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Why The Monster From The Mandalorian Chapter 9 Means More Than You Think

This is the way.

Fans have been hyped for season 2 of The Mandalorian ever since the first season ended. Chapter 8 gave the audience a larger glimpse into Din Djarin's (Pedro Pascal) backstory, showing us his relationship to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) as well as why he took such a liking to The Child in the first place. Suddenly, a full universe of possibilities opened up for the series, and the first episode of season 2 certainly hasn't disappointed. 

Din and The Child are on a new mission to find more Mandalorians who can help Baby Yoda return to its people, but first they have to help a small town with a big problem. A krayt dragon has been terrorizing Mos Pelgo, so it's up to Mando to team up with the town's Marshal, Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant), as well as a horde of Tuskan Raiders, to take it down. At first glance, you may think a krayt dragon is a new addition to Star Wars lore, but in actuality, these monsters have been around since the very beginning of the franchise. 

A krayt dragon skeleton appears in A New Hope

Whether you were aware of it or not, you've definitely seen a krayt dragon before ... or at the very least, you've seen the remains of one. The monster's first appearance dates all the way back to 1977 in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. You can see the beasts's skeleton in the background when C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 crash in the middle of the barren Dune Sea. The skeleton rests in the distance, and if you've seen Chapter 9 of The Mandalorian, then you know it's a very good thing the two droids didn't have to contend with a live one. 

In the Star Wars mythos, these creatures are known for their intense ferocity, making them the apex predators on Tatooine. Mando and his comrades witness first-hand how vicious krayt dragons can be. They're capable of spewing forth powerful venom, which dissolves any organic matter it touches. They may be dangerous, but that hasn't stopped various hunters in Star Wars continuity from trying to kill them. They're highly sought after because their bodies produce pearls that can be sold at a high price to the right buyer. 

Krayt dragons have been seen (or at least referenced) in other Star Wars media

While the first living appearance of a krayt dragon on-screen came in Chapter 9 of The Mandalorian, they've appeared in other media, often as skeletons or just in passing reference. Luke Skywalker's one-time ally Nakari Kelen in the extended continuity mentions how she had to fight a krayt dragon herself in the novel Tarkin: Star Wars by James Luceno. When asked what exactly she's hunted in her past, she mentions, "I've been to Tatooine actually, and bagged a krayt dragon there. Its pearls paid for the upgrades on the Jewel."

Living krayt dragons have also been seen in various Star Wars video games. In fact, the first krayt dragon fans could see alive was in Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds. The game came out in 2001, so it's technically part of the expanded universe Disney discarded when it claimed the rights to the franchise in 2012. Fortunately, the House of Mouse chose to keep krayt dragons alive and well, as evidenced by their existence in the mobile game Star Wars: Commander, which came out in 2014, long before Favreau got his hands on these menacing desert predators.

For such a mythical beast that's been seldom seen for the last four decades, it was a real treat to see a krayt dragon finally come to life in a live-action property. The Mandalorian season 2 is clearly going to draw deep from the ample well of Star Wars lore, which contains plenty more aliens and monsters for Mando and The Child to encounter.