We know what you are thinking, “The Mandalorian is a part of the Star Wars franchise, so of course it is going to mention characters from its wider universe!” True, but when it comes to the latest episode of the Disney+ series, titled the Jedi, it includes some rather subtle callouts to the Jedi-turned-Sith-Lord, Anakin Skywalker that only hardcore Star Wars fans could have decoded.
For weeks, The Mandalorian Season 2 and Disney+ have teased Ahsoka Tano’s imminent arrival in their own ways and while her introduction in episode 5 couldn’t have been more perfect, that’s not all the plot offers. While there are many Easter Eggs and references setting the stage for more animated Star Wars characters to make their live-action debut, the episode also continues to drop callouts to Anakin Skywalker a.k.a. Darth Vader in ways that are not always obvious.
(Spoiler Ahead for The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 5, “The Jedi”)
After some seriously cool lightsaber-wielding action, Ahsoka teams up with Mando (Pedro Pascal) and reveals many key details, starting with Baby Yoda’s real name and his backstory. We learn that The Child was raised at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and trained by many Masters. After the rise of the Empire, he was hidden in the Jedi temple for his safety but someone stole him. For years, he spent life alone, away from his people, and thus hid his powers knowing that they would be like a beacon for those wanting to harm him. Ahsoka is unable to see any further as the building fear in him led him to repress his “dark,” traumatic memories.
The “fully-trained Jedi Knight” who turned dark.
She tries to test his powers but he only responds to Mando, cementing Ahsoka’s decision- she will not train him after sensing the palpable fear, anger, and the attachment issues he has. She is afraid that his overwhelming feelings may lead him to a dark path in the future, something she has seen happen before.
“I’ve seen what such feelings can do to a fully trained Jedi knight, to the best of us. I will not start this child down that path.”
Given how dense Mando is about the Force and the Jedi, it is obvious that he has zero inkling about who Ahsoka is referring to. But any Star Wars loyalist will catch that while she mentions no name, she is remembering the Jedi Knight, Anakin Skywalker, whose vulnerable attachment to his mother as well as Padmé Amidala set him on a path where he ruthlessly killed Jedi Younglings and ended up becoming the feared Sith Lord, Darth Vader. As Baby Yoda (that name is so not going anywhere) has already demonstrated the lengths he is willing to go to save Mando– remember him Force-choking Cara Dune? — he appears to be similar to Anakin in many ways.
The Force test scene itself is a callout to Anakin Skywalker.
While the way Baby Yoda passes the Force test is different, the scene after closely follows the Jedi Council rejecting the young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. After sensing fear in Anakin as well as his ever-present fear of losing his mother, Yoda was concerned that he was vulnerable to the dark side of the Force. Just like Ahsoka refuses to train Baby Yoda, Mace Windu laid down a similar verdict for Anakin, leaving the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, a father-figure and mentor to the boy, confused and indignant, echoing Mando’s reaction in the episode.
Ahsoka and her “laser swords”.
After the former Jedi refuses to train Baby Yoda, Mando puts forward a proposition– he will help her defeat the Magistrate and free the city as she needs all the help she can get. Detailing how in order to get to the Magistrate, Ahsoka will have to defeat several armed scout guards, advanced droids, and even an ex-military gunfighter, Mando states that even her “laser swords” won’t be able to withstand all that firepower. But this is not the first time the layman term has been uttered by a Jedi noob.
The term was first made Star Wars canon by Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace when he confides to Qui-Gon Jinn that he saw his “laser sword” hanging from his belt. Just like Anakin, Mando is unaware of the Jedi and their “way”. Thus for him, the lightsaber is indeed a lit up sword.
The homage to Ahsoka-Vader’s duel in Star Wars Rebels
Towards the end of the episode, specifically at 31:55, Ahsoka appears behind two droids and ignites her two lightsabers at the same time in front of her. This is exactly how she activated her lightsabers in Rebels Season 2, “Twilight of the Apprentice” after dropping the iconic line– “I am no Jedi”– and charging at Vader to avenge Anakin’s “death.”
Going by The Mandalorian’s tradition of including obscure references to the Star Wars universe, it is always possible that there are more hidden callouts to the Jedi Knight that we missed. Check out “The Jedi” now streaming on the offifical Disney Plus streaming app and let us know in the comments if you find any!