Baby Yoda's Entire Timeline Explained

Chances are, you've seen this little face. Chances are, you want to know his story. There's been much speculation from fans about the origins of "Baby Yoda" (officially known as "Grogu," but that's an ugly name for the cutest being in the galaxy and we are not having it). Parts of his timeline are murky, but we'll doubtless learn more as "The Mandalorian" continues to unspool

Originally introduced as "the Child," Baby Yoda stole the entirety of the first Disney+ Star Wars series right out from under Pedro Pascal's helmet. That's no small feat. At 50 years old, he's not really a baby, and fans knew right away that he wasn't Yoda. But part of Grogu's appeal was the mystery attached to his origins. He was clearly Force-sensitive, but how did he survive Order 66? The show's main characters agree that he should be trained, but by whom? 

Some bits of information have emerged over the first two seasons of "The Mandalorian" and "The Book of Boba Fett," but plenty of questions remain. We might even find some answers in the upcoming "Mandalorian" spin-off "Ahsoka" and — hey, why not sell the action figures while we can? — "Andor." In the meantime, let's waddle down Grogu's timeline to see what we can see. 

By the way, if you're new to Star Wars' dating system — of course Star Wars has its own dating system — BBY stands for "Before the Battle of Yavin," or the events of 1977's "Star Wars: A New Hope." ABY, or "After the Battle of Yavin," refers to any action after that.

Born: 41 BBY

Star Wars fans have long reconciled themselves to the fact that they will never learn the name of Yoda's species, nor his planet of origin. Why? Because George Lucas didn't know and quite enjoyed not knowing, so we don't get to find out, either. Keeping Yoda's origins a secret was a firm rule at the original Lucasfilm, one that "The Mandalorian" showrunners Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau have carefully respected, even though Grandpa George no longer has any legal say. 

We've seen one other example of Yoda's species in canon: Yaddle, who showed up in the prequels but did not speak, probably because Anakin was sucking all the air out of the Jedi Temple whining about sand. So, we don't know if Yoda's signature form of adjective-first speech is a tic of the species or unique to the 900-year-old Jedi Master. Grogu babbles and gestures to Mando, and can communicate through the Force to other trained Jedi, but so far, regular people can't have a conversation with the little guy. So, a puppet who cannot speak, a blue-collar bounty hunter in a helmet who pretty much hates everybody, and a wine aunt who has all the family dirt but refuses to sift it — these are our primary sources of information about Baby Yoda and where he came from.

We can calculate Baby Yoda's birthdate by counting backwards from the year "The Mandalorian" takes place in the "Star Wars" timeline, 9 ABY. That's after "Return of the Jedi," but decades before "The Force Awakens." Further, when Mando takes the job to bounty-hunt Grogu, his client announces that "the asset" is 50 years old. From there, we can deduce that Grogu was born in 41 BBY. Species might age differently, but a standard year is still a standard year.

Jedi Temple life: 41 BBY-19 BBY

Since we don't have any clues about Grogu's parentage, home world, or Twitter handle, we have to make guesses about his early life based on our understanding of how the Jedi trained little ones during the Republic Era. In Season 2 of "The Mandalorian," Baby Yoda "tells" Ahsoka that he was raised in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. That fits with what we know about the Jedi from "The Phantom Menace" and "The Clone Wars" series. 

Since acceptance to the Jedi Order was considered a high honor, parents willingly gave Force-sensitive children, no matter their species, over to the Jedi for the rest of their lives. The kids were schooled in how to manage their emotional attachments to maintain their focus on serving the galaxy, so the transfer usually happened during toddlerhood. As a result, Jedi seldom remembered their family members. 

We don't know whether the Child was discovered by the Jedi or just showed up on the Temple's doorstep one day in his floating egg, but his early years were probably dominated by group training with his fellow younglings. Grogu likely practiced with a tiny little lightsaber and wore an impossibly adorable helmet while doing so. Maybe he was even a Padawan, but his lack of a braid (as Ahsoka showed us, it is indeed possible to have a braid without hair) indicates that he never reached this stage. Because, y'know, Vader.

Order 66 and the Great Jedi Purge: 19 BBY

I'm going to type quickly to get us past this, because it's the darkest event in Star Wars history, and I include in this statement the moment when George Lucas said, "What this franchise needs is a character named Jar Jar, and plenty of him." 

