There has been an awakening on Disney+.
The Mandalorian, the first live-action Star Wars TV series that debuted two episodes this week, is appropriately easy for newcomers to penetrate; just watch it as a standalone space western and you're mostly good to go. But those who wish to dig a little deeper will also be rewarded, as the show is jam-packed with Easter eggs and tiny moments that satisfyingly build upon Star Wars' rich lore.
It'd be impossible to list them all. But let's dive into some of the most notable Easter eggs and tie-ins so far.
1. Life Day — The Mandalorian's first bounty, Mythrol, mentions having wanted to be "free for Life Day," a holiday celebrated by the Wookies that originated in the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. Airing in 1978 between the release of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, this TV special was so absurdly terrible that it's essentially been buried by Lucasfilm and isn't available to watch in any official capacity, making it all the more hilarious to see it get a shout-out less than 10 minutes in.
2. The pulse blaster — Believe it or not, Life Day isn't the only Star Wars Holiday Special reference we've seen so far. The Mandalorian uses a blaster rifle throughout the first two episodes that looks to be the same one used by Boba Fett in the 1978 holiday special, where he actually made an appearance before his theatrical debut in The Empire Strikes Back two years later.
3. A familiar droid — When the Mandalorian arrives in the first episode to see The Client, played by Werner Herzog, a gatekeeper droid emerges from the wall. This type of droid was previously seen performing the same security function outside Jabba's palace in Return of the Jedi.
4. Lots and lots of classic aliens — There are tons of classic Star Wars aliens throughout the first two episodes, but just to mention a few highlights: The flute-playing fellow near the beginning of the pilot is a Kubaz, best known as the kind of alien who pointed Stormtroopers toward Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi's location in the original Star Wars; we see a Kowakian monkey-lizard, the same kind of alien as Jabba the Hutt's cackling jester Salacious Crumb in Return of the Jedi, roasting while another is caged; the Mandalorian in the second episode fights off Trandoshans, the same species as Bossk from The Empire Strikes Back; and of course, the second episode centers largely around a group of Jawas, who travel around scavenging in a sandcrawler just like in the original Star Wars.
5. Beskar — This fictional type of metal was referenced frequently in the first two episodes, with Herzog's The Client using it as payment and saying it belongs back in the hands of a Mandalorian. He might feel that way because the legendary warriors, who fought the Jedi long before the events of the films, are known for using beskar to create their iconic armor. The animated series Star Wars Rebels previously established just how sacred each Mandalorian's armor is to them, as it's passed down through generations and can be hundreds of years old. Naturally, then, in episode two, Kuiil tells the Jawas that the Mandalorian "cannot give you his beskar armor," as "he's a Mandalorian."
6. Them cloners — Doctor Pershing, who in the first episode is very insistent that the "asset" be kept alive, wears an emblem on his clothing that fans have noticed appears to be the same one worn by the clones of Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones. A Star Wars visual dictionary further identifies the emblem as being "worn by all clones." So is Pershing trying to clone the asset? Or could he perhaps be a clone himself?
7. Could it be? — Eagle-eyed viewers also noticed a background character in the pilot who looks strikingly similar to Boba Fett, the most well-known Mandalorian in Star Wars prior to this show (though being a clone from Kamino, he's not considered to be a real Mandalorian). Boba Fett is supposed to be dead since Return of the Jedi, but could he make a return in this series? Or might this be someone else wearing very similar armor?
8. The great Mythosaur — Kuiil in the first episode notes the Mandalorian should easily be able to ride a blurrg, as his ancestors "rode the great mythosaur," a reference to a creature reminiscent of dinosaurs from which the Mandalorians drew their famous skull symbol. The mythosaurs were wiped out of canon when the expanded universe was reset, but thanks to The Mandalorian, they're back in play.
9. No disintegrations! — In The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader warns Boba Fett in reference to capturing the crew of the Millennium Falcon, "I want them alive. No disintegrations!" Clearly, this Mandalorian has no such restrictions, noting in the second episode the Jawas may not like him because "I did disintegrate a few of them."
10. There is another — The pilot ends with the shocking reveal of a baby Yoda-like creature, but casual fans might not realize just how big a deal that is. Ever since Yoda debuted in The Empire Strikes Back, details surrounding him have been kept infamously secret at George Lucas' direction, to the point that we still don't even know the name of his species — and we know the name of nearly every species.
11. The Force is strong with this one — In the second episode, this little baby Yoda uses the Force to save the Mandalorian and also seems to try to heal his wound using the Force. This would imply two things: that the child is likely being sought by The Client and Doctor Pershing specifically because of his Force abilities, and that all members of Yoda's species are inherently strong in the Force. That's been true, after all, of all three we've met so far in the new canon: Remember, we saw another Yoda-esque creature, Yaddle, sit on the Jedi Council in The Phantom Menace.
Still, so much about Yoda and his species remains mysterious. Will we, after nearly 40 years, actually get some long-awaited answers in The Mandalorian? If so, let's hope they're worth the wait and fans won't immediately wish to unlearn what they have learned.
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