The Mandalorian: Ralph McQuarrie's Original Art Inspired New HK-87 Droids

Much like the Krykna introduced earlier this season on The Mandalorian — you know, the terrifying spider-like creatures that chased down Din Djarin and the Frog Lady — another group of recently introduced characters were based on classic unused drawings by the late Ralph McQuarrie.

Full spoilers up ahead for the latest episode of The Mandalorian, "The Jedi." Proceed with caution if you've yet to watch Chapter 13!

This week saw Djarin and Baby Yoda — real name Grogu, mind you — travel to the forest planet of Corvus. There, they found the planet had been partially commandeered by a new character named Morgan Elsbeth, an intergalactic entrepreneur that's made her fortunate by selling materials to the Empire. In addition to Michael Biehn's Lang, Elsbeth also has a group of aliens and HK-87 droids under her command.

As it turns out, not only do the HK-87 troops don the insignia of Grand Admiral Thrawn's Seventh Fleet, but the assassin droids themselves were initially designed by McQuarrie during his time working with George Lucas on the original trilogy.

The Ralph McQuarrie concept art that inspired the HK-87 assassin droids from r/StarWarsLeaks

The Seventh Fleet, of course, last appearing in Star Wars Rebels as Thrawn and company blockaded Lothal. This eventually led to the liberation of the planet — the home of one Ezra Bridger — and directly led to Thrawn, Bridger, and the Seventh Fleet being dragged into hyperspace by the purrgil.

In addition to appearing in Rebels, Thrawn is the star of a trilogy of in-canon novels from Timothy Zahn. Coincidentally enough, Zahn first introduced the character in the Heir to the Empire trilogy in the early 1990s, books that were part of the Star Wars Expanded Universe at the time. Zahn's initial trilogy has since been removed from canon as part of the Star Wars Legends lore.

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