The Mandalorian season 2, episode 3 contains several Admiral Ackbar-inspired Mon Calamari characters, but wisely lets the famous Ackbar meme die.
The Mandalorian season 2 finally puts to rest a famously overused internet meme featuring Star Wars‘ Admiral Ackbar, a Mon Calamari alien who first appears in Return of the Jedi. A key member of the Rebel Alliance, Ackbar appeals to generations of fans with his military prowess and his distinctive, fish-like appearance. Ackbar even shows up in sequel trilogy films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
During the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi, Ackbar detects an ambush during a rather pivotal moment. Quite shrewdly, he averts certain disaster for the Alliance by announcing, “It’s a trap!” Unfortunately for Ackbar, both that key cinematic moment and the iconic line of dialogue were immortalized during the early 2000s as a very popular internet meme that has since saturated message boards and web sites of all stripe, ultimately becoming overused, shopworn, and bled of all comedic impact.
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The Mandalorian season 2, episode 3, “Chapter 11: The Heiress,” takes place on Trask, an estuarial moon with a sizeable population of Mon Calamari. The titular Mandalorian character struggles mightily to dock his heavily damaged Razor Crest spacecraft on Trask’s watery surface, aided by a Mon Calamari dock worker who appears similar to Admiral Ackbar. After a disastrous landing that leaves his craft wholly submerged, the Mandalorian must rely on this dock worker to repair his ship. Although these characters’ interactions leave multiple opportunities for an “It’s a trap!” derivative of some kind, it’s the Mandalorian and his malfunctioning craft that serve as the punchline. After promising to make the craft fly, the Mon Calamari dock worker quips, “I’ll fuel it up. If it still holds fuel.“
Toward the end of the episode, the Mandalorian, after surveying the dock worker’s ramshackle repair efforts, quips, “I gave you a thousand credits. This was the best you could do?” Here again, it’s easy to imagine the various avenues the show’s writers could have used to set up a corny meme reference. The most obvious approach would be for the Mandalorian to claim that the repair costs themselves function as a kind of “trap,” or that the Razor Crest, now fortified with what look like patches of rusted sheet metal and tin roofing, resembles some kind of rustic “trap” that might be used to catch womp rats. Wisely, however, the show manages to avoid any such references. Instead, the Mon Calamari dock worker hands over an electronic tablet, allows the Mandalorian to confirm the order, and then watches silently as the Mandalorian boards his craft.
Like so many other real and fictional characters, Admiral Ackbar is a compelling figure whose complexity became somewhat reduced thanks to the viral stopping power of internet memes. For viewers returning to a film like The Last Jedi, it’s often difficult to watch Ackbar deliver the “It’s a trap!” line without cracking up, or, at the very least, thinking of the meme. Thanks to The Mandalorian season 2, Star Wars fans finally have some Ackbar-inspired Mon Calamari characters who most likely won’t be reduced to memes.
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