Why Luke Skywalker Was Chosen As The Jedi To Train Grogu In The Mandalorian

When "The Mandalorian" first premiered on Disney+, it helped reinvigorate "Star Wars" after a disappointing ending to the sequel trilogy. Not only did the series introduce the franchise to a whole new audience, it also gave us the adorable mascot we never knew we needed.

At first, the show's adventure-of-the-week format helped make this expansive universe more accessible. By tapping into "Star Wars" creator George Lucas' love for old-time serials, the show lets you dip in and out of the galaxy far, far away at your convenience, giving us fantastic stories, new locations, and cool characters, all without the need to spend hours reading Wookieepedia. 

Things changed in season 2, however. "The Mandalorian" left behind the episodic format and started building towards something, all while bringing back wave after wave of fan-favorite characters in order to plant seeds for future seasons (or just entirely different shows). This culminated in possibly the worst moment of the entire series, when none other than Luke Skywalker made a surprise cameo to take the foundling formerly known as Baby Yoda (don't tell Rick Famuyiwa his real name) away to school and away from his adoptive dad.

It was a much-speculated scene that became a hotly disputed element in "The Mandalorian." Unsurprisingly, it wasn't a quick or easy decision to bring Luke back. It was, however, a logical one.

Luke Skywalker, a legend

Luke's cameo is without a doubt the biggest reveal "The Mandalorian" has done to date, and you could even argue it's bigger than anything the sequel trilogy did, so it makes sense that there were some discussions about bringing the Jedi master back.

In an interview with Empire for the magazine's April 2023 issue, "The Mandalorian" producer Dave Filoni talked about making the decision to have Luke appear in the show. Unsurprisingly, Filoni thought of Ahsoka, but explained that "she can't take this kid on. That's just not what I have planned." Even when the idea of Luke came about, it wasn't as simple as just plopping him into the show. "[He's] this iconic character who's the center of the whole thing from when we were kids," Filoni said, "and if you want to bring that character in, you make sure that there's a good purpose behind it." 

In the end, they did land on Luke, but not without reason. As Filoni explained:

"In this time period, he is the Jedi, he is the one person carrying on the legacy of what it means to be a Jedi, and perhaps improving on or having a new perspective on what it means to be a Jedi, compared to the prequel Jedi. And so he's seeking out students, building a new Jedi Order. So Luke finding Grogu made the most sense."

So, there you have it. Those who thought it was simple fan service, well, they aren't incorrect. But according to Filoni, the real character they brought back to please fans (more specifically, "The Mandalorian" creator Jon Favreau) had a bit more circuits in their body. "I told Jon, 'What's exciting is if we get Luke, we probably get R2,'" Filoni shared. "And Jon lit up. He loves R2."

It is time for the Jedi to end

As Dave Filoni explained, Luke at this point in time fully represents the Jedi and the Jedi Order. It isn't Ahsoka, a former Jedi who left the Order behind, who comes for Grogu. It is not Cal Kestis, who was but a Padawan during the time of the Republic (and would be too close to what "Rebels" already did with Kanan and Ezra). And it certainly isn't Quinlan Vos, who was a bit of a maverick who bent the rules. No, it had to be Luke — the man who wanted to restore the Jedi — who would gather up Grogu and specifically show us why the Jedi are terrible.

The moment Luke arrives, the initial excitement over his cameo turns to anger when he tears apart Grogu's new family and takes the kid to a school where he couldn't see his dad. When we see Luke once again in "Boba Fett," he is not the cool Jedi legend, but the personification and continuation of everything that was wrong with the Order, a man so blinded by the weight of legacy and responsibility that he would repeat a cycle of pain that led to the destruction of the organization in the first place. This portrayal helps connect the Luke of the original trilogy with the grumpy and disillusioned Luke of "The Last Jedi" — a portrayal that apparently really shocked J.J. Abrams.

One of the best things George Lucas ever did with the prequels was to show that the Jedi were not just hunted down by the evil Sith, but that they were also a corrupt organization rotting from within that needed to end. Ugly CGI de-aging and blatant fan service or not, Luke's appearance helped further this point.