The Mandalorian did something a little strange with Season 1, Episode 7. After premiering the series on Tuesday, Nov. 12 (the same day Disney+ launched), the show had moved to Fridays. But when it came to Episode 7, the installment randomly dropped on Wednesday, Dec. 18. Most assumed this decision had to do with the arrival of Rise of Skywalker on Friday, Dec. 20, and Lucasfilm not stepping on its own release. But there's a theory about Baby Yoda and The Rise Of Skywalker that suggests this was a deliberate decision, so fans would watch The Mandalorian before seeing the final movie.
Warning: Spoilers for All Things Star Wars follow.
Why would that matter? So far, The Mandalorian doesn't seem to tie back to the Skywalker Saga at all. Other than a side trip to Tatooine in Episode 5, the two had nothing connecting them.
But that's not entirely true. The Mandalorian Episode 7, for example, made canon something Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hinged on: the ability to heal with the Force. Up until that episode, this was something only seen in the spinoff novels.
But there's now a theory something else in The Mandalorian will tie back to the events of Rise of Skywalker, and it has to do with Palpatine.
George Lucas insists that Palpatine died at the end of Return of the Jedi. But when asked how he's alive, Palpatine references his words to Anakin in Revenge of the Sith: "The Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural."
The theory goes that Palpatine, after several years, brought himself back to a semi-undead spirit state — think Voldemort in the early Harry Potter books. But to bring himself back the rest of the way, he needed a powerful Force user — one with healing powers whose abilities could be cloned and copied before sacrificing him to restore Palpatine.
Someone too young to protect themselves and fight back. Someone who happens to have been born the same year Darth Vader was.
This would explain the weird discrepancies around Baby Yoda in the premiere. Mando was told, specifically, to bring the Child back alive. But IG-11 was explicitly instructed to kill him. Moreover, these two were chasing the same quarry even though they're both in the Guild, which forbids having two bounty hunters assigned to the same client.
This makes sense if they were working for two different clients. Someone like Moff Gideon, who has deep ties to the fallen empire and wears a Darth Vader-like uniform, would be working for the former Emperor and want the Child alive. It stands to reason there would be a competing faction desperate to make sure Palpatine never gets his hands on the Child by having him killed.
Is Baby Yoda the key to bringing back Palpatine? Has Mando accidentally derailed Sith plans? Fans hope to find out in The Mandalorian Season 1 finale.