WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Mandalorian.
The Mandalorian dropped a huge surprise with the reveal a baby Yoda at the end of its first episode, and fans have already come up with all sorts of theories about its origins. One of the most interesting theories, however, posits that this new character is actually a clone.
Disney+'s inaugural show is created by Jon Favreau and revolves around the lone gunfighter named Dyn Jarren, played by Pedro Pascal. The Mandalorian takes place five years after Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and gives us our first look at the aftermath of the Galactic Empire's fall following the Battle of Endor. "Chapter 1" which debuted the same day the streaming platform launched this week, focused on establishing the Mandalorian's character and his new mission. At the end of the outing, however, it was revealed the the asset he is tasked to go and get is an infant from the same species as Yoda.
Not much is known regarding Yoda's species - a deliberate creative decision from Star Wars creator George Lucas. So with the arrival of just the third member (the others being Yoda and Yaddle) of the diminutive green alien race, fans are naturally curious about where the baby came from. One popular theory is that it's actually a clone - a claim supported by some details revealed in The Mandalorian premiere.
The Mandalorian's Mission Comes From An Imperial... And A Kaminoan
Dyn's ongoing mission came from the mysterious character only referred to as The Client (Werner Herzog). While The Mandalorian didn't give any significant details, it's clear that he's a supporter of the Empire who's still trying to grapple at the remnants of its powers, as evidenced by the grimy Stormtroopers present during the meeting. He also seems to be working with a Kaminoan - Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) who was noticeably wearing a Kamino patch spotted by a fan and shared on Twitter.
Kaminoans are isolationists from the aquatic planet Kamino, and their scientists are known for their cloning technology. They created the clone troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic, as well as the bio-chip that enabled Order 66, which lends credence to this theory - assuming that Dr. Pershing is indeed associated with them.
While The Mandalorian has kept The Client and Dr. Pershing's intentions towards the baby Yoda unclear for now, the two butt heads regarding how Dyn can bring it back to them. The former doesn't mind whether it's dead or alive, as long as they get their hands on it, while the latter is insistent that it should be delivered to them without being harmed. This further supports the theory that the baby isn't disposable, potentially because it is a clone of Jedi Master Yoda.
Baby Yoda Was Born Shortly Before The Clone Army
Aside from the involvement of Dr. Pershing, the timeline also seems to line up with the theory that baby Yoda is indeed a clone. While we didn't learn about the cloning until Star Wars: The Attack of the Clones (22 BBY), the process of perfecting the process was already ongoing behind-the-scenes. In Star Wars canon, Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas initially ordered the creation of the Clone Army in 32 BBY, with the project eventually taken over by Count Dooku, who provided them with the genetic template. However, it's possible that cloning dates back much earlier.
According to The Mandalorian, this infant is 50 years old. While Lucasfilm has limited information about the species, we know that they age slowly compared to other breeds. Case in point: Yoda died when he was 900 years old. This explains why the infant looks like he does, despite his biological age. It means that baby Yoda came to life in 41 BBY - 10 years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and interestingly, the same year Anakin Skywalker was supposedly conceived from the Force itself.
What Would Clone Yoda Mean For Star Wars?
While we don't know the scope in timeline that The Mandalorian's overall story will cover, the show's official synopsis sets in in between the aftermath of the Galactic Empire's fall and before the emergence of the First Order. Season 2's principal photography is already in full swing, with rumbles about even a potential movie. Depending on how things pan out for the rest of the season, the introduction of this baby Yoda - who's also Force sensitive as confirmed in the show's second episode titled "The Child" - can mean big things for the franchise's future. So much so, it might even have an impact on the the ongoing sequel trilogy, particularly with regard to the mysterious narrative of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Assuming that baby Yoda survives the events of The Mandalorian, what are the chances that a grown-up version of the character pops out in The Rise of Skywalker? The concept sounds cool considering the film's theme of banding together to fight the Dark side, making sense of his re-emergence after years of not getting involved with the galaxy's pressing issues. However, with so many subplots left for Episode IX to tackle, introducing this new character who can incite confusion about Jedi Master Yoda's current state might be deemed too much for the Skywalker saga capper.
That being said, it doesn't mean that his existence won't factor in The Rise of Skywalker's story, particularly if he's indeed linked to cloning practices in the franchise. If The Mandalorian's Dr. Pershing gets his hands on baby Yoda and theories about him being a Kaminoan turns out to be true, the chances of him trying to make another clone infant and/or exploit his Force abilities in the hopes of transferring it to someone else increase. Rey's origins continues to be a central mystery despite Star Wars: The Last Jedi downplaying her lineage. One of the more prevalent speculation about her is that she's a clone in conjunction to the reveal of Dark Rey. Meanwhile, another theory in conjunction to this revolves around Emperor Palpatine somehow getting his hands on the infant and using its physical body as his consciousness' host. This makes sense considering the species' ability to age slower, meaning, they can linger longer than a normal being. It's also worth noting that at this point, trailers for The Rise of Skywalker still hasn't shown us Palpatine's physical state despite the confirmation that he's integral to the story.
Whether The Mandalorian's baby Yoda is a clone or not remains to be seen. However, with cloning practices in Star Wars once again becoming a hot topic of discussion for both their big and small screen offerings, it's difficult not to assume that it will somehow play a role in the franchise's current stories.