Warning: spoilers ahead for season 2 episode 2 of The Mandalorian.
The spine-chilling spiders who appear in season two, episode two of The Mandalorian have a surprising connection with Yoda that dates back to the original Star Wars trilogy.
In the latest episode of The Mandalorian, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and The Child are joined by a new character on the show, known as Frog Lady, who requires safe passage on the Razor Crest with her eggs as she travels to meet her husband.
Following an outer space altercation with a couple of New Republic X-Wings on patrol, the trio crash down underneath the surface of an icy planet, the ship in desperate need of repairs.
As the Mandalorian sets to work making the Razor Crest flyable again, the Frog Lady wanders off, finding a thermal pool where she and her eggs can keep warm.
The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda find her in the pool, which is surrounded by curious-looking pods.
These pods seem harmless enough… that is, until Baby Yoda opens one of them up, gobbling down a tiny spider that he finds inside.
The rest of the pods start shaking in unison, with hordes of ice spiders suddenly hatching out of their eggs and rushing towards the Mandalorian, the Child and the Frog Lady, closely followed by larger arachnids and – worst of all – the enormous leader of the clutter, a terrifying creature who immediately makes one think of Aragog in Harry Potter and Shelob in The Lord of the Rings.
The scenes that follow are skin-crawling to say the least, as the giant arachnid and the thousands of ice spiders varying in size chase Mando, Baby Yoda and the Frog Lady back to their ship, where they narrowly escape with their lives after being helped by the New Republic X-Wings.
The design for the ice spiders that appear in The Mandalorian episode take inspiration from other creatures that previously could have appeared in the second film in the original Star Wars trilogy, the 1980 film The Empire Strikes Back.
However, the original design for the creatures didn’t end up making the cut for the film.
The late Ralph McQuarrie, an illustrator who worked on the original Star Wars trilogy, created a concept drawing of spiders – which came to be known as ‘knobbly white spiders’ – who were intended to appear on the planet of Dagobah, where Luke Skywalker finds Yoda living in exile in The Empire Strikes Back.
Later on, another kind of spider-inspired creature called Krykna, also inspired by McQuarrie’s original design, were introduced into the Star Wars universe, featuring in the animated television series Star Wars Rebels.
Following the release of the second episode in season two of The Mandalorian, one viewer shared a tweet asking Phil Szostak, senior content and asset specialist at Lucasfilm, if the ice spiders are Krykna or if they are ‘completely new creatures inspired by the Ralph McQuarrie art’.
‘They are new! Both inspired by the same design,’ he responded.
So even though the spiders in The Mandalorian that scared the jeepers out of all of us are a new entry to Star Wars canon, it is fascinating that they can trace their roots back 40 years, when Jedi Master Yoda first came into our lives.
Season 1 and the first two episodes of season 2 of The Mandalorian are available to watch on Disney Plus, with new episodes of season 2 released on Fridays.