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This season of The Mandalorian has been full of references to wider Star Wars lore. From the reveal that Moff Gideon is in possession of the Darksaber, to the introductions of both Mandalorian clan leader Bo-Katan Kryze and somewhat Jedi master Ahsoka Tano, there's been plenty to please fans who've come to the series after watching their way through every episode of executive producer Dave Filoni's other shows (Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels), as well as both the main and prequel trilogies.
This week's episode serves up yet another deep cut, one that will no doubt thrill fans of the 1995 video game Star Wars: Dark Forces will appreciate, as Gideon himself calls into play the Dark Troopers, a few episodes after it had been revealed that he's been stockpiling them — no doubt to be dispatched against Din Djarin and Baby Yoda Grogu.
For those not in the know, the Dark Troopers were the in-game antagonists that players went up against, the results of a project spearheaded by General Rom Mohc in which he attempted to outfit each of Emperor Palpatine's individual soldiers with the firepower equivalent of individual Death Stars. The game itself featured a few variants of the Dark Trooper, ranging from souped-up battle droids, to exoskeleton-esque battle suits, with Mohc himself even donning the armour at the end of the game, as he became the final boss players had to take down.
Of course, since then, Dark Troopers have since gone on to feature in other Star Wars games, such as Star Wars Galaxies and the original Battlefront games, always proving a formidable enemy.
However, their introduction does more than raise the stakes for Mando and his tiny charge. It also offers us insight into what Gideon is planning, especially as little is known about his wider plans thus far — beyond him using Grogu's blood for some organic "experiments" as Din and his pals discovered a few episodes ago on Nevarro. (It also raises the possibility of the show bringing in the game's central protagonist, a Jedi by the name of Kyle Katarn, especially given Din's quest for a teacher for the clearly-force sensitive Grogu. Though of course, that's all just speculation at this point.)
While there are no larger answers about how this will all shake out just yet, fans have been ecstatic about this latest addition and what it could mean for the series.
The Mandalorian blasts onto Disney+ with new episodes on Fridays, and the Dark Troopers are showing out in the latest episode streaming now.