The Mandalorian Chapter 8 - Easter Eggs, Fan Nods and Callbacks
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 callbacks 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.
If you're into podcasts, then have a listen to our Episode 8 and Season Finale review on your favorite podcast platform.
And don't forget to check out our Easter Eggs list 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 contains episode 8 spoilers ***]
Chapter 8 - "Redemption"
Easter eggs aside for a moment, this episode included some reveals that have been question marks in the series thus far. For starters, we finally get to hear the true name of the Mandalorian. This was technically spoiled by Pedro Pascal in an interview before the show's launch. But thanks to the episode subtitles, we know how to properly spell it now: Din Djarin. This episode also brought Mando's childhood flashback sequence to a close. We still don't know what planet he is from, but we do know that his people were attacked by Separatist battle droids and both of his parents died in the assault. Then we find out he was rescued by a specific Mandalorian splinter group (more on that in the list).
Reaching back to his comedic roots once again, Favreau cast two more comedians in this episode. Although we never actually get to see their faces, Jason Sudeikis and Adam Pally play the two scout troopers that are supposed to carry the Yodalorian back to Moff Gideon. The dialog between them is quite amusing but then Favreau gave both comedians a metaphorical death sentence by having them punch the Yodalorian multiple times. It's a good thing they're wearing full helmets in this scene - we're not sure their careers could recover if everyone remembered them as the guys that beat this cute little creature.
[03:32] Troopers are a Terrible Shot Trope (again)
Mayfeld (Bill Burr) and Mando already made references to stormtroopers being a terrible shot in episode 6, but we didn't really get to see that trope in action until this episode. While the two scout troopers are waiting for confirmation that it's safe to reenter the city with the Yodalorian, both of them try their hands at target practice with piece of junk on the ground. Despite being all of ten yards away (maybe less), neither of them can seem to hit the target.
While it could be coincidental, these two troopers could be a subtle callback to a spoof Star Wars comic book series created by Kevin Rubio in the early 2000s. The main characters in the series, Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna, accidentally cause or influence a number of pivotal events in the first and second trilogies. In a similar vein, these two seemingly minor characters in The Mandalorian caused a major turn of events by waiting outside of the city instead of bringing Moff Gideon his prize.
[06:56] E-Web Heavy Repeating Blaster
With Mando, Cara and Karga trapped inside the cantina, the stormtroopers set up an E-Web heavy repeating blaster in the courtyard outside. This weapon first appeared in Empire Strikes Back, where the Imperial troopers use it to pin down the Millennium Falcon during their assault on Hoth. It is allegedly one of the most powerful weapons in the Imperial arsenal at the time. It has subsequently appeared in a few episodes of Rebels and several video games.
[08:13] "Carasynthia Dune of Alderaan"
Moff Gideon seems to know a great deal about the foes he's facing, including their names and origins. Alderaan was the home world of Princess Leia, and the planet that was destroyed by the Death Star's superweapon in A New Hope. That explains why Cara was so eager to jump in on the action the moment Mando mentioned Imperials.
[08:35] The Siege of Mandalore
Moff Gideon mentions the Siege of Mandalore in this same scene. This battle was one of the final confrontations of the Clone Wars, where the Empire ultimately seized control of the Outer Rim planet of Mandalore. Unfortunately, there's not a ton of information about the event from current canon sources. The Siege is first mentioned in the Rebels episode titled, "Lost Commanders" and is also implicated in the The Clone Wars episode titled, "Lawless."
The Siege of Mandalore was originally slated to be covered more thoroughly in Season 8 of The Clone Wars; however, that season never made it to production. Luckily, we know from last year's San Diego Comic-Con panel and the official trailers that it will be covered in the upcoming season 7, to be released on Disney+ in February of 2020.
