Original Air Date: November 27, 2020
Writer: Dave Filoni
Director: Dave Filoni
In this dramatically hyped episode featuring the live-action introduction of Ahsoka Tano (a popular ex-Jedi from the animated Clone Wars series), Dave Filoni’s “Chapter 13” does not disappoint. It is a deliberate nod to early Samurai and Western movies, as is the case with many episodes of The Mandalorian, and Dave Filoni has often cited the films of Akira Kurosawa as an influence for this episode.
Rosario Dawson makes her triumphant appearance as the legendary ex-Jedi, Ahsoka Tano. She is currently found on the decaying forest planet of Corvus threatening a battle with a vicious local magistrate, Morgan Elsbeth (played by martial artist and stunt double/goddaughter of Bruce Lee, Diana Lee Inosanto), who has imprisoned the people of a bell-topped, walled-in village called Calodan. Ahsoka demands to know the location of the magistrate’s master but she refuses. Ahsoka gives an ultimatum of one day before she attacks the village. The mood is eerie as a bleak heavy fog hangs over the dying forest, and this episode is coupled with a score that is both ominous and alluring.
Meanwhile, Mando suddenly arrives into the dead forest of Corvus via the Razor Crest (he has come at the recommendation of Bo-Katan to seek out Ahsoka Tano for help with Baby Yoda). He walks through the dying forest all the way to the town of Calodan. The gates open for him and he slowly walks through the village streets as peasants scurry away in fear. Some citizens line the central road while imprisoned in medieval torture devices not unlike crucifixions. It is a brutal and barren portrait of this place. Mando is welcomed by the magistrate who offers him a solid beskar spear in exchange for killing Ahsoka. He tacitly accepts.
Mando then ventures out into the foggy petrified forest and confronts Ahsoka, but instead of battling, they join forces together when Mando says Bo-Katan sent him. Meanwhile, Ahsoka spends time with Baby Yoda, whose name is revealed to be Grogu, but she explains she cannot train the child. She says he is too fearful –Grogu was raised at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant but he was hidden away by someone during the Clone Wars– nevertheless she indicates there is still a chance for Grogu to be trained by a Jedi.
The next day, Ahsoka and Mando lead an assault on the village, ending in a face-off between Ahsoka and the magistrate Elspeth (with Ahsoka demanding to know the location of Grand Admiral Thrawn, a character from the Star Wars Legends series), and Mando faces off with an unnamed bounty hunter played by Michael Biehn.
After the end of the battle, the town is rescued. Ahsoka tells Mando to take Grogu to the planet called Tython where he can be placed on a “seeing stone” to hopefully connect with another Jedi somewhere in the galaxy, however it is also risky because darker forces might pick up on his presence (Tython was borrowed from the Star Wars Legends series). Thus the episode ends.
The Mandalorian Trivia:
- In this episode, we learn “The Child” or Baby Yoda’s name: Grogu. He was raised at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and was once trained by Jedi Masters but he was rescued and hidden away during the Clone Wars.
- In this episode, we learn that beskar steel can block the strike of a lightsaber.
- Composer Ludwig Göransson reprised Kevin Kiner’s theme from The Clone Wars.
- The episode was filmed using the series’s video wall technology so Dave Filoni could control the lighting.
- This episode was nominated won several awards, as well as eight Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
- A spin-off series titled Ahsoka was announced in December 2020, written by Dave Filoni and with Rosario Dawson reprising her role.
- Star Wars theme music plays a chief role in this episode with themes for Ahsoka and Yoda playing prominently.
- An owl (“Morai”) can be spotted at various moments in this episode, a significant animal for Ahsoka Tano.
- Dave Filoni intended for Ahsoka Tano to appear as a world-wearied, wandering samurai in this episode.
- The burnt-out forest aesthetic in this episode was inspired by Northern California fires at the time.
- Timothy Zahn, the author who created the character Grand Admiral Thrawn for The Thrawn Trilogy of books, was unaware about Thrawn’s mention in the episode until he was notified about it by fans who posted on social media speculating about the character’s return.