Star Wars fans, could this week get any better? We're less than two months away from the long-awaited premier, the official trailer has racked up over 37 million views in three days, and anticipation for the movie is so vast that not only did sites like Fandango crash repeatedly, but the movie also smashed the record for IMAX ticket presales when it generated over $6.5 million in a single day. Now that all the fantastic news has had a few days to sink in, we can really start looking at the trailer and what clues it might hold to the fate of the galaxy. Moviepilot's own Senior Editor Catrina Dennis did just that with an article about Mandalorian sightings in the trailer, which I'd like to discuss.
What's all this about Mandalorians anyway?
Let's start out with a bit of context. The Star Wars wiki (Wookieepedia) defines Mandalorians as "a nomadic group of clan-based people consisting of members from multiple species and multiple genders, all bound by a common culture." While there have been various iterations and incarnations of these (mostly) warrior people throughout the years in both Star Wars canon and the now-defunct Expanded Universe, the most famous and easily recognizable Mandalorians are bounty hunters Boba and Jango Fett. Boba ruthlessly hunted down Han Solo and defended Jabba the Hutt from the Rebels in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, while Jango was hired by Count Dooku and provided his DNA as a template for the Republic's clone army in Attack of the Clones. If there's one thing all of the stories agree upon, it's that crossing a Mando will be the last mistake you ever make. Got the gist? Fantastic, let's move on!
Where are the Mandalorians in the new trailer?
As stated above, Catrina Dennis gathered evidence of Mandalorians from around the web that had been spotted in the trailer. First is the symbol pictured above: the skull of the Mythosaur, a creature driven to extinction by a warrior known as Mandalorian the First. This symbol is flying outside what is rumored to be Maz Kanata's pirate stronghold, which may be an allusion to Boba Fett's allegiance to crime lord Jabba the Hutt. Now the second glimpse, while not as easy to authenticate as a clear symbol, is oh so juicy:
Can't quite see it? Here's a shot of the far left figure at a perfect moment of illumination:
There's no doubt about it that what we have here bears an uncanny resemblance to a standard Mandalorian helmet. This does seem to indicate that the mysterious 'Knights of Ren' group is composed of various ne'er do wells, so a Mandalorian member is plausible at least. Whether or not it's Boba Fett alive and well, another Mandalorian, or a clever ploy we won't know for sure until this December.
But What About the Second Mandalorian?
I'm glad you asked! While trying to get a better look at the other shadowy figures, I came across this touched-up shot:
I haven't been able to place the two figures on the far right yet, but I would like to note that the staff being carried bears a strong resemblance to Rey's staff. If it's not the figure's own weapon and it IS in fact Rey's staff, could the squad be tracking our heroes through the storm? It's another question that will be answered when December rolls around, and for now I'd rather focus on the helmet of the knight behind Kylo Ren's left shoulder:
Trust me, I know it's a long shot, but the similarities are pretty uncanny. Unfortunately that doesn't carry much weight, because the Mandalorian helmet design is far from the only one to bear resemblance. The knight also appears to be wearing clothing that resembles Ren's own more than Mandalorian armor, including what looks like a long cloak or a blast skirt an ARC trooper would wear.
So What's the Conclusion?
Despite all of the different shots and lighting, there's still no way to tell for sure whether or not the ranks of the Knights of Ren include Mandalorians. However, we do know that the gear/clothing of the squad members varies, which leaves the option open. In trying to answer the Mando question, we've actually only managed to dig up more questions: is that Rey's staff in the hands of Kylo Ren's crony? Is the squad tracking down one or several of the film's protagonists? Hopefully in two months time, all our questions will be answered!