We have to report, sadly, that the character Jeans & T-Shirt Guy — who shot to fame on social media after accidently participating in the assault on the Imperial base in last week’s episode of “The Mandalorian” — has been digitally removed from the series on Disney Plus. Like Andy Warhol once said: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”
But this week, we did get to see the long-awaited, live-action version of Ahsoka Tano, the Togruta Jedi Knight from “The Clone Wars” and perfectly cast with Rosario Dawson in the role. Plus, we learn the Child’s real name — but we’ll get to that shortly.
“Chapter 13: The Jedi” starts at the city of Caladan on the forest planet of Corvus, which is where Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) told the Mandalorian, a.k.a. Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) he must seek out Ahsoka Tano in last week’s episode. A crude alarm is being rung on a lookout post atop the city gates as troops frantically grab weapons and venture out into the dark and misty forest. The troopers bear a resemblance to Harkonnen troops from the 1984 “Dune” movie, which is entirely possible since “Dune” has influenced quite a lot in the “Star Wars” universe — including the name of this city, Caladan, and the planet Corvus. A flurry of blaster fire follows and before long, Tano emerges, wielding her dual white lightsabers.
At this point, Lang (portrayed by the long-awaited Michael Biehn) and Morgan Elsbeth, also known as the Magistrate (played by Diana Lee Inosanto, Bruce Lee’s goddaughter, no less) confront Tano as the former Jedi demands to be given a piece of information that Elsbeth is withholding. (We discover later what this is.) The Magistrate refuses and offers to spare the lives of the city’s inhabitants in exchange for peace. Tano refuses and says she will return in one day. Roll opening credits.
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The Mandalorian lands in a desolated and decimated forest and makes his way towards town. Once there, he sees the suffering of the townspeople first hand and is offered an opportunity by the Magistrate to hunt down and kill Ahsoka Tano. For completing this task, she will present him with a spear made of 100% pure beskar. (This is more than likely a bevii’ragir, a traditional Mandalorian weapon that appeared in the Republic Commando Novel “Order 66.”) So off Djarin goes to try and track Tano down. Eagle-eyed fans might spot Morai in the trees as Djarin picks his way past the dead forest. (Morai first appeared in “Star Wars Rebels” and later in “The Clone Wars.” She’s a species of bird called a convor and has watched over Tano throughout her life.)
Tano launches a surprise attack before Djarin gets a chance to tell her that Bo-Katan sent him, and before she lays eyes on the Child. (Interestingly she refers to it as “him.”) And then the episode slows the pace a little, but all the while keeping us glued to every single word they both say as we get a chance to learn more about the adorable little green creature that’s singlehandedly sending Disney’s merchandising revenue through the roof and out into the stars.
As they sit around a camp light, Tano is able to communicate a little with him by “feeling each other’s thoughts” and we learn that the Child’s name is Grogu. He was raised at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and many masters trained him over the years. At the end of the Clone Wars, when the Empire rose to power, he was hidden. However, someone took form the Temple, but after that, Tano explains, his memory becomes dark. “He seemed lost, alone,” she says, adding, “I’ve only ever known one other being like this, a wise Jedi master named Yoda.”
Tano explains to Djarin what the Force is and a nice nostalgic touch here might have been the full “A New Hope” Obi Wan explanation — “It surrounds us, penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together” — but it’s a minor point. Djarin, in turn, explains his quest and how Grogu needs her, but she’s reluctant. The whole scene is very effective, proving less can almost certainly be more, if handled in the right way.
In the morning, Tano attempts to test Grogu’s ability with the Force, which doesn’t go too well. She senses much fear in him, saying that he’s hidden his abilities to survive over the years. The chemistry between all three of them is wonderful and extremely enjoyable. It turns out Grogu has become enamored with the Mandalorian and this worries Tano, since — if you recall from the “Attack of the Clones” — Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) says that the Jedi aren’t supposed to have attachments … and look what happened to him.
And as such, she tells Djarin that she cannot train him. “I’ve seen what such feelings can do to a fully trained Jedi Knight,” she says, referring to Anakin. “I will not start this child down that path.”
Djarin tells Tano that the Magistrate hired him to kill her and that he’ll help her with the problem in the city, but only if she agrees to see to it that Grogu is properly trained. And so they plan their attack. Throughout “Star Wars” history, the Mandalorians and the Jedi have clashed and fought many times, so it’s extremely unlikely that either the Magistrate, or her ex-military mercenary-for-hire Lang will expect Djarin and Tano to team up.
