The Mandalorian's second episode of season two should definitely come with a warning: do not watch if you're afraid of bugs! A big portion of the adventure involves the Mandalorian, Baby Yoda, and their temporary passengers fleeing from a swarm of incredibly creepy spider-like creatures. Although these monsters are new to Star Wars, they're visually inspired by art dating back to the era of the original trilogy.
Initially, eagle-eyed fans may have thought these spiders were Krykna, an alien species first seen in concept art for The Empire Strikes Back and later shown on the animated series Star Wars: Rebels. Lucasfilm creative art manager Phil Szostak, however, debunked that theory on Twitter. In answer to a fan asking for clarity on whether the spiders on The Mandalorian were Krykna or something else, Szostak tweeted, "They are new! Both inspired by the same design."
That "same design," we assume, is the concept art by Ralph McQuarrie. As shown by Den of Geek, McQuarrie's original concept art for Dagobah included a bunch of monstrous creatures, including a "knobby white spider" that bears a striking resemblance to the spider queen shown on The Mandalorian. The differences between the spider on The Mandalorian and depictions of the krykna are pretty clear upon a closer look, including one major difference: Rebels shows that krykna are mostly impervious to blaster fire, unless it strikes a vulnerable point, while on The Mandalorian, Din Djarin (and, later, two New Republic pilots) is able to fend off the spiders with his blaster.
Here's the interesting part, though. Originally, the knobby white spider was part of concept art for the planet where Yoda resided, which eventually became the swamp planet of Dagobah. The Mandalorian has hinted strongly that a big part of the upcoming storyline is Din Djarin's quest to reunite the Child with his own kind, although he — like the audience — knows almost nothing about this famously mysterious species or where they originate. Is it possible that the appearance of this spider monster is another hint that we're getting closer to uncovering the mystery of Yoda's home planet? It could be — or it could be just another Easter egg for longtime fans.