Given what happened in the season two finale of The Mandalorian, I figured that this topic may be relevant to a lot of Star Wars fans: what happened at Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Temple, particularly on that one fateful night?
After all, The Mandalorian showed Luke Skywalker coming to rescue Grogu and take him to train him in the ways of the Force. And so immediately people began worrying that perhaps Grogu met a tragic fate years later when Ben Solo rebelled and destroyed everything. So what happened that night?
Here’s what we know:
The Mandalorian takes place approximately five years after the Battle of Endor (~9ABY). Six years later, in 15 ABY, Luke took on his nephew, Ben Solo, as an apprentice. In the years that followed, Luke took on more apprentices, who trained under the Jedi Master at his training Temple. The location was a secret, known only to Luke, his pupils, and R2-D2, and he instructed this new generation of Jedi as best he knew how. But in 28 ABY, thirteen years after taking Ben Solo as an apprentice and around eighteen years after taking Grogu as an apprentice, the whole thing was destroyed.
What happened on that fateful night was depicted in Rey’s vision in The Force Awakens, and then more in-depth through the different points of view in The Last Jedi. The basic tenants are this: Luke approached Ben one night in his hut, having sensed darkness in him. It shocked Luke so much that he ever-so-briefly contemplated killing Ben to prevent these things from coming to pass, but thought better of it. It was too late, however, and Ben acted in self-defense, using the Force to bring the hut down on his master. Ben thought Luke was dead, but the Jedi was simply unconscious. When he came to, the whole Temple was burning and his students either dead or missing. With the crushing weight of his failure, Luke fled to Ahch-To in exile.
As with many things, however, there’s a bit of nuance needed here. In Charles Soule’s excellent comic miniseries The Rise of Kylo Ren, we get a very important piece of information: Ben Solo didn’t want to destroy the whole Temple. After being confronted by Luke and thinking him dead, Ben walks off into the night, approaching the Temple. He angrily yells at someone, “Why? Why? Why did you do it?” He is then surprised by a dark red storm hovering over the Temple, and the Temple then explodes, sending Ben flying backwards. As Ben runs towards the burning ruins, he yells, “No. No! I never… I didn’t want this.” Then a voice says to him, “And you did not choose it, Ben. The Jedi did. Skywalker.”
This account is, I think, intentionally vague on what exactly was happening. Whose voice was Ben hearing? It’s probable that it was Snoke, but we also know that Palpatine was every voice he had ever heard inside his head. And what happened at the Temple? Well, someone destroyed it. The safest bet is that it was Ben who inadvertently destroyed it through his anger, but it’s possible it was someone else too (like Snoke or Palpatine). But it seems that in his anger, Ben killed them. He didn’t want to, but it happened.
A few students survived, however, as they were off-planet on another mission. When they returned, the three Jedi padawans – Hennix, Tai, and Voe – confronted Ben. He wanted nothing to do with fighting them and simply wanted to escape, which he did – heading to meet with Snoke. The three padawans, however, hunted him across the galaxy and were eventually killed – the last of whom, Voe, was intentionally killed in cold blood by Ben, right after he killed Ren (the previous leader of the Knights of Ren). Thus completed Ben’s descent to the dark side, becoming Kylo Ren.
So Ben Solo’s heart had already been seduced to the dark side by Snoke, but it was that confrontation with Luke Skywalker on that fateful night at the Temple that helped to push him over the edge. But even then, Ben didn’t want to kill the other students, but it happened nonetheless.
Was Grogu one of them? Time will tell, but my guess is absolutely not. That’s too dark and tragic of an ending for this beloved Child. Besides, he already escaped one Jedi massacre, so why not another? No, I’m fully assuming that Grogu was not present at Luke’s Jedi Temple that night. After all, this is nearly two decades before that night at the Temple, so there’s plenty of time for something else to happen. Maybe Grogu doesn’t stick around 20 years, for whatever reason. I’m sure there are more stories to be told here – it makes me want an animated series following Luke in this time period all the more!!! – and I’m sure we’ll hear them eventually. But if you want my guess, Grogu wasn’t there that night. Hopefully, that’s truly the case.