The Mandalorian's Grogu Flashback Almost Featured A Star Wars Legacy Cameo

Since its debut on Disney+ back in December of 2019, "The Mandalorian" has delivered a number of memorable moments that have quickly become true standouts in the "Star Wars" canon. The adventures of Din Djarin and Grogu have taken them to a few new locales, but the series is at its best when it's tying in beloved characters like Ahsoka Tano from the animated series "Star Wars: Rebels" and filling in gaps that give a little more insight into what legacy characters like Luke Skywalker were up to after "Return of the Jedi." When "The Book of Boba Fett" took a left turn to catch up with Luke and Grogu in "Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger," Luke taps into Grogu's traumatized memories of being inside the Jedi Temple during the night that Emperor Palpatine gave the dreaded "Order 66" that eliminated the Jedi. 

Of course, "From the Desert Comes a Stranger" is mostly remembered for the first live-action appearance of the infamous bounty hunter Cad Bane. The sequence where Bane saunters out of the desert to have a showdown with Cobb Vanth is perfectly done, and the moment definitely overshadowed Grogu's flashback to the Jedi Temple earlier in the episode. That flashback becomes even more important, however, in "The Foundling," the fourth episode of "The Mandalorian"'s third season. In a welcome return to the "Star Wars" universe, actor Ahmed Best appears as Jedi Kelleran Beq who's revealed to be Grogu's protector and savior on the perilous night when almost all the Jedi perished at the hands of the clone troopers. 

Watching the flashback sequence unfold, there's an expectation that perhaps Anakin Skywalker would make a cameo, a possibility that "The Mandalorian" creator Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni definitely considered. 

Anakin in The Mandalorian may have been too much

One of the main criticisms of "Star Wars" is the tendency to make the universe smaller when popular established characters reappear instead of expanding the mythology with new storylines. Deciding when and how to incorporate certain well-known characters is a difficult balance to achieve, a fact that Filoni and Favreau are fully aware of. Including Anakin in Grogu's flashback was absolutely considered though at one point. "I discussed it with Jon briefly and I said, you know, there were some opportunities there. We always have to kind of look at every possibility," Filoni told Insider at PaleyFest LA recently. 

Filoni was quick to point out just how much care and caution went into deciding whether an Anakin Skywalker cameo would be the best option. "At the end of the day though, a character like Anakin, one of George's characters, we have to be very careful how we utilize those characters," Filoni said. "It's very special when we do. So, I think we quickly moved away from that." If Grogu and Anakin would have shared the screen together, it would be featuring both characters at pivotal moments in their lives. Anakin has fully turned to the dark side and will truly become Darth Vader later that same night, and Grogu's suffering during the purge of "Order 66" has caused him to block out his own memories. 

Grogu is the more important character for the story arc of "The Mandalorian" and including Anakin would have overshadowed his mysterious backstory. Filoni and Favreau made the right decision not to include him and, instead, gave actor Ahmed Best a chance to have his hero moment as Kelleran Beq after appearing as the much-maligned Gungan Jar Jar Binks in "The Phantom Menace."

Does Ahmed Best's cameo leave the door open for Anakin?

Seeing Ahmed Best get his moment in the sun in "The Foundling" was definitely a healing moment for "Star Wars" fans. It also opens the door for other connections to the prequels that could include Padmé Amidala and a revisit to Naboo, after Kelleran Beq places Grogu on an H-Type Nubian ship similar to the one Padmé used in "Attack of the Clones." Since the episode does show Grogu getting off of Coruscant, this could mean the end of the "Order 66" flashbacks, unless there's another reason to go back to those horrible events. 

There is also plenty of room to have Grogu unlock some happier memories at the Jedi Temple during his training. On the PaleyFest LA red carpet, Filoni seems to still have a lot of interest in having Anakin and Grogu interact, telling Insider: 

"It's interesting to think that they were that close to each other. And interesting to think that even when Anakin was a little boy, that he was there at the temple at the same time as Grogu. So there's all kinds of weird things to melt your brain and wrap your head around, but, in a fun way."

All of the world-building that Filoni and his team have constructed around the prequel trilogy continues to make that era in "Star Wars" more and more fascinating. Adding Grogu into the mix, who has quickly become the cutest creature in the galaxy, opens up even more possibilities. Anakin may not ever show up in "The Mandalorian," but there's a distinct possibility that Vader could appear in flashback when the "Ahsoka" live-action series premieres on Disney+ later this year.