[18:36] "disgraced Magistrate Greef Karga"
In yet another display of his knowledge, Gideon mentions that Karga is a disgraced Magistrate. This was a position of power during the time of the Republic and the Galactic Empire. One particular Magistrate, Passel Argente, plays a key role in the events of the sequel trilogy before being killed by Darth Vader. Two other Magistrates, Tosta and Xun, are members of a plot to kidnap Princess Leia in the canon Bloodlines novel. This is a strong indicator that Greef Karga was aligned with the Galactic Empire before he took up his current role with the Bounty Hunter's Guild.
[10:06] "They'll upload me to a Mind Flayer."
Cara Dune expresses concern that if they surrender, the Imperials will upload her to a Mind Flayer. There's two potential Easter eggs in this line. Mind Flayers were evil and sadistic aberrations introduced in the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying franchise. As we've mentioned before, Favreau has thrown a few table top adventure game references into this series, so it's possible that was his intent.
The second possibility is that it's a reference to a species introduced in Rogue One. Bor Gullet was a Mairan with the ability to read people's thoughts. He's not referred to as a "Mind Flayer" in the film, as far as we can remember. But Saw Gerrera used the being to torture and interrogate Bodhi Rook, which left the pilot's mind frazzled for some time.
[13:18] The Deathwatch Sigil
Mando's childhood flashback montage is finally completed in this episode. He is rescued by a group of Mandalorians, which shouldn't be much of a surprise at this point. What is a surprise is the specific group of Mandalorians that rescued him. All of them appear to be sporting the Deathwatch sigil.
If you've watched The Clone Wars series, then you're probably familiar with this splinter group of Mandalorians. During the Clone Wars, they opposed the pacifist Mandalorian government led by Duchess Satine. After failing to take over Mandalore several times, they joined forces with Darth Maul's Shadow Collective and successfully took control. Maul ultimately killed their leader, Pre Vizsla, and the group split into two opposing factions - the Mandalorian Super Commandos led by Maul and the Mandalorian Resistance led by Satine's sister, Bo-Katan.
[14:16] "Moff Gideon was an ISB officer"
Mando tells Karga and Dune that Gideon was an ISB officer during the Purge, which is how he knows so much about them. That little tidbit also helps to explain the final scene of the season (don't worry, we'll get to that shortly).
The ISB, or Imperial Security Bureau, was an intelligence agency of the Galactic Empire. While the ISB ostensibly existed during the original trilogy, the organization's makeup and purpose was primarily revealed through the Rebels animated series, the Thrawn novels and the Darth Vader comics. Among its subordinate organizations were Special Operations and Advanced Weapons Research divisions, which could explain why Moff Gideon has deathtroopers, incinerator troopers, a modified TIE and advanced E-Web canon at his disposal.
[19:43] Incinerator Trooper
There have been various flame troopers depicted in canon including: The Clone Flametroopers from The Clone Wars animated series; Imperial Flametroopers, described in the Adventures in Wild Space junior novel series; and First Order Flametroopers, as seen in The Force Awakens. Could Gideon's incinerator trooper be a pre-cursor to the specialized units depicted in The Force Awakens? We'll have to wait and see what Favreau decides to reveal later in this series. But they certainly don't look anything alike, despite their similar tactical function.
[22:56] Bacta Spray
IG-11 uses a bacta spray to heal Mando's head injuries. Bacta is a gelatinous, medicinal substance with advanced healing properties. It can regrow tissue, nerves, muscles, mend broken bones and apparently treat concussions as well. Technically, the substance was first depicted in Empire Strikes Back, but its name and usage wasn't described until later. Despite its apparent value in healing major injuries, its use has remained relatively rare in canon.
[27:36] "Songs of eons past tell stories of battles between Mandalore the Great, and an order of sorcerers called the Jedi"
The Armorer's statement is an indirect reference to the Mandalorian-Jedi War - a series of conflicts between the two groups which left the Mandalorian home world nearly uninhabitable after the Jedi's victory. The details of these conflicts are not terribly well developed in canon sources, but they are touched upon in handful of episodes of The Clone Wars and Rebels animated series.
