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The Mandalorian has achieved success like no other Star Wars work since George Lucas’ Original Trilogy. Certainly, the Prequel Trilogy had its charms and it’s becoming more and more popular with time, Rogue One was also very successful, but neither of the two achieved the fame of Jon Favreau’s and Dave Filoni’s The Mandalorian, which premiered on Disney+. The narrative of the show fit into Lucas’ original lore, the casting was great, the story simply brilliant, and the music pure magic. All of this explains why The Mandalorian is so popular and why we have decided to write about it today. The topic of today’s article is going to be Grogu (better known as Baby Yoda), as we are going to tell you why there was a bounty on him in the first place. Interested? Keep reading, then!
Due to his high midi-chlorian count, Grogu was a very valuable asses to the remnants of the Galactic Empire. They needed him for his blood, they needed him for experiments and that is why they have put out a bounty on him.
Before we answer your question, we are going to give you an introduction to the character of Grogu, who was initially known as “The Child”, “The Asset”, or simply Baby Yoda. After that, we shall continue with answering the question from the title of today’s article. Enjoy!
Who is Baby Yoda?
Grogu, also known as “The Child”, “The Asset” and Baby Yoda, is a fictional character that appeared in The Mandalorian. He is a Force-sensitive child that belongs to the same species as Jedi Grandmaster Yoda. Not much is known about his past, except that he somehow survived Order 66 and that he is exceptionally powerful, which is why he is chased by the remnants of the Empire. He is, along with the titular character, the show’s most popular element.
In the first episode of the series, the titular Mandalorian bounty hunter accepts a valuable commission from the Client, a mysterious Imperial official, to locate and capture an unidentified fifty-year-old target. By infiltrating a remote and heavily defended camp, the Mandalorian acquires the target, who appears to be a child of the same species as Yoda. The Mandalorian destroys the bounty hunter droid IG-11, who attempts to kill the baby according to his bounty orders. In Chapter 2, titled “The Child”, the Mandalorian is attacked by a rhinoceros-like creature called a Mudhorn. When the beast runs towards the Mandalorian to kill him, the Child uses the Force to levitate it, allowing the surprised Mandalorian to kill it.
The Mandalorian then delivers the Child to the Client in Nevarro and collects the reward from him in Chapter 3, “The Sin”. The Mandalorian is turned away when he unusually inquires about the Client’s plans for the Child. He accepts a new job from the bounty hunter’s guild leader, Greef Karga, but instead returns to infiltrate the Client’s base and retrieve the Child, who is being studied (i.e., tortured) by Dr. Pershing, an Imperial scientist. The Mandalorian is ambushed by the guild’s bounty hunters and Karga, but is able to escape with the Child when other Mandalorians from the tribe unexpectedly come to his defence.
In Chapter 4, titled “The Sanctuary”, the Mandalorian plans to leave his cargo in the care of friendly local villagers on the sparsely populated planet Sorgan, but when another bounty hunter arrives to claim the Child, the Mandalorian realizes that the village will not be safe and takes the Child with him. Later, the Mandalorian saves the Child from the would-be bounty hunter Toro Calican in Chapter 5, “The Gunslinger”, and from the droid pilot Zero in Chapter 6, “The Prisoner.” In Chapter 7, titled “The Reckoning”, Karga asks the Mandalorian for help in freeing Nevarro from Imperial reinforcements in exchange for releasing the reward from the Mandalorian and the Child. The Mandalorian recruits Cara Dune, a former rebel shock trooper, Kuiil, an Ugnaught farmer and mechanic who previously assisted him, and IG-11, who has been repaired and reprogrammed by Kuiil.
When Cara and the Mandalorian compete to see who is stronger, the Child mistakes Cara for an enemy and begins to choke her with the Force, but the Mandalorian stops him. Greef is injured and the Child heals him using the Force, so Greef reveals that he was planning to betray them until the Child healed him. The Mandalorian sends Kuiil back to his ship with the Child, while he, Cara, and Greef head to the city to kill the Client. Kuiil is killed by the stormtroopers, who take the Child for Moff Gideon, a former officer of the Empire.
In Chapter 8, titled “The Redemption”, IG-11 rescues the Child from the soldiers, then arrives to find the Mandalorian’s crew besieged by Gideon and his stormtroopers. The Child uses the Force to deflect the flamethrower of an attacking stormtrooper, and the group escapes with him through a sewer grate, seeking help from the hidden Mandalorians. The Armorer orders the Mandalorian to care for the Child as if it were his own, to discover his origins and return him to his species. Escaping from Gideon and his remaining soldiers, the Mandalorian leaves the planet with the Child. He later travels the galaxy in order to find the Jedi to whom the Child belongs, meeting former Jedi Ahsoka Tano along the way. While revealing the child’s name to be Grogu, she states that she cannot train him and instructs the Mandalorian to take it to Tython, where he might be able to call out some other Jedi.
Moff Gideon kidnaps Grogu once again, which prompts Din Djarin to recruit a rescue team. They find and attack Gideon’s ship, ultimately rescuing Grogu. In the end of the episode, Grogu is taken by Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, who vows to train him and keep him safe.
Why is there a bounty on Baby Yoda?
When we meet Baby Yoda, he is a highly sought after asset by the unnamed Client, who is a former high-ranking Imperial officer. When Mando finds him and even after he saves him, we don’t actually know why the Empire is looking for him. A certain Dr. Pershing is planning to test him and experiment on him, but it was not revealed as to what goal. In the first season, we see Baby Yoda being experimented on, but nothing more is revealed.
The actual revelation came during season 2, in the episode “The Siege”, where Mando and his allies stumble upon a prerecorded message by Dr. Pershing, who informs Moff Gideon that the initial experiments have failed and that he has run out of blood for further testing. This is the scene (skip the ads, God knows we did):
So, as we can see and hear, Dr. Pershing is conducting some kind of experiment using Grogu’s blood. Since the Imperial remnants are still loyal to the Sith, it’s no surprise that they would have a plan on how to (ab)use the blood of a Force-sensitive living being, especially someone who has an incredibly high midi-chlorian count, which Grogu does have. Midi-chlorians make a being more Force-sensitive if their value in the blood is high; if you remember your Prequel Trilogy (which canonised midi-chlorians), Anakin Skywalker had a midi-chlorian count (or M-count, as Dr. Pershing says) higher than even Master Yoda, whose M-count was the highest until Anakin’s was measured. The fact that Grogu has such a high M-count also seems to confirm that Yoda’s race has a naturally high midi-chlorian count, but until we find out more about the race, we’ll just have to wait for the confirmation of this theory.
So, we know that Dr. Pershing needed Grogu’s blood because of the midi-chlorians, as he wants to do some experiments. Still, even after having seen season 2, we still don’t know what these experiments really are but we do have two theories. The first one connects to the Sequel Trilogy and the revelation that Palpatine is alive, while Snoke was just a generic decoy, a Force-sensitive clone that was completely expendable. According to this theory, Dr. Pershing needed the blood to make the Snoke clones Force-sensitive, but his initial experiments failed as witnessed by the disfigured clones in the laboratory; the fact that they resemble the unused Snoke clones from Episode IX gives credibility to this theory. A second theory states that Dr. Pershing needed the blood to make some other Force-sensitive clones or to induce Force sensitivity in already existing characters, but there is nothing that we can expand on regarding this theory. There is also a theory that the Empire plans on making Baby Yoda clones, but we don’t think that’s credible.
And that’s all we know. Whatever the reason may be, Grogu was certainly quite valuable to the Empire and we are certain that Favreau and Filoni are going to reveal the exact reason or reasons why that is.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!