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A Decades-Long Star Wars Mystery Has Finally Been Solved

For nearly 40 years, Star Wars fans have been captivated by a character who appeared in the film franchise for only a few seconds. His name, as we later came to know, is Willrow Hood, and he looked to be carrying an ice cream maker as he ran through a corridor during the evacuation of Cloud City in 1980's The Empire Strikes Back. Intrigue long swirled around "Ice Cream Maker Guy" — but thanks to a new discovery by io9, the mystery of Willrow Hood has finally been solved. 

The outlet recently revealed that everything fans thought they knew about Hood was wrong. He wasn't trying to save the device that churns out a tasty frosty treat in the middle of an evacuation, but was really transporting currency and/or materials out of Cloud City. As io9 explains, Hood's "ice cream machine" is actually a camtono, the Star Wars equivalent to a safe or a lock box. 

A source with inside knowledge of the upcoming live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian confirmed this to the outlet — which makes sense considering one of the show's characters, the villain portrayed by Werner Herzog, references a camtono in an extended clip that is, as of yet, unreleased. 

In the footage, Herzog's character is said to hand the eponymous bounty hunter played by Game of Thrones alum Pedro Pascal a bit of the Mandalorian alloy beskar, which is famously used for crafting damage-tolerant armor. "Go ahead, it's real," he tells Mando, promising that he'll receive more money and a whole camtono full of beskar if he completes a dangerous mission, captures his target, and brings him back alive. 

The Mandalorian writer-creator Jon Favreau previously teased fans that a camtono will appear on the show by posting a snap of the Star Wars safe on his Instagram. 

It seems fairly unlikely that Willrow Hood had beskar in his camtono, or that his safe is the same one that Herzog's character has. For starters, Hood is canonically a human gas miner and not a Mandalorian. Secondly, he was scurrying out of the Tibanna gas mining colony of Cloud City on the planet Bespin and not making a run for it on Mandalore, where beskar is produced. It's more plausible that Hood may have been carrying money from Cloud City's many luxury casinos and hotels in the Tourist District, blueprints for the floating city's tractor beam generators and repulsorlift engines, or sensitive information about Port Town, the industrial area of Cloud City. 

But who knows? Perhaps Hood traveled to the home world of the Mandalorians after feeling Cloud City and traded whatever was inside his camtono for a bunch of beskar, then gifted the safe to Herzog's character. Stranger things have happened in the Star Wars universe, that's for certain.

This revelation may make Willrow Hood less quirky, and knowing that he wasn't dashing through Cloud City to save his precious ice cream maker during an intense evacuation takes some of the fun out of the character, but it seems the minds behind The Mandalorian still honored the role ice cream played in Hood's history. As it happens, "camtono" is a made-up synonym for "ice cream," first heard in an adorable viral video from 2017 in which a toddler repeatedly mispronounces the two words. 

The executives at Lucasfilm have all but super-glued their mouths shut and aren't saying much about The Mandalorian until the time is right, but it appears as though the camtono will play quite an important role in the series' story. It isn't just the threat of death that will motivate Mando to complete the mission that bounty hunter guild leader Greef Carga (Carl Weathers) tasks him with — it's also the promise of money and a big bucket of beskar. Successfully finishing the expedition and getting his hands on major coinage and sweet, sweet Mandalorian iron won't be easy for Mando, though. The outer reaches of the galaxy teem with outlaws and adversaries, like the one played by Bill Burr, so it sounds like the Mandalorian has his work cut out for him. 

Moving forward, camtonos probably won't appear in future Star Wars films now that they're being brought into the television branch of the franchise, but if they do, it won't be for quite some time. As Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed earlier this year, the movie series is going on hiatus following the December 20 launch of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — presumably to rest, reset, and maybe even have an ice cream cone or two in honor of Willrow Hood and his many fans.