On Friday night, Jon Favreau posted on Instagram two pictures that, on first look, may not seem to be of much significance.
After all, Favreau could simply be posting a few pictures of some props for his live-action Star Wars TV show, called The Mandalorian. But for Star Wars fans with an eye for detail, these two images are actually very exciting – and tell us something, too.
Let’s take a look at these two photos and why they’re significant.
The first picture posted by Favreau is largely unassuming: it’s just a piece of technology. But it looks strangely similar to another piece of technology that became quite noteworthy amongst Star Wars fans and has generated a cult following over the years. And it all started with a background character in The Empire Strikes Back. As Baron Administrator Lando Calrissian orders the residents of Bespin’s Cloud City to evacuate, we see Lando and Leia running through the hallways as other people escape. One of those people escaping? This guy:
Meet Willrow Hood. He’s the dude in the orange jumpsuit carrying what looks like an ice cream maker through the hallways of Cloud City. Because of this guy’s brief appearance carrying what looks like an ice cream machine through the hallways as he evacuates, he was given a backstory in the EU, action figures were made of him, cosplayers dressed up as him, etc. His backstory revealed that he wasn’t carrying an ice cream maker but rather a computer system’s memory core. It turns out that he was an ally to the Rebel Alliance who, upon hearing of the Empire’s invasion of the station, took the memory core and destroyed it in order to protect Alliance secrets. This led to him being captured and tortured by the Empire during their occupation of Bespin, but he became a Rebel hero.
The canon material hasn’t given him such an extensive backstory, though, so we don’t exactly know his real story. But we did see him make a surprise appearance in the Star Wars comic line, issue #22. And what was he doing? Evacuating the Star Destroyer Harbinger, of course:
Does that mean that Willrow Hood is an Imperial in the new canon material? Who knows. I think he was probably just included in this issue as a humorous nod to fans, but beyond that we don’t know much. Was he working for the Empire? Was he just a neutral contractor? Was he a secret Rebel spy? We don’t know. It does sound like, however, he was still on Cloud City after the fall of the Empire.
Anyway, Favreau’s photo has caused fans to wonder whether Willrow Hood might be making an appearance in the show. If so, that would be a really cool easter egg for fans. I would guess that he’d just be an extra that is in there as a nod for fans, but we’ll have to see. And, if he really is still on Bespin after the fall of the Empire, would that possibly become a location for the show?
Boba Fett’s rifle!
The second picture that Favreau posted was of this rifle. Based on the butt of the rifle, it definitely looks to be the gun of the show’s main character, the Mandalorian, who we got a glimpse of as the show’s official title and production was announced. So it’s definitely cool that we’re getting a better look at that weapon, but there is something much more significant about it to Star Wars fans.
This rifle is the same one that Boba Fett had during his first ever appearance, in the Star Wars Holiday Special!
Boba Fett was introduced during this infamous TV special, showing up in a cartoon (which is easily the best part of the show) as he encounters Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca. It’s not canon, but it’s a fun cartoon that Lumpy (Chewie’s son) watches while the Imperials search his home. In it, Luke befriends Boba thinking that he can help rescue Han and Chewie. But it turns out that Boba Fett is working with Darth Vader, and R2-D2 and C-3PO discover this and alert the others – after which Boba flees.
So it seems that the rifle the Mandalorian will use in this TV show is the same design of the one Boba Fett used in the Holiday Special. That’s obviously a very cool nod. It’s one of those things where a casual audience member can understand everything without knowing that history, but die-hard Star Wars fans who know the history will appreciate it on a deeper level.
It’s really cool to see some of these easter eggs teased by Jon Favreau, and I’m hoping for more to come!