Although the Nikto mercenaries who first held Grogu appeared to be villains in The Mandalorian, one theory argues that they might have actually been good. In The Mandalorian season 1, episode 1, “The Mandalorian,” Din Djarin, the Mandalorian, managed to find and capture a valuable bounty: the child he would later learn was named Grogu. To do this, Djarin and The Mandalorian’s bounty hunting droid, IG-11, killed the entire mercenary group. While this seemed like the clear course of action in the episode, given that the mercenaries were trying to kill Djarin, there is a chance the mercenaries were actually trying to protect Grogu.
The mercenary group was made up of Niktos, an alien species from the planet Kintan. At some point, the Hutts conquered Kintan, enslaving the Niktos. Subsequently, Niktos were mainly known for being enforcers and mercenaries. They eventually freed themselves after the death of Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
Although years of working as thugs for the Hutts gave Niktos a bad reputation, one Reddit theory connected their past to the mercenary group’s behavior in The Mandalorian. According to the theory, the Niktos might not have been villains at all. Instead, they might have been former slaves or prisoners in the Empire, while JStar Wars’ Jabba the Hutt was still alive, who were trying to prevent Grogu from meeting the same fate. This is supported by the Niktos’ desire to protect Grogu, even at the cost of their own lives.
One detail in The Mandalorian that suggests that the Niktos were trying to keep Grogu safe is that they never turned in the bounty on him, dead or alive. Instead, they took Grogu to an almost inaccessible encampment on the remote planet of Arvala-7. Kuiil, a local moisture farmer, also explained to Djarin that the Niktos attracted and killed an “endless stream” of bounty hunters who attacked the Niktos to reach Grogu. Presumably, the Niktos have been hiding on Arvala-7 for a long time. Although Grogu was worth a large sum of money, the Nikto mercenaries did not turn him in and even shielded him from those who would have, suggesting that the Niktos might have been good.
All of the Niktos were willing to die to protect Grogu. Djarin and IG-11 killed most of them outside the encampment, but one Nikto hid inside the compound with Grogu. Even after hearing all of the other mercenaries in his company die, the last Nikto still tried to kill Djarin, resulting in his own death when he could have stayed hidden. The Nikto mercenaries prioritized Grogu’s safety over his value as a bounty and even their own lives. This makes it seem possible that they were never villains but instead had the misfortune of trying to fight the Mandalorian to keep Grogu safe from the Empire.