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Warning: SPOILERS for the latest episode of Disney+’s The Mandalorian, “The Passenger,” are ahead!
While Disney owns both Marvel and Star Wars, these franchises are understandably kept very much apart. However, that doesn’t mean one franchise can’t reference the other. The Marvel Cinematic Universe can be a little more blatant with this by outright mentioning the Star Wars movies, but the newest episode of the Disney+ series The Mandalorian managed to sneak in a fun reference to the Ant-Man film series through an alien the eponymous protagonist meets.
The Mandalorian Season 2 premiered last week, with showrunner Jon Favreau directing the first episode, “The Marshal.” This week, we were given “The Passenger,” which Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp director Peyton Reed helmed. So the fact that an ant-like alien by the name of Dr. Mandible was featured now makes even more sense, as opposed to this just being another opportunity to show off an unusual Star Wars creature that was excellently puppeteered.
Now, to be fair, Dr. Mandible wasn’t created specifically for “The Passenger.” He previously popped up as a background character in The Mandalorian Season 1 episode “The Gunslinger” when Pedro Pascal’s Din Djarin stopped by the Mos Eisley Cantina to look for some work while his ship, the Razor Crest, was being repaired. This time around though, Dr. Mandible had a direct impact on the plot.
Following his adventure with Cobb Vanth near Mos Pelgo, “The Passenger” began with Mando preventing some bandits from kidnapping The Child, though his speeder bike was destroyed in the process. Walking the rest of the way back to Mos Eisley, Mando reconnects with Amy Sedaris’ Peli Motto, who’s playing cards at the cantina with Dr. Mandible. After their game is finished, Mandible informs Mando about someone he knows who can lead him to other Mandalorians. This contact is the Frog Lady, who Mando must transport to the planet Trask at sub-light speeds so her husband can fertilize her eggs. In exchange, Frog Lady’s husband will tell the bounty hunter the information he has on the other Mandalorians.
So on the one hand, we have Dr. Mandible to thank for Mando’s newest lead on his journey to returning The Child to his people. On the other hand, given how the rest of “The Passenger” unfolded, namely Mando, The Child and Frog Lady crash-landing on an ice planet, nearly being devoured by ice-spiders and the Razor Crest now being badly damaged, maybe Mando might have been better off not crossing paths with Dr. Mandible. We’ll have to wait and see what happens next week to learn if this difficult mission was worth the reward.
It’s hard to say if Dr. Mandible was in “The Passenger” before Peyton Reed was hired to direct the episode, or if he was added in once Reed was on board. Either way, it’s fun that this episode was able to include a subtle nod to Peyton Reed’s work on the Ant-Man film series. And who knows, since Mando has visited Tatooine twice now within The Mandalorian’s run, maybe he’ll eventually make his way there a third time and run into Dr. Mandible again.
The Mandalorian Season 2 premieres new episodes every Friday on Disney+, which you can sign up for now. As for Peyton Reed, it’s been confirmed he’ll be back to direct Ant-Man 3, which will also Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas all unsurprisingly reprising their respective roles, as well as reportedly feature Lovecraft Country star Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror.