The fifth episode of “The Mandalorian’s” second season dropped a bombshell on “Star Wars” fans: Baby Yoda’s real name is Grogu. How showrunner Jon Favreau and his creative team landed on the name Grogu remains unknown, but it’s not like the name was decided upon during the development of the show’s second season. Writer-director Dave Filoni told Vanity Fair the Grogu name “has been around for a while.” Filoni found out about Baby Yoda’s name in the early days of Season 1, which more or less means Baby Yoda had a real name for the show’s entire run.
“Jon told me early on in Season One what it would be, which made me start to think about how people could learn the name,” Filoni said. “This gave me the idea that Ahsoka, who is very compassionate, would be able to connect with the child, and that without words they could probably communicate through memories and experiences. Through that connection, she learns the name and then tells Mando and the audience.”
The revelation of Baby Yoda’s real name was also marked with an easter egg “Star Wars” fans might have missed. When the name Grogu is announced, the episode relies on a new bit of score composed by Ludwig Göransson that echoes John Williams’ “Yoda’s Theme.”
“Those are those little overlapping moments that I just love, and it’s why I’ve always insisted on using ‘Star Wars’ music so fleetingly because you don’t want that them unless you’re talking about that character,” Filoni said. “It’s their music. We had an opportunity [to have] a little grace moment.
Filoni continued, “It’s just an acknowledgement to that great performance by Frank Oz and the great character design. There’s no way that the name Yoda Baby wasn’t going to happen just given the stature of Yoda himself, so I think it’s a nice nod to the history. We can honor people who really put this thing on the map.”
As for why it took so long for the Grogu revelation, Filoni said waiting for Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) to announce the name made the most sense from a storytelling perspective. Up until the fifth episode of Season 2, Baby Yoda was known in the universe of “Star Wars” as The Child.
“I felt that if anyone would know or understand The Child’s history it would be Ahsoka,” Filoni said to Vanity Fair. “She has such a long history as well. By having her relate the story it also helps the viewer to understand some of her own backstory. This is similar to when Obi-Wan tells Luke about his father’s history. Through the story about Anakin, you are getting a look at Obi-Wan and his backstory as well. A lot of the campfire scene, as I call it, is shaped around that scene between Obi-Wan and Luke in ‘A New Hope.'”
“The Mandalorian” Season 2 continues with new episodes each Friday on Disney+.