What did the Empire want with Baby Yoda, a.k.a. “The Child”? How did they know about him in the first place? Could he be Emperor Palpatine’s bounty?
The lead up to season 2 of The Mandalorian is going to be brutal, and we have plenty of time to ask questions.
Watching the show a second (or third or fourth — who’s counting?) time over, one of the questions that keeps coming up for me is this: What did the Empire want with Baby Yoda? Why did they put such a large bounty on his capture? How do they know about him in the first place?
In order to answer those questions, every circumstance we know about has to be taken into consideration.
The Empire didn’t care if they got The Child dead or alive
This is fascinating because of the raw power of this little creature at the ripe young age of 50.
It seems like the Empire didn’t care about using the child, but merely taking or extracting his power from him. This would explain the presence of Dr. Pershing, the man who was wearing the jacket with the Kaminoan insignia on the shoulder.
Dr. Pershing seemed to value Baby Yoda’s life far more than The Client or the Empire in general.
Palpatine’s obsession with preventing death/controlling life
Speaking of Dr. Pershing and his apparent connection to Kamino, we know that it was Darth Sidious — Emperor Palpatine — who commissioned the original Clone Army, and he used fallen Jedi to mask his intentions with it.
Palpatine is equally obsessed with controlling or creating life and preventing death, and there’s evidence of that throughout pretty much all of Star Wars. In his quest for immortality, we come to find in The Rise of Skywalker that Palpatine has somewhat perfected the cloning process both with himself and the figure known as Supreme Leader Snoke.
It was Palpatine’s obsession with immortality that ultimately lured Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side, and it’s very possible he viewed Yoda — who lived to be 900 years old — as somewhat of an immortal creature.
There are effectively only two Yoda species in the galaxy
Although there was Yaddle in The Phantom Menace, the only two Yoda species that are recurring characters in all of Star Wars are Yoda and The Child. Where did The Child come from? Is he a clone? Is that what we’re meant to infer from the Kaminoan doctor who is obsessed with him?
Dr. Pershing seems to have knowledge of The Child prior to Mando bringing him in after capturing him. Was he part of the creation of The Child?
That seems unlikely given the character’s age, but perhaps he is the legacy of someone who helped create this child, if he is, in fact, a clone.
The child introduces the ability to heal using the Force
For the first time in Star Wars, we discover that a force sensitive being has the ability to actually heal.
He heals Greef Karga and saves his life. It’s possible that the Empire knows the full extent of his power and is attempting to extract it in order to preserve life, or at least someone’s life.
The Emperor is building the Final Order around this time
Whether it’s in the initial stages or not, the timeline of The Mandalorian is at a point where it’s reasonable to assume Emperor Palpatine has died and is enacting his master plan of returning to life through the process of cloning (himself and Snoke). He stated in The Rise of Skywalker that he has died before, so we know that the fall in Return of the Jedi actually killed him, but perhaps that was always part of his master plan.
If Baby Yoda is 50 years old, it means that somewhere around the time Anakin Skywalker was born, Baby Yoda was born. If anyone would be attuned to the presence of such a powerful Force-using being, it would be Palpatine, right?
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What if Palpatine, in his quest to return to life and cheat death, is the one commissioning the capture of Baby Yoda? It’s not at all out of the realm of possibility given the timeline of events and his eventual return to life. Not long after The Mandalorian takes place, Snoke corrupts Ben Solo and lures him to the Dark Side of the force.
If that’s the case, then Palpatine has already found a way to come back after his physical death. And if that’s the case, he is going to need someone other than Anakin Skywalker to help him. Since Yoda himself has passed away, who better to help him than The Child, who actually has the power to restore life and heal? The motivation of the Empire just wanting The Child so badly and not killing it immediately indicates there is a desire to use his power for someone or something.
Could that someone be Emperor Palpatine, raised from the dead?
It all makes sense with Palpatine’s intimate knowledge of the cloning process, the fact that he — more than any other force user in the galaxy — has discovered the secret to cheating death physically, but only partially. Palpatine would also likely be one of the only ones in the galaxy to know of the Child’s presence if he had a part in creating or cloning him.
Palpatine needs Baby Yoda. He knows how powerful Yoda’s species can be, not only in terms of his force sensitivity but how powerful Yoda grew over a 900-year life.
Given how close this story is in the timeline of the sequel trilogy, it may not be such a crazy theory to think Palpatine is behind everything. He is the master puppeteer of the Star Wars universe, after all.