The Mandalorian appears to be the cornerstone of the original programming available at launch on Disney+. Its enticing mix of spaghetti western, epic samurai, and space wizard movies has an undeniable appeal.
The series is the epitome of visual storytelling and almost eschews dialogue. The tight word economy seems to reflect the tough times we find in the galaxy since the fall of the Empire. It feels like the effort to speak more than the bare minimum exacts a real and untenable cost. The amount of screen time devoted to an image of the blank expression on the Mandalorian's helmet leaves the viewer to divine what he's thinking from the slightest head tilt rather than a line of dialogue. This quiet feels both brave and patient.
With that said, there still might be a need every now and then – even in a laconic production like The Mandalorian – to offer an explanation of some terms and phrases, so here's the second in a series of looks at what you should know (you can check out the first five editions here, here, here, here, and here):
● Tooka: Feline quadrupeds that appear throughout the galaxy as both pests and pets. Sometimes called tooka-cats, these animals are found in a variety of color combinations as well as more than one subspecies, such as the Loth-cat that is found on the planet Lothal. They have sharp teeth and pronounced claws, making them effective predators of small animals and occasionally difficult pets. A somewhat grumpy tooka was on the planet Sorgan in the bar and reacts rather territorially towards the friendly approach of The Child.
Series director Dave Filoni brought tookas into canon from the Star Wars role playing game in Star Wars: The Clone Wars where they had a different name which he changed in honor of his former pet Tuuk.
● Heavy Infantry: A large Mandalorian who lived in the Mandalorian enclave on Nevarro who fought with a large, underslung blaster and was able to fly with a jetpack.
In the episode credits, this character credited as Paz Vizla. It's a name that hearkens back to before the series itself and to the beginning of the friendship between series creator Jon Favreau and director Filoni. The two met while working at Skywalker Ranch on production of separate projects, Favreau on Iron Man and Filoni on Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
They agreed to let the other have a sneak peek at their work, and Favreau was so enthusiastic about the animated series that Filoni was cooking up, Filoni decided to cast him in the role of a Mandalorian leader named Pre Vizsla in season two of Clone Wars. Both Filoni and Favreau have expressed a particular interest in the Mandalorian culture, and this interest eventually led to the current series.
● Whistling Birds: Small, wrist-launched explosive darts made of beskar, these weapons are used to attack multiple foes at once. They are strong enough to penetrate stormtrooper armor but appear to require some sort of targeting to be programmed into them in order to reach their target, which they do by flying in a highly erratic, looping trajectory.