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In a world where the mere mention of a Star Wars movie can start a flame war, Jon Favreau has done something special. A Star Wars series has launched to near universal acclaim and, for now, has unified a previously divided fandom. Assuming this trend continues, one has to imagine Lucasfilm will find some way for this series to shape the future of the franchise as it looks towards Episode X and beyond.
It sounds like a great plan, but how could The Mandalorian, a series that predates Star Wars: The Force Awakens in this fictional timeline, possibly pave the way for the future of the franchise? The answer is small, green and already has a demand for merchandise. If the folks at Lucasfilm are paying attention, then chances are someone is figuring out how Baby Yoda will play into the franchise's future.
What The Mandalorian Would Do To Establish Baby Yoda In Its Future
Right now, we can only speculate that Baby Yoda has a role in Star Wars' future. It's still on the chopping block in The Mandalorian, and it's clear that "The Client" would sooner want it dead than alive. That may mean whatever use he had for it ended not long after capture, though it is worth noting The Client was fine with it being killed prior to delivery as well.
So assuming this child survives The Mandalorian, then the next step is confirming its safety beyond Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Obviously some clear indicator of Baby Yoda's survival is ideal for fans, as Star Wars has a reputation of leaving ambiguous fates for popular characters in its franchise. Star Wars could pave its future with this character, or could leave it among the dozens who only get an occasional story or two in comics or animation.
With that said, it's hard to imagine The Mandalorian introduced such a young and powerful Force user to the Star Wars universe only for Lucasfilm to abandon it down the stretch. This character was developed under the Disney umbrella, and given the amount of planning that happens in the Disney family and with the folks at Marvel Studios, it's hard to imagine this character was introduced without some future in mind.
Baby Yoda Can Propel Star Wars Well Into The Future
As The Mandalorian pointed out, different species age differently. In the case of "Baby Yoda," it's 50 years old less than a decade after Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, but still a toddler by human standards. In Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Yoda revealed to Luke he was around 900 years old. So basically, if this kid survives The Mandalorian Season 1 and beyond, it can take the franchise far into the future.
Baby Yoda could take Star Wars far beyond the Sequel Trilogy, which appears to be happening in some way anyway given the stars don't seem to be returning once Episode IX is gone. Hell, it could take things a couple hundred years into the future and really make Star Wars look like something new entirely. Given the Skywalker Saga has been a hot button issue of late, that could be a smart play by Disney.
What does the Star Wars galaxy look like 100 years from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, or 500 years? There's a lot of territory that could be played with, and with this child having been around for everything that's happened along the way, there's a reliable narrator to bring the audience up to speed. It's hard to make any explanation of events inorganic when the main character has been alive that long!
Baby Yoda Is The Perfect Mix Of Old And New
The major question Lucasfilm has to answer post-Episode IX is how it will continue the franchise while still keeping the door closed on The Skywalker Saga. If they get too far removed, there's a risk of alienating fans, and is basically the same as a reboot. The safe, and sensible option is to ground the next chapter into the past, but in a way that doesn't require characters from the first 9 movies to tell its tale.
Enter Baby Yoda, who comes from a popular species in the Star Wars saga that has yet to have its origins be fully explored. Lucasfilm would have an opportunity to keep tethered to the past with the character and continue to delivering reveals with it in the past and future. Granted, some of its character development is sure to come in The Mandalorian, but again, there are literal centuries of story that can be covered if the story is picked up in the distant future.
Speaking in broader terms, Star Wars shifting focus to a non-human lead would be a big step forward. Disney is hoping to take this franchise well into the future, and if a company wishes to do that, it can't just remake Star Wars: A New Hope with very little changes. Okay, Disney has literally had success doing that with other things, but at some point, fans would love to see some creative risk taking.
Why The Mandalorian Should Pave The Way For Episode X
These days, it's rare that a character in Star Wars debuts to universal acclaim. Yet, that's exactly what happened with Baby Yoda. This little alien has taken the world by storm, to the point that it's almost a bigger talking point than the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Considering this is a movie that's not guaranteed, but will more than likely to top a billion dollars at the box office, that's saying something.
Baby Yoda could have been designed simply to sell merchandise, but this character has quickly earned the right to become a franchise lead all on its own. How many other non-speaking characters in Star Wars can make that claim? We haven't even seen this kid hit puberty yet, and we already want more!
Do you think there's potential for Baby Yoda to become the face of the future of Star Wars or even Episode X? Sound off in the comments below and be sure to stick with CinemaBlend for all the latest news happening in television and movies. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premieres Friday, December 20.