If you’ve been watching Disney’s excellent Star Wars show The Mandalorian, you may have noticed it’s dipped into the video games to unearth its latest terrifying set of baddies.
THE MANDALORIAN SPOILERS ARE AHEAD.
In chapter 14 of The Mandalorian, evil Empire chief Moff Gideon sends a squad of Dark Troopers down to a planet called Tython to kidnap poor old Baby Yoda. They succeed.
These Dark Troopers are menacing, black-coloured droids with red eyes who look built for nothing but bad things. They were teased in chapter 12, but last week’s show revealed the Dark Troopers for what they are: robots who look like they inhale the Dark Side. Evil Iron Men (Iron Mans?).
While The Mandalorian’s Dark Troopers look like a nod to Marvel’s Iron Man, they originate from a classic Star Wars video game. The Dark Troopers were first introduced in Star Wars: Dark Forces, LucasArts’ much-loved 1995 first-person shooter. In that game, you play Kyle Katarn, a merc who works for the Rebel Alliance to uncover the Empire’s secret Dark Trooper project. This project, spearheaded by General Rom Mohc, is about the development of powerful new droids and power-armoured stormtroopers. There were three phases of Dark Trooper: the first was a prototype that was little used, the second was widely used, and the third was an exoskeleton.
Here’s how the Dark Troopers look in Star Wars: Dark Forces, courtesy of YouTube channel Star Wars Explained:
The Dark Troopers subsequently appeared in other video games, including Star Wars Galaxies, the original Battlefront games and The Force Unleashed. Those games, along with Dark Forces, are now non-canon. The canon version of the Dark Trooper was seen in Disney’s free-to-play strategy game Star Wars Commander, which was shut down earlier in 2020:
And the Dark Troopers aren’t the only nod to Star Wars video games in The Mandalorian. The Season Two opener was basically the Krayt dragon side quest in Knights of the Old Republic. And, let’s be honest, the way The Mandalorian episodes end up going, they’re all video game side quests, aren’t they?
So! It looks like someone working on The Mandalorian is a fan of the Star Wars video games, which is cool to see. One fan theory for the end of season two suggests Moff Gideon climbs into a Dark Trooper exoskeleton to battle our heroes. In Star Wars: Dark Forces’ final boss fight, Kyle Katarn fights Rom Mohc, who uses the only phase-three Dark Trooper exoskeleton in existence. Not long until we find out!