‘The Mandalorian’: Is Baby Yoda Evil?

There is nowhere to hide from Baby Yoda. Even before The Mandalorian concluded, that much was evident. Now it may become a problem, because Baby Yoda — officially known as The Child — may be a threat. 

No, this isn’t one of those “Actually, Baby Yoda sucks” pieces. Most people love Baby Yoda, and some would argue he reinvigorated Star Wars even more than The Rise of Skywalker. However, there are signs that Baby Yoda isn’t all sweet and cuddly. 

Why would Baby Yoda be bad?

Baby-Yoda
Baby Yoda in ‘The Mandalorian’ | Disney +

Before we go any further, spoilers lie ahead for anyone who has not yet seen the last two episodes of The Mandalorian

The concerning moment came when, in the episode called “The Reckoning,” which saw the return of Gina Carano’s Rebel shock trooper, Cara Dunes.  The Mandalorian recruited her for one final showdown with the people hunting for Baby Yoda. The remnants of the Empire want him badly. 

Maybe that’s because they’re afraid of him. And they might actually have a good reason for it. At one point, The Mandalorian and Cara are arm wrestling for fun. Baby Yoda sees this and apparently thinks that Cara is attacking his father figure. He begins Force-choking Cara until The Mandalorian breaks Baby Yoda’s concentration.

It was a surprising turn, and it makes one wonder: Was it just an innocent mistake? Or is Baby Yoda secretly evil, repeating the history of Anakin Skywalker as a good Jedi gone bad?

The most likely explanation is its an innocent mistake, because Lucasfilm had to know how popular Baby Yoda would be, and making him genuinely bad would be a betrayal. On the other hand, a Jedi who doesn’t know his own strength, or who can’t tell right from wrong, is potentially very dangerous. 

The scary child is one of the most terrifying tropes

Most of the way, The Mandalorian has been riffing off classic westerns like Clint Eastwood’s The Man with No Name trilogy and The Magnificent Seven. This surprising turn by Baby Yoda recalls a trope from another genre: the scary child. 

Our natural response to children is to see them as sweet and innocent, so when they do something bad, even accidentally, it can be chilling. At least two such performances have been Oscar-nominated: Patty McCormack in the 1956 thriller The Bad Seed and Linda Blair in 1973’s The Exorcist, where she played a pre-teen possessed by a demon. The main difference between those two is that McCormack seems genuinely bad, while Blair’s Regan is not responsible for her actions. 

In many ways, characters like Regan are more frightening than straight-up evil characters precisely because the former is harder to predict. The penultimate episode of The Mandalorian got even more confusing when we saw The Child can use the force to heal wounds, which is a 180-degree turn from Force-choking one of the good guys. That Baby Yoda — you just never know what he’s going to do next. 

How did ‘The Mandalorian’ end?

We won’t reveal all the details here, but it shouldn’t have been a big surprise that Baby Yoda survived his very brief kidnapping. What was surprising was that we got a little more backstory on where he came from. 

Some fans complain that Baby Yoda shouldn’t be called Baby Yoda because Yoda is a name, not a species. The only problem is, Star Wars has never identified his species. But now there are hints we may find out.

Baby Yoda was referred to as a foundling. That being the case, it is the Mandalorian’s duty to reunite the child with his own clan.

The good news is, we’ll find out more. The bad news is, we have to wait until the fall of 2020 to find out anything when season 2 of The Mandalorian hits much later this year.