Spoilers follow for The Mandalorian season 2, episode 4, "The Siege."
Two major elements of Friday's latest episode of The Mandalorian has some fans rather excited, but others a bit perplexed.
First, there was the reveal of those misshapen figures in the laboratory tanks and the news that they have something to do with The Child and the extraction procedure that Dr. Pershing was attempting in season 1.
It seems that Moff Gideon is either trying to use Baby Yoda to breed Force-powered super-soldiers, or perhaps he's trying it out on others before undertaking the procedure himself. The tanks also reminded fans of Snoke, suggesting maybe this is an early effort of what eventually became the process to create the Supreme Leader.
Pershing referred to the bodies of the test subjects as rejecting "the blood" of The Child and noted, "I highly doubt we'll find a donor with a higher M-count." That M-word is likely "midi-chlorians," an element controversially introduced in The Phantom Menance where the level of Force ability in a person can be scientifically measured.
Also, in the final seconds of "The Siege," Moff Gideon is shown in a dark room lined by even dark figures that look like black stormtroopers kept in container slots.
Even those casually familiar with the many flavors of troopers in Star Wars canon might have a tough time figuring out what they were. Are those Shadow Stormtroopers? Death Troopers? While they have not been officially identified as of yet, the fandom consensus is they are Dark Troopers.
Dark Troopers are familiar opponents to fans of Star Wars video games, starting with Dark Forces and going through the Battlefront series. There are different versions of Dark Troopers. Sometimes they are very tough battle droids, sometimes they have been souped-up mechanical suits worn by soldiers (these looked more like the automated version).
Either way, you could see how The Mandalorian showrunner (and Iron Man director) Jon Favreau might have been drawn to using such a trooper, particularly as they would presumably present a formidable challenge for his show's armored hero.
It's also a very Marvel-like idea – the power-mad villain creating a line of unstoppable super-soldiers to take over the world(s) and he can only be stopped by a superhero with this own special abilities/enhancements. In that respect, The Mandalorian increasingly feels a bit like a hybrid lab experiment of its own, combining successful elements of both Disney properties.
Another notable element in the episode was a rare goof – an apparent crew member spotted during one shot that has some making comparisons to the infamous Game of Thrones coffee cup mistake. More on that here.