Spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian Chapter 7. Werner Herzog's The Client seemed like the big bad of The Mandalorian, but Giancarlo Esposito's Moff Gideon may be the real villain of the show. Moff Gideon captured Baby Yoda on The Mandalorian and seems to have an unhealthy fixation with the powerful child. As Cara Dune asked, "Who's this guy?" and, if the Stormtroopers and Death Troopers working for Moff Gideon didn't tip you off, this guy happens to be a former Imperial governor. Gideon is also evidently the person who wanted Baby Yoda and his Force powers hunted down and he seems to know just how important the Child is.
"You have something I want," Gideon announced to Mando, Cara Dune, Greef Farga, after having the Client gunned down. "You may think you have some idea of what you are in possession of, but you do not." Earlier in the episode, it was clear that Mando, Kuill, and the gang don't understand what the Force is, although they've seen it in action. They also questioned Baby Yoda's genetic origins — whether he was a "strand-cast" (genetically engineered) or found organically in nature. (As they've never met Yoda or Yaddle, it's most likely that they've just never seen a being of this race before.) But Moff Gideon proclaims to know all about Baby Yoda, saying, "It means more to me than you will ever know."
One major theory about why Baby Yoda is so important to Moff Gideon is that this former leader of the Galactic Empire wants to use the Child to form the First Order. Before The Mandalorian premiered, director Dave Filoni and showrunner Jon Favreau told Entertainment Weekly that the series would look at the early days of the First Order. In the sequel film The Force Awakens, fans learned that the First Order had replaced the Empire after it fell in Return of the Jedi — and The Mandalorian takes place between those sets of movies. As EW speculated, Moff Gideon could be the person who establishes the First Order. If this theory proves true, it would be particularly fitting that Gideon's Mandalorian introduction occurred just days before The Rise of Skywalker premiered.
Episodes before Esposito arrived, The Ringer had speculated that Gideon could be serving major members of the Dark Side of the Force — Supreme Leader Snoke or Emperor Palpatine. Snoke died in The Last Jedi after his former pupil Ben (Kylo Ren) killed him, but not much is known about his identity before the events of the sequel. As for Palpatine/Darth Sidious, Darth Vader seemingly killed him in Return of the Jedi. But as he is set to appear in The Rise of Skywalker, could Baby Yoda's powers be responsible for bringing him back?
Gideon's plan most likely ties back to what occurred in "Chapter 3" of The Mandalorian. The Client had told Dr. Pershing that they needed "to extract the necessary material" from Baby Yoda. That material could be midi-chlorians, life forms that measure how much Force is within a being. Perhaps Gideon wants to take Baby Yoda's midi-chlorians and transfer them to Snoke or the Emperor.
However, The Mandalorian is its own show, so it may not perfectly connect to the current trilogy. But knowing the events of the sequel films, the First Order will inevitably ascend to power. So does that mean Baby Yoda will become a slave to them? Or, even worse, go to the Dark Side to serve them? There are theories that Baby Yoda isn't as innocent as he seems and his strangling of Cara Dune with the Force could be evidence that he could be swayed to the Dark Side.
Gideon could also be so invested in Baby Yoda not because of the future but because of the past. Maybe Gideon — or someone he's related to — had encountered the Jedi master Yoda. That could mean that Gideon knows the origins of this 50-year-old baby, which is still a mystery to Mando and viewers. That would also explain why Gideon is particularly invested in the Child — and through him, The Mandalorian could prove or disprove the Baby Yoda is a clone theory.
Another possibility that Esposito hinted at is that Gideon could actually be trying to do good. "You have a great amount of expectations surrounding his appearance because we don't know whether he's good or bad," Esposito told TheWrap. "Who is this person, who seems to know everything about everyone? We have a bit of a mysterious character, but once you see him and you get to know him, you'll be intrigued by how he wields his power." Unfortunately, Gideon wielded that power in the end of "Chapter 7" to have his Stormtroopers kill Kuill and capture Baby Yoda.
Due to the ending of "Chapter 7," fans have expressed far more outrage, sadness, and anxiety than intrigue when it comes to Esposito's character. But, if he ends up revealing why Baby Yoda means more to him than Mando will ever know, maybe it's possible that Moff Gideon won't be such a bad guy after all.