New ‘Mandalorian’ Episode Has Huge ‘Phantom Menace’ Easter Egg!

in Star Wars

Anakin and Segbulba podracing in their podracers in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Credit: Lucasfilm

The Mandalorian ties the Galaxy together once again!

(L-R): Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Credit: Lucasfilm

Much has already been said about how Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have been able to use The Mandalorian and other shows to tie the Galaxy together. Lucasfilm’s properties are expanding, and sometimes the entries can really seem disconnected, but little things like the nod audiences saw in the latest episode of The Mandalorian really help to unite the storyline.

Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in The Mandalorian Season 2
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Recap: ‘The Mandalorian’, “Chapter 18 – The Mines Of Mandalore”

Taking place over 35 years apart, it seems like there wouldn’t be much to connect Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) with The Mandalorian. Aside from perhaps Stranger Things, there aren’t too many references to the late 80s in modern culture. An entire generation would have had the opportunity to be born, raised, and start their own independent lives in the Star Wars Galaxy, so what could the reference have been?

kenobi jinn phantom menace
Credit: Lucasfilm

No, it wasn’t the N-1 starfighter, though that is another significant tie-in, complete with some faded remaining stripes of bright yellow paint. In actuality, the reference was very early on in the episode and was mentioned a few times, but it was such that only those listening closely would have picked up on it. The Galaxy’s favorite Tatooine mechanic was the one to make the nod; Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) made the reference both to Mando/Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and her Rodian Customer.

(L-R): The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), Grogu and Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Credit: Lucasfilm

Within the first few moments of appearing onscreen, Peli (Sedaris) haggles with a Rodian customer about a speeder, saying how it’s going to cost more because of the holiday, Boonta Eve. She later offers Mando (Pascal) a discount on a familiar droid for Boonta Eve as well! So, what’s the tie-in? Die-hard Star Wars fans will recognize the holiday right off from one of the best moments in The Phantom Menace and arguably the Prequel Trilogy.

Grogu in 'The Mandalorian' season three. Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

When Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman), Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) are stranded on Tatooine and need to raise funds to fix their ship, a young enslaved boy named Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) comes to their rescue. He mentions his podracer and how there’s a big race coming up with a cash prize called the Boonta Eve Classic! He, of course, wins the race and starts his journey to becoming a Jedi and a Dark Lord of the Sith.

Anakin and Padme, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Credit: Lucasfilm

So, what is Boonta Eve? A quick search of Wookieepedia tells of an annual festival held on Tattoine and celebrated in its different cities and districts with different events, such as a pod race or, in the case of The Mandalorian, fireworks. The festival is held to commemorate a Hutt, yes, like Jabba, who is said to have ascended to godhood eons ago and has been celebrated ever since.

jabba the hutt
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Top 10 Moments In the ‘Star Wars’ Prequel Trilogy

This subtle little reference is just another way that The Mandalorian continues to tie different eras of Star Wars together. Whether it’s freezing bounty in carbonite, the occasional Kowakian Monkey-Lizard, or Boonta Eve, it’s the little things that make the Star Wars galaxy feel more real, more lived in, and more, ironically, like our own, just different.

What did you think about this Phantom Menace reference? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!

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