The Mandalorian: he’s back! And, more importantly, Baby Yoda has also returned, the internet’s favourite green toddler serving up a plethora of reaction shots coming to a gif near you.
However, the opening episode of The Mandalorian latest season wasn’t only about Baby Yoda. Not only did the instalment feature a surprise cameo from Boba Fett and an intriguing dive into Tusken Raider culture, but also plenty of sly references and nods to several corners of the Star Wars Galaxy.
See below for our round-up of the best easter eggs in The Mandalorian season two opener. (And then head over to our The Mandalorian review).
Some familiar graffiti
Were you paying close attention to the graffiti plastered over the walls in the opening scene? You should have: not only did the street art appear to depict a swarm of white Stormtroopers, but also a couple of distinctive Star Wars characters. Specifically, Darth Vader (albeit in cyclops form) and C-3PO (human cyborg relations).
In the pre-title scenes we see Pedro Pascal’s Mandalorian encounter the one-eyed Gor Koresh, the two sitting on the side of a boxing ring. The pair of fighters in action? Two axe-wielding Gamorreans.
There is a reason these pig-like aliens look familiar: they featured in Stars Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi as Jabba the Hutt’s guards.
Return of the Sith (sort of)
Remember Darth Maul? Arguably one of the coolest Sith Lords ever to roam the galaxy? Well, The Mandalorian’s opening episode showed us that not all Dathomirians are formidable bad guys: during the ring-side fight, Mando can be seen tackling an alien the same species as Maul.
Finally, that age-old Star Wars question has been answered: what exactly happened to R5, the droid that blew up as the Jawas tried it to sell to Luke Skywalker’s adoptive family in A New Hope? Turns out that he was eventually sold to Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) to work in her starship hanger.
Now, while it’s true one of these intimating animals hasn’t appeared in a previous live-action Star Wars titles alive, one of their skeletons is visible in the very first film, A New Hope. In fact, viewers see its remains before we’re even introduced to Luke Skywalker: you can see the skull and spine of a Krayt Dragon as C-3PO wonders through the Tatooine desert alone.
Although it might seem like Cobb Vanth, played by Timothy Olyphant, is a character created just for The Mandalorian, the sheriff of Mos Pelgo actually has some solid roots in the extended Star Wars Universe. Specifically, he appears in Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath book series, where he is also portrayed as acquiring Boba Fett’s armour.
However, there are some major differences between the book and screen character, which we’ve laid out in our guide to Cobb Vanth.
A very familiar speeder bike
As we learned in Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Tatooine is a hub of podracing, the Star Wars equivalent of Formula One. And The Mandalorian pays tribute to this, with Cobb Vanth’s speeder bike apparently a modified podracer.
In fact, it might well be the podracer built by a young Anakin Skywalker when he was a slave on the planet, the two vehicles sharing similar designs.
As we mentioned above, the episode featured a surprise cameo from Boba Fett. But he wasn’t played by original actor Jeremy Bulloch. Instead, the legendary bounty hunter (who normally sports green Mandalorian armour) was portrayed by Jango Fett actor Temuera Morrison.
In effect, this surprising cameo is a callback to Attack of The Clones, in which audiences are told Boba is an exact clone of Jango.
But why was Boba’s armour in the hands of Cobb Vanth? And why is the bounty hunter now in hiding?
The Mandalorian season 2 is released on Friday 30th October. The Mandalorian release schedule sees a new episode drop every Friday. Sign up to Disney+ now for £5.99 per month or £59.99 for a full year. Check out our list of the best movies on Disney Plus and best shows on Disney Plus, or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.