Warning - This article contains major spoilers for The Mandalorian Season 2.
The main topic of Star Wars fans right now is the mind-blowing season premiere of The Mandalorian Season 2. Coming off of an impressive first season, expectations are high for the sophomore run of The Mandalorian to deliver another captivating season. No doubt, after the premiere of the first episode of Season 2, it's clear that the future is bright for the hit Star Wars show.
While much of the conversation surrounding The Mandalorian is heavily focused on the runaway duo of Mando and The Child, the other side of the discussion is centered on the long list of characters that will be featured this season. One of those is the arrival of Timothy Olyphant (Santa Clarita Diet), but not much is known about his role when his inclusion was announced.
Now, the premiere episode of The Mandalorian Season 2 quickly shed some light on Olyphant's role in the franchise while also giving fans a sense of nostalgia along the way.
The first episode of Season 2, entitled "Chapter 9: The Marshal," showcased a major reference to Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. During the episode, Timothy Olyphant made his Star Wars debut as Cobb Vanth, serving as the protector of Mos Pelgo of Tatooine.
Olyphant's Cobb Vanth made an alliance with Mando to kill the Krayt Dragon. After the agreement, Vanth and Mando head off to the beast's layer using speeders, but it seems that the latter had a very familiar-looking vehicle.
Hardcore Star Wars fans will definitely notice that Vanth's speeder closely resembles Anakin Skywalker's podracer from The Phantom Menace. The comparison can be seen below.
WHAT THIS MEANS
While Lucasfilm has yet to comment about this major reference to the prequels, it is likely that this nod was placed on purpose for fans to find out on their own. Part of the fun of the Star Wars franchise is the vast array of references that can be included in every project, and this one serves as a prime example of that.
Given that the setting of the episode is Tatooine, it makes narrative sense to include a specific Easter egg that is closely tied to the Skywalker clan. It remains to be seen how Cobb Vanth retrieved the remnants of Anakin Skywalker's podracer, but it's clear that the character is pretty resourceful in terms of obtaining items, especially considering that he was able to recover Boba Fett's armor from the Jawas.
Podracing was an interesting aspect of Star Wars, but it wasn't shown again after the events of The Phantom Menace (outside of some Star Wars games and tie-ins). It will be interesting to see if The Mandalorian will serve as an avenue for the dangerous sport to be featured once again.
Whatever the case, this Easter egg serves as an impressive callback to the prequel trilogy, reminding fans of The Mandalorian's connection to the larger franchise.