There’s a sense of foreboding in the opening of The Mandalorian episode 3. “Did you see anything alive?” Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) asks Din Djarin in the depths of Mandalore. He doesn’t know what she means, but we do.
The Mandalorian season 3 is only three episodes in, yet the Disney Plus show has already dropped some major shoutouts to Star Wars lore. Of these, one of the biggest arrived last week in episode 2, “Chapter 18: The Mines of Mandalore,” when Bo-Katan came eye-to-eye with a Mythosaur — a legendary creature never before seen on screen.
It’s enough to get a die-hard Star Wars fan’s pulse racing; however, casual viewers probably have a few questions. These queries will range from the basic (What is a Mythosaur?) to the decidedly more involved (Why are these gigantic beasties such a big deal?) — luckily, we can answer them all.
The guide covers everything you need to know about Mythosaurs, including their biology and ties to Mandalorian society. It also touches on the Mythosaurs’ previous appearances in Star Wars canon and rounds up every reference to them in The Mandalorian to date.
What is a Mythosaur?
As their name suggests, Mythosaurs are fabled beasts of enormous size. They’re covered in dark yellow scales and have thick, hornlike tusks protruding from either side of their mouths. While the Mythosaur glimpsed in episode 2 chose the Living Waters of Mandalore as its lair, the species itself is amphibious and therefore equally happy on land or underwater.
According to legend, Mandalore the Great fought a Mythosaur and somehow defeated it. He then tamed the beast and rode it into battle (as you do); other ancient Mandalorian warriors soon followed his lead. Unfortunately, the Mandalorians’ glorious, monster-mounted heyday didn’t last, and the Mythosaurs were considered extinct long before the events of The Mandalorian.
Mythosaurs had a lasting influence on Mandalorian culture, though. Notably, Mandalore’s skull signet — the royal seal of the entire planet, basically — was inspired by the Mythosaur legend. The skull signet is such a strong part of the Mandalorians’ shared identity that it crops up everywhere, but especially in their clothing (there’s one on the shoulder pad of Boba Fett’s Mandalorian armor, for example).
Mandalorian society’s veneration for Mythosaurs isn’t purely aesthetic, either — it’s mystical. The creatures are central to a prophecy regarding the fate of Mandalore and its people, but more on that later.
Have Mythosaurs appeared in other Star Wars stories?
Despite their significance to Mandalorian history and culture, Mythosaurs don’t actually show up in Star Wars stories all that often. Indeed, “Chapter 18: The Mines of Mandalore” was the first time one of the camera-shy creatures appeared on screen. Prior to this brief cameo, Mythosaur sightings were limited to licensed media — most of which was produced before Disney hit the reset button on the saga’s “Expanded Universe” of books, video games, cartoons, and comics.
Memorably, Marvel’s classic Star Wars comic book series introduced a replica Mythosaur skeleton constructed as a colossal theme park attraction (seriously). Other, indirect references to authentic members of the species are present in other sources, most of them tied to the saga’s distant past, as depicted in the Tales of the Jedi comics and the Knights of the Old Republic games they inspired.
As we said earlier, little (if any) of this material is still part of official canon. After Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, the latter announced it was relegating pretty much everything apart from the Star Wars films and the Clone Wars animated series to apocryphal “Legends” status. The upshot of this? Almost everything we previously knew about Mythosaurs didn’t mean squat.
The skull signet’s presence in canon movies and TV shows meant these quasi-kaiju probably still existed in this new, streamlined galaxy far, far away (a fact later confirmed via a licensed magazine). But their history and significance, and even what they looked like, was now up in the air.
How does the Mythosaur tie into The Mandalorian?
Fortunately for sci-fi monster enthusiasts, both The Mandalorian and its spinoff series, The Book of Boba Fett, have slowly filled in several gaps in revised mythosaur lore. The creatures’ presence is felt right from the jump, as they’re referenced in dialogue in The Mandalorian’s first-ever installment, “Chapter 1: The Mandalorian.” In this episode, Din Djarin’s (Pedro Pascal) newfound ally Kuiil (Misty Rosas, voiced by Nick Nolte) name-drops “the great Mythosaur” and confirms that the ancient Mandalorians used the creatures as their trusty steeds in post-Disney canon, too.
Things go quiet on the Mythosaur front for the remainder of The Mandalorian season 1 and all of season 2 (Boba Fett’s armor notwithstanding); however, The Book of Boba Fett soon brings them back into the spotlight. The spinoff’s fifth episode, “Chapter 5: Return of the Mandalorian,” includes a scene in which Din Djarin’s mentor, the Armorer (Emily Swallow), recalls how “songs of eons past foretold of the Mythosaur rising up to herald a new age of Mandalore.”
This sparked speculation that The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni were sowing the seeds for a Mythosaur unboxing party in season 3. As we now know, that was indeed the case, and a Mythosaur (or one of its peepers, at least) made its debut in the third season’s second episode. The oversized beast (justifiably) scares the living shit out of Bo-Katan before she jetpacks away — although, interestingly, it doesn’t lash out at her or the incapacitated Din.
Why the Mythosaur doesn’t attack is a mystery for now, but what does seem clear is that it will play a major role in what’s left of The Mandalorian season 3. Will Din, Bo-Katan, or any other Mandalorian warriors saddle up on the Mythosaur’s back? Are there any more Mythosaurs out there, either in the mines of Mandalore or elsewhere in the Star Wars universe? And will they usher in a fresh start for Mandalorian society, as previously foretold? Only time (and The Mandalorian season 3’s five remaining episodes) will tell.