Walking the Way: What Baby Yoda’s Movements Said About His Journey With the Mandalorian

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For all the Star Wars fan base’s obsession with Din Djarin’s walk, the physical movements of his adorable green co-star go curiously unnoticed. While Dad did the interplanetary driving, Grogu’s means of traveling short distances changed drastically from Season 1 to Season 3. Beyond providing interesting variety for the character, these shifts almost always signaled his increasing autonomy and the deepening of his relationship with Mando.

What Was Baby Yoda's First Form of Locomotion? 

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Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

The Baby Yoda shock wave that helped launch the blockbuster series arrived at the end of the pilot, when viewers met not just The Child, but also his signature mode of transportation. Once Baby peeped out from under his blanket, no one was looking anywhere else, but the elliptical shape of his banged-up carrying case simultaneously conveyed otherworldliness as well as new-life symbolism.  

The show quickly established that Mando’s gauntlet had a nifty sort of Bluetooth connection to the pram; Grogu trailed behind him whether he wanted to or not, and was regarded largely as an object. The image of the battered bounty hunter contrasted by the clean lines of the pod was striking, and it presaged Season 2’s theme of “Wherever I go, he goes.”

When Did Baby Yoda Start Walking On His Own?

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Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Beneath the sweet silhouette of father and son, the show hinted at a darker theme– Grogu was under Din’s control. But viewers soon learn that wasn't exactly the situation, because as soon as the two were temporarily enjoying relative quiet and safety, the baby moved on by himself.  When we saw Grogu out of his carrying case for the first time, he'd gone to the trouble of climbing out on his own. He was literally and figuratively trying to close the space between him and Mando. 

This tiny declaration of independence also saw him trying to use the Force for perhaps the first time since Order 66. Baby showed himself willing to risk revealing himself as a Force user to heal this hurting stranger– a stranger who was quite obviously an ancient enemy of the Jedi at that.

But Mando would have none of it, and twice returned Grogu to his pod, locking the lid behind him. He didn’t want this kid moving any closer to him, not in any possible way.

How Did Baby Yoda Fight? 

Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Later, Mando had the situational awareness and presence of mind to shove his bounty out of the way of the Mudhorn. This became a precursor of how he would later direct Grogu to leave with Luke Skywalker, but at the moment, it was the last time he tried to physically push the baby out of his line of vision during battle. Indeed, soon afterward, audiences saw a wondering Mando gently grip the pod of the unconscious Grogu, who now traveled directly beside him instead of behind.

The horrifying sight of Baby’s carrying case in the trash solidified Mando’s decision to retake his bounty. The Child walked sporadically after this. Under the control of others in “The Sin,” someone always carried or held him, or tucked him within the confines of his stroller. The Child walked after this.

But Grogu already moved towards further autonomy in Chapter 4 when he cute-talked Mando into allowing him to tag along to the village. This moment first suggested that Mando understood that Baby Yoda could defend himself; not only did he permit the former bounty to join him, but he didn’t cram him into the pod or even slow his walking speed. The kid could take care of himself here.

Mando’s trust was rewarded in the season finale, when Grogu not only operated out of his stroller but also used his Force powers to act as a protector.

How Did Baby Yoda Move in Season 2 of The Mandalorian?

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Image credit: Lucasfilm.

Baby Yoda spent more time out of his pod in Season 2, most significantly during his contact with Ahsoka. Here he took a major leap in reclaiming his Jedi identity, and fittingly, the pod didn't appear as they communicated through the Force. When Grogu wandered too far into the field, however, trouble usually followed. He wasn’t quite ready to fully undertake his self-protection.

By the time he began to learn these skills, the carrying case had long since vanished, and Grogu willingly walked from his father’s side to Luke Skywalker’s.  When the pair turned up again in The Book of Boba Fett, Luke taught Grogu either in a backpack or by his side, pulling him along through the Force to keep pace.

This deliberate use of space emphasized both Baby Yoda’s willingness to try life as a Jedi as well as his struggle to learn what he should have years ago. Throughout this time, he moved forward both through his own power as well as through the traditional learning structure of the Jedi. 

How Did Baby Yoda Move in Season 3 of The Mandalorian

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Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

The psychedelic pinball game that was Season 3 of The Mandalorian juxtaposed Grogu’s fear with his commitment to life as a Mandalorian. As Grogu would now “walk The Way of the Mandalore,” a mid-season scene showed the Armorer commanding him to come with her, then deliberately moving away without so much as a backward glance. 

A scene of Baby Yoda trotting a tiny path to the Forge followed, where Auntie Armorer simply began to teach when he finally arrived. She knew he’d make it to where he needed to be in his own time and in his own way.

Season 3's long-distance travel was mostly distinguished by Grogu settling into Mando's decidedly non-family-friendly N1 Starfighter. He drifted between where a droid should go, and Dad's lap, and the most significant distinction took place as he watched Force-propelled Purrgil for a while, then decidedly left the show just to snuggle near his father. It was a Mandalorian life for him, and he accompanied Mando into dogfights using his father's bandolier as a seatbelt. 

In fact, the highlight scene of Season 3 involved a family movement. When it came time to see Mandalore and Concordia for the first time, Grogu was as close as could be to Din– on his lap and nearly at eye level.  Mando discussed his childhood and referred to “our people” in a scene in which father and son were moving together, helmet-to-face. However, when it came time to fight, it was back in the pod and the two were separated again, Mandalorian and Jedi.

Grogu’s bizarre IG-11 skin suit allowed Baby Yoda to communicate more definitively with his brother Mandalorians and stand at a closer distance to his father’s eyes, but this was no longer a prop for him to lean on when it came time for him to fight alone. Just as in “The Redemption,” Grogu stood on his own two feet while helping his father Moff Gideon’s guards and fending off a fireball. He never got in his stroller again.

Where Was Baby Yoda at the End of the Mandalorian Season 3?

Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Although carried into his adoption ceremony by Mando, who, after all, brought him into the life of a Mandalorian, Grogu stood tall when formally adopted and walked under his own power next to Dad in the penultimate scene. The pause in the doorway of the pilots’ bar echoed Din’s solo stance when he entered the cantina in the first few moments of Chapter 1. 

Now, however, Baby Yoda didn't ride with him– he functioned under a mix of his own power and Force jumping. He is both Mandalorian and Jedi, and the season closes with Grogu practicing force tactics while his helmeted father relaxes in the distance.

And in this case, it was the frogs doing the moving— under Grogu’s control. His situation had become the exact opposite of his first appearance.

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Mary Beth Ellis is a freelance writer with an MFA in nonfiction from Bennington College. She teaches writing and literature at the college level. Her work is widely anthologized and featured in such publications as Today.com, MSNBC.com, Creative Nonfiction, Random House's Twentysomething Essays From Twentysomething Authors, and many more. Mary Beth has served several writing residencies, including with the Atlantic Center for the Arts; the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art, and Natural Design; and the U.S. National Parks.  She writes about baseball, culture, and Star Wars for several online outlets.