The Mandalorian Chapter 3 - Easter Eggs, Fan Nods and Throwbacks
Jon Favreau and his team have done an amazing job engaging Star Wars fans of all generations by inserting a mind-blowing number of Easter eggs, fan nods and throwbacks into each and every episode of The Mandalorian. As a service to Star Wars fans everywhere, we're attempting to identify and catalog all the references in each episode. If you think we've missed something, let us know in the comments or on social media. We'll be happy to add it to the list after verification and credit you for the submission.
When you're done browsing through all the glorious references in this episode, have a listen to our podcast review of the The Mandalorian: Chapter 3.
And don't forget to check out our list of Easter Eggs for all the other episodes of The Mandalorian:
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
[*** This list may contain episode 3 spoilers ***]
Chapter 3 - "The Sin"
[02:09] A Holographic Communicator
Holographic projectors are a staple in the Star Wars franchise. They come in various shapes and sizes, and can produce images of varying quality and color. Although we most often seen them display a distinct blue hue in their images, along with scanlines or other artifacts. We've seen other holoprojector technology in this series already - for example, the bounty pucks - but we're pointing this one out because it's the first time we've seen a holographic communicator being used.
[03:53] The Twi'lek and Keteerian species
As Mando is walking through a market place, we see a brief shot of a female Twi'lek leaning against the wall. We also hear another Twi'lek reference later in the episode when Greef Karga offers to take Mando to the "Twi'lek Healing Baths." Twi'leks, sometimes referred to as Rylothians, hail from the Outer Rim planet of Ryloth. This species made its debut in Return of the Jedi, where a male Twi'lek named Bib Fortuna serves as majordomo in Jabba the Hutt's palace. However, the name Twi'lek was never actually spoken in the original trilogy. It originates from a Legends guide titled The Star Wars Sourcebook, and was effectively made into canon when Lucasfilm inserted into the official Star Wars Databank.
To the Twi'lek's left is a Keteerian. Not much is known about this species at this juncture, as they are fairly new to the franchise. The species made its first appearance in The Last Jedi and has subsequently appeared in only a single episode of Resistance, titled "Dangerous Business."
[03:57] More Jawas.
[4:34] TT-8L Gatekeeper Droid
[6:10] A Camtono
During the evacuation of Cloud City In Empire Strikes Back, we see a man in an orange jumpsuit running through the halls with what looks like an ice cream maker. Fans have long poked fun at this character and his prop. Lucasfilm would later give him a name and explain what was inside the container he was carrying. When Mando returns to collect his reward in this episode, The Client pulls the same safe-like container full of Beskar from his under his desk. So 39 years later, the camtono is made official, we finally get to see how it works, and the now infamous Willrow Hood is fully vindicated.
[7:57] Another Kowakian Monkey-Lizard (roasting over an open fire; poor guy).
[9:36] Paz Vizla
There's a few references buried in the forge scene with the Heavy Infantry Mandalorian. Paz Vizla is played by Tait Fletcher, a former MMA fighter and stunt man who also played the Alpha Trawler in the opening cantina scene of Chapter 1. But the voice is actually that of Jon Favreau. Favreau didn't randomly choose this character for a voice cameo, though. In The Clone Wars animated series, Favreau did the voice acting for another Mandalorian by the name of Pre Vizsla. Although the spelling of the surname is slightly different, this is no doubt a nod to the earlier character. And the name may even offer a hint about the character himself. Could this Mandalorian possibly be a descendant of House Vizsla? We'll have to wait and see if they expand on this character's background later in the series.
We've seen Mando pull out his knife before when facing the mudhorn. However, it wasn't clear until we see the shimmering effect in this scene that it's more than just a common knife. Vibroblades are tools of both utility and combat that hum, buzz and shimmer when they're activated. Jango Fett had a pair of vibroblades hidden in his gauntlets in Attack of the Clones. We've also seen them used in The Clone Wars and Rebels animated series. Perhaps, this explains how Mando was able to kill the mudhorn with only a single, seemingly well-placed stab.
[10:59] "This is the way."
This isn't an Easter egg, as far as we are aware. But it's getting an honorable mention anyway. Like the "I have spoken" line that came before it, this short phrase is one of the most meme-able things in modern memory. Favreau apparently has knack for creating meme-worthy lines, and he drives that point home by having the Mandalorians repeat it about a dozen more times in this episode. "This is the way."
[11:42] Whistling Birds
The Armorer tells Mando that she will use the spare Beskar to craft "whistling birds" for him, since he turned down the mudhorn signet. He'll put those to good use later in the episode as a surprisingly effective crowd control weapon. Is it possible these munitions are a subtle reference to something from Disney's Marvel franchise? Maybe. Yondu from Guardians of the Galaxy also has an exceptionally effective crowd control device, which he controls by whistling. This could be entirely coincidental but Favreau is certainly no stranger to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having directed two of the Iron Man films.
[13:45] A B2 Super Battle Droid
In Mando's flashback scene, we see a very familiar droid right at the end: a B2 Super Battle Droid. These advanced combat droids were used by the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars. The appearance of this droid offers up some clues about Mando's age and backstory, but it's too soon to draw any conclusions at this point. Super Battle Droids made their first appearance in Attack of the Clones but have also appeared prominently in The Clone Wars animated series.
[13:58] Saucer Head
Just before Mando walks into the cantina, we see Greef Karga having a heated conversation with a bounty hunter he refers to only as a "dust breather." This alien is actually a Kyuzo known as Saucer Head (hardly any better than dust breather, if we're being honest). He was originally created by Lucasfilm Creature Concept Designer, Jake Lunt Davies, for Solo: A Star Wars Story. In that film, Saucer Head serves as the dealer in a high stakes Sabacc game.
