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What to Know About THE MANDALORIAN’s Krayt Dragon

We’re so thrilled The Mandalorian is back. The Disney+ Star Wars series has been off-air for less than a year, but it feels much longer. What the world needs right now is more Baby Yoda. And more digestible Star Wars lore. Luckily, that’s exactly what we got in the season two premiere.

The episode focused on one the most famously mysterious Star Wars creatures: the krayt dragon. But what is that giant, terrifying beast and what do we know about him so far? Here’s a quick explainer about the sand monster that bears a striking resemblance to another sci-fi property’s big bad.

Spoilers for The Mandalorian “Chapter 9”

The giant krayt dragon pops from his pit in a scene from The Mandalorian.Lucasfilm

What do we learn about the krayt dragon in The Mandalorian?

The episode finds our eponymous warrior back on Tatooine—with The Child in tow—on the hunt for a town called Mos Pelgo. He’s told it’s where he can find another Mandalorian; someone who might help him get Baby Yoda to the Jedi. When he gets there, however, he meets Cobb Vanth (a dashing Timothy Olyphant) who isn’t a Mandalorian at all, but a regular man in Boba Fett’s armor. Vanth is the Marshall of Mos Pelgo, a mining community that escaped slavery after the fall of the Empire. The little town is still rattled by those darker times. And it’s made all the worse thanks to a predator that stalks their sands. A predator known as the krayt dragon.

“That creature’s been terrorizing these parts since long before Mos Pelgos was established,” Vanth explains. The Mandalorian agrees to kill the krayt dragon in exchange for Fett’s armor, and the pair set out on a mission to track and destroy the beast.

This puts them face-to-face with Tusken Raiders, who also want the krayt dragon dead. United by a common mission, they all set into the desert to an abandoned sarlacc pit where the krayt dragon now lives. Mando, who speaks Tusken, tells Vanth that the Raiders have “studied its digestion cycle for generations” when they attempt to lure the dragon out with a bantha. That plan goes awry, but eventually they’re able to capture its attention by using the population of Mos Pelgo. In a big hero moment, Mando saves the day by getting a bantha loaded with explosives into the krayt dragon’s mouth. It’s killed, the people of Mos Pelgo are freed, the Tusken Raiders get some krayt meat, and Mando gets his armor.

C-3PO stands before the skeleton of a krayt dragon in Star Wars: A New Hope.Lucasfilm

Where have we seen the krayt dragon before?

The krayt dragon has appeared many times in Star Wars lore. Most notably, the skeleton of one appears in A New Hope when C-3PO and R2-D2 first arrive on Tatooine. (Fun fact: The model of the krayt dragon, which was a leftover prop from the film One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, was left in Tunisia after filming. It remained untouched for almost two decades before it was rediscovered by an archeologist in 1995.) They’ve also appeared or been referenced in games like Star Wars Battlefront and in books like From a Certain Point of View and Heir to the Jedi.

The first non-skeleton depiction of a krayt dragon game in the strategy game Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds in 2001. The Mandalorian marks its first living appearance in live-action media.

The sandworm from David Lynch's Dune.Universal Pictures

It reminds us of Dune‘s sandworms

Are we the only ones who got major Dune vibes from this return episode of The Mandalorian? In Frank Herbert’s seminal science-fiction novel—which largely inspired Star Wars—there are giant sandworms that glide through the underbelly of the desert planet Arrakis. When Mando referenced the “life cycles” of the krayt dragons, the comparison became even more obvious. In Dune, the life cycle of the sandworm helps create a precious material known as spice melange.

It’s very in keeping with Star Wars tradition to reference Dune, so we appreciated the nod. We also appreciated seeing this awesome bit of Star Wars lore expanded upon. That’s the great thing about The Mandalorian, and why we all love it so.

Featured Image: Lucasfilm

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