Star Wars: The Mandalorian Chapter 12 made the reveal that season 2 is filling in major backstory from the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy. Episode 12, "The Seige" brought Mando and Baby Yoda back to Planet Nevarro to reunite with old allies Grief Karga (Carl Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano). However, when Mando gets roped into a mission to help cleanse Nevarro of its last Imperial forces, things take a turn. Mando's crew discovers that Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) was using Nevarro as a lab for some kind of unholy experiment, to create a new breed of Stormtrooper - and perhaps something greater: a process of transferring Force abilities.
So what are Moff Gideon's experimental Stormtroopers? And what's the larger purpose of this twisted experiment? Here's what we know from the clues in The Mandalorian - as well as the larger Star Wars universe.
In the episode, Karga, Dune, and Mando locate a lab facility on Nevarro where tanks of horrific humanoid experiments are being housed. A recorded message was found from Doctor Pershing ( Omid Abtahi), the scientist who first hired Mando to find Baby Yoda, in order to extract some of The Child's DNA. In the lab message, Pershing alludes to The Child's blood being used to help rekindle a failed Imperial experiment.
Unfortunately, the sample of Baby Yoda blood wasn't enough, and the creations injected with it ultimately rejected the foreign DNA and failed. At the end of the episode, we see Moff Gideon's endgame plan, as he looks approvingly on in a hangar that is stacked with big, black, stormtrooper armor suits, which look more fearsome than just about any iteration of the Star Wars soldiers that we've seen before.
So what kind of new Imperial trooper is Moff Gideon building? If we had to guess, The Mandalorian could be a new form of Star Wars "Dark Troopers." That class of trooper was created by taking clone troopers that were injured and giving them the same kind of cybernetic makeover as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Dark Troopers were given a black exoskeleton suit of armor based on battle droids and were an elite class of trooper that was especially effective in combating Force-sensitive enemies, like the Jedi.
Gideon's troopers look to be a bit different: at first glance, it seems like we're seeing cloning technology being infused with Force powers, and housed in big exoskeleton suits. That's speculation, but those kinds of Dark Troopers would be a major new threat - the kind that would warrant the combined efforts of Mando, Baby Yoda, Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), and former Jedi padawan Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) to defeat.
Dark Troopers are yet another example of famous or iconic Star Wars lore that got undermined and confused by the messy continuity during the Extended Universe era. They're perfectly ripe for some reinvention in The Mandalorian, so we're excited to see if that's the case!
Star Wars: The Mandalorian is airing new season 2 episodes Fridays on Disney+.