The Mandalorian's opening episode resolves some queries that Star Wars fans might've had since the first film was released in 1977. While fans may despair at George Lucas' constant meddling, with the filmmaker now stirring controversy yet again by making another change to the Han and Greedo scene for Disney+, there's no denying that the man is an expert when it comes to world-building. Indeed, if it wasn't for Lucas' ability to craft an utterly believable, richly detailed and multi-faceted fictional galaxy, it's highly unlikely that The Mandalorian would even be a topic of discussion in 2019.
Fortunately for the science fiction genre, Lucas' galaxy far, far away has spun out into an intricate web, bustling with life of all shapes, colors and sizes, and this means that relatively minor elements from the Star Wars movies have developed their own mythology and fan base. Boba Fett, for example, spent precious little time on-screen in the original Star Wars trilogy, but is now one of the most recognizable figures in the entire franchise, inspiring its first live-action TV series, The Mandalorian.
Inevitably with this meticulous approach to crafting a fictional universe, certain questions and mysteries remain unanswered. Innocuous though they might be to the actual plot. filling in these details allows fans to invest fully in the world of Star Wars, and The Mandalorian makes several key contributions in this regard, plugging gaps in the everyday life of a Star Wars citizen that had gone unattended since the franchise's beginnings in 1977. One example of this is showing the inner workings of the Jawas' sandcrawler, with only intriguing snippets of this vehicle shown in A New Hope. There are, however, plenty of other answers for long-time Star Wars fans.
What The Imperial Spy's Snout Was For
The Mandalorian's premiere episode features a member of the Kubaz race, referencing an alien who played a key role in A New Hope's Mos Eisley sequence. In the 1977 movie, a figure with a long snout reveals the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and their two highly coveted droids to nearby Stormtroopers, setting up the gunfight that takes place as the heroes attempt to board the Millennium Falcon. The expanded Star Wars universe developed this character further, and his name was revealed to be Garindan - a master purveyor of criminal information later turned into a reluctant, homesick spy by Disney's new canon.
Whatever Garindan's backstory, the character was obviously defined by his sizable nose and is also referred to as Long Snoot in both sections of Star Wars mythology. Garindan's nose has been a thing of renown among Star Wars fans since 1977 and Delilah S. Dawson's "The Secrets of Long Snoot" highlighted how the body part was (predictably) useful for detecting odors and pheromones. However, the Kubaz in The Mandalorian reveals a new use for the appendage over 40 years after the species was introduced.
When Pedro Pascal's bounty hunter seeks passage back to his ship, he hires transport from a Kubaz who uses his snout to play some kind of taxi-summoning space flute. This minor detail has no impact on the episode's story, but it does play on the biology and culture of a character who has been the subject of discussion since the very first Star Wars movie. In a brilliant stroke of attention to detail, this musical addition to the Kubaz makes complete sense, since the snout has always been dotted with breathing holes similar to those seen on a woodwind instrument.
How Toilets Work In Star Wars
It's hardly the most glamorous area of Star Wars canon but even the noblest Jedi needs somewhere to deposit their baby Wookiees first thing in the morning. This is perhaps an issue that applies to a number of science fiction franchises set within the cold reaches of outer space; thanks to the economic and claustrophobic design of most futuristic space ships, audiences rarely spy a lavatory, so where does one do their business?
The Mandalorian delves headfirst (not literally) into this issue when the title character's first target asks to use the "vacc tube." This term isn't a familiar one within Star Wars mythology, but its casual usage hints towards a common system of human waste disposal employed throughout the galaxy's various spacecraft designs. Viewers actually catch a glimpse of the vacc tube in the hull of the Mandalorian's Razorcrest and it's not dissimilar to the toilets that might be found on a train or aircraft in the real world, albeit one without a lid or proper privacy. Although the specifics aren't demonstrated, it seems that the operation is also similar to our own travel bathrooms, with the waste ejected right out into space via vacuum.
Believe it or not, the distinct lack of toilet facilities has been a point of contention for some among the Star Wars community. The conveniences have generally been glossed over previously in the franchise, with an ever-changing list of names including "refresher" used as a twee alternative. Even in places where a toilet might usually be found (Leia's Death Star cell in A New Hope, for example) there isn't one, meaning The Mandalorian's bravery in confronting this issue is perhaps a bigger deal than it first seems. Now if only Jon Favreau could answer how big the vacc tube on the Millennium Falcon would've had to have been to accommodate Chewbacca...
How IG Droids Work
The first of its kind, IG-88 was introduced in 1980's The Empire Strikes Back (admittedly a little later than 1977) as one of the elite bounty hunters hired by Darth Vader to track down Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon. In a similar fashion to Boba Fett, IG-88 barely featured in the original Star Wars movies but still attracted his own collection of fans, and the droid's story has been expanded upon in wider media ever since.
While IG-88 has yet to appear in The Mandalorian, a similar droid has. Voiced by Taika Waititi, IG-11 accompanies Pascal's character on the final leg of his mission, and even though his time with the audience is short, much is revealed about how these IG droids operate.. There are several consistencies with what was already established in the Forces of Destiny animated series of shorts, such as IG-11's preference to shoot first and ask questions later, but The Mandalorian also shows that IG droids can fully rotate virtually every part of their body, which would explain why they have such a fearsome reputation. This trait has been hinted at previously in the franchise, but The Mandalorian gives fans their best look yet at a spinning IG unit in the full flow of battle.
In an even more original twist, IG-11 reveals that droids of his kind are manufactured with a fail-safe so as to not get captured by the enemy. IG units have a thermal detonator implanted into their chest which can be detonated when the battle appears to be lost, and the cyborgs have no qualms whatsoever about doing so. Ever since The Empire Strikes Back, fans have sought further insight into IG droids and, finally, The Mandalorian provides the answers.
The Mandalorian continues November 15th on Disney+.
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