The two latest episodes of “The Mandalorian” are full of “easter eggs” referencing everything from other “Star Wars” cartoons, to various sci-fi franchises, and even video games from decades ago. Here’s a list of some of the best from Chapters 11 and 12.
(warning: spoilers ahead)
Chapter 11 – ‘The Heiress’
“Apollo 13” Re-Entry — This episode was directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of legendary Hollywood director Ron Howard. As an apparent homage to her father’s 1995 movie, “Apollo 13,” the first scene of this episode is a dramatic atmospheric re-entry for Mando’s ship, Razor Crest. The scene mimics the re-entry of Apollo 13 coming back from its failed moon mission with pieces of the craft breaking off, parts of it burning up, and it ultimately ending up in the water.
Mon Calamari — First appearing on screen in the form of “It’s a trap!” screamer Admiral Ackbar in 1983’s “Return of the Jedi,” the Mon Calamari are among the elite of the freedom-loving species in “Star Wars.” Their giant ships served as the beefy base of the Rebel fleet, and their species provided some of the movement’s most important leaders, including the aforementioned Ackbar and General Raddus from 2016’s “Rogue One.” They’re also heavily featured in “Star Wars” comics, books, and animated properties.
The OI-CT Crane — When Mando’s ship has crashed into the waters of Trask and is being removed by a giant crane, notice two things about it. One, the legs on that machine sure look familiar, like they came from an AT-AT, made famous in their assault on Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back.” The sound of those legs is unmistakable and is used here as the crane maneuvers Mando’s ship out of the drink. This also isn’t the first time we’ve seen this giant crane. The OI-CT crane first appeared in the much-maligned (but better than you remember) “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” It was also used in the construction of Vader’s Castle on Mustafar as seen in “Rogue One.”
Quarren — Sharing their homeworld of Mon Cala with the Mon Calamari are their squid-headed brothers, the Quarren. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen them on screen in live-action. One of their kind was featured in Jabba’s Palace in “ROTJ,” and even had an action figure made of him which I had as a kid (I just called him Squid Man). Quarren are often portrayed as bad guys in the “Star Wars” universe. They fought from time to time with the Mon Calamari, some sided with the Empire, and were often seen in places like Jabba’s Palace, where a Mon Calamari wouldn’t be caught dead. Just like the other species that call Mon Cala home, they are amphibians.
Bo-Katan Kryze — Making her first live-action debut in “The Heiress,” Bo-Katan of House Kryze is a long time contributor to the rich tapestry of “Star Wars” lore. First appearing as part of “The Clone Wars,” Bo-Katan was once a member of Death Watch, an extremist Mandalorian group that started a civil war on their home planet with the help of Darth Maul. Here, she is played by Katee Sackhoff who also voiced the character on “Clone Wars” and “Rebels.” Bo-Katan started her time in “Star Wars” as a selfish, power-hungry dissident, but grew and evolved to become a liberator of Mandalore, and one of its greatest leaders. She was once the owner of the Darksaber, and if things go according to plan in “The Mandalorian,” aims to be again. In fact, if “The Mandalorian” ends up being a story about how Mandalorians took back their homeworld from the remnants of the Empire, it could become not only a fascinating story but also one with a wide-ranging impact on the greater “Star Wars” galaxy.
Mando’s Rescue — Stay with me here. The scene where Bo-Katan and the Nite Owls rescue Mando is shot-for-shot the same as the scene whereas a little boy Din Djarin is first rescued by Mandalorians in season one’s flashback. What you see is Bo-Katan reaching into the camera, then Mando’s hand reaching out to hers, embracing. This is exactly how he was rescued from that bunker by Death Watch after his parents were killed by Battle Droids. “Star Wars” is full of history repeating itself, it’s in love with it actually, and this shows how each time he’s being rescued by a group of Mandalorians, but as he soon finds out, they are two very different kinds of Mandalorians.
The Nite Owls — Bo-Katan’s clan has a distinctive symbol painted on their helmets and the shoulders of their Beskar armor: an owl. Their group, known as The Nite Owls, was once part of Death Watch but many of them split from the group when Darth Maul killed Death Watch’s leader Pre Vizsla and claimed the Dark Saber. Bo-Katan and the renegade Nite Owls later faced down Maul and his Mandalorian soldiers. With the help of Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex, and Clone Troopers, they overthrew Maul and restored local rule to Mandalore.
