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The classic Star Wars toy you never noticed on The Mandalorian

In a move likely calculated to occupy our minds while we await season 2 of The Mandalorian, Disney+'s fascinating docuseries Disney Gallery – Star Wars: The Mandalorian has kept us all riveted with a steady stream of details from the set of the first-ever live-action Star Wars TV series. On a recent episode, the creative team behind the popular show revealed that they slipped in a famous Star Wars toy that had yet to appear on screen in any live-action Star Wars project. We are obviously speaking of the iconic Kenner Imperial Troop Transport

The vehicle shows up on season 1's penultimate episode, entitled "The Reckoning," to do exactly what it was made for: deliver a battalion of jackbooted stormtroopers. Just about any of the myriad Star Wars transport vehicles would have sufficed for the scene, but the inclusion of the Kenner Imperial Troop Transport is a fun little Easter egg for fans who grew up with the series (and likely more than a few of the popular toys, as well). With one brief troop movement, showrunner Jon Favreau demonstrates once again that he is the king of fan service.

The Kenner Imperial Troop Transport appears IRL

The Imperial Troop Transport stormed Christmas lists everywhere when it debuted in 1979. Although never featured in the original film, the plastic vehicle's companion literature explained that it was a re-creation of the very same model used by Darth Vader's forces in pursuit of C-3PO and R2-D2 on Tatooine. Fans will certainly remember that the two heroic droids had been jettisoned to the desert planet by Princess Leia to protect the stolen Death Star plans in the face of Lord Vader's imminent boarding and her inevitable capture.

The Kenner toy contained a unique sound module that played six different audio clips, a major innovation at the time (via Starwars.com). It was also built for cross-functionality with the stormtrooper action figures contemporaneously on the market, a major impetus to buy an entire battalion. An updated model of the toy is currently sold by successor company Hasbro, but if you want the vintage model, they sell for around $80 out of the box on eBay, and upwards of $350 with the packaging intact. 

While the arrival of the Kenner Transport on The Mandalorian does, in fact, represent the first live-action appearance of the vehicle, prior Star Wars projects in other media have already beaten Favreau to the punch. The Kenner Transport made an appearance in the panels of the old Dark Horse comics (before the Marvel repatriation), and on several episodes of Disney's two popular animated series, The Clone Wars and Rebels.

All eight episodes of The Mandalorian season 1 are currently streaming on Disney+, as if you didn't already know. Don't blink during episode 7, otherwise you might miss the Kenner Transport in all its glory.