[14:53] The Kyuzo Species
Saucer Head isn't the only Kyuzo in this cantina. There's at least one other sitting at the bar. The Kyuzo species is native to the outer rim planet of Phatrong. Due to the heavy gravity on their home world, the species has developed extremely dense muscle fibers that lend to their above average strength and quick reflexes. A particularly skilled bounty hunter named Embo was the first Kyuzo to be introduced in Star Wars canon by way of The Clone Wars series.
This species' name is borrowed from one of the characters in Seven Samurai, a 1954 film by Japanese director and screenwriter, Akira Kurosawa. George Lucas was an avid fan of Kurosawa and drew inspiration from his works when creating the original films. A number of parallels can be drawn between the original Star Wars trilogy and Kurosawa's 1958 film, The Hidden Fortress.
[16:02] The Mon Calamari Species
The next bounty that Mando picks up is the son of a Mon Calamari noblemen. A possible connection to earlier Mon Calarami characters in the franchise? Perhaps. But something tells us Mando may never get around to capturing this fellow. Mon Calamari are an aquatic species that originate from the planet Mon Cala, which they share with the Quarren species we saw in Chapter 1. These aliens first appeared in Return of the Jedi, where we are first introduced to one of the most notable Mon Calamarians, Admiral Ackbar. Mon Calamari also appear in Revenge of the Sith, Rogue One, The Force Awakens, The Clone Wars, Rebels and several comic books and video games.
Before he departs the cantina, Greef Karga suggests that Mando buy a camtono of spice for his journey to Karnac. Spice is an illicit substance mined in the spice mines of Kessel. There are also spice mines mentioned on a few other planets in canon, including Naboo and the Twi'lek home world of Ryloth. In A New Hope, C-3PO says to R2-D2, "We'll be sent to the Spice Mines of Kessel." Spice is also mentioned in Attack of the Clones and Solo. However, it's story lines from The Clone Wars and Rebels series that establish that spice is used to manufacture a dangerous drug. Spice plays a central role in Frank Herbet's 1965 novel, Dune, and it has been suggested that its mention in the Star Wars franchise may be a nod to the earlier work.
[18:44] It's just a metal pole... right?
As our conflicted hero is making his way back to the Client's bunker, he walks down a dark alley and seems to take a very deliberate look at a metal pole up against the wall. Eagle-eyed fans of the original trilogy may have noticed that this pole has identical markings to the one that Han attempted to use to jam the trash compactor in A New Hope. That's a pretty deep seated Easter egg!
[19:32] "I order you to extract the necessary material and be done with it."
The Client orders Dr. Pershing to extract the necessary material and be done with it. It's not entirely clear what he means by "necessary material" but it's quite possible he's speaking of midi-chlorians. Midi-chlorians are microscopic, intelligent life forms that exist within the cells of all living organisms. These symbiotic life forms are ostensibly what give force-sensitive individuals their connection to the Force, and a higher midi-chlorian count was presumed to mean greater Force potential. The concept was first introduced by Lucas in The Phantom Menace and has since been referenced in a handful of episodes in The Clone Wars series.
[21:30] IT-O Interrogator Droid
As Mando makes his way into the inner room where Dr. Pershing and the Yodalorian are located, we see an IT-O Interrogator Droid floating just a few feet from the doctor's head. The same model of droid was used by Darth Vader to interrogate Princess Leia in A New Hope. It's hard to imagine that the Yodalorian was going to give up any information, so perhaps it's just there to administer drugs. Or maybe it was there to intimidate the good doctor and ensure he followed through with his orders quickly.
[26:24] "Because I'm your only hope"
Greef Karga attempts to get Mando to put down the Child and surrender peacefully. Mando says to him, "How do I know I can trust you?" To which Karga responds, "Because I'm your only hope." This is almost certainly a callback to a famous line spoken by Leia in A New Hope: "Help me Obi-wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."
[29:58] Fett Look-Alike (close up this time)
In yet another nod to Boba Fett fans, we catch a glimpse of a Mandalorian that shares many features with the iconic bounty hunter introduced in Empire Strikes Back - including the unmistakable helmet design (complete with a dent in the upper right side). We've caught brief glimpses of this Mandalorian in previous scenes, but never anything this close up. To be certain we're clear, there's no reason to believe this is Boba Fett. It's not a perfect match. But it does seem like the character is intended to invoke his likeness.
[31:39] The Pocket Protector Trope
The Mandalorian shoots Greef Karga in the chest while he's making his escape. As the camera pans to Karga's smoking body on the ground, we see that he isn't dead after all. The two Beskar bars he had tucked inside his tunic protected him from the blaster bolt. This trope, known colloquially as "the pocket protector," has appeared in literally hundreds of films and TV series over the years. It's impossible to say which film it might be a callback to. But since The Mandalorian frequently pays homage to old westerns, we'll do the same and mention one specific film as an example. In the 1965 spaghetti western, Blood for a Silver Dollar, the protagonist is saved from a bullet to the chest because of a silver dollar tucked into his breast pocket.
[31:54] Iron Man, the Rocketeer, or something deeper?
In the closing scene, a jet-packed equipped Mandalorian flies alongside Mando's ship and renders a salute. Many have suggested this felt like a nod to Iron Man, as Favreau directed two of the Iron Man films. But we think there is an even deeper meaning buried in this shot. A nearly identical scene, complete with a salute, plays out in Disney's The Rocketeer. So this scene may actually be a nod to a specific person in the Disney family: Joe Johnston. Joe was a visual effects artist who designed the look for both the Rocketeer AND Boba Fett.
That's at least another 21 Easter eggs, fan nods and throwbacks in this episode. But we've probably overlooked a few, so please let us know in the comments what we might have missed!
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