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Why Moff Gideon may be after Baby Yoda

Contains spoilers for The Mandalorian

Whether you're a diehard fan of the Disney+ series The Mandalorian or just a casual viewer, the one thing we can all agree on is that the season 1 finale of the series was a thrill ride of the first order. It also showed the show is capable of delivering the same sort of operatic storytelling that's continued to make Star Wars stories resonate so deeply with fans over 40 years after it began.

Even as the less-than-certain fates of the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and his crew played a big part of the drama on the show's season 1 finale, much of the turmoil was driven by the team's attempts to protect a certain adorable piece of cargo: the character the world has come to know and worship as Baby Yoda (known on the show as the Child). While the baby-faced, Force-sensitive youngster captured the hearts and minds of pop culture, he was eventually physically captured by the mysterious Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) in that pulse-pounding finale.

Given his title as a Moff, who are Sector Governors of the First Galactic Empire, it's clear Gideon has ties to the fascist government. As such, he likely has devious plans for Baby Yoda, though those plans remain as enigmatic as the man himself. The mystery deepened with a recent interview that saw Giancarlo Esposito tease who Moff might be and what he may be after in Baby Yoda. 

The actor told IGN, "Like any great leader or scientist — clue, clue, clue — with someone who is advanced in a certain way, yeah, you could want to be their best friend, or you could want to co-opt what is inside them to figure out how to make all of us a little better at humanity."

Breaking down Giancarlo Esposito's comments about Moff Gideon

While Esposito's statements remain ambiguous, there are things we can glean from them. First and foremost, it seems that Moff Gideon is a scientist of some sort, and possibly "enhanced" in some way himself. Given that Gideon surprised everyone by wielding the Darksaber during The Mandolorian's season 1 finale, "enhanced" might even mean he's Force-sensitive. Still, if you know anything about the Darksaber and its Old Republic progeny, you know that people don't need to be Force-sensitive to use it. We'll just have to wait to find out whether or not Moff Gideon has any sort of Jedi background.

The safe bet is that he doesn't, and instead has eyes on bending certain aspects of the Force to his scientific will. That may be why he's so hot to get his hands on Baby Yoda. To that end, the "you could want to co-opt what is inside of them" part of Esposito's statement seems loaded — and even more so when you consider the warning Moff Gideon gave Mando and his team when he stated, "You may think you have some idea of what you are in possession of, but you do not. It means more to me than you will ever know."

Such cryptic statements have spun wild theories about Moff Gideon and Baby Yoda's importance in the overarching Star Wars narrative. Given The Mandalorian's post-Return of the Jedi, pre-The Force Awakens timeline, it certainly feels like the duo are setting up to play a major role in the establishment of the First OrderAs such, one prominent Baby Yoda theory is that Moff Gideon is apt to utilize "what is inside" of the Child to help some dark side baddies in their return to power.

Will Moff Gideon use Baby Yoda to bring back Palpatine and found the First Order?

So, what's inside of Baby Yoda? The 50-year-old youngster is very Force-sensitive, which means he's likely got an off-the-charts Midi-chlorian count. And after that beyond-disturbing scene in which Baby Yoda used the Force to choke out Cara Dune (Gina Carano), it's worth wondering whether or not the little green guy has a few dark side inclinations. Considering the time setting of The Mandalorian and the shocking return of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) in The Rise of Skywalker, we can't help but think that if Baby Yoda has those dark side leanings, the adorable creature might factor prominently in the nefarious Emperor's return — and thus the founding of The First Order — within the context of the Disney+ show.

Yes, we would be every bit as heartbroken by that dramatic turn of events as anyone, but given the general lack of explanation by The Rise of Skywalker's writing team as to exactly how Emperor Palpatine survived being tossed into a seemingly bottomless energy pit and the spectacular explosion of the Death Star itself, Disney and Lucasfilm may well be looking to use The Mandalorian to connect those dots in very specific ways.

When you account for Baby Yoda's potential penchant for dark-sided behavior and the fact that we don't have the full story of how Emperor Palpatine survived and escaped to Exegol, the theory that a science-minded Moff Gideon might be looking to harvest Sith-friendly Midi-chlorians from Baby Yoda for the purpose of engineering the Emperor's return doesn't seem all that far-fetched. It might also help explain Moff Gideon's warning to Mando and his crew that they don't know what they're in possession of.

Is Moff Gideon a good guy after all?

There could be another way to read Moff Gideon's warning, and it may have something to do with all those Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) clones in The Rise of Skywalker. To explore this possibility, we'll have to dive back into theory land and consider that Baby Yoda might be a Yoda clone. This theory was first posited after episode 3 of The Mandolorian, when a savvy fan noticed that an insignia on the doctor's uniform resembled the same worn by those on the planet Kamino, which is where the clones in Attack of the Clones were made.

That fact doesn't clear up Baby Yoda's clone status, or if The Client (Werner Herzog) and Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) were simply looking to "harvest the necessary materials" needed to make a Force-sensitive clone. It's also unclear who they're working for, though it seems likely Moff Gideon is behind their actions. 

Whatever the case, Giancarlo Esposito's assertion that Moff Gideon "could want to be their [Baby Yoda's] best friend" and "figure out how to make all of us a little better at humanity" may allude to other motives — ones that could mean he's a good guy, and that he's perhaps looking to take Baby Yoda off the Empirical chess board. 

That being said, the idea of Moff Gideon being a goodie instead of a baddie doesn't exactly jibe with his actions during The Mandalorian's season 1 finale — i.e., showing up with a bunch of stormtroopers and killing fan-favorite character Kuill (Nick Nolte). The idea is even harder to swallow when you consider his Empirical background. 

With no answers for now, we're stuck waiting for season 2 of The Mandolorian to learn if Moff Gideon is out to prevent the rise of a new Empire, or if he's the key architect in its construction.