The Mandalorian's first season of scum, villainy, and Baby Yoda memes comes to a satisfying close in "Redemption," the second half of a thrilling two-part ending very much worth the wait.
After blasting off with a rousing three-episode arc, The Mandalorian's first season settled into an adventure-of-the-week groove, and some viewers feared the series might be growing aimless and losing sight of its central plot. But thankfully, the last two episodes pulled it all together, drawing characters from adventures that previously seemed standalone, and tying up with an action-packed finale that sets the stage for a second season with an intriguing throughline.
These last three episodes also continued to reward fans with in-jokes, cameos, references, and, in the case of the finale, an ending scene that's a genuine bombshell for those who understand its significance.
Let's break down the best Easter eggs and tie-ins from The Mandalorian's last three episodes: "The Prisoner," "The Reckoning," and "Redemption."
1. Canto Bight — Mayfeld in "The Prisoner" remarks that the Mandalorian's ship "looks like a Canto Bight slot machine," a reference to the casino planet Finn and Rose visit in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
2. Not a stormtrooper! — When Ran mentions that Mayfeld is a former Imperial and "one of the best trigger men I've ever seen," the Mandalorian quips, "that's not saying much." This sets off Mayfeld, who shoots back, "I wasn't a stormtrooper, wiseass!"
For years, Star Wars fans have joked about stormtroopers' abysmal aim, seeing as they can seemingly fire at our heroes all day while continuously missing. The Mandalorian folds this joke into the universe by making clear stormtroopers have that reputation throughout the galaxy, too — making it even more confusing why Obi-Wan describes them as "precise" in A New Hope.
This joke continues in the season finale, "Redemption," which opens with two stormtroopers' terrible aim on full display.
3. Yousa don't wanna show your face? — Mayfeld jokes in "The Prisoner" about the possibility that the Mandalorian is actually a Gungan, the same species as the notoriously annoying Jar Jar Binks from the prequel trilogy, even doing an impression of their irksome dialect by asking if that's why "yousa don't wanna show your face?"
4. Twi'leks and Devaronians — Xi'an and Qin, the brother and sister at the center of "The Prisoner," are both Twi'leks, the same kind of species as Jabba the Hutt's chief of staff Bib Fortuna from Return of the Jedi and Hera Syndulla from Star Wars Rebels among others. Also joining the Mandalorian on his mission is a Devaronian, a devil-looking alien species known for showing up during the cantina scene in A New Hope.
5. The ardennian — One of the prisoners we briefly see in the sixth episode is a monkey-like ardennian, the same species as Rio Durant from Solo: A Star Wars Story, a character voiced by Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau.
6. I know those voices —The New Republic soldier we meet in "The Prisoner" is played by Matt Lanter, who voiced Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The two stormtroopers having a casual chat at the beginning of "Redemption" are actually voiced by comedians Jason Sudeikis and Adam Pally.
7. One hell of a pilot! — When three New Republic pilots show up in X-Wings at the end of "The Prisoner," they're all played by Mandalorian directors: Rick Famuyiwa, Deborah Chow, and Dave Filoni.
8. Zabraks and Niktos — In "The Reckoning," Cara Dune fights with a Zabrak, the same species as Darth Maul. We also see a bounty hunter that's a Nikto, a species we've seen throughout Star Wars but that originated in Return of the Jedi during the Jabba's sail barge sequence.
9. From small screen to big — We didn't know it at the time, but "The Reckoning" actually features a crucial tie-in to The Rise of Skywalker, with Baby Yoda's Force healing helping to set up Rey and Kylo Ren using the same power in the film. While The Mandalorian didn't introduce Force healing into Star Wars for the first time, it offered a helpful reminder.
10. Behind the bar — During the confrontation with The Client in "The Reckoning," a silver droid is seen serving drinks. This is a RA-7 protocol droid, which has shown up throughout Star Wars after appearing on the sandcrawler where R2-D2 and C-3PO end up in the original film.
11. Off the shelf — When Moff Gideon arrives in "The Reckoning," a group of stormtroopers get off of an Imperial Troop Transporter, a vehicle that made its debut not on screen, but via a toy released by Kenner Products.
12. Fully operational — The weapon Moff Gideon and his troopers threaten our heroes with in "Redemption" is an e-web heavy repeating blaster, best known for showing up during the Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.
13. Trooper of Alderaan — Gideon in "Redemption" reveals that Cara Dune is from Alderaan, Princess Leia's home planet that was destroyed by the Death Star in A New Hope.
14. The Siege of Mandalore — Gideon mentions that Din Djarin may have heard "the songs of the Siege of Mandalore." He might be talking about the Clone Wars-era battle against Darth Maul, who had taken control of the planet of Mandalore after surviving the events of The Phantom Menace. The Empire ultimately took over Mandalore following Emperor Palpatine executing his Order 66 protocol, as seen in Revenge of the Sith. The Siege of Mandalore will be depicted on screen in the upcoming season of The Clone Wars on Disney+.
This event that Gideon also describes as the "night of a thousand tears" might also refer to a different siege that took place off screen. Last we saw Mandalore, its people were fighting against the Empire and had defeated the Imperial governor, as depicted in Star Wars Rebels, but it has been implied that the Empire later swept in and wiped out most of the Mandalorians, sending the survivors into hiding.
15. Death Watch — In the flashback, Din as a child is saved during a Clone Wars-era battle by a group of Mandalorians who take him in. The symbol on these Mandalorians' armor is the same as that of Clan Vizsla, a Mandalorian group introduced on Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
During this era, a pacifist group of New Mandalorians took control of Mandalore's government and sought to leave the culture's warrior ways in the past, but Death Watch, a group of warriors led by Pre Vizsla who used the Clan Vizsla emblem, resisted. It appears it's members of Death Watch that came to Din's rescue.
16. The Darksaber — When Moff Gideon is revealed to be alive, he's carrying a weapon of great significance: the Darksaber.
This legendary lightsaber was created more than 1,000 years ago by the first Mandalorian to become a Jedi. Pre Vizsla, the aforementioned leader of Death Watch, used it during the Clone Wars, as did Darth Maul when he seized control of Death Watch for himself. During Star Wars Rebels, the weapon ends up in the hands of the heroic Mandalorian Sabine Wren, who passes it on to Bo-Katan Kryze so she can use it to unite the Mandalorian people against the Empire.
That's the last we saw of the Darksaber, but now, years later, Gideon somehow has it. This is significant for two reasons: One, we can only assume the worst about the fate of Bo-Katan Kryze, who seems likely to have been killed offscreen by Gideon. And two, Gideon, who is very much not a Mandalorian, now wields a legendary weapon sacred to this culture, something that makes him even more of a threat and can only enrage Din when he inevitably learns of it next season.
It appears, then, season two of The Mandalorian will revolve around finding a home for Baby Yoda, all the while a Darksaber-wielding Gideon remains in pursuit — and if fan theories about that mysterious character teased in the fifth episode are to be believed, Boba Fett could also still be alive. The Skywalker saga may be over, but the Disney era of Star Wars is just beginning.
Want more essential commentary and analysis like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for The Week's "Today's best articles" newsletter here.
More stories from theweek.com
The 2010s were an economic disaster
The White House always knew Trump's order to freeze Ukraine aid could blow up, New York Times details
China sentences 3 researchers involved in creating 1st gene-edited babies