Mandalorian Easter Egg Reveals a Season 4 Villain Scarier Than Thrawn
Are zombies coming to the Mando-verse?
You couldn’t have asked for a happier ending for Din Djarin, Gorgu, and the rest of the gang than the one we got in The Mandalorian Season 3. Everyone is where they belong, and Moff Gideon is dead (we think). And yet we have to assume that someone will show up in Season 4 to throw the galaxy into chaos once again. Most Star Wars fans believe that someone is Grand Admiral Thrawn, a fearsome Imperial tactician who’s currently missing in action, but one Easter egg from Season 3 finally could reveal a different and far more terrifying Season 4 villain.
A creepy Mandalorian Easter egg
After the dust settles in the Season 3 finale, Din Djarin and his adopted son Din Grogu visit New Republic ranger Carson Teva at a cantina. While Mando offers his services in rooting out the Imperial Remnant and Baby Yoda chows down on the Star Wars equivalent of chicken nuggets, the camera pans up to show a row of old Stormtrooper helmets displayed above the bar before settling on the decapitated head of an IG droid. But one particular helmet is of interest.
The helmet is severely disfigured, with three long gashes across the face. On TikTok, @zerowontmiss reshared the clip along with a comment tying it to “Project Blackwing.” What is Blackwing? The short answer is Star Wars zombies. But to fully explain, we need to dive into Star Wars history.
A brief history of Star Wars zombies
Zombies were introduced into the Star Wars galaxy in the 2009 novel Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber. The story, which takes place shortly before the events of A New Hope, follows Han Solo and Chewbacca as the prison ship they’re riding on runs into mechanical problems. The only nearby vessel is an abandoned Star Destroyer, so Han, Chewie, and a few other crew members decide to investigate.
What they find is the results of a secret experiment officially called “Imperial Bioweapons Project I71A.” Also known as the Blackwing virus, the Empire created it as a weapon against dissidents, but it had the unexpected side-effect of turning anyone who came into contact with it into a cannibalistic zombie. When a tank full of the stuff springs a leak, an entire Star Destroyer’s worth of Stormtroopers are infected.
When Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, all the old Star Wars books and comics were officially de-canonized and rebranded as Star Wars Legends. The galaxy far away was zombie-free again, but the respite didn’t last long.
In 2014, Disney Interactive released the mobile strategy game Star Wars: Commander, and Project Blackwing was re-born. In the technically canonical game, Blackwing was developed by Sith scientists who mixed science and magic in their search for immortality — a classic Palpatine endeavor. The “sickness” was created by mistake in an effort to bring dead tissue back to life. Instead, it turns living people into undead zombies.
In the game’s story, set in the years leading up to A New Hope, the Blackwing virus zombified an entire army of Imperial troopers on the planet Dandoran. This led to a rare moment of cooperation where the Empire and the Rebel Alliance worked together (or at least, in parallel) to stop the outbreak. Later, rumors spread that several criminal syndicates got their hands on Blackwing samples. There was also a second outbreak, which the Rebel Alliance managed to put down.
Zombies in The Mandalorian Season 4?
So we’ve established that zombies exist in Star Wars. And fans have noticed a (weak) clue to their existence in the Mando-verse. Does that amount to anything?
It’s admittedly a stretch to suggest that a zombie invasion is imminent in the Star Wars galaxy, especially when the only canonical precedent is a defunct video game that Lucasfilm would probably prefer we forget about entirely. Still, there’s plenty of room for zombies in The Mandalorian and its various spinoffs.
Mandalorian Season 4 looks set to send Din Djarin on a series of missions rooting out any remaining Imperial holdouts. That premise could be the perfect way for him to come across a zombie-infested ship like the one Han Solo and Chewbacca encountered in Death Troopers. Meanwhile, the upcoming Ahsoka will likely venture even further into the darkest corners of the galaxy in its star’s search for Ezra Bridger. Will she turn up a few zombies in the process? And then there’s Skeleton Crew, another upcoming Mando-verse show that’s been compared to Stranger Things. That has Star Wars zombies written all over it.
But whatever happens, Lucasfilm will need to think carefully before unleashing Project Blackwing into the Star Wars galaxy for a third time. Because once zombies show up, it’s almost impossible to get rid of them.