The Mandalorian Just Brought Back the Best Part of Phantom Menace
A busy day for Peli Motto places Season 3 at an interesting moment in time.
The Mandalorian is known for its returning characters just as much as its new ones, and Season 3 is well aware of that, bringing Greef Karga and Bo-Katan Kryze back in right at the start. Episode 2, meanwhile, sees the return of everyone’s favorite babysitting, Jawa-smooching mechanic Peli Motto. Her inclusion contained more than just another glimpse into her colorful life, but also a throwback to a forgotten element of The Phantom Menace.
When we re-encounter Peli, she’s in a heated discussion with a Rodian about a rush job. Peli’s willing to take on the business, but she makes it very clear that it’s an inconvenience for her: “I should charge you more considering now I gotta work Boonta Eve,” she says. “You know, I do have a life. Big holiday. I had big plans! You know, I just don’t sit around here and work all day, I’m very popular.”
Boonta Eve, a holiday celebrated by the Hutts in remembrance of a 25,000-year-old victory by Boonta the Hutt, was co-opted by the planets where the Hutts can be found, including Tatooine. It’s a nice bit of worldbuilding and a glimpse into life on Tatooine beyond sand and sadness, but it’s also a throwback to The Phantom Menace. The prequel has its ups and downs, but a definite highlight was the Boonta Eve Classic, the biggest podrace of the year.
Peli mentions the race repeatedly in her snippet of screen time, telling a gang of Jawas to “Go strip another speeder. It’s Boonta Eve, it’s ripe,” and negotiating with Mando by throwing in a free oil bath “because it’s Boonta.”
This little Easter egg actually has ramifications for the greater Star Wars universe. Thanks to the novel Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire by Delilah S. Dawson, the idea that podracing was banned by Palpatine was brought into canon. The Boonta Eve Classic everyone is excited about probably isn’t just popular because it’s a holiday, but because they’ve only recently been able to enjoy racing again.
It’s a throwaway reference, but it means that a whole industry erased by the Empire is back. Mando may have bigger fish to fry, but it’s a reminder that small victories are perpetually emerging in the Empire’s wake. The galaxy is healing, and sometimes that looks like the return of a terrifyingly deadly sport that children participate in.
The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 2 is now streaming on Disney+.