The Mandalorian Season 3 Flashbacks Almost Had Grogu Encounter Darth Vader

This post contains spoilers for season 3 of "The Mandalorian."

Season 3 of "The Mandalorian" ended on a glorious note. The Mandalorians were able to reclaim their home planet, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) was defeated, and our favorite father-son duo, Din (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu even got their own little home in Nevarro. Despite assuming an often directionless, meandering pace, season 3 of the show had some impressive highlights, including a flashback to Order 66 from Grogu's point of view. When The Armorer (Emily Swallow) forges Grogu a beskar rondel, the kid has some intense flashbacks to the fateful night, and it is revealed that Jedi master Kelleran Beq (Ahmed Best) was the one who saved him during the purge at the Jedi temple.

This begs the question, was Grogu ever at the risk of running into Anakin Skywalker, who had already turned to the Dark Side by then? As Anakin was the one to slaughter most of the younglings — as seen in "The Revenge of the Sith" and Reva's flashbacks in "Obi-Wan Kenobi" — it is probable that Grogu might've crossed paths with him that night. While this did not actually happen, "The Mandalorian" creator Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni initially considered Grogu encountering Darth Vader in the Order 66 flashback episode.

Per Insider, Filoni explained that he had "discussed it with Jon briefly" and that "there were some opportunities there," and they had to "look at every possibility." However, the duo eventually decided against it, as a Darth Vader appearance is a pretty big deal and needs to be meaningful in some way, and his presence would have overshadowed Grogu's storyline completely. Let us look into the reasons why this crossover did not happen.

A special appearance

Every time Darth Vader appears on-screen, it is an indication of an event of major significance. Vader's sudden appearance at the end of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is a good example of how terrifying the sole image of him wielding a Sith lightsaber can be. Someone like Vader is exceptionally overpowered, and the chances of folks on the scene surviving his brutal attacks are pretty slim — one has to look no further than his badass use of the Force to stop a transport ship that is already mid-air without breaking a sweat.

To have Vader appear on "The Mandalorian" would require good reason, and his potential run-in with Grogu would have only made it more difficult for the youngling to escape. Filoni went into detail about how characters like Anakin Skywalker would require a special reason to appear on-screen, as the plot of season 3 did not really justify that, the plan was quickly abandoned:

"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. It's very special when we do. So, I think we quickly moved away from that...We wanted Grogu to have his own story and tell it a slightly different way."

These reasons are completely valid, as this is Grogu's story, highlighting the extent of his trauma that led him to suppress memories of that night over the years. Not bringing in Vader also allowed the creators to focus on a new character, Kelleran Beq, setting the stage for expanded stories about the valiant Jedi who saved the youngling from certain death. Ahmed Best's return to the franchise also feels right, and he shines bright in this episode. Well, he always has. 

Did Grogu know Anakin Skywalker?

Although Grogu (thankfully) did not run into Anakin during the Jedi temple massacre, it is highly probable that the two might have crossed paths at least once during Grogu's stay at the temple. Anakin would have still been a padawan in training at the point, and Filoni also mused about this interesting possibility during the Insider interview:

"It's interesting to think that they [Anakin and Grogu] were that close to each other. And interesting to think that even when Anakin was a little boy, 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."

While these potential storylines hold considerable potential, they need to be told, if at all, with a grander, worthwhile story in mind. There are many "Star Wars" characters who have run into Vader unexpectedly, including Cal Kestis (voiced by Cameron Monaghan), yet another Order 66 survivor, in "Jedi: Fallen Order." Kestis' run-in with Vader makes sense in terms of his individual storyline — he infiltrates the water moon of Nur in search of a Holocron consisting of a list of Force-sensitive kids, and it makes sense for Vader to step in during that pivotal moment.

While the Grogu-Anakin connection might not be so intense, it could be nice to explore their relationship as two younglings at the Jedi temple. For now, we have the final season of "The Mandalorian" to look forward to, along with numerous expanding storylines in the "Star Wars" universe that are set to converge into a major crossover event, where a new evil may emerge to threaten an already-precarious galaxy.