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The X-Wing Pilots Detail That You Missed In The Mandalorian Chapter 10

Contains spoilers for The Mandalorian chapter 10

In the Star Wars television series The Mandalorian, part of the continually expanding universe, fans get to learn more and more about the rich world of these characters as they fight off the dark side threatening to take over. In the most recent episode, "Chapter 10: The Passenger," Mando (Pedro Pascal) and the Child — fondly called Baby Yoda by many — continue their quest to find more Mandalorians and bring the Child to his people.

Along the way, the crew has a run-in with a couple of New Republic X-wing pilots who identify Mando's ship, the Razor Crest, as the one used during the prison break in season 1's chapter 6. They give chase, forcing Mando to land on a strange ice-covered planet, damaging his ship. Mando and his passengers then get attacked by horrific spider creatures known as Krykna, and the pilots miraculously end up helping rescue them. You might recognize one or both of the pilots featured in the episode: One is Trapper Wolf, played by writer, producer, and director Dave Filoni of The Mandalorian, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and a lot more. 

Looking past that, you may be surprised to find that there's an even more minuscule yet very important detail about the pilots. Though the sides of the X-wing starfighters are shown briefly, you can see a few black TIE fighters painted on the hull, which signify a much bigger connection between the pilots and the greater Star Wars history.

The X-wing pilots in The Mandalorian are Rebel vets with kill marks on their planes

The markings on the side of the starfighters have a lot of meaning for pilots in Star Wars. Just seeing these icons painted there means that these pilots are likely Rebel veterans who previously fought with the Rebel Alliance against the Galactic Empire — just like Luke Skywalker, who flew with Rogue Squadron.

In a Reddit thread led by user u/JonnyWicked, a group of fans went into further detail about what the images on the pilots' ships mean. If the symbol is in black, it signifies a single ship, and one fan stated that they think the specific ship shown here is the TIE interceptor, which are known for their speed and dagger-like appearance. In "Chapter 10: The Passenger," one pilot has more than five TIE interceptors painted on the hull; it's hard to tell the exact number given the worn state of the starfighter. 

This habit of Rebel pilots has a direct parallel with reality: Pilots in both World Wars had kill marks, also known as victory marks, painted on their planes to show others how many enemies they took down. It was a big feature of World War I, as air warfare was a huge factor in winning the war, though the practice spread during World War II. Some pilots were even given nicknames, like Manfred von Richthofen, the German pilot known as the "Red Baron." 

Legendary Rebel starfighter pilot Wedge Antilles has a huge kill record

One of Skywalker's fellow Rogue Squadron members, Wedge Antilles (played by Denis Lawson in the original Star Wars trilogy), has a crazy record of kills. The character also stars in the comic series X-Wing: Rogue Squadron, which reveals a lot more about his background and work as a Rebel pilot. To note, the comic series and books produced by Lucasfilm as an extended universe in the years before 2014 have since been declared non-canon, but as Disney rebuilds with new Star Wars comics, they consistently bring back in characters and storylines from Star Wars Legends. For Wedge, his history as a legendary starfighter pilot seems well-established enough in the movies for this to be reliable. 

In the comic X-Wing: Rogue Squadron #21, fans get a very close look at the extensive kill marks on Wedge's plane. This includes nine TIE fighters, six TIE interceptors, six TIE bombers, and two Death Stars. Yes, you read that right: two Death Stars. Wedge definitely lives up to his reputation.

Thanks to the small detail in the most recent The Mandalorian episode, the show references the history of Rebel pilots and just how brave and skilled they are. Though the two pilots Mando meets may not have quite as intense a record as Wedge, their kill marks show that they are clearly people that no one — not even Mando — should mess with.