The Mandalorian shifts the action to the familiar desert landscape of Tatooine this week, ensuring plenty of Easter eggs for Star Wars fans to uncover. In the previous installment episode, Mando barely got himself and Baby Yoda off Sorgan alive after the bounty hunter’s guild caught up with the duo. The Seven Samurai-style episode made major reveals about the fall of the Empire, Mandalorian culture and aggressive felines, and demonstrated the positive effect the show’s mysterious green child is having both on Mando and the people he meets.
After exploring pastures new in last week’s adventure, “The Gunslinger” takes the Mandalorian back to where the Star Wars story began, the sandy wasteland of Tatooine. Here, Mando must fix his ship, protect Baby Yoda, and earn some money by tracking down one of the most ruthless assassins in the galaxy. Although not everything goes smoothly, the bounty hunter lives to brood another day and this week’s offering also features the surprisingly brief appearance of Ming-Na Wen as Fennec Shand, while also teasing an enigmatic new figure.
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Fortunately, The Mandalorian also found time to drop another selection of Star Wars Easter eggs, and this week’s references mostly call back to the original and prequel movie trilogies. Here are all the hidden details in episode 5 of The Mandalorian.
Copying The Phantom Menace
The way in which Mando and Baby Yoda arrive on Tatooine directly mirrors that of Padme and her entourage in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. In the opening installment of the prequel trilogy, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi help break Padme out of Naboo but their ship takes some hits from the Trade Federation blockade as it speeds away from the planet, forcing them to land on Tatooine for repairs. Similarly, “The Gunslinger” opens with an enemy bounty hunter engaged in a dogfight with the Mandalorian’s Razorcrest. Despite winning the duel, Mando is also forced to land on Tatooine to fix his ride.
The TIE Fighter Targeting System
During the aforementioned space fight between rival bounty hunters, The Mandalorian shows the targeting system used in both crafts, which appears to be more or less identical to the one used by TIE fighters in Star Wars: A New Hope. The enemy ship in The Mandalorian uses a program with a red silhouette of the opposing vessel darting around a radar screen; the only notable difference on the TIE fighter version is the addition of crosshairs.
New Hope, Same Explosion
Special effects have come a long way since 1977, but Dave Filoni pays tribute to the groundbreaking visuals of A New Hope when Mando manages to blow up his pursuers’s spaceship. Aside from sharing a common tracking system to the ones utilized in the original trilogy, the explosion effect used in this sequence is remarkably similar to those seen during the Battle of Yavin, with a firework-like outpouring of flames, particles and smoke.
Mos Eisley Space Port & Tatooine
By far the biggest and most prominent Easter egg in The Mandalorian‘s fifth episode is the return to Mos Eisley on Tatooine, with the entire locale acting as one giant homage to classic Star Wars. Everything on display here is exactly how fans will remember it from 1977, including the circular docking bays, the junk-filled Mos Eisley streets, the desert architecture and the infamous cantina. Sets from A New Hope are recreated in loving detail, offering Star Wars fans a quite literal walk down memory lane, and the Razorcrest even passes the same rocks Luke and Obi-Wan once used to look upon Mos Eisley.
While Mando insists that all droids stay away from his ship, the trio of units that work as assistants to Amy Sedaris’ likable, money-grabbing mechanic are known as Pit Droids – another callback to The Phantom Menace. These rambunctious robots are glimpsed when Qui-Gon and his friends enter Watto’s shop and meet a young Anakin Skywalker. In a widely derided scene, Jar Jar Binks struggles clumsily around a Pit Droid until Anakin yells at him to hit it on the nose. Fortunately, these dome-headed droids are put to far better comic use in The Mandalorian.
Credits ARE Good Here
Previously in the fictional history of Star Wars, Republic credits have had no worth on Tatooine, as explained by Watto when Qui-Gon Jinn tries to buy ship parts. Instead, most transactions relied on bartering and trade. That situation appears to have changed in the post-Imperial era, as the Mandalorian freely uses credits while paying for repairs of his own. While this may have something to do with the rise of the New Republic, the real reason for the new use of currency on Tatooine might be due to the decrease in Hutt influence on the planet.