As depicted in "Revenge of the Sith," Order 66 was Emperor Palpatine's (false) proclamation that the entire Jedi Order was made up of traitors, and the beginning of the Jedi's extermination. Palpatine pulled this off by having inhibitor chips planted in the heads of the clone soldiers; when he issues Order 66, the clones' former generals suddenly become their targets. It was bad, y'all. Really, really bad, and yet Grogu managed to survive. We don't exactly know how; Ahsoka manages to suss out that "he was hidden. Someone took him from the Temple. Then his memory becomes dark." Oh, Mando, gather enough beskar to get this kid some therapy.

That's enough; we're going to move on to happier things. (That the next event is "Baby Yoda gets kidnapped," and that it's still happier than Order 66, should give you an idea as to the major bummerage we're speeding away from here.)

Held by Nikto mercenaries: We have no idea

Since Grogu's memory "went dark," we have no idea who rescued him from Order 66, let alone what happened to him in the several decades between the Jedi Purge and the beginning of "The Mandalorian." There's this big empty space that Star Wars fans are confident that Filoni and Favreau have already filled. Basically, we'll see it when we see it. 

Part of the mystery of the early episodes of "The Mandalorian" revolved around just why the Child was being hunted so relentlessly. Who was after him, and why? Glimpses of a cloning facility and talk of midi-chlorians throughout "The Mandalorian" strongly indicate that the chase was connected to a Sith program initiated by Palpatine, who, to absolutely no one's excitement, somehow returned

We're still wondering how Palpatine learned about Grogu's existence, but at some point, the Child wound up in the custody of a group of Nikto mercenaries on Arvala-7. A high bounty was set on the Child's head; someone connected to the fallen Empire was extremely interested in this scrap of green Force sensitivity. Bounty hunter after bounty hunter besieged the Nikto compound, but none succeeded in escaping with the quarry — until a Mandalorian showed up.

Road trip!: 9 ABY

The Mandalorian who rescued Baby Yoda, Din Djarin, was once a child in danger himself. Just like their ancient enemy, the Jedi, Din Djarin's sect of Mandalorians was mostly destroyed and driven underground by the Empire. Mando was initially mystified by Grogu's "powers," but came to bond with his bounty and his floating stroller pod. 

At this point, however, the Jedi were in the process of rebuilding (this ends badly, I'm afraid), while the Children of the Watch remained hidden. Our Mandalorian found himself striving to abide by the rules of one culture while trying to understand the other, all while on the run from both the agents seeking Grogu as well as his fellow former bounty hunters. By double-crossing his client and making off with both the cash and the asset, Din Djarin cut himself from not only his covert, but his means of employment. 

At this point in his timeline, Baby Yoda was likely fed up with pod life and likely just wanted to hang with his latest abductor, who happened to be awesome. Thus, we see the former Jedi youngling risking his own safety to rescue Mando by using the Force. It's a beautiful moment, even though everybody but Grogu winds up covered in mud. Nobody ever said love is nice and tidy.

A clan of two: 9-10 ABY

A crucial moment took place in "The Mandalorian" at the end of Season 1, and there weren't even any explosions or lightsabers. Instead, the matriarch of Din Djarin's clan, The Armorer, declared Din Djarin and Grogu a "Clan of Two" and charged Mando with finding a way to reunite him with the Jedi. 

The two were now ritually yoked, and it was Baby Yoda's turn to attempt to inhabit two ways of being at once. Raised as a Jedi and claimed by the Mandalorians, he began to become more and more comfortable striking out on his own and using the Force in small ways. Look, Dad had a jetpack and a ton of guns. He was gonna be okay.

It's easy to miss the import of this moment, but Filoni and Favreau wove it into the plot for a significant reason. Filoni had long since recognized that the whole of "Star Wars" rests on father-son relationships, and, by extension, the importance of family units. The union between Mando and Grogu is the photo negative of the twisted, possessive relationship that Emperor Palpatine forged with his apprentices and tried to force onto Luke Skywalker.  "You, like your father, are now mine," he said in "Return of the Jedi," but failed to consider that Luke was willing to hand over his own life for the father who repelled him. The relationship between Baby Yoda and Din, on the other hand, was marked by sacrifice and self-risk from the beginning. They are one another's.

