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The Mandalorian is back in action as the first live-action Star Wars series premiered the first episode of its second season on Disney+. Naturally, as a greater part of the Star Wars universe, the new Mando is filled with just as many references, tie-ins, and Easter eggs as die-hard fans would expect — but two major nods to past films stuck out from the season premiere.
Both nods refer to the first films in their respective trilogies: the original Star Wars itself (aka A New Hope) and Episode I (aka The Phantom Menace). Both also have to do with the Marshall that serves as the title character for the episode, Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant). Check out SYFY WIRE's deep dive about the character and his Boba Fett armor right here, and how the events of the episode show his deep ties to a Star Wars classic: Tatooine.
First, let's talk about the giant sandworm-esque monster Vanth and Mando fight. That's a greater krayt dragon, and yes, it's been in Star Wars before. Or at least its bones have. Remember the opening of the first film in the franchise when a crash-landed C-3PO wanders the dunes of the desert planet? He walks right by the stretched-out skeleton of a greater krayt dragon. Oh, and the Gamorrean. But everyone got to see Gamorreans guarding Jabba's lair and not just Gamorrean skeletons.
The other major reference has to do with what Vanth rolls up on: a podracer. And, if appearances are anything to go on, it's the champion podracer built and piloted by Anakin Skywalker.
This guy is basically connected to any and all cool things that have ever happened on this planet. The yellow flap by the engine and the cylindrical design seems like a dead giveaway — though little Ani did put his craft together in a scrapyard...so it might just be a speeder of a type that was salvaged to create the iconic vehicle. Either way, Vanth is touching all sorts of Star Wars history — and reminding fans how important this dangerous, dusty desert planet really is to the entire galaxy.
The Mandalorian looks to dig into these details (and more, like the identity of the shadowy figure from the episode's end) as the season continues.