Grogu – aka Baby Yoda – always has a whale of a time whenever he pops up on screen, and The Mandalorian's Season 3 premiere was no exception. Between all his sweet-grabbing and that adorable yet life-threatening hug, the little guy was back to his mischievous ways in no time at all. But there's one point in the episode where Grogu stops having fun, and it's all because of those dang space-whales.
Early in ‘Chapter 17: The Apostate’, Mando and Grogu take a journey through hyperspace in Din’s new N-1 Starfighter. Usually, not a lot goes on in this sparkly light tunnel (hence Din Djarin taking this downtime as an excuse to nap), but with Baby Yoda still awake – probably because he's hopped up on sugary blue macarons – he peeks out of his viewing dome and spots some huge, whale-like creatures flying through hyperspace near their ship. It’s an undeniably beautiful sight, but awe soon gives way to fear in the presence of these humongous, shadowy figures. (Hey, if you were that small, you’d be scared too.)
Whether you recognised those creatures or not, it felt like a significant moment in the episode – and those whales could indeed be especially important, not just to Star Wars in general but also to Grogu himself. These majestic beings, first seen in Star Wars Rebels, are officially known as the purrgil, and they could herald the arrival of an important new figure in Grogu's life – one who might even give Mando a run for his money in the father-figure stakes.
But first, some context. While you couldn't see it clearly in the episode, the purrgil are bluish-purple space-whales that can travel through hyperspace without any need for technology. It's this unique ability of theirs that actually inspired the invention of hyperdrives in the first place. Typically, these creatures travel in groups, which makes them even more impressive yet also intimidating to behold. Regular-sized purrgil are roughly the size of a starship, but a few subspecies are known to grow significantly larger, even reaching half the length of an Imperial-class Star Destroyer. And that's a problem, because the purrgil have a pesky habit of approaching starships in hyperspace, which can sometimes spell death for anyone unlucky enough to get caught in their path. Still, they're pretty though!
The purrgil's early arrival in The Mandalorian suggests that Ezra might hyper-jump onto our screens even sooner than Ahsoka.
Before the purrgill made their live-action debut in The Mandalorian Season 3 premiere, they first appeared in the Episode 15 of Rebels Season 2, back in 2016. Up until that point, the space-whales had only been mentioned in passing, but with their arrival on screen, the purrgil ended up playing a hefty role in the show's final episode, where they helped defeat Grand Admiral Thrawn – a villain who even gave Luke Skywalker cause for concern in Timothy Zahn's "Thrawn" book trilogy. These chill space cetaceans didn't beat him on their own, though. That's where Ezra Bridger comes in.
A fan-favourite since the start of Rebels, Jedi-Padawan-turned-Rebel-hero Ezra eventually took centre stage in the fight against Thrawn during the Battle of Lothal, set just days before the start of the Original Trilogy. In a last-ditch effort to save his home planet, Ezra used the Force to call upon everyone's favourite space-whales for help. Think Aquaman… er, in space. On Ezra's request, the purrgil wrapped their tentacles (oh, yep, they have tentacles too) around Thrawn's fleet and jumped into hyperspace with every ship, sending them off to somewhere unknown. The plan worked. The day was saved, and everyone was happy, except Ezra's friends and viewers alike, because Bridger was also taken away to some distant corner of the galaxy, along with Thrawn and his army. The episode ended with Mandalorian fighter Sabine Wren and Ahsoka Tano – yep, that Ahsoka – teaming up to try and find Ezra.
Five years have passed since the Rebels Season 4 finale aired, and we're still no closer to finding out what happened to Ezra. Until now, that is. The purrgil weren't too forthcoming with any info just yet in The Mandalorian — they were too busy scaring Grogu to reveal anything on Ezra's whereabouts — but their live-action debut here certainly suggests that answers are coming. Back in 2018, Rebels mastermind Dave Filoni revealed that Ezra didn't die during that hyperspace jump, telling the Star Wars Youtube channel that "Both of them survive, both Ezra and Thrawn, I would say, survive it."
With Ahsoka's own solo series on the way, you might assume that Thrawn and Ezra would first show up there. Ahsoka even mentioned her hunt for Thrawn when she arrived in The Mandalorian Season 2. Reports have it that Eman Esfandi will play the Jedi apprentice in the Ahsoka series, but the purrgil's early arrival in The Mandalorian suggests that Ezra might hyper-jump onto our screens even sooner than that.
It's no coincidence that Grogu was the first character to see those space-whales in live-action. Where the purrgil go, Ezra will soon follow – and his potential arrival in The Mandalorian couldn't come at a better time. Grogu has Force-pushed Luke Skywalker's mentorship aside in favour of Daddy Din, but he's still going to need training as his powers grow. And who better than Ezra? Just like Grogu, Ezra is one of the rare Force-users present in the galaxy following the killing spree of Order 66. And, just like Grogu, he doesn't believe in Skywalker's rejection of attachments. With Ezra's help, Baby Yoda could become a kickass Jedi and find a way to balance his love for Mando without giving into the Dark Side. Ezra loves animals of every kind though, not just the purrgil – so Grogu might have to give up on all that frog-munching and go vegan for all this to work out. Now that would make an interesting Mando Season 4.