clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Mandalorian’s space whales actually tease a huge part of Star Wars’ future

Step aside tulkun

Grogu from The Mandalorian is washed in blue light as he looks out the window of a space ship while it travels through hyperspace Image: Lucasfilm

Din Djarin and Grogu are back for more adventures and a quest on Mandalore in the first episode of The Mandalorian’s third season. But rather than uncovering what’s under the surface of Bo-Katan’s home planet, the biggest reveal of the episode happens deep in space, while the show’s dynamic duo are jetting between planets.

[Ed. note: This story contains spoilers for The Mandalorian season 3, episode 1 and Star Wars: Rebels.]

The furthest reaches of the dimension known as hyperspace are mostly uninhabitable, but for just a brief second in this episode we catch a glimpse of something flying alongside Mando and Grogu while they’re in a hyperspace tunnel. While it may not seem like much, this quick moment might secretly clue us into the plot of one of Star Wars’ upcoming Disney Plus shows.

While the bounty-hunting pair are making their way through hyperspace, Grogu looks out the glass of his spaceship baby seat and notices several distinct shapes flying alongside them as they glide through hyperspace. The show doesn’t give us a clear glimpse of what those shapes are, but the most likely answer is a Star Wars deep cut: a purrgil, the interdimensional whales.

Purrgil are Star Wars space whales that are capable of traveling through hyperspace. The creatures were the original inspiration for the hyperspace travel that makes most of Star Wars possible, and are somehow capable of the faster-than-light travel on their own and in pods with each other.

A purrgil-shaped shadow that Grogu sees out the window of he and Din Djarin’s space ship in The Mandalorian Image: Lucasfilm

Some pilots in the Star Wars universe consider purrgil to be a nuisance because they often interrupt ships while they’re traveling in hyperspace, or worse, collide with them, accidentally killing pilots and crews (and purrgil) in the process. However, certain force-users (maybe even Grogu?) can bond with purrgil. Which brings us to Ezra Bridgers.

Purrgil played a key role in the finale of Star Wars: Rebels, the animated series that followed the Bridgers, Ahsoka Tano, Sabine Wren, and their friends. Ezra established a connection with a pod of purrgil and used them in a sneak attack against Admiral Thrawn, who Ezra and friends had been fighting throughout the season. Part of the plan of attack involved the purrgil sending Thrawn to some unknown and distant part of space through a hyperspace tunnel, but Ezra was caught in the portal and sent off with him.

The reason all this matters so much now is because Ahsoka, Star Wars’ upcoming Disney Plus show, is already on the way. While Disney hasn’t officially announced what the series is about yet, some of the best guesses suggest it might follow Ahsoka and Sabine as they search for Ezra throughout the galaxy — especially since the show has already cast its Ezra. This could mean that introducing purrgil in live-action was a huge step toward being able to find him — and maybe even Admiral Thrawn, too.

Whatever is set to happen in Disney Plus’ next Star Wars show, it does seem like the purrgil will have a part to play either there or later on this season in The Mandalorian. But for now, we can just take them in like Grogu: a nice sight to see on the way to our favorite war-torn planet.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon