Shortly before The Mandalorian season 3 premiered, showrunner Jon Favreau created a stir amongst Star Wars fans by casually mentioning a timeline that caught pretty much everyone by surprise: he seemed to say that Grogu was actually training with Luke Skywalker for two years.
His comments weren’t entirely clear, so Variety attempted to find out more and asked Favreau about those comments. He was unaware of the stir he had caused, but not about the comments he had made, and said that the timeline in-universe is somewhat similar to the timeline where these shows come out: a year after The Mandalorian season two we checked in with Din Djarin and Grogu in The Book of Boba Fett, and a year after that we’re getting The Mandalorian season 3. So, in light of that, Favreau began to say that the timeline in-between season 2 and 3 in-universe was more than one but less than two… only to stop himself, and then say that it’s somewhere between 0 to 2 years.
Ok, not entirely, but it would seem that Grogu was indeed with Luke Skywalker for longer than implied in The Book of Boba Fett, perhaps around a year or so. And then he’s been back with Mando for a while before season 3 starts as well. In short, it seems a lot more time has passed than we were led to believe just by watching these shows, but it also seems that Favreau isn’t entirely clear himself on when it’s all set. That’s fine, and it’s nothing new for Star Wars (good luck trying to figure out the timeline for The Empire Strikes Back, for instance). What’s important for us to realize right now is that more time has passed than we thought, and Grogu and Djarin spent more time apart than we thought as well.
Part of the reason we didn’t think it was much time was because we really didn’t see much of them apart at all. We saw one episode about Djarin and one episode about Grogu, and then they reunited. So it’s clear that the showrunners for this big story (of which The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett are both part) were far more interested in telling stories of them together than separate, and Favreau stated as much in a separate interview.
“We have characters that exist in both sets of stories, so we can use the opportunity of The Book of Boba Fett to check in on where these characters are,” Favreau told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview. “I knew that I didn’t want to dedicate a lot of screen time within The Mandalorian to a period of time where there wasn’t a lot of character progression. Both [Din and Grogu] were kind of stuck, as far as character progression goes, until they were reunited. So, my feeling was that it would allow me to do both of those things and freed me up now two years later to have a whole new context for these two characters to have a relationship and move forward.”
Contrary to public opinion I actually think it’s perfectly fine for The Mandalorian to use The Book of Boba Fett to explore these things more, but I do significantly disagree with Favreau’s assessment that the character progression for Djarin and Grogu was stuck until they were back together. In fact, I actually think it’s the opposite, and think the room for growth while the two of them apart is massive compared to the potential for growth for them together. We could come to see how the two of them fit in with their new context, what their new purpose is, and how they are stronger together than separate. We got to see a few glimpses of it, but for the most part the show just tells us “they’re better together, trust us” and we don’t see it play out.
I don’t really have an issue with The Mandalorian bringing Djarin and Grogu back together this soon, and I think there’s actually plenty of reasons why it makes the most sense. But I don’t think one of those reasons is that their character progression was stuck without it. Instead, I think their time apart opens the door for plenty of development to take place, and I’m hopeful that since it really was a bit longer than we thought, it might give the chance to explore some of that at some point down the road.