Legends sources offer a great deal more information, separating these conflicts into three periods known as the Mandalorian Crusades (Tales of the Jedi -The Sith War comics), the Mandalorian Wars (Knights of the Old Republic comics) and the Mandalorian Excision (The Essential Guide to Warfare), which collectively extend back nearly 4,000 years before the events of The Mandalorian.
[30:09] Mando Finally Gets a Jetpack!
We already covered the jetpack callback in episode 3. But since Mando is finally getting his own, we thought we'd mention it again. Jango Fett, Boba Fett and several of Mando's comrades in the covert sport these incredibly useful devices. And Mando makes almost immediate use of his in this episode!
[32:17] Modified R2 Unit
When we catch our first glimpse of this R2 unit, it appears to be a standard model caked in hardened lava. But once Mando and the team push the barge into the lava river, it starts up (and stands up)! While we've never seen an R2 with an articulated armature before, this feels like a heavy nod to Lucas' original vision of a galaxy where technology was a hodge podge of various bits and pieces rather than homogeneous mass-produced designs.
[36:40] IG-11 Makes the Ultimate Sacrifice
IG-11 decides the only way to save the group (and ultimately, the Child) is to walk through the lava into a platoon of stormtroopers and initiate his self-destruct sequence. The self-destruct sequence was used as something of a comedic element in episode 1. But as Eric has suggested previously, he had a very strong feeling that gimmick was less for the laughs and more as a means to foreshadow the droid's ultimate end.
Heroic self-sacrifice as a means of personal redemption has been a major plot element of almost every Star Wars story arc. Obi-Wan sacrifices himself to save the others from Vader. Vader sacrifices himself to save Luke from the Emperor. The Rogue One team sacrifices themselves for the benefit of many. General Holdo sacrifices herself to save the remnants of the Resistance and Luke sacrifices himself for the same. There's more we could list, of course, but we hope these will do as case in point.
To be fair, IG-11 had little reason to seek personal redemption. Even if he could be faulted for his intentions to kill the Yodalorian in episode 1, he wasn't actually able to follow through with the task, and he had been reprogrammed since then anyway. But it seems there was probably a deeper intent from Favreau with this particular act of redemption - a redemption-by-proxy, if you will. It serves as a means to redeem all droids in the eyes of Mando.
[43:30] Is that the Darksaber???
Although Mando sends Gideon's TIE crashing to the surface of the planet, we find out in the final scene that he isn't dead. He cuts himself out of the mangled spacecraft using a weapon that looks all too familiar to anyone that's seen the Rebels episode, "Trials of the Darksaber." We've seen several arguments online debating whether or not this is actually that weapon, but it seems pretty clear to us. Ignoring for a moment that it looks exactly like the blade depicted in the animated series, the fact that Dave Filoni is co-producing this show all but cements it in our minds.
The Darksaber was a specialized lightsaber created by the first Mandalorian ever inducted into the Jedi ranks - Tarre Vizsla - more than 1,000 years before the events of this series. After Vizsla's death, the Jedi held the artifact in the Jedi Temple, until members of the Mandalorian House Vizsla stole it. From that point on, it was passed down generation by generation until it reached Pre Vizsla. When Maul killed Pre Vizsla, he took the weapon as his own. Sabine Wren of Clan Wren would later retrieve the saber from Dathomir and eventually pass it on to Bo-Katan, leader of the Mandalorian Resistance.
Somewhere between then and now, Moff Gideon apparently took ownership of the weapon. It seems likely this happened during "The Great Purge" mentioned several times in this series. Unfortunately, we're probably going to have to wait until well into season 2 to find out how he came to possess it.
That's at least another 15 Easter eggs, fan nods and callbacks in this episode. But we've probably overlooked a few, so please let us know what we might have missed in the comments or on social media!
We're afraid that's it for season 1 folks! Season 2 is planned for release on Disney+ some time next fall.
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