“A Mandalorian and a Jedi?” Djarin asks. “They’ll never see it coming,” Tano smiles back.
To be fair, Tano does the lion’s share of the work, picking off guards and fighting her way to get into the Magistrate’s private, walled off residence within the city. The Mandalorian meanwhile is freeing prisoners and telling the residents to take cover. It’s a nicely choreographed set piece set against the dark, sandy-colored, almost pollution tainted sky, something akin to a toned down version of Las Vegas in “Blade Runner 2049” perhaps.
With the guards killed, Djarin faces a standoff with Lang as Tano clears the wall and enters the Magistrate’s private dwelling. It’s the complete opposite of the poverty stricken streets of the city, with lush, green vegetation and a giant pond, complete with trickling fountains. And it’s here, on the walkway over the water feature, Elsbeth and Tano will fight.
At this point “The Mandalorian” taps into another classic trope, dueling samurai, but watching beskar steel clash against a lighsaber is pretty spectacular. As we mentioned earlier, Morgan Elsbeth is played by Diana Lee Inosanto, who is probably better known as a stuntwoman rather than an actor and she has an impressive list of credits including martial arts trainer on “Alita: Battle Angel” and stunt double for Linda Park (Ensign Hoshi Sato) on “Enterprise” so the choreography is visually very effective.
Meanwhile, Lang and Djarin continue to face off as they listen to the fight from the other side of the gate, trying to determine who’s winning. Eventually, Lang concedes defeat and slowly lowers his weapon only to then try and pull a fast one. Idiot. Djarin cuts him down instantly and that’s the end of that.
Finally, Tano disarms Elsbeth and once again demands the information the Magistrate is withholding, only this time we hear the whole question, “Now tell me, where is your master, where is Grand Admiral Thrawn?” At which point there was a massive disturbance in the Force as millions of nerds all suddenly shrieked in surprise.
Grand Admiral Thrawn is a fan-favorite introduced in Timothy Zahn’s 1991 novel “Heir to the Empire.” He’s a blue-skinned Chiss from the Unknown Regions of the galaxy who rose through the ranks of the Imperial Navy to become the Empire’s best strategic military mind. In his original incarnation, Thrawn more or less inherited command of the Empire following the death of Palpatine and destruction of the Death Star in “Return of the Jedi.”
However, when Disney scooped up Lucasfilm, much of the canon established by the Expanded Universe was thrown out. But Filoni saved the character and brought him into Seasons 3 and 4 of “Rebels,” where he’s now voiced by Lars Mikkelsen.
After the battle is won and peace once again settles upon the humble townsfolk, Tano gives Djarin the beskar spear and we head out to the Razor Crest, where Grogu has been all this time. Tano is still against training Grogu and Djarin, in fact, is reluctant to let him go.
Tano suggests that Djarin go to the planet Tython, where he will find the ancient ruins of a temple that has a strong connection to the Force. She instructs him to place Grogu on the seeing stone at the top of the mountain so that Grogu may choose his path. If he reaches out through the Force, there’s a chance a Jedi may sense his presence and come searching for him. It’s a touching moment and offers something to look forward to in the last three episodes of this second season.
Our only single, teeny-tiny grumble with this episode is that we would’ve liked to have seen more from Michael Biehn’s character — we felt the same way with Fennec Shand, Ming-Na Wen’s character in “Chapter 4: The Gunslinger” (S01, E04). That said, while there was a glimmer of hope Fennec Shand may have survived, we’re pretty sure Lang didn’t.
Dave Filoni was the co-creator of Ahsoka Tano, so a lot of care and attention went into her first live-action appearance. And it’s not limited to this character or this episode, “The Mandalorian” is a labor of love for both Jon Favreau and Filoni and it shows.
With the cinema industry struggling, it’s safe to say that any future big-screen “Star Wars” projects are probably on hold. However, on the small screen “Star Wars” is thriving and we already know about the Rogue One spinoff focusing on Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor and the Obi-Wan Kenobi series with Ewan McGregor. There are also a number of rumored Disney Plus projects, both animated and live-action including one that focuses on Ahsoka Tano.
“The Mandalorian” airs every Friday on Disney Plus. The first season of “The Mandalorian” is on Disney Plus, which is available for $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year in the US and in the U.K., it’s £6 a month, or £60 a year. It’s also available in Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, India, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, France and Japan.
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