The Mandalorian season 2’s premiere features a live Krayt dragon, but the creature’s death references C-3PO in the original Star Wars movie.
The death of the Krayt dragon in The Mandalorian season 2 acts as a neat reference to C-3PO’s early trek across the sands of Tatooine. After what felt like an eternity, The Mandalorian finally returned with “The Marshal,”continuing the high standards set by 2019’s debut season. The premiere episode takes Din Djarin and Baby Yoda to Tatooine in search of more Mandalorians, who the bounty hunter hopes can lead the path to The Child’s home… wherever that might be. Unfortunately, the “Mandalorian” Djarin finds is merely a resident of Tatooine in cosplay – Timothy Olyphant’s Cobb Vanth. The sheriff of Mos Pelgo, Vanth has been busy spending his hard earned coins in The Mandalorian‘s in-game shop, and is kitted out in the familiar armor of Boba Fett.
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As per the Mandalorian code, a mere outsider has no right to bear the armor of the tribe, and Djarin demands the gear be returned. Vanth agrees (eventually), but only if Mando can help vanquish the fearsome Krayt dragon terrorizing the town. A deal is struck – Mando, Vanth, the townsfolk and a nearby group of Tusken Raiders unite on a mission to fell their acid-spewing common enemy. When the fight goes sideways, Djarin manages to detonate a pack of explosives from the dragon’s insides, defeating the boss and completing level 9.
Although “The Marshal” represents the Krayt dragon’s live-action Star Wars debut as a living, breathing animal, the creature is actually one of the earliest alien species ever to grace George Lucas’ fictional galaxy. After C-3PO and R2-D2 split up in 1977’s original Star Wars movie, the anxious gold droid shuffles past the great, long skeleton of a very dead beast. The bones were subsequently revealed to have belonged to a Krayt dragon, and The Mandalorian season 2 finally shows what the animal looks like in its full, bantha-munching glory. The appearance of the Krayt dragon itself is a callback to the early days Star Wars, but the manner of its death is a further reminder of C-3PO’s lonely journey.
After imploding, the Krayt dragon collapses on its side, stretched out in the same position as the skeleton C-3PO encountered. Mando’s blast also exposes parts of the creature’s skeleton, with a high-angle shot offering a perfect view of the splayed-out carcass. In the aftermath of the battle, the deceased Krayt dragon is then stripped of its meat, leaving only bones to mark its final resting place. The Mandalorian‘s Krayt dragon could’ve died in any number of ways – curled up, on its back, blown to bits, remaining un-scavenged, etc. – but the scene instead feels like an intentional visual homage to the Krayt dragon’s very first appearance alongside C-3PO. The Mandalorian season 2 perhaps also gives some history behind the skeleton C-3PO chanced upon. Fans might’ve assumed the corpse was incredibly old and rotted away naturally, but it now seems more likely that Tusken Raiders turned the fallen dragon into steaks, meaning the 1977 skeleton could’ve been relatively fresh.
The Mandalorian isn’t exactly a stranger to Star Wars Easter eggs, and references to the original trilogy are particularly common. Some of these nods are incredibly subtle, such as mirroring the technology, props and visual effects of the classic era, and The Mandalorian also offers visual cues with its direction. For example, the Tusken Raider standing outside the Krayt dragon’s giant cave is reminiscent of Rey being dwarfed by a Star Destroyer exhaust in The Force Awakens. The death of the Krayt dragon is another of these visual Easter eggs, and if viewers hadn’t already drawn the connection between the beast Mando was fighting and C-3PO in 1977, the image of a giant reptile skeleton stretched across the golden desert landscape should set off the Star Wars light bulbs.
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