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Star Wars: The Mon Calamari Explained

Contains spoilers for The Mandalorian season 2, episode 3 — "Chapter 11: The Heiress"

In The Mandalorian chapter 11, entitled "The Heiress," our perpetually masked hero Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and his charge, the Child (aka Baby Yoda), found themselves on an aquatic moon called Trask. Being that it's mostly covered in vast oceans, Trask has attracted a number of aquatic species who now call the moon home — including the humanoid squid-like beings known as the Mon Calamari.

While The Mandalorian has featured the live-action debut of a few creatures from the Star Wars canon, this isn't the first time we've seen the aquatic species. Perhaps the most well known Mon Calamari is Admiral Gial Ackbar (Tim Rose and Erik Bauersfeld), who famously helped lead the Rebel assault on the Death Star in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. He's also responsible for one of the most meme-ified moments of the franchise. His exclamation of "it's a trap!" when he realizes that Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) is one step ahead of the Rebel forces in Return of the Jedi is a warning that launched a thousand reaction GIFs.

Even outside of the triumphs of the good admiral, the Mon Calamari have as rich and unique a history as any species in the galaxy.

Who are the Mon Calamari?

The homeworld of the Mon Calamari is the planet Mon Cala, which they share with another species called the Quarren, who briefly kidnap Mando in "The Heiress." While the two sentient species are able to cohabitate relatively peacefully for a large swath of their history, tensions between the two eventually boil over into a full-blown civil war, which was depicted on the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The Mon Calamari emerge victorious, but the peace that arises at the end of the war is short-lived.

The rise of the Empire gave the residents of Mon Cala a much bigger problem to deal with than each other. The Empire was relentless and cruel to Mon Calamari and Quarrens alike, enslaving them and destroying cities on their home world to crush them under their Imperial boot. This caused the two species to put their differences aside and join forces to fight for the common cause of kicking the Empire off Mon Cala.

The Imperial violence against Mon Cala also led the Mon Calamari to embrace the Alliance. In addition to supplying their unique and efficient starships to the Rebellion effort, a prominent military leader from the planet's civil war, none other than Gial Ackbar, also became a leader in the Alliance's efforts to overthrow the Empire.

Whether they're hauling in seafood catches on Trask or doing battle with the evil forces of the Empire, the Mon Calamari are one species of humanoid cephalopods you always want on your side.