Auntie Ahsoka: 10 ABY

Season 2's banger of an episode, "Chapter 13: The Jedi," was rife with meaning. In it, "The Clone Wars" favorite Ahsoka Tano showed up for the first time in live action, and boy did Baby Yoda have some words for her.

Recognizing another Force-sensitive person trained as a Jedi, Grogu communicated his name and part of his past to his new auntie. This was highly significant for Din, who, interestingly, had refrained re-naming his foster son.

It was Ahsoka who related what we know of Grogu's background to Din — and the audience — but, as she did, she also reinforced a piece of the Jedi dogma that came under much scrutiny in "The Clone Wars": the tenant that Jedi must place the good of the universe before personal relationships. Ahsoka saw first-hand that Anakin's unhealthy relationship with Padme led to his downfall, and rightly refused to train a Jedi who was out of the Temple and deeply devoted to a single living being. It was a good emotional situation for a son, but a bad one for an already traumatized Jedi trainee.

The day everyone on the internet freaked out: 10 ABY

If there's one truth in the Star Wars universe, it's that peace and quiet don't usually last for much longer than an establishing shot, so as we watched Mando striding about the galaxy in his shiny armor with his 'gram-worthy son, we waited for the catch. 

And what a catch it was: Din would lose his old green baby and his ship in a single episode, just as he made contact with another Jedi, while Boba freaking Fett watched. I don't know which of these things is more upsetting (but it's probably pulling a giant fail in front of Boba Fett — there's just no coming back from that).

Because Baby Yoda was deeply connected to the Force as he meditated, former Imperial officer Moff Gideon's dark troopers were able to track him down and capture him. An initially humorous moment that followed — the one featuring Grogu tossing stormtroopers about in his cell — became very sobering very quickly; this midichlorian-rich child did not properly discern the difference between the dark side of the Force and the light side, and, when frightened, reached right for the red saber. Clearly, Ahsoka knew about more than just Grogu's unspilled tea.

The day everyone on the internet freaked out even more: 10 ABY

The season 2 finale of "The Mandalorian," "The Rescue," smashed into the hearts of "Star Wars" fans from several different angles. Not only did Din Djarin manage to snatch Baby Yoda back from the baddies, but he stalked to the deck of the ship where Grogu was held with Gideon perp-walking before him, the Child in one hand and an ancient Mandalorian weapon, the Darksaber, in the other. He only cared about one of these things (the Darksaber, we presume, will feature prominently in Din's season 3 journey).

But the Mandalorian wouldn't hold on to Grogu for long. As dark troopers descended on the good guys, so did a certain X-wing. A certain green lightsaber. A certain gloved hand. Baby Yoda had found his Jedi mentor in Luke Skywalker, and chose to leave and train with him. Like Luke, Din Djarin sacrificed himself for the one he loved: He voluntarily removed his helmet to gaze at his son face-to-face, which meant that his identity as a Mandalorian was now void.

This alone would have had people sobbing for months, but the deeply moving, real-world thread here was the opportunity for "Star Wars" fans to greet Luke Skywalker once more, out of the context of the controversial sequel trilogy. Many were hurt and disappointed by how Luke was portrayed in these films, so seeing the Luke that so many fell in love with again was profoundly appreciated. It was a big cry, but it was a good cry.

...Wait, never mind: 10 BBY

Just when everyone settled into "The Book of Boba Fett," ready for a sandy seven episodes on Tatooine, bam! Here came Mando with the Darksaber, and he was in a bad mood. To be fair, you probably would be too if you had just handed your son over to some random dude in Prada boots, and now all you had was this weird sword that comes with a job that you don't want and that you just cut yourself with.

The surprise of seeing "The Mandalorian" take over "The Book of Boba Fett" was surpassed only by the shock of seeing Din and Baby Yoda reunited so soon. Luke Skywalker, wary of training the youngling, admitted to Ahsoka that Baby Yoda was "remembering" rather than taking to a fresh round of training. Ahsoka passed on a gift of beskar armor from Dad, fashioned from the spear the Mandalorian and Jedi won as a team. After receiving it, Grogu chose to return to Din, and Luke shipped back his now-former student via R2-D2.   

Surprised by the speed of the transition, "Star Wars" fans are still processing that "The Mandalorian" has been reset for Season 3, but are mostly relieved that the squad is back together — and also that Grogu won't burn alive at the hands of Anakin's grating grandson.