Jon Favreau clearly knows how to make Star Wars’ fans holidays very merry indeed. With The Mandalorian looking set to explore some grimier and less reputable corners of the universe, he’s now teased the return of a fan favorite character from the Original Trilogy.
With the comment “Merry Christmas,” he posted a picture of IG-88 against a green screen (seen below) on his Instagram feed – which immediately caused joyous fans to reply with things like: “Oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god.” We’re not kidding.
If you’re a more casual fan and wondering who or what an IG-88 is, cast your minds back to the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Vader summons a motley group of bounty hunters to the Executor and tasks them with tracking down the Millennium Falcon and her crew. The scene’s mostly famous for introducing Boba Fett, but every single bounty hunter in this particular moment has gone on to be immortalized in toy form and has had multiple adventures outside of their brief on-screen appearance in the movie.
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IG-88 himself is (according to Wookiepedia) a Phlutdroid bounty hunter intended to be a ‘chrome war droid.’ Designer Bill Hargreaves previously spoke about how he intended the droid to appear and said:
“IG-88 was never going to be more than a filler for the now infamous bounty hunter Lineup. I decided we needed a real dirty, evil, and vicious bot. Like the bounty hunters of old. Lots of weapons and protection. Dark and oily. So we made him big- 7’8″ish tall. Had to drop him down a level on set to get him in shot. Lean, but strong. In short, a killer. We started with the head. Then with all the bits, we had the rest. It just came together to us until was just right. No, some of the grown-ups were not taken with the idea. It was taking a different direction from the other bots, but I thought it should. And when someone said, “I don’t think you would find a robot like that on a spaceship,” my reply was, “You would on mine.” The rest is history.”
Canonically, IG-88 was nearly killed by Fett as they competed to bring the Falcon’s crew to Vader, but he’s gone on to pop up in many adventures since. Seeing as The Mandalorian takes place three years after Return of the Jedi, it’ll have given him enough time to bolt himself back together and with a (silicon) chip on his shoulder, he’s likely to prove a pretty terrifying adversary for the titular character.
Hopefully we’ll see some kind of official teaser for The Mandalorian real soon. In the meantime, I’d expect a release in late 2019 or early 2020. As always, watch this space for more.