Star Wars fans, The Mandalorian is finally here.
The flagship series on Disney+, Disney’s new streaming service, The Mandalorian is set several years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi, and follows a bounty hunter (played by Game of Thrones actor Pedro Pascal) whose latest mission unearths a secret that could have major repercussions on the Star Wars universe.
There’s a lot to absorb in each episode of The Mandalorian, so here’s a breakdown of some of the key elements everyone is talking about from episode 2. (Note: There will be discussion of plot points from the episode in the following text, so consider this a spoiler warning. You can also go back and read our recap of episode 1.)
Although the second episode of The Mandalorian wasn’t heavy on major revelations, a lot happened in this chapter of the series. The still-officially-unnamed Mandalorian (despite Pascal revealing the character did have a name at some point) fights off more bounty hunters en route to his spacecraft, the Razor Crest, only to discover the ship has been dismantled by Jawas.
After a failed pursuit of the scavengers, he seeks help from Kuiil (the “I have spoken” guy), who barters a trade with the Jawas: The stolen parts from the Razor Crest in exchange for the egg of a Mud Horn, a massive creature nesting in the area. The Mandalorian manages to kill the Mud Horn with some help from the infant Yoda-creature, who displays a powerful command of The Force, and the pair depart planet Arvala-7 for parts unknown.
Species roll call
The story was fairly straightforward in this episode, but it did feature quite a few callbacks to species introduced in earlier chapters of the franchise.
Early on, the Mandalorian is ambushed by a group of Trandoshan bounty hunters tracking the infant creature. The reptilian species was first introduced in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, with the Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk appearing among the group Darth Vader hires to track the Millennium Falcon. The species later appeared in various tie-in stories and other chapters of the franchise, including the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars series. (Fun fact: Bossk’s suit in The Empire Strikes Back was recycled from a costume used in an early episode of the BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who.)
The Jawas are a familiar sight for Star Wars fans, as they made their debut in the very first film in the franchise. Although they’ve made frequent appearances in films, TV series, comics, and other tie-in projects over the years, this episode offered one of the first good looks at how the Jawas operate in combat — something they probably encounter often, given the harsh environments they make their home in — and why their massive sandcrawler vehicles are such an asset.
Kuiil, the character who assists The Mandalorian in the series’ first two episodes, is a member of the Ugnaught species. Like the Tradoshans, these relatively short, porcine characters first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back as the workers and engineers operating deep within the cloud city of Bespin.
The Ugnaughts are known to be tireless workers with tremendous skill at manual labor, and were often employed in massive engineering projects throughout the galaxy — usually as hired help, but also as slaves. Kuiil mentions to The Mandalorian that he spent a lifetime working in order to earn his freedom, so it appears that this particular Ugnaught found a life after labor.
As mentioned in the episode 1 recap, one element we know next to nothing about is the infant’s species. Star Wars creator George Lucas made a point of keeping Yoda’s species a mystery, and only two members of the species ever appeared in the Star Wars films. The species has no official name, but given that both representatives of the species to have appeared on the big screen have been members of the Jedi Council, The Force appears to be strong with them.
Still a hokey religion
Neither Kuiil nor The Mandalorian seems to understand the power wielded by the infant in this episode, suggesting that knowledge of The Force has indeed faded from universal awareness by the time the show takes place. This was the case in the first Star Wars, with Luke Skywalker only learning about The Force through Obi-Wan Kenobi and Han Solo dismissing it as nothing more than a “hokey religion.”
It doesn’t look like that will change with this series, either, as Finn and Rey were also unaware of (or didn’t believe in) The Force at the point when Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens takes place. That film is set several decades after the events of The Mandalorian (and 30 years after Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi), and awareness of The Force appears to have almost completely disappeared by that point.
It appears that Mandalorians have a nasty habit of disintegrating anyone who crosses them. When infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett first appears in The Empire Strikes Back wearing his trademark Mandalorian armor, Darth Vader makes a point of reminding him not to disintegrate anyone on the Millennium Falcon.
Given how liberally The Mandalorian uses his rifle to disintegrate Jawas in this episode, it would appear that an affinity for turning enemies into a cloud of dust might go along with the armor. (Note: Boba Fett himself was not a Mandalorian, but rather a clone of human bounty hunter Jango Fett.)
Disney’s The Mandalorian is. The next episode premieres Friday, November 22.
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