WARNING: The following contains minor spoilers for The Mandalorian, now streaming on Disney+.
There is a huge consistency problem surrounding Star Wars. No, we’re not referring to plot holes or the quality from film to film, yet there are discussions to be had regarding either issue. The consistency problem happens to rest on the shoulders of some vocal fans in their criticism of Rey in the sequel trilogy, specifically in how her use of the Force is deemed unwarranted. That "Baby Yoda" and his precocious Force antics on The Mandalorian have not fallen to the same level of scrutiny exposes further hypocrisy within the aforementioned faction of fans.
Before anyone takes to the comments section with pitchforks and torches, let it be known we love Baby Yoda. In fact, questioning whether you love your own children as much as the tiny green tyke seems to be a common reaction. Baby Yoda is a neutral playing field for Star Wars fans. There is a unifying “the tribe has spoken” mentality when it comes to shoveling tons of praise on the Force-sensitive toddler. Railing against Baby Yoda on social media would be the Internet equivalent to kicking a puppy (please do not do either). So if Baby Yoda is so perfect, why make a comparison between it and a divisive heroine like Rey?
The claim as to why Rey irks some fans is often centered on the idea of the young Jedi-in-training being too good at space magic too quickly. Some critics of Rey have referred to her as a “Mary Sue,” citing her intuitive relationship with the Force as being contrived. Now, this would be a valid point if previous young protagonists from the prior trilogies didn’t exhibit similar feats of Force strength. “But Rey Jedi Mind-Tricked James Bond, and beat a Sith Lord with zero training,” you might say, and you’d be right. There is no denying what has been committed to film, but pretending as if the idea of “the chosen one” hasn’t bees Star Wars’ bread and butter since the start is simply ridiculous. Rey’s journey is no more contrived than that of the Skywalker lads.
The same can be said for how The Mandalorian portrays Baby Yoda’s use of the Force. If we’re going to scrutinize a character for being untrained or too young to be more powerful than characters who came before them, then Baby Yoda should be the gold standard for this perceived narrative transgression. In the second episode of The Mandalorian, “The Child,” we see the green toddler use the Force to stop a two-ton Mud Horn from pulverizing our hero. Sure, Baby Yoda is 50 years old, but as IG-11 pointed out, species age differently. So unless Baby Yoda has been training in a secret Jedi preschool for the last half-century (we’d totally be on board for this, by the way), his sudden display of power is even more contrived than Rey tricking a Stormtrooper or taking down Kylo Ren (who had just been shot in the stomach moments before).
Again, this is all par for the course in Star Wars. Luke underwent one blind-folded lightsaber session and got a few cryptic New Age teachings from a guy he’d just met, and was able to make a one-in-a-million shot to destroy the Death Star long before he met Master Yoda. Sure, what Luke pulls off is by no means as ostentatious as the displays of power we see from Rey, but to pretend like there isn’t a precedent for it is really splitting hairs. It’s trying to quantify something which, up until the Prequel Trilogy, was always portrayed as being mystical. This sort of quantification leads to straw man arguments. Seeing amazing displays of mystic abilities should be something to marvel at. To say Luke has more “Force Points,” or whatever metric we’re measuring an invisible energy field with, than Rey is goofy. It’s a line of thinking that leads us down the dark path of Midi-chlorians.
Ultimately, trying to apply too much logic to the mysticism of Star Wars is a fool’s errand. The fact some fans rely on an arbitrary scale to deem which Force users are more “worthy” than others kind of defeats the whole idea of what makes being a Jedi such a compelling fantasy in the first place. Every single main protagonists from the Skywalker Saga thus far has been a child living in less-than-ideal circumstances. Anakin was a in a terrible human trafficking situation; Luke was a bored and seemingly-impoverished farm boy and Rey was an orphan who resorted to working for food while living in a memento of the wars which came before the First Order tormented the galaxy.
As for Baby Yoda, the green youngling is a McGuffin who has spent an undetermined amount of time being hunted by the remnants of the Empire for nefarious reasons. This string of characters having shared the experience of having a harsh upbringing on a desert planet makes for a far more intriguing theme of character consistency than what feats of Force strength they display. Look, we don’t want to resort to using Midi-chlorians when talking about a franchise so many of us hold dear in hearts. So ask yourself, do you? Is the Force something that can be quantifiable, or is embracing it's unpredictable power just a leap of faith?
Created by Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog and Nick Nolte. The first three episodes are streaming now on Disney+.