“We Don’t Serve Their Kind Here”
When Luke and Obi-Wan first enter the Mos Eisley Cantina in A New Hope, their accompanying droids are quickly ejected, with the barman yelling “we don’t serve their kind here” as the golden shine of C-3PO first enters the shady establishment. The barman’s droidist attitude seems to have been turned on its head in the era of The Mandalorian, as not only are droids apparently allowed in the very same Cantina, but one has actually taken over the barkeep’s job. Perhaps this an allegory for the general issue of machines taking jobs from humans, or maybe this Easter egg represents an ironic end for a character that has a history of anti-droid prejudice dating back to the 1970s.
Mentioning The Hutts
When Pedro Pascal’s Mandalorian is first offered the job of capturing Fennec Shand, he initially refuses, believing the assassin to be more troublesome than her reward is worth. Mando claims that Shand is a feared operative who commonly performed jobs for the Hutts. Considering The Mandalorian is a series based around criminality in the Star Wars universe, it’s perhaps surprising that Hutts haven’t enjoyed a more prominent role in the story but, at the same time, it’s fitting that they should be referenced on Tatooine – the place where fans were first introduced to Jabba. The Hutt clan’s influence supposedly wanes following Jabba’s death and the fall of the Empire, but this line, as well as Shand’s presence on Tattoine, suggests that they still hold some sway in The Mandalorian.
This Ain’t Corellia
When Jake Cannavale’s rookie bounty hunter procures a couple of speeder bikes for himself and the Mandalorian, the more experienced of the two seems unimpressed by the rides. In response, the hot-headed youngster retorts “what do you expect, this ain’t Corellia.” As the birthplace of both Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon, Corellia has a reputation for producing crack pilots and worthy vehicles for use in space and on land. This line is a neat nod to that storied reputation and a key place in Star Wars lore than has made notable appearances in Solo and Aftermath by Chuck Wendig.
Having already dived headfirst into the world of Jawas in previous episodes, The Mandalorian brings back the iconic Tusken Raiders in “The Gunslinger,” as Mando and his new friend cross the Dune Sea. As with the rest of Tatooine’s aesthetic, the Sand People are near-identical recreations from their original trilogy appearance, and their behavior and language is completely consistent with what fans already know about this culture. As an additional Easter egg, the Raiders even creep up on Cannavale’s Toro Calican while he’s watching them through binoculars, just as they do to Luke Skywalker in A New Hope.
As well as Tuskens, Mando and Toro also come across a Dewback while biking through the Dune Sea, and the increasingly heroic bounty hunter even hijacks one to use as an impromptu ride after losing a speeder bike. This acts as yet another homage to Star Wars: A New Hope, in which Stormtroopers are seen riding on Dewbacks during the film’s opening act. These mounted soldiers even had their own title, Dewback Troopers, highlighting the Empire’s creativity with names. Reading between the lines, it’s possible that the Empire’s fall means that tamed Dewbacks have now been released back into the wild, explaining why Mando can find and mount one so easily.
The High Ground
With Baby Yoda, The Mandalorian has been busy creating its own memes, but it clearly isn’t afraid to namedrop a classic either. When Mando and Toro are planning their attack on Ming-Na Wen’s hidden assassin, Pascal gets to deliver the immortal Star Wars line, “she’s got the high ground.” As the internet-savvy will know, this surely has to be a knowing wink to the “high ground” meme that has developed from Revenge of the Sith‘s final battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan, in which the master declares victory over his apprentice by virtue of having the high ground.
Classic Tatooine Location References
This week’s episode of The Mandalorian contains callbacks to several notable locales on the Tatooine map. Firstly, there’s mention of Mos Espa, the setting for most of the Tatooine-based action in The Phantom Menace. In a more obscure Easter egg, however, Peli Motto (the mechanic) is clearing up after the gunfight between the Mandalorian and the rookie who had the guts to put a gun to baby Yoda’s head. Instructing her Pit Droids to get rid of the body, she suggests dumping it in Beggars’ Canyon. This eerie-sounding area was first mentioned by Luke Skywalker during the Battle of Yavin as somewhere he and Biggs would practice their Starfighter skills.
The Mandalorian continues December 13th on Disney+.
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