This Star Wars article contains spoilers for The Mandalorian.
In “The Apostate,” we reunite with Mando and Grogu for a new adventure to Mandalore. But first, a few side quests that take the duo back to the Armorer and Greef Karga. Along the way, we learn that a character from The Mandalorian‘s past is making a surprise return. And if that weren’t enough, the season 3 premiere also has quite a few other callbacks that will raise eyebrows, including one or two things from The Clone Wars!
Here are all the Star Wars easter eggs and references we spotted in this episode:
“The Apostate” introduces a brand-new villain to the Mandoverse. Meet the pirate king Gorian Shard. We have no idea what species he is, but we do know Gorian is very, very cross with Greef Karga. Nevarro’s gone legit and the pirates have been cut out of the spoils. Gorian wants his credits.
The space pirate is played by Nonso Anozie. Read more about the actor here.
IG-11 and Taika Waititi
IG-11 doesn’t just appear as a statue in a Nevarro City square. He’s back in action! Sort of. Mando tries to reactivate what’s left of the assassin-turned-nurse droid so that he can take it on his quest to Mandalore, but things don’t go as he expects. Despite being reprogrammed by Kuill in season 1, a revived IG-11 reverts back to its original directive: eliminate the Child. Unfortunately, the only way to bring back the more nurturing version of IG will be to find a part the Anzellans need to fix him properly. We’ll see if that ends up happening.
Taika Waititi once again lends his voice to IG-11, reprising his role from the show’s first season.
Cara Dune and New Republic Special Forces
While we already knew Gina Carano wouldn’t be back after season 2, the fate of her character, Cara Dune, was left up in the air. Would she be simply killed off-screen — “Somehow, Cara Dune died” — or would The Mandalorian address her absence? It turns out it was the latter.
Greef Karga explains that, after Cara helped capture Moff Gideon, she was recruited by New Republic special forces. This division of the New Republic military has appeared in many other Star Wars stories, including the novels Alphabet Squadron and Aftermath. One of the commanding officers of SpecForces is General Crix Madine, who first appeared in Return of the Jedi.
The space whales Grogu spots while traveling through hyperspace are called purrgil. You can read way more about them (and how they’re connected to Ahsoka Tano) here.
Anzellans and Babu Frik
Mando visits some crafty Anzellan hackers to try and fix IG-11. You’ll recognize these cute little fast-talkers from The Rise of Skywalker, which featured the instantly beloved character Babu Frik. As far as we know, none of these dudes are actually Babu Frik. But Grogu loves them just the same.
Mandalore, Sundari, and Kalevala
– This season is all about Mandalore, the home world of the Mandalorians. Not only does Din now wield the Darksaber, which makes him the rightful leader of the planet according to the ancient warrior tradition, but he also needs to complete a ritual in the mines underneath Mandalore in order to get back in his clan’s good graces after removing his helmet in season 2.
If you’re wondering when Mandalore was first introduced, it debuted in issue #68 of Marvel’s classic Star Wars comics in 1983. But George Lucas originally developed the idea of Mandalore and the Mandalorian people for The Empire Strikes Back while coming up with the character that would eventually become Boba Fett.
– Bo-Katan mentions that the mines of Mandalore are under the civic center at Sundari, which was once the capital city of the planet. The domed city was first introduced in The Clone Wars and was in much better shape back then.
– Kalevala is also in the Mandalore system and is another planet that debuted in The Clone Wars. It now serves as Bo-Katan’s base of power, although without the Darksaber it’s unclear how much power she still has with the Mandalorians.
We’re back on the volcanic planet of Nevarro this episode. This location was first introduced in the very first episode of The Mandalorian. It used to be a hive of scum and villainy, and the base of operations for the Bounty Hunters’ Guild, but has since been cleaned up. Karga hopes to make the planet the main trade hub in the sector.
The episode mentions the Hydian Way, a hyperspace route that connects the Corporate Sector of space with the rest of the galaxy, from the Core Worlds to the Outer Rim. This bit of worldbuilding was first introduced in the now non-canon Legends continuity.
Wesley Kimmel as Ragnar
Wesley Kimmel, TV host Jimmy Kimmel’s nephew, plays Ragnar, the foundling who receives his Mandalorian helmet at the start of the episode.
The pirate gang is basically a who’s who of Star Wars alien species. Included in the gang are Nikto, Weequay, Quarren, Klatooinians, Trandoshans, and Anzellans. We’ve seen all these species on The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett before.