The Mandalorian season 3, episode 1’s space whales were secretly teased in Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 1. The hyperspace whales seen by Grogu in The Mandalorian, more commonly known as purrgil, were first introduced in Star Wars Rebels. In that series, Ezra Bridger, a young Jedi Padawan, made a strong connection with the purrgil through the Force, utilizing them as allies in the fight against the Empire in Star Wars Rebels’ explosive series finale. Though the purrgil featured prominently in Star Wars Rebels, they weren’t seen in live-action until The Mandalorian season 3’s recent premiere episode, but their surprise appearance has close links with Star Wars history and might impact the future of Star Wars storytelling.
The purrgil Grogu sees in The Mandalorian use hyperspace to move throughout the galaxy, one of the few semi-sentient creatures that can do so without technology. They are rarely seen but can be dangerous when their migration route crosses paths with other travelers, given their considerable size and strength. Considering the purrgil are one of Star Wars’ most interesting creatures, as well as the importance of hyperspace travel within the galaxy, it’s surprising they haven’t been introduced in live-action prior to The Mandalorian season 3. Obi-Wan Kenobi, however, opened the door for the purrgil’s first live-action appearance, teasing their existence for those unfamiliar with Star Wars Rebels or wider Star Wars lore.
Obi-Wan Kenobi Presented Purrgil As Symbols Of Adventure
Bail Organa & Young Leia in Obi-Wan Kenobi
In Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 1, Bail Organa (played by Jimmy Smits) shares a scene with his daughter, a young Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair). Leia has proven herself to be an adventurous spirit, and though it can get in the way of her duties, Bail recognizes her childlike wonder and curiosity. In an effort to bond with her, Bail tells Leia that he used to dream of adventure too. “I wanted to live out way past Kathou when I was your age. Chase purrgil, you know? I had a whole plan.” Though this fleeting mention of the purrgil in Obi-Wan Kenobi may seem relatively inconsequential, it was, in fact, the first time they had been acknowledged in canon live-action.
Though Bail admits that he never managed to go on such a journey, as he “got older” and “had to find some other adventures”, the scene between Bail and Leia in Obi-Wan Kenobi does go some way as to explain how the purrgil are viewed in the galaxy. They are mysteries to be chased, to be admired, to be studied. The Star Wars galaxy as it exists within the Skywalker saga, and indeed even during the High Republic and the Old Republic would not exist without hyperspace travel. It makes sense then, that the purrgil are admired for their ability to travel through hyperspace, and the fact they are rarely seen makes them all the more intriguing.
Do Adventurers Really Follow Purrgil Into Space In Star Wars?
Star Wars Rebels Series Finale Ghost Purrgils Space Whales
Though it’s never been explicitly said that adventurers travel through hyperspace hoping to find the purrgil, this does likely happen. After all, Star Wars Rebels’ Ghost Crew happened upon these creatures by accident, and they travel together through space in pods. It’s not unreasonable to assume that some adventurers and researchers traverse the galaxy hoping to catch a glimpse of the purrgil. Anyone near a system rich with the gas Clouzon-36, which is what both the purrgil and ships use as fuel for hyperspace travel is likely to be able to find a pod of purrgil, although following them through hyperspace presents a new set of challenges.
Star Wars Rebels even mentioned that ancient galactic engineers discovered hyperspace because they came across a pod of purrgil and realized these creatures were capable of traversing through a previously unknown dimensional plane. Hyperspace was probably the most important scientific discovery in the history of the Star Wars galaxy – without it, the different worlds and systems that inhabit the vast expanse of space would have been unlikely to ever interact with one another, and institutions like the Republic could never have existed. Hopefully, the purrgil’s live-action appearance in The Mandalorian season 3, episode 1 paves the way for more stories involving these compelling creatures in Star Wars’ future.