The final chapter of the epic second season of “The Mandalorian” went out with a bang. It was also packed full of some great “easter eggs” referencing everything from “The Clone Wars,” “Return of the Jedi,” and “Rogue One.”
Imperial Shuttle — The episode starts with Boba Fett chasing an Imperial Lambda-Class shuttle. These and their variants have been popular throughout the “Star Wars” movies and TV shows since first appearing in 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.” In that film, the shuttle Tydirium was stolen by the Rebels and used to infiltrate the forest moon of Endor to take down the Death Star’s shield generator. This type of shuttle has carried Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Alderaan — When Mando and Cara Dune board the shuttle to kidnap Dr. Pershing, one of the pilots takes Pershing hostage, points a gun to his head, and begins to harass Dune about Alderaan, her home planet. Alderaan is also the adopted home planet of Princess Leia, whose adoptive father Bail Organa, was the planet’s representative in the Senate. It is the planet that Grand Moff Tarkin blew up as a means to get the location of the Rebel base from Princess Leia in the first “Star Wars” movie “A New Hope.”
Death Star Casualties — In his discussion with Cara Dune, the shuttle pilot brings up the millions of deaths that resulted from the Rebels destroying the two Death Stars. A similar argument is had by three guys in Kevin Smith’s 1994 cult classic, “Clerks,” where three guys argue that blowing up the first Death Star isn’t terrible, because it was fully operational and staffed entirely by bad guys. The second Death Star, however, was still under construction and was likely filled to the brim with innocent independent contractors just trying to earn a paycheck. As Kevin Smith is a huge “Star Wars” fan and constantly works the films into his projects, it’s nice to give him a little hat tip to return the favor.
Bo Katan’s Ship — When Mando and Boba Fett go to meet Bo Katan to ask for her help in rescuing Grogu, we see a brief glimpse of her ship in the establishing shot outside the bar. That ship is a Kom’rk-Class fighter. First introduced in “The Clone Wars” cartoon series, these ships are unmistakably Mandalorian. Their large wings rotated up to a vertical position for landing, then returned to horizontal for flight. Now that Mando is without a ship, one of these ships is the most likely option for him.
Is Boba Fett a True Mandalorian? — Bo Katan gets in a verbal sparring match with Boba Fett over whether or not he’s a true Mandalorian. She knows that he’s a clone of his father Jango Fett. She also remarks that she’s heard his voice before from the millions of clones just like him. This debate about whether the Fett’s were true Mandalorians was a hot topic in the old Expanded Universe. We learned earlier this season that Jango Fett was a foundling, like our titular hero, but what does that make his clone son Boba? It’s also clear that Boba Fett knows immediately who Bo Katan is because he constantly refers to her as “Princess” a mocking acknowledgment that he knows she used to rule Mandalore, but failed. Maybe these two have a history that we’ll learn about down the road.
The Mountain vs. The Viper — When Mando is battling the Dark Trooper in the hallway, at one point the Dark Trooper smashes his head into the bulkhead of the ship. This is not unlike the way Oberyn Martell, played by the Mando’s Pedro Pascal, died at the hands of Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane in their famous battle during season four. Pascal’s Red Viper seems to be winning the battle against the beastly Mountain but eventually dies a grisly death when his head is smashed to bits and his eyes gouged out. Maybe he should have been wearing a Beskar helmet.
Luke’s Red Five — When an X-wing pulls into frame in the closing act of this episode, it is instantly recognizable — it’s Luke Skywalker’s Red Five. First assigned to him during the Battle of Yavin, he kept his X-wing throughout the Skywalker Saga. It even showed up at the end of “The Rise of Skywalker,” when Rey uses it to fly to Exegol to meet Emperor Palpatine. As soon as I saw that ship appear on screen I knew who the secret Jedi would be, and so did millions of other “Star Wars” fans.
Vader’s Hallway Scene — Luke’s epic destruction of the Dark Troopers in the hallways of Moff Gideon’s cruiser is a direct reference to the famous scene from 2016’s “Rogue One” where Darth Vader destroys a group of Rebels on his way to try and retrieve the stolen Death Star plans. When you match them up, these two scenes sync to nearly the same length. That’s not by accident. This is a great illustration of how powerful Luke has become, and how much he is like his father, even if he hates to admit it.
R2 and Grogu — When R2-D2 enters the cruiser’s bridge he and Grogu have an exchange. This “discussion” between the two of them has sparked a great deal of interest online since the episode first aired. Some say R2 may just be amazed that a small “Baby Yoda” is before him. During his time with Anakin, and then again with Luke, R2-D2 had several run-ins with the Yoda, including the green guy bashing him with his walking stick when they arrived on Dagobah.
There’s another school of thought, however, that’s much more interesting. We know that Grogu was rescued from the Jedi temple but we don’t know who it was that rescued him. We do know that R2 was indeed on Coruscant the night that Anakin killed everyone at the Jedi Temple. Was R2-D2 the one who saved Grogu from Anakin’s lightsaber? Did he smuggle out the little green guy in a hidden compartment? Was he saying something to Grogu about that rescue when they saw each other on Gideon’s bridge? We might need C-3PO to translate for us to find out the answer.
“Let me look on you with my own eyes” — Before Mando gives up Grogu to Luke, the little green guy motions for Mando to take off his helmet. This touching moment is incredibly reminiscent of the exchange between Luke and Vader in the hanger bay of the Death Star shortly before its destruction. Darth Vader, having killed the Emperor, returned to the Light Side, and saved his son in the process, asks Luke to remove his helmet as he lays dying on a shuttle boarding ramp. Vader says to Luke, “Just for once, let me look on you with my own eyes.” Here, Mando removes his helmet so Grogu can see the face of his adoptive father for the first and last time before he departs with Luke for his Jedi training.
An “E.T.”-like Departure — “Star Wars” and “E.T.” share a common composer, the great John Williams scored both of the films, and his influence is still felt throughout the scores of “Star Wars” properties even though his final composing for a galaxy far, far away is now complete. As R2-D2, Luke and Grogu stand in the elevator door, the fantastic soundtrack done by Ludwig Göransson is incredibly evocative of the ending scene of “E.T.” as Eliot stands, tears in his eyes, as he watches the gate of the ship close in front of E.T. before it blasts away into space, gone forever. For the record, in a career of amazing work including “Star Wars,” “Jurassic Park,” “Jaws,” “Empire of the Sun,” the “Indiana Jones” films, and countless more, I think “E.T.” is John Williams at his best.
Bib Fortuna — In the post-credit scene we get to see Boba Fett blast his way through Jabba’s old palace on Tatooine and take control of it for himself. That fat guy with the grotesquely long fingernails sitting on the throne is Bib Fortuna, Jabba’s former aide. First seen in “Return of the Jedi,” and later appearing in “Phantom Menace,” Bib Fortuna was Jabba’s right-hand man, and seemingly survived the destruction of the sail barge in ROTJ. We don’t know how he came to sit on that throne, but we do know the man playing the part of Bib Fortuna, was legendary sound designer Matt Wood, who also played him in “Phantom Menace.”
“Maclunkey” — At one point in this final scene with Bib Fortuna, he udders the word “Maclunkey,” a controversial new word in the “Star Wars” dialect. “Maclunkey” first appeared in the Disney+ edition of “A New Hope,” a version that was edited by George Lucas in his never-ending quest to tinker “Star Wars” to death. It is uttered by Greedo just before he tries to kill Han Solo. A Huttese word meaning “this will be the end of you,” it has become a lightning rod in the “Star Wars” fandom because, well it sounds rather idiotic. It also seems that whoever uses it is about to die.