The Mandalorian: Let's Talk About What Happened To Nick Nolte's Kuiil

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Majors spoilers below for the latest episode of The Mandalorian.

This week marked a change-up on The Mandalorian, and I'm not just talking about the latest episode's mid-week premiere in anticipation of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Beyond that, the episode was the first of the season to bring together most of the seemingly disparate characters introduced week to week. even though two of them didn't appear to survive long enough to make it beyond the show's stellar end credits. In particular, curiosity has built up surrounding the supposed death of Nick Nolte's Kuiil.

A character who definitely understood the power of loyalty and freedom, Kuiil agreed to take on baby(Yoda)sitting duties during Mando's attempt to take down The Client, though his one stipulation was that he bring along the rewired killer droid IG-11 and a pair of blurrgs. In the end, Mando, Greef and Cara's mission was bamboozled by Giancarlo Esposito's introduction as Moff Gideon, leaving the Client dead (we think) and leaving Kuill with a similar fate. But let's take a deeper look at what went down.

What Happened To Kuiil?

After Mando realized that the situation was looking extremely dire with all those surrounding stormtroopers, he radioed Kuiil to advise the Ugnaught to return to the ship with Baby Yoda. However, he's blind to the fact that two Stormtroopers picked up on the radio transmission and were quickly speeding along after Kuiil and The Child. Initially it seemed like he might make it back on the Razor Crest without any further obstacles.

Unfortunately, that doesn't get to happen. Just after the Razor Crest's door opened, the scene jumped back to Moff Gideon, but when it switched back again, Kuiil was laid out on the ground and appeared to be dead. Nearby, the Stormtroopers swung by and swooped up the swaddled Baby Yoda from off the ground.

Definitely not a good sign for anyone involved, considering Mando has put his life on the line several times to keep Baby Yoda safe. And it doesn't look like he'll stop risking things anytime soon, either. Especially whenever he finds out who actually killed Kuiil, and double-especially if it ends up being certain metal someone that Mando never trusted in the first place.

the mandalorian stormtroopers

Did Those Stormtroopers Kill Kuiil?

With the final sequence set up as a race against time, Kuill was quickly trying return Baby Yoda to the presumed safety of the Razor Crest, with two eavesdropping Stormtroopers speedily following them. The Occam's razor solution would be that the Stormtroopers caught up to him, took him and the blurrg down with blasters, and took Baby Yoda away.

However, when has Star Wars ever purposefully avoided any kind of action sequence, no matter how minuscule? Never. Also take into account that Kuiil, Baby Yoda and the blurrg were all spread out on the ground, as opposed to falling directly where they were shot, as it were. I also found it curious that the one Stormtrooper came zooming through to swoop Baby Yoda up, raising more questions about where he was in relation to Kuiil.

the mandalorian ig-11 rebuilt

Did IG-11 Kill Kuiil?

After being absent for the past five episodes, Taika Waititi's droid IG-11 returned to the action, having been semi-destroyed by Mando in the premiere. A lovingly crafted montage showed viewers just how Kuiil reformatted the droid and basically taught it how to exist again with a new mindset, so to speak. That said, Mando didn't believe that IG-11 was capable of sticking with its new programming without falling back into being a killer droid. Perhaps he wasn't so foolish for having such paranoia.

Remember that IG-11 remained on the Razor Crest whenever the rest of the team headed out for their scheme, and also take note that the ship's main door is lowered just as Kuiil is approaching. Sure, Kuiil might have a way of making that happen, but it's not hard to grasp that IG-11 opened the door from the inside, and that he wanted some revenge.

the mandalorian baby yoda wrapped in blanket

Did Baby Yoda Kill Kuill?

At face value, this might look like the most egregiously ridiculous option, but I dare say it's possibly the most believable, depending on how dark one thinks The Mandalorian might get on Disney+. The episode set up early on that Baby Yoda's overreactions to misunderstandings can be deadly if they're not quickly subdued, what with him Force-choking Cara Dune for arm-wrestling Mando. So what if Baby Yoda misread the situation with Kuiil and thought he was in danger?

Go back to the point when Kuiil first takes Baby Yoda after the plan is set. At that point, and several times after, the camera is fixed on the bitty being's somewhat perturbed face, possibly implying he's under the impression that bad things are happening. If Baby Yoda believed that he was being traded away by Mando, then he would definitely react strongly. And without Mando there to stop him from going too far, no one would have been around to save Kuiil.

Let's not forget that Force-choking someone is a huge warning sign in the first place, leading to some discussions that Baby Yoda isn't exactly the innocent youth that his adoring fanbase thinks. Granted, it would be a dark move for Disney+ to hang The Mandalorian's helmet on Baby Yoda's potential for evil, but no one could deny the brilliance.

What do you guys think happened? One of the three scenarios listed above, or something else entirely? Let us know in the poll and comments below!

As one of the most popular shows on TV right now – not to mention in all of 2019 – The Mandalorian has one episode left to deliver answers to audiences. You can find it streaming on Disney+ on Friday, December 27, at 12:01 a.m. ET. (Don't have a Disney+ subscription? Just click here for a seven-day free trial.) Before that, of course, fans can catch the polarizing big screen feature Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in theaters this weekend.

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Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.