Mandalorian: What are those space whales?

Family Reunion - and Farewell. Star Wars Rebels. Image courtesy
Family Reunion - and Farewell. Star Wars Rebels. Image courtesy /

The Mandalorian season three premiere “The Apostate” touched on a massive piece of Star Wars lore. It is also possibly setting up a major narrative beat later in this show as well as the upcoming Ahsoka series. While flying through hyperspace on the way to Nevarro, Grogu looks out into hyperspace and sees great creatures flying nearby through the swirling blues of the hyperlane. What are those creatures you might ask? Let’s talk all about space whales AKA the Purrgil and why they are important.

The Purrgil were first introduced in the season two episode of Star Wars Rebels, “The Call.” Many fans initially wrote off the episode as the dreaded F-word: Filler. But Dave Filoni got the last laugh as the Purrgil ended up being one of the most important elements of Rebels.

These whale-like creatures are semi-sentient and have the ability to live in the vacuum of space by feeding on a specific type of gas called Clouzon-36 to breathe. When this gas was metabolized, the Purrgil gained the ability they were best known for: they can jump into hyperspace. Legends of the Purrgil were common among spacers. While the creatures were semi-sentient, there were still times when they jumped in and out of hyperspace and crashed unknowingly into ships, killing the people on board. It’s why Hera Syndulla had a hatred for the peaceful creatures as many of her friends had died.

Why is all of this important in the big scheme of things? In “The Call,” Jedi Ezra Bridger befriended the Purrgil and came to understand the creatures. Ezra’s ability was connecting with animals, so it was a moment where he bonded with them. At the time, it seemed like a one-off episode where the creators explored how Ezra’s powers were growing.

No one understood the bigger significance of that episode until Rebels’ series finale. In the Battle for Lothal, Ezra called upon the Purrgil again to help him defeat Grand Admiral Thrawn. The Purrgil came to his aid by attacking Thrawn’s Star Destroyer. The Purrgil King or leader of their pod wrapped around the flagship and jumped into hyperspace with both Thrawn and Ezra on board. Ever since both characters have been missing. Mandalorian Sabine Wren and ex-Jedi Ahsoka Tano have both vowed to find Ezra again.

Looking forward, we know from season two of The Mandalorian that Ahsoka is looking for Grand Admiral Thrawn. Also, both Sabine Wren and Ezra Bridger have been cast in Ahsoka series with Natasha Liu Bordizzo and Eman Esfandi playing the Rebels characters. Rumors have been swirling about Thrawn’s apparent casting for years now. We know that Thrawn is coming at some point in The Mandalorian universe and, in turn, that Ezra is as well.

Seeing the Purrgil in “The Apostate” feels like a huge tease for Thrawn and Ezra either later in The Mandalorian or at least priming the audience for Ahsoka. As Dave Filoni has had his hands in all three shows, this is very purposeful to see the Purrgil in the season three opener for The Mandalorian.

It was an exciting moment in the opening, and I am so ready for Ezra to finally come home for real this time.

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