“Children of the Watch” — When our titular hero was rescued as a child during the Clone Wars, it was by a squad from Death Watch. I believe this “Children of the Watch” reference means that the group that raised young Din Djarin into the Mando we know and love, must have had a special program for its rescued youth. What’s so interesting about that is it means that he’s essentially the son of series creator Jon Favreau himself, as Favreau once provided the voice acting to the head of Death Watch, Pre Vizsla.
Gozanti Imperial Transport — Well known to fans of “Star Wars: Rebels,” the Imperial Gozanti-Class transport is a versatile workhorse of the Imperial fleet. Able to carry cargo, a squad of Storm Troopers, and everything from TIE Fighters to AT-ATs docked on the underside of its hull, these ships were commonly seen in “Rebels.” They also indicate that a Star Destroyer or similarly larger ship is not far behind, as Gozantis were almost always part of a bigger fleet.
Yellow Blasters — The most common color of blaster fire in the “Star Wars” universe is, without question, red. Some of the other laser weapons, like the Death Stars, for instance, were green, but there were very few yellow blaster bolts. The one time you did tend to see that? Situations involving Mandalorians. The nod here to that legacy is a great hat tip to nerdy fans who, like me, take the time to notice the color of fictional space laser weapons.
Shore Trooper Blasters — When the Nite Owls and Mando take over the Gozanti’s cargo hold and open up the shipment of weapons they find blaster rifles that will look remarkably familiar to fans of 2016’s “Rogue One.” When the secret Rebel landing party reaches the Imperial planet of Scarif, we see for the first time in “Star Wars,” the “Coastal Defender Stormtrooper,” commonly called Shore Troopers. Most common Stormtroopers were equipped with the basic E-11 blaster, but the Shore Troopers were more often equipped with the E-22 heavy blaster rifle. It had two reciprocating barrels instead of the one seen in the smaller E-11. This isn’t the first time Mando has encountered these blasters in his travels. We saw them in season one when he raided The Client’s Imperial compound and stole back Baby Yoda.
Corvus — Attentive listeners recognized the name of the planet that Bo-Katan sends Mando and The Child to find Ahsoka Tano. “Corvus” has a history in “Star Wars,” but not as the name of a planet. As with other things in this series, it begs, borrows, and steals from other parts of “Star Wars” and repurposes it in wonderful new ways. In this case, Corvus was the name of the ship that was used by Inferno Squadron in the Galactic Civil War in the “Star Wars: Battlefront II” game and related print media. Originally an Imperial Raider II-Class Corvette, it joined the Rebel forces when members of Inferno Squadron defected from the Empire. The Empire would later destroy the ship to kill the child of two former Inferno Squad members. Honoring that ship by naming a new planet after it, is a great easter egg for “Star Wars” gamers.
Ahsoka Tano — Only because her name was dropped and the tease left unfulfilled does she even qualify as an easter egg. Ahsoka Tano is one of the most pivotal figures in all of “Star Wars” lore. Period.
First appearing in the “Clone Wars” animated movie and accompanying television series, Ahsoka is the “padawan” of Anakin Skywalker, assigned to him by the great Master Yoda himself. Throughout the series, she grows to become an incredibly capable fighter, also skilled in non-combat forms of The Force, and filled with an incredible amount of bravery. She also is the first of Anakin’s friends to see the problems with the Jedi Order, eventually being kicked out by the Jedi Order kicks she is falsely accused of a terrible crime and put on trial. Through the work of Anakin, she is eventually proven innocent but not before the damage to her opinion of the Jedi is dealt a fatal blow.
And so, Ahsoka, opted to strike out on her own, but after meeting up with Bo-Katan, reaches out to Anakin for help retaking Mandalore from Maul. With the help of some of Anakin’s Clone Troopers, she does just that, defeating Maul in what is possibly the best lightsaber battle ever committed to film. After the Emperor’s “Oder 66” turns all the Clones against the Jedi, she rescues her longtime friend Captain Rex, whose control chip is removed, and the two escape from danger. Years later, in “Star Wars: Rebels,” we learned that Ahsoka helped form the Rebel Alliance with Bail Organa, serving as “Fulcrum” a contact that fed Imperial intelligence to the budding Rebel cells.
Ahsoka eventually faced her old master, who had now become Darth Vader, in a glorious duel when she appeared to have died when the temple they were fighting in collapsed. Later, however, we learn that Ezra Bridger saved her via The Force in the pivotal episode “World Between Worlds.” When we last saw her on-screen at the end of the “Rebels” series, Ahsoka and her Mandalorian friend Sabine Wren left to find Ezra in vast Unknown Regions.
