But what exactly is a krayt dragon, how does it differ from a sarlacc, and what was that pearl the Tusken Raiders pulled out of the poor thing’s carcass? Let’s, um, dig into it!
What Does The Mandalorian Want With the Krayt Dragon?
Well, how do we put this gently? He wants to, um, kill it.
When Mando returns to Tatooine in search of other Mandalorians who might be able to help him return Baby Yoda to the child’s people, he winds up in the small mining town of Mos Pelgo. There he encounters Cobb Vanth, a.k.a. The Marshal (played by Timothy Olyphant), who is wearing… wait for it… Boba Fett’s armor! The Mandalorian winds up working with Vanth to kill the krayt dragon, which has been attacking not just Mos Pelgo but also the Tusken Raiders who live in the surrounding desert area.
In the end, and with great effort, Mando, Vanth, the people of Mos Pelgo, and the Tusken Raiders band together and defeat the beast, but only after suffering a bunch of casualties. In payment for his help, Vanth returns Fett’s armor to Mando.
What Is a Krayt Dragon?
Of course, the Legends (or Expanded Universe) has a bunch of info on krayt dragons (including in Knights of the Old Republic, which literally features a mission to lure a krayt dragon out of its lair and into some mines), but as far as canon sources go, we got our first idea about these creatures in A New Hope when a stranded C-3PO shuffles past the skeleton of one on Tatooine.
Also in that film, Obi-Wan Kenobi imitates the call of a krayt dragon as he approaches Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder in order to scare off the Tusken Raiders who have attacked Luke and Threepio.
These creatures aren’t technically dragons… but they are giant and, while they don’t exactly shoot fire from their mouths, they are capable of expelling a venom which seems to essentially digest, or burn, whoever is unlucky enough to get hit by the icky substance. As we see in The Mandalorian episode, the dragons are able to burrow underground and travel that way, which makes them reminiscent of the graboids from Tremors. But they’re also kaiju-sized beasts, or at least the one in “The Marshal” is. They also have a Dune sandworm feel, so Warner Bros. probably isn’t too happy with Lucasfilm right about now. (Dune is also believed to have been an influence on George Lucas when he created Star Wars.)
The Mandalorian Season 2
As for how the krayt relates to the sarlacc, another creature found on the sand planet, it seems that the dragons are mighty enough to kill (and eat) sarlaccs and take up in their caves. That’s what Mando implies happened with the krayt in the Mandalorian episode, but despite the apparent presence of Boba Fett at the end of the segment (as played by Temuera Morrison) — or his armor, as worn by Vanth — there’s no reason to believe this is the same sarlacc pit from Return of the Jedi, where Fett had seemingly met his end (to be slowly digested over a thousand years) before the Morrison reveal here. Hey, there’s more than one sarlacc pit on Tatooine, O.K.?
What Is the Krayt Pearl?
Late in “The Marshal,” after the krayt has been killed, we see the Tusken Raiders harvesting the creature’s body, apparently for meat (even Mando has a huge chunk that he wraps up in a Star Wars doggie bag). But then one of the sand people finds what they’ve been presumably really looking for — a white globe about the size of a bowling ball. This is a krayt dragon pearl, and it’s worth a bundle.
It has been established in Star Wars media like the novels Heir to the Jedi and Aftermath: Empire’s End that krayt dragons ingest stones, which over time and the course of digestion could eventually become a pearl. Their value comes from the fact that the ingested stone sometimes has a kyber crystal in it, which of course is what powers lightsabers.
IGN’s own Max Scoville reminds us that “in the old EU, one of Jabba’s guards killed a krayt dragon, stole its pearls, and ran off with Yarna d’al’ Gargan, Jabba’s six-breasted dancer, and they used the pearls to buy her cubs out of slavery and to book passage off Tatooine. They lived happily ever after and Yarna later danced at the wedding of Han and Leia. So in conclusion, krayt dragon pearls are a big deal.”
And that’s why the Tusken Raiders were so psyched to find the pearl. They basically just won the lottery!
For even more on The Mandalorian Season 2, check out the full list of celebrity guest stars who have appeared on the show, dig in on that Phantom Menace Easter egg from Episode 1, and consider whether or not the series used the plot of an unmade Star Wars movie.