Last weekend’s episode of The Mandalorian introduced us to another terrifying creature in the Star Wars universe…and it’s not the Child’s hunger for eggs. After the Razor Crest landed on an unknown ice planet, Mando, the Child, and a new passenger encountered some nasty spiders lurking in a cavern. This is the first time the deadly creatures have been introduced in the live-action Star Wars universe, but their inception goes all the way back to concept art created by Ralph McQuarrie for The Empire Strikes Back.
Lucasfilm’s creative art manager Phil Szostak posted the Empire Strikes Back artwork in question:
Szostak noted in a post on Twitter that these creatures were initially sketched in February of 1979 for The Empire Strikes Back. Labeled as a “bog planet tree creature,” they were originally intended to square off against Luke Skywalker in the swamps of Dagobah. In 1993, McQuarrie fully illustrated the creatures for The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, and then appeared in Kevin J. Anderson’s novel Darksaber, which is now part of the non-canon Star Wars Legends.
The spider-like monster was eventually used as inspiration for the krykna in Star Wars Rebels. As Szostak noted to a fan question online, though the creatures in “Chapter 10” of The Mandalorian resemble the krykna and are inspired by the same artwork, they are a new creature.
This is far from the first time that classic artwork by Ralph McQuarrie has been used to inspire new elements of Star Wars. Throughout the entirety of the new Star Wars trilogy, there were pieces of old concept art used to create new pieces of canon in the universe.
You can’t blame the Lucasfilm team for wanting to put all this outstanding artwork to use. McQuarrie came up with some of the most incredible concepts for Star Wars, and some of them just didn’t fit into the story. In a way, it also keeps George Lucas’ influence on Star Wars alive too, especially with executive producer Dave Filoni being well-versed in every facet of the Star Wars universe and bringing that knowledge to every episode The Mandalorian.
Speaking of Filoni, we’ve yet to see him direct an episode this season, though we know he’s slated to be at the helm of one of them. There’s a chance he could be at the helm of this week’s episode, but we know for a fact it won’t be “Chapter 12” the following week, because Carl Weathers recently confirmed to ET Canada that he directed that episode. Perhaps that’s the episode where his character Greef Karga and Cara Dune (Gina Carano) are returning to the series.
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