Thousands of objects have shown up in the 40-plus years of Star Wars, but one particularly weird prop has kept fans fascinated for nearly the entire existence of the franchise.
Tucked away in the back of one shot in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, is a man, named Willrow Hood, who runs by carrying what appears to be an ice cream maker. For years fans have wondered what he was supposed to be carrying and why, and oddly enough, the The Mandalorian has finally given us a clearer idea.
[Ed note: This post contains spoilers for the first three episodes of The Mandalorian.]
In the third episode of The Mandalorian, the bounty hunter returns to Werner Herzog’s character, The Client, to give him Baby Yoda (or “The Asset,” if you’re cold and cruel.) The Client rewards him with a treasure trove of beskar, just like he promised him in the first episode. And the container he delivers it in is the ice cream maker!
Based on its appearance in the episode it seems safe to say that the ice cream maker is like a small portable safe. If an underworld bossman wants to securely deliver things like bounty payment, he’ll put it in the ice cream maker. Think of it like a briefcase full of cash in our world.
We also know for sure that this reference was made on purpose because the show’s executive producer, Jon Favreau, posted a photo of the prop on Instagram months before the show debuted. While we already know that The Mandalorian is interested in answering a few of Star Wars’ long standing questions, thanks to everyone’s favorite little green puppet, the answers are going to cut pretty deep.
By connecting some dots to Chapter 1, we also learn the name of this container. When The Mandalorian first receives his assignment, The Client promises to pay him with “a camtono of beskar,” and when he gets paid, it’s an ice cream maker full of beskar. The math suggests the ice cream maker is called a camtono.
While this may sound like just a bit of Star Wars jargon, we’re pretty sure that there’s a bigger joke behind the name. Back in August of 2017 a video went viral of a little girl who couldn’t say the word “ice cream.” Instead she says something that isn’t quite comprehensible and definitely isn’t a real word.
But if you listen closely, and have already watched The Mandalorian, it sounds an awful lot like she’s saying camtono. So did Jon Favreau and the team behind The Mandalorian really name a 40 year old prop after a meme from 2017?
If it’s on purpose, it’s a pretty fun little Easter egg. It’s got an indirect reference to ice cream, throwing back to the prop’s original use and part of the in-joke that fans have had about it since Empire was first released, and camtono sounds like a pretty convincing Star Wars word. On the other hand, if the writers didn’t intend for the stars to align, it’s possibly one of the most impressive coincidences. Of all the ways to combine seven letters into a word, they happened to pick one that accidentally references ice cream.