Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for The Mandalorian.
A baby Yoda (or at least another member of Yoda's species) appeared in The Mandalorian series premiere, and it will have profound implications for the Star Wars franchise going forward. Very little is known about Yoda's species - in fact, there isn't even a name for what Yoda is except male - and only one other person besides Yoda has appeared in canon: Yaddle. She appeared in the Star Wars prequels as a member of the Jedi Council. But now, Yoda's species is finally getting some spotlight.
Disney+ launched with The Mandalorian as its flagship new series, not to mention being the very first live-action Star Wars show ever, and it takes place after the events of the original Star Wars trilogy and the fall of the Empire. Even though the galaxy is recovering from the Galactic Civil War, it's clear there are bounties that still need to be taken care of. So, the Mandalorian in The Mandalorian series, who is greeted as the best in the parsec, is given a high-profile target from people who appear to be Imperial remnants.
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All the Mandalorian knew was the target's last location and that he or she was 50 years old. When he and IG-11 finally apprehend the target, they discover that it is actually a baby Yoda (sort of). While the bounty isn't Yoda himself, it's a baby version of Yoda's species. At this point in the Star Wars timeline, it's fair to say that this alien is the last member of Yoda's species. Yoda died in Return of the Jedi and Yaddle perished long before the events of the original trilogy. So this baby is certainly a valuable asset for whoever has him or her. Right from the start, instead of unraveling any mysteries about Boba Fett, The Mandalorian has dived deep into Star Wars lore with Yoda's species.
Considering the Mandalorian's reputation, it's interesting that he chose to kill IG-11 and keep the baby Yoda alive. But if viewers recall, the Mandalorian told the Armorer that he was once a Foundling, and with the quick flashback glimpses, it seems the Mandalorian was an orphan; his parents must have been killed in the droid attack briefly shown in a recent trailer for The Mandalorian. With this in mind, it's understandable that the Mandalorian wouldn't want to harm a child, even if that child is already 50 years old. (Yoda's species tend to age slower and live long lives.)
Choosing to protect the baby Yoda instead of handing him or her over to the Imperials will likely make him an enemy of theirs. Plus, this means that there's something truly special about this character and Yoda's species. Despite Yoda's species being a significant mystery in Star Wars lore, it's worth noting that both Yoda and Yaddle were Jedi Masters, so it's possible that this baby Yoda is also strong in the Force. Perhaps Dr. Pershing is interested in studying his or her midichlorians. Whatever ends up happening, exploring Yoda's species in any detail is a strong start to The Mandalorian that can have major consequences for Star Wars' future.