The Mandalorian season one finale went out with a bang, with multiple shocking reveals and a strong story hook for season two. While fans digest everything that happened within the first season, one brief line has many Dungeons and Dragons players intrigued.
Cara Dune mentions that the Empire has Mind Flayers that are used for interrogation against rebels. Greef Karga dismisses these concerns, saying it is just “wartime propaganda“. This has led many viewers to wonder just what exactly is a Mind Flayer within the Star Wars universe? This name has connotations across fanbases. Some may immediately think of Stranger Things. In season two and three of the popular show, the Mind Flayer is the name given to the monster in the Upside Down that has the ability to control minds. But the term Mind Flayer itself comes directly from Dungeons and Dragons.
In the fantasy tabletop RPG, Mind Flayers are a tentacled, highly-intelligent species that travel between dimensions and are often found within the Underdark. Also known as Illithids, they have a long and violent history of using mind control to create slaves of people and are able to read thoughts, share a hivemind, and even extract and devour brains. The Mind Flayers have famously enslaved the Dwarven Underdark race known as the Duergar before they broke free, leaving the people with lingering psionic effects.
Fans may wonder if this Mind Flayer referenced in The Mandalorian is the creature seen in Rogue One, which was referred to as a Mairan race that can “feel thoughts“. It was used by Saw Gerrera to interrogate pilot Bodhi Rook. It did not seem to be a pleasant experience, which perhaps is why Cara Dune seemed horrified of it. But the Mind Flayer she mentioned could just as easily be a droid or a different type of torture device.
Answers may come in the second season of The Mandalorian, which will arrive in the fall of 2020.