The Mandalorian Season 3, Episode 7 Easter Eggs - 9 Things You Missed In 'Chapter 23: The Spies'
This week on The Mandalorian, we got our biggest update ever on what the Empire's had cooking since they lost the war to the Rebel Alliance, the Mandalorians returned to Mandalore, and Moff Gideon finally made his move. The excellent "Chapter 23: The Spies," directed by series staple Rick Famuyiwa, is quite dense with lore--by and large, these Easter eggs are substantial updates on characters and situations we've wondered about for years.
Even better, some of these Easter eggs are introducing direct plot throughlines from Return of the Jedi to The Force Awakens the likes of which we've never had before. This is a big episode.
Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Chapter 23 of The Mandalorian, titled "The Spies."
Most of this week's episode concerns the return of the Manadalorians to their homeworld in force, but before that we had our first scene with Giancarlo Esposito's Moff Gideon this season--he's receiving an update from the spy Elia Kane within the New Republic about the threat that a united Mandalorian force might pose to the Empire's short-term plans.
As soon as that phone call ends, Gideon steps into a Zoom meeting with other Imperial leaders to talk about how to handle that Mandalorian threat--and also to talk about Thrawn, the blue Imperial Grand Admiral who's been missing since the series finale of Rebels.
From there, we move to the titular Mandalorian Din Djarin and the massive new army of fighters from Bo-Katan's old crew and Din's Mando cult. And this combined force immediately makes its big move toward Mandalore. There they meet even more Mandalorians--survivors of the Purge of Mandalore who have just been living down there the whole time--and then they all walk right into Moff Gideon's trap.
This episode is easily the best of the entire series, and it's got plenty of Easter eggs--but these are largely meaty and substantial references to the greater franchise that hold serious big-picture story implications. Let's dive in.
1. Imperial Shadow Council
In the second scene of the episode, Moff Gideon meets with a group he refers to as the "Shadow Council." This is a secretive Imperial leadership group that was established by Imperial Admiral Gallius Rax immediately after the Emperor's death in the Aftermath trilogy of novels. The group was formed to serve as an oligarchy that secretly ran the Empire behind a figurehead, but it looks like they currently secretly run the Empire while pretending they have no manner of combined leadership at all.
Only one member of the original Shadow Council is still around in the new one. We'll talk about him in a moment.
2. Grand Admiral Thrawn
Originally created by author Timothy Zahn for the Expanded Universe novel Heir to the Empire in 1991, Thrawn was conceived as an unrivaled tactical genius who nearly managed to keep the Empire together after the Emperor's death. Thrawn was brought into Disney's Star Wars continuity as a major antagonist on Rebels, and he's been missing since the Rebels series finale--but apparently he now runs the remnants of the Empire through his representative on the Shadow Council, Captain Pellaeon. While we didn't actually see him in this episode, this is the first time he's been mentioned in live-action Star Wars. And we already know he'll be here soon enough.
3. Captain Pellaeon
Pellaeon himself is also an interesting pull, because he also originated in Heir to the Empire as the captain of Thrawn's flagship, the star destroyer Chimaera. But aside from one very brief cameo in the Rebels finale and a new backstory in one of the Thrawn novels, he hasn't really been much of a part of the Disney timeline. Until now, anyway. Pellaeon is played by TV veteran Xander Berkeley, who isn't really the sort of actor you hire for a cameo--it would be very unsurprising if we saw him again, either in the Mandalorian season finale next week or on the Ahsoka series later this year.
4. Commandant Hux
You remember General Armitage Hux, that First Order guy in the sequel trilogy who screamed that speech about order before blowing up the New Republic capital planet? Well, this is his dad, the previously mentioned only surviving member of the original Shadow Council from the Aftermath novels. Commandant Brendol Hux goes on to help found the First Order, and then eventually he's killed by Captain Phasma on behalf of his son--he wasn't a great dad.
General Hux was played by Domhnall Gleeson in the sequel trilogy, and here his father, Commandant Hux, is played by Gleeson's brother Brian.
5. Project Necromancer
We learn that Commandant Hux is in charge of something called Project Necromancer, which involves cloning and is intended to provide a new leader for the remnants of the Empire. This has to be the project to resurrect Emperor Palpatine's spirit in a clone body that is strong enough to support it. If it isn't that, then this would have to be something new we haven't heard about before.
6. Praetorian Guard
During this scene, Gideon manages to convince Pellaeon and Hux to provide him with reinforcements for his losses against the Mandalorians, as well as the use of three members of the Praetorian Guard. And we didn't have to wait too long to see these badass Praetorians in action, because they duke it out with Paz Viszla at the end of the episode. If these guys look familiar, it's because we previously saw the Praetorian Guard protecting Supreme Leader Snoke in The Last Jedi--until Kylo Ren and Rey killed them and Snoke, anyway.
7. Fake Chess
Star Wars has a lot of different versions of chess, like the one with holographic monsters they played on the Millennium Falcon in A New Hope. And this one that we see Paz Viszla and Axe Woves playing in this episode is a new chess-like game that was invented for The Mandalorian. Though in Star Wars these are not actually variations on chess--in this universe, all of these chess-like games and chess itself are derived from a board game called Shah-tezh. This is not an important fact, but it is a fun one.
We were all waiting for our merry band of Mandos to fight the mythosaur that we saw at the beginning of the season, but instead they had to face a different gigantic lizard monster with a massive spiked tail. While we never got a full-body shot of this guy, everything we did see looked like this was a kaiju-sized ankylosaurus--a real dinosaur that existed on Earth during the late Cretecaous Period. On Earth, though, these things were only a couple dozen feet long, rather than the size of a large building.
9. Beskar stormtroopers look more like First Order stormtroopers
Moff Gideon didn't just bomb Mandalore to smithereens and then move on with his life--no, he set up a base there to mine beskar ore, and he's been outfitting stormtroopers with beskar armor and jetpacks. But this new stormtrooper armor isn't just better at protecting the wearer. It also looks different. In fact, the helmet looks a lot like they crossed Mandalorian stylings with the helmets of the First Order stormtroopers from the sequel trilogy.
And, as Poe Dameron once said: They fly now.