The New 'Mandalorian' Episode Had the Perfect Amount of Space Bugs

A showcase for one of the 'Star Wars' franchise's greatest strengths: intergalactic insectoids.

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Look out for the spider, Mando! | Disney+
Look out for the spider, Mando! | Disney+

Since its first season, The Mandalorian has been praised for its storytelling, its music, its characters, its guest stars, and its commitment to practical effects. The puppetry, the remote-controlled robots, and the full-body alien costumes are, for many, what makes Star Wars Star Wars. But the second episode of the new season of The Mandalorian paid homage to another thing that makes Star Wars so great: the bugs.

The vastness of outer space might not seem like it'd be home to insect life but, just as they appear on every continent on Earth except Antarctica, bugs have (we can assume) proliferated throughout the cosmos, rearing their carapaced heads and swinging their spiny three-to-four sets of legs on more planets than just ours. In the Star Wars universe, they populate planets, like the insectoid Geonosians in Attack of the Clones; they're used as execution beasts, like the Acklay that nearly killed Obi Wan, Anakin, and Padmé; they flit vaguely across the screen like the prehistoric flies on Dagobah. And that's saying nothing of the animated shows and books, which have added even more arthropod life to a galaxy far, far away.

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Dr. Mandible, I presume? | Disney+

The Mandalorian Season 2 Chapter 10, titled "The Passenger," featured the return of a sabacc-playing giant ant we first met in Episode 5 of the first season, whose name, according to mechanic Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris), is Dr. Mandible. Fitting. A regular at the Mos Eisley Cantina — a hive of scum, villainy, and a delightful menagerie of galactic species of all shapes, sizes, and limb-count — he has glowing yellow eyes, long antennae, and speaks in a chittering, guttural dialect. Charming. We love him. Please bump him up to series regular.  

Later in the episode, after Mando, the Child, and their passenger, a newt-like woman known only as "Frog Lady," crash-land on an icy planet while pursued by a pair of X-wing pilots and disturb a nest of enormous spiders, who chase the trio out of a hot spring inside an ice cave in a wave of arachnid legs and upsettingly bulbous bodies, like something out of Arachnophobia or Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Die-hard fans recognized them as Krykna spiders, a species that was first introduced in Star Wars Rebels as deadly natives to the planet Atollon, the rite of a Rebel base in a few episodes. 

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Uh-oh, a Krykna spider! | Disney+

Atollon, however, is a dry, hot steppe planet, so the spiders offer no clues as to which planet was featured in this episode. How did the spiders escape their desert planet and end up in this icy realm? Maybe a few of them hitchhiked on supply ships and started a new colony on the first planet they landed on — like how rats from Europe stowed away on ships during the Age of Discovery — cozying together in the first warm place they could find. It would technically qualify them as an invasive species, so we feel a little less bad about Mando roasting a whole family of newborn spider babies to escape. At least Dr. Mandible wasn't there to witness that. 

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Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.