points him in the direction of Ahsoka Tano, which results in her long overdue live-action debut.

Once Mando brings Grogu to Ahsoka, she ultimately decides not to train the little one to become a Jedi. Shocked, Mando questions why, as his entire goal at this point is reuniting Grogu with his people, the Jedi. She tells him that Grogu has grown too attached to Mando and that a Jedi with a strong attachment is dangerous. She saw firsthand how Anakin’s unhealthy relationship and attachment to Padmé (Natalie Portman) brings about his downfall, and she vows not to let Grogu down that road.

It’s interesting that Ahsoka sees this attachment in Grogu immediately, as she knows that his destiny is not to become a Jedi. However, it takes Luke time to come to this realization, as he takes Grogu to train him at the end of Season 2. Ultimately, Luke discovers that Grogu’s heart isn’t in it, and he lets him decide which path he wants to follow — training to be a Jedi, or to be with his father figure, Mando.

Grogu is captured

Grogu touches Mando's face

Once Ahsoka refuses to train Grogu, she leaves Mando with some hope, telling him to take the Child to meditate at the seeing stone on the planet Tython. She shares that the stone has a strong connection to the Force and that Grogu can use it to reach out to any other Jedi close by.

Mando and Grogu travel to Tython where he’s ambushed by Imperials looking to capture Grogu. Luckily, Mando manages to partner with Boba Fett (who wants his Mandalorian armor back) and fellow bounty hunter Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) to fight against the soldiers. Unfortunately, Grogu is successfully captured, resulting in Mando planning a daring rescue of his little friend.

And while the two are eventually reunited, the team is trapped by Moff Gideon’s (Giancarlo Esposito) Dark Troopers. Luckily, it seems as though Grogu manages to connect with a Jedi after all, as Luke comes to rescue the team. He tells Grogu that he will take him away to train, which results in an emotional farewell between Grogu and Mando.

As Mando is part of an extremely religious sect of Mandalorians, he isn’t supposed to remove his helmet in the presence of others. However, he chooses to remove it so that he can look Grogu in the eye to say goodbye. This act of love between pseudo-father and son holds significant weight for Mando, as once his helmet has been removed, his role as a Mandalorian within his sect is now void. However, he doesn’t care. In this case, a proper goodbye is more important.

Grogu joins The Mandalorian’s clan

Mando and Grogu in spaceship

Once Grogu makes his decision to leave Luke and his Jedi training behind, he is reunited with Mando. Together, the two form their own little clan. At this point, it looks like Mando is gearing up to restore the Mandalorians back to their home world of Mandalore in “The Mandalorian” Season 3.

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Both Mando and Grogu make conscious decisions to pick each other over everything else, regardless of the ramifications. They see each other as family, which gives “The Mandalorian” a thematic link to the broader “Star Wars” universe. Right from the beginning, the bonds of family — especially father-son relationships — are one of the franchise’s most prominent themes. As far as the films go, the broken connections of the Skywalker family unit are the primary force (that’s with a lowercase “f”) pushing the story forward.

“The Mandalorian” is telling a new tale about the bonds of a father-son relationship between Mando and Grogu. Much like Luke is willing to sacrifice himself for his father in “Return of the Jedi,” Grogu and Mando are willing to sacrifice everything they know for each other. Grogu takes a pass on becoming an official Jedi; Mando removes his helmet and forfeits his position as a Mandalorian.

Grogu allows Luke Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano to meet

Ahsoka and Luke talking outside

Season 2 of “The Mandalorian” ends with the triumphant return of Luke Skywalker. And while a much older version of Luke appears in 2017’s “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi,” seeing Luke during his prime in the days following the events of “Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” was a treat for some fans. However, at the time, it was pretty disappointing how Luke didn’t meet Ahsoka. She was Anakin’s apprentice, and likely never knew that he turned back to the light side right before he met his end. Luckily, “The Book of Boba Fett” fixes all of this.

Just when everyone is settling into Boba Fett’s series on the sandy hills of Tatooine, Mando arrives to tie up loose ends in preparation for his next season. For audiences, a Mando-centric episode in the middle of Boba Fett’s show felt a little unusual, but who are we to argue?

That being said, audiences finally got to watch a conversation between Luke and Ahsoka where she reminisces on how much he reminds her of his father, to which he responds with a happy and knowing smile. She offers him words of wisdom as Luke wonders what he should do next. She cautions Luke about the strong bond between Grogu and Mando before leaving, as fans are left to wonder if the two will ever share the screen together again in her upcoming series.

We’ve seen Grogu’s species three times

Yaddle looking ernest

As “The Mandalorian” continues, we predict more of Grogu’s story will be uncovered. However, one thing will likely stay the same — the mystery surrounding his species. As mentioned previously, Grogu is a member of the same species as Jedi Master Yoda. Yoda is an incredibly powerful, extremely wise Jedi in “Star Wars” lore. However, most people don’t realize that aside from Yoda and Grogu, there’s another member of their species featured in the timeline.

Initially shown in “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace,” Yaddle is a Jedi council member and is present during the evaluation of a young Anakin Skywalker. However, by “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones,” she has disappeared. Luckily, Yaddle’s disappearance is expanded upon in “Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi.” In the Disney+ series, she steps down from her position on the Jedi High Council following the events of the Battle of Naboo in the year 32 BBY. After learning that Dooku won’t attend the funeral of his old Padawan Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) she grows suspicious of his actions. Yaddle follows Dooku and learns that he’s turned to the dark side of the Force. When she confronts him, she offers Dooku compassion, which makes it all the sadder when Dooku kills her, thus solidifying his place next to his Master, Darth Sidious, aka Emperor Palpatine.