Chapter 12 — ‘The Siege’
Mando the Dad — There has been a marked change this season in how Mando deals with Baby Yoda. When he first acquires the little green guy in season one, he holds it like a thing, often by his cloak. This season, it’s clear he’s become attached. Now, when you see Mando holding Baby Yoda he holds him like, well…a baby, cradled in the nook of his arm. He also talks to The Child like he’s actually his little kid. At the end of this episode, Baby Yoda throws up some of the blue cookies he’s been eating, and Mando immediately reaches for this own cape to wipe up the spit-up running down Baby Yoda’s chin. Every parent can relate to that.
Red and Blue Wires — At the beginning of this episode, Mando is trying to guide Baby Yoda through some repairs to the Razor Crest. It fails (quite amusingly), but while he’s trying to get The Child to help him, we get a classic movie and television trope: the red and blue wires. No matter what you’re doing that involves wires in a movie or TV show, it always involves red and blue colored wires. Defusing a bomb? Cut the red wire, not the blue one. No matter the task, it always involves red and blue wires. Here it ends with an electrocuted Baby Yoda when he crosses the wires. This scene is also reminiscent of the scene with Rocket Raccoon and Baby Groot in “Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume II” where Rocket is teaching Baby Groot how to arm the bomb.
Almost Breaking ‘The Way’ — In Chapter 11, Mando learned that “The Way” is a little more complicated than he was led to believe. It turns out the “you can never take off your helmet in the presence of others” rule he has steadfastly followed since childhood is an extremist interpretation of the Mandalorian Creed. Here, with the Razor Crest limping into port, Baby Yoda and Mando share some soup in the cargo hold. We see Mando tip his helmet back just enough to reveal his jaw so he can sip his soup with The Child. Maybe by the end of the season, we’ll see more of Pedro Pascal’s face underneath his chrome dome.
Ponda Baba’s Brethren — As we get a glimpse of Cara Dune as “Marshall of Nevarro,” we see her cleaning out a group of Aqualish who have taken over The Armorer’s old spot in the catacombs beneath the planet. Those Aqualish probably look familiar. They’re the same species as the cantina-dwelling Ponda Baba who got his arm chopped off by Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original “Star Wars” movie. Baba also made a blink and you’ll miss it cameo in 2016’s “Rogue One.”
Zuvio Again? — Speaking of blink and you’ll miss it cameos, this is the second episode this season where we see someone who resembles Constable Zuvio from 2015’s “The Force Awakens.” Someone who looked an awfully lot like him was in the background of the fight in the first episode, and now he’s in the background of the marketplace on Nevarro as Mando and company walk the streets. Maybe he really will make an appearance this season, or maybe the costume was handy at Lucasfilm and they needed a background creature.
Protocol Droid — The teacher at Nevarro’s school is a Protocol Droid, similar to the galaxy’s most well-known Protocol Droid: C-3PO. What’s interesting here though is that it is a female droid, as indicated in the closed captions. What’s so interesting about that? Well, most droids in “Star Wars” are imprinted with male personalities, or at least most that we’ve seen. The most amazing female droid we’ve met so far in the “Star Wars” universe is R2-KT, a pink R2 unit. R2-KT was created by the R2-D2 Builders Club in 2005 to honor the memory of Katie Johnson, the daughter of Albin Johnson, founder of the 501st, the largest Stormtrooper costuming group in the world, and an organization that does an amazing amount of charity work on behalf of “Star Wars.” Katie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2004, and, as her dying wish, wanted a droid to watch over her. The R2-D2 Builders Club made her R2-KT. “KT” as she’s known has since appeared in “The Clone Wars” and the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy keeping Katie’s memory alive and well.
Regions of “Star Wars” Map — If you’re a “Star Wars” nerd like me, you knew all the answers to the question posed by the droid teaching Baby Yoda’s class. She was running over the regions of the “Star Wars” galaxy map and dropping references to “Solo: A Star Wars Story” to boot. Mentioned in her class were the Outer Rim (where much of the action in “Star Wars” takes place), the Core Worlds (home to Coruscant, the capital planet of the Old Republic and Empire, and Chandrilla, capital of the New Republic), the Colonies, the Inner Rim (including Onderon seen in “The Clone Wars”), the Expansion Region (containing the Ring of Kafrene from “Rogue One”), the Mid Rim (full of notable planets like Naboo, Kashyyk and Ord Mantell) and the Deep Core (the center of the “Star Wars” galaxy). She also mentions the Akkadese Maelstrom, and Kessel from 2018’s “Solo,” and the Corellian Run and Hydian Way, two major trade routes in the “Star Wars” Galaxy.
