The Mandalorian is Disney+’s flagship series, and it’s amassed a massive fan following — becoming nearly as popular as the newest Star Wars film, The Rise of Skywalker. While there have been several easy-to-spot references to previous events, characters, and mythos in the canon Star Wars universe scattered throughout the series, its callbacks to the expanded universe (which ended in 2014 and includes all the official Star Wars-related media created before then, except the Skywalker saga and The Clone Wars) are much more difficult to discover.
Today, we’ll be looking at 10 of these references to lesser-known Star Wars media; spoiler warning in advance!
10 Bounty Hunters’ Guild
While its appearance is more of a shoutout to its history than an easter egg, the Bounty Hunters’ Guild is, aptly enough for a series focusing on a bounty hunter, mentioned often throughout season one of The Mandalorian. Up until the show’s debut, its appearances in Star Wars lore were sparse; introduced with the 1998 expanded universe novel The Mandalorian Armor, the Guild wasn’t given its current name until its first canon appearance, in the 2014 Star Wars Rebels junior novel Ezra’s Gamble.
Since its introduction into the canon, several Star Wars comic books and novels have (very briefly) referenced the Guild, although its definitive appearance was clearly the one featured in The Mandalorian.
While attempting to retrieve a massive egg from the formidable Mudhorn (planning to trade it with the Jawas for the stolen pieces of his spacecraft), Din engages the beast in combat while wielding a Vibroblade; these weapons were first introduced in the Han Solo Adventures novel trilogy, published from 1979 to 1980.
It’s yet another concept that originated with the expanded universe before being granted the right to enter Star Wars canon — and despite being for the most part underutilized, the weapon has a few brief moments of glory throughout.
8 Life Day
The Mandalorian begins with Din pulling off a successful bounty collection, recovering a wanted Mythrol after a tense bar fight. While on Din’s ship, the Mythrol decides to peer around its lower quarters, under the guise of using the restroom; only to be caught and sealed in carbonite. Some of the unfortunate Mythrol’s final words include “I was hoping to be free for Life Day,” – an apparent plea for Din to set him free.
Life Day is a Wookiee holiday that previously appeared in the long-forgotten Star Wars Holiday Special, in which Chewbacca and Han Solo travel to Kashyyk to celebrate the event alongside Chewie’s family.
7 Amban phase-pulse blaster
Din can often be spotted wielding a bizarre two-pronged sniper rifle. Its unique design makes it appear very similar to the Amban phase-pulse blaster, a weapon first spotted during “The Story of the Faithful Wookiee” — an animated segment of the aforementioned Holiday Special in which bounty hunter Boba Fett uses the blaster to save a young Luke Skywalker.
In the video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, another Mandalorian bounty hunter, Chop’aa Notimo, is one of many fighters who bears an Electrostaff — a melee weapon with a similar design to the blaster.
Blurrgs, a non-sentient reptilian species, make their live-action debut in The Mandalorian, as Din must learn to tame and ride one; but that’s not to say they haven’t been spotted many times before throughout Star Wars‘ history.
Blurrgs first appeared in the 1985 expanded universe television film Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, based on similar creatures conceived for The Empire Strikes Back. Later, they officially entered the Star Wars canon by appearing in the CGI animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars – they also had a minor role in Lucasfilm’s second CGI series, Star Wars Rebels.
Din is struggling to master Blurrg-riding in chapter one of the series. He is admonished by Ku’ill, who points out the first Mandalorians rode not Blurrgs, but rather fearsome Mythosaurs. While this is the first time in Star Wars history that the creature is mentioned by name, the image of their skulls has appeared as Mandalorian insignia throughout the canon, first and most notably in The Empire Strikes Back, which was released in 1980.
More importantly, however, the Mythosaur’s first physical appearance was in the 1982 comic book Marvel Star Wars #69: Death in the City of Bone, in which Leia and C-3PO meet with Imperial leader Suprema — in a stronghold converted from a Mythosaur skeleton.
The alloy used in Mandalorian armor, Beskar, is mentioned several times throughout The Mandalorian‘s first chapter. Again, the show is referencing something that originated with the expanded universe – Mandalorian iron first appeared in the 1994 comic Tales of the Jedi 5: The Saga of Nomi Sunrider, Part 3; and it’s made several canon appearances since then.
Interestingly enough, the name Beskar was actually first used in “The Mandalorians: People and Culture”, an article written by Karen Traviss (the author of several Star Wars tie-in novels), published in the February 2006 issue of Star Wars Insider, the official Star Wars magazine.
3 Infrared motion sensor
Din has an infrared scanner built into his helmet that, by detecting the heat of various areas of the ground, allows him to track those who haven’t left visible footprints. Similar technology can be spotted in the expanded universe — for instance, in the MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic, as well as the novel Jedi Quest: The Master of Disguise.
Infrared motion sensors are known to have been wielded by bounty-hunting legends such as Boba and Jango Fett, who, like Din, fused the machinery into their Mandalorian armor.
One of The Mandalorian‘s most difficult-to-spot references to the Star Wars expanded universe occurs in chapter four, in which crustaceans known as Krill are farmed by villagers on the terrestrial, forested planet Sorgan (where Din, searching for refuge, first meets Cara Dune).
Even to the most seasoned of Star Wars fans, Krill might seem like a new creation exclusive to the Disney+ series – but with a little bit of research, it’s easy to find out that the freshwater zooplankton actually made a prior appearance in the 2001 computer game Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds. It’s a surprising callback to be sure, but a welcomed one.
1 Incinerator Stormtrooper
Chapter eight of The Mandalorian showcases the first-ever canon appearance of an Incinerator Stormtrooper, as he, on orders from Gideon, tries to engulf the series’ protagonists in a veritable inferno as they seek refuge at the cantina.
A flamethrower-bearing class of Stormtrooper (similar to, but not the same as, a Flametrooper) that, as pointed out by Reddit user u/SnokeRenVader, made its first and only pre-Mandalorian appearance in the 2008 expanded universe video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, this unique Stormtrooper was actually granted its name by an electronic helmet released as part of the ongoing Hasbro Star Wars: The Black Series toy line.
NEXT: 10 Ways The Mandalorian Can Continue After Season 2