Ok, so clickbaity title aside, the last few episodes of The Mandalorian have snuck in a ton of references to the Knights of the Old Republic series. Of all the things that left the official Star Wars canon when Disney opted to press “reset” on the Star Wars universe, KOTOR just might be the one that disappointed the most fans.
Ever since that happened, every time we hear that new Star Wars content is about to be announced, there is always a subsection of the fandom that is insisting that they’re going to announce a Knights of the Old Republic series, and a million “We Got This Covered” articles about how Keanu Reeves is going to play Revan. Unfortunately, we have not gotten an announcement yet about live-action Kotor, and fortunately, no announcement of Keanu as Revan (a conversation for another article). However, Disney keeps dropping little nuggets here and there to whet the appetite of the KOTOR faithful.
Without question the biggest of these was when one of the legions of “Sith Troopers” in Episode IX was named the “Revan Legion.” To officially make Darth Revan a canon part of the Star Wars universe was absolutely massive, but in recent weeks, the Mandalorian has introduced a couple of things that lead us to believe that Disney has not forgotten about KOTOR, and *possibly* has some plans for the franchise in the future.
Dave Filoni has consistently been the biggest advocate for KOTOR related content to be in main stream Star Wars content of anyone involved with the franchise. Between the confirmation of the plans to put Revan and Darth Bane in the Mortis story arc in The Clone Wars, and the canonization of Korriban (later known as Moraband) and the Valley of the Dark Lords, Filoni has shown an appreciation for that era of Star Wars storytelling.
Though I am under no illusion that we’re anywhere close to some live-action KOTOR content, I will say it’s not a coincidence that “Mandalorians” have been a primary focus of a large portion of Star Wars TV content (TCW, Rebels, Mando), and certainly have played a large role in all Dave Filoni content.
The concept of the Mandalorians was first introduced in a couple comics back in 1983, but they were introduced to the masses via the Knights of the Old Republic video games, taking place as the galaxy recovers from a war with the Mandalorians. These games also provide the biggest insights into Mandalorian culture that we get in any Star Wars content. So in my view, it’s no coincidence that the Mandalorians are featured so prominently in both KOTOR and the current Star Wars canon.
With that said, what is so important about these last couple episodes of The Mandalorian? Simple. Tython and HK droids.
The canonization of Tython is massively relevant to the KOTOR storyline. Though the planet is not outright mentioned in the games, it plays a huge role in the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO as well as the Darth Bane trilogy of books as the ancient home world of the Jedi order. With the Sequel Trilogy heavily implying Ach-To as the Jedi home world, to bring Tython into the picture is not something they would do flippantly, and must serve some sort of purpose.
The HK droids are a much less obvious reference as they don’t feature as heavily in the storyline of Mandalorian, but are also a huge reference to KOTOR. For those of you who missed it, in Chapter 13: “The Jedi” a couple of assassin droids pursue Din and Ahsoka. These droids are revealed to be model HK-87. Fans of the KOTOR series will immediately recognize that model number from HK-47, the hilarious droid companion of Revan and the Jedi Exile in both KOTOR 1 & 2.
To not only make the droids HK units, but also make their number 87, in direct homage to HK-47 comes across as a very intentional choice.
Regardless of whether KOTOR gets brought into the Star Wars mainstream, seeing references like this will always bring a smile to my face as a fan, and I’m certainly excited to see where future Star Wars content is headed.