Blue Milk Macarons? — The scene where Baby Yoda steals a student’s macarons is one of the best of the season, but did you notice what color those cookies were? Blue. Ever since we first saw Luke Skywalker drinking blue milk in 1977, the drink, which actually comes from Banthas (who we’ve seen throughout this season of “The Mandalorian”), has been everywhere. Now that “Star Wars” is owned by Disney, you can even buy “Blue Milk” at “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge”, the theme park in California and Florida. Needless to say, it’s a pretty safe bet that these macarons will be available at Galaxy’s Edge sometime in the future, you know, when The Powers That Be let us go to theme parks again.
Mythrol — Part of the crew for Mando’s mission this time around is Mythrol, the first bounty he ever collected in the pilot episode, played fantastically by “Saturday Night Live” alum Horatio Sanz. At several points in the episode Greef Karga threatens to put Mythrol back in Carbonite, the same “deep freeze” that Boba Fett once used on Han solo. Mythrol even mentions that he still has trouble seeing out of his left eye. Problems with eyesight are a common side effect of “hibernation sickness,” something that comes from being encased in Carbonite.
Dank Farrik — In multiple episodes now, the phrase “Dank Farrik” has been used as what is essentially a “Star Wars” cuss word. Even the Guardians of the Whills over at Wookieepedia don’t know what the phrase means, but I’m starting to wonder if Favreau and Filoni are using it as the “Star Wars” equivalent of “Frak” from Battlestar Galactica.
Code Cylinders — When taking over the base Mando and crew knock out an Imperial officer and steal the small silver pen-looking item in his breast pocket. These aren’t writing implements, but are just as useful. These “Code Cylinders” are used by Imperials to get in and out of doors, get access to equipment, and store information. They’re like the “Star Wars” version of a thumb drive and access card, all rolled into one. Here Mythrol uses one to move around the base and make changes to the computer system.
Dr. Pershing — Making his first appearance this season is Dr. Pershing, who was working with “The Client” in season one to capture Baby Yoda. Dr. Pershing is clearly part of the Empire’s military research division and seems to be working on cloning, perhaps to create Snoke, or bring back Emperor Palpatine from the dead.
“M-Count” — Dr. Pershing mentions in his hologram message to Moff Gideon that The Child has a high “M-Count.” This undoubtedly refers to Midi-chlorians, the controversial explanation that George Lucas came up with in the “Star Wars” Prequels to justify the Force. According to 1999’s “The Phantom Menace,” Master Yoda had the highest Midi-chlorian count on record…until Anakin Skywalker came along. To varying degrees, these microscopic beings live inside everyone in the “Star Wars” universe.
A New Republic Badge? — As Captain Teva finishes talking to Cara Dune about being a refugee from Alderaan, the same planet Princess Leia called home before it was destroyed by the Death Star, he plops down on the table what looks like the “Star Wars” version of a Sheriff’s badge. It has the logo of the New Republic on it and seems official. Perhaps it’s foreshadowing that, despite her protestations, Dune will eventually join the New Republic.
Moff Gideon’s Ship — The final scene of Chapter 12 takes place aboard Moff Gideon’s command ship. This is an Arquitens-class command cruiser, a ship that goes back to The Clone Wars. This is its first appearance in live-action “Star Wars.” Also known as an Imperial Light Cruiser, these ships were smaller than the ubiquitous Star Destroyer, but still well equipped with turbo-lasers, a detachment of Stormtroopers, and TIE Fighters.
Dark Troopers? — At the very end of Chapter 12, we see Moff Gideon in a room with what I initially thought were Death Troopers. Upon further viewing, however, these might be the live-action debut of “Dark Troopers,” a version of the Stormtrooper that wore all black, were equipped with heavy weaponry and created in a lab by the Imperial Department of Military Research from the old Expanded Universe to be a half soldier, half Battledroid hybrid. They first appeared in the video game “Star Wars: Dark Forces” then “Star Wars: Commander,” a mobile game that debuted in 2014. They had armor that resisted blaster fire and even lightsabers, not unlike the Beskar that Mandalorians wear. If that holds true in this iteration, the Dark Troopers would pose quite the threat to Mando and company.