'The Mandalorian' Season 2 Episode 2: What Were the Nightmare-Inducing Spiders and Are They Coming Back?

In Chapter 10 ("The Passenger") of The Mandalorian, the titular hero encounters a horrifying species of monsters that are, for all intents and purposes, grotesque and aggressive spiders. While most of the countless hoard of spider monsters are small--probably little baby revolting creatures--some are as large as Mando's ship.

What are these unforgettable spiders that became the unfortunate highlight of the episode? Though not called by name during "The Passenger," they are Krykna. And, yes, they have a history in the Star Wars universe--quite a long one, in fact.

Krykna
The Krykna in 'Empire Strikes Back' concept art. Lucasfilm

The Krykna go all the way to The Empire Strikes Back. They first turn up in the concept work by artist Ralph McQuarrie for the 1980 film. In original drafts of the story, they were going to be an obstacle for Luke Skywalker to face on Yoda's home planet Dagobah.

For reasons never explained, the Krykna didn't appeared in The Empire Strikes Back, or any other Star Wars film, for that matter. However, they have actually made an appearance in the larger Stars Wars universe before. But more on that in a minute, because a little bit of plot breakdown of "The Passenger" is necessary first.

At the beginning of the episode, Mando is still on Tatooine and drops into a very familiar-looking cantina. He meets up with Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris), who is playing Sabaac (a card game you may remember from Solo: A Star Wars Story) and appears to be sitting in Han Solo's old table. From her, Mando learns he might be able to find some more Mandalorians for the husband of a frog-like alien. To do so, he must transport her and her eggs to the husband.

While in transit, Mando is chased by New Republic X-Wing pilots and crashes into an ice planet that doesn't seem to be Illum or Hoth. The Child (Or Baby Yoda, if you must) can't stop eating the Frog Lady's eggs, though he does pause to eat a strange plant that wakes up the Krykna spiders, who chase Mando, The Child, and Frog Lady back onto his damaged ship. They almost die at the hands--legs?--of a giant Krykna crushing their ship when they are suddenly saved by the New Republic X-Wing pilots.

So, why is all this important? Because one of the pilots is played by Dave Filoni, an executive producer and a writer/director on The Mandalorian. This cameo has special relevance, because he brought the Krykna to life, so to speak, with his 3D animated series Star Wars Rebels (2014-2018). In that show, a crew from the Rebellion battles them on the planet Atollon and Sabine Wren (a Mandalorian character who is rumored to are presented in live action form on The Mandalorian this season) kills some off. In the same plotline, Captain Rex is captured by the Krykna. Rex is a former Clone Trooper, cloned from Jango Fett's DNA, who works with the Rebellion.

Will we see the Krykna again? Well, that's unclear. "The Passenger" felt very much like a standalone episode, but maybe it's not. In the original trailer Disney+ released of this season's The Mandalorian, it shows Mando wandering around in what appears to be an icy region, which might be the same unidentified planet the Krykna inhabit.

With Filoni bringing in elements from Rebels, could the planet--and by extension Krykna spider monsters--serve as a way to introduce Sabine Wren or even Rex? Could that have been Rex and not Boba Fett glimpsed at the end of last week? What if the show pulls off the ultimate cameo and brings in Luke Skywalker to battle the beasts he was originally set to fight in The Empire Strikes Back?

There are so many questions, but we'll all have to wait and see. But only two episodes into the new season, the show does seem to be setting the groundwork for the future.