The Mandalorian Season 3's Cyborg Monster Is The Creepiest Star Wars Villain In Years

Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the second episode of "The Mandalorian" season 3.

By now, "Star Wars" fans have grown accustomed to seeing characters encounter fearsome creatures in the wild. Sometimes they're humanoid creatures, like the Tusken Raider who attacks Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars: A New Hope." Sometimes they're more like the mythical Yeti or Abominable Snowman, as we see with the Wampa that drags Luke back to its ice cave in "The Empire Strikes Back." Sometimes they're even domesticated, like the dungeon-dwelling Rancor that almost makes a meal out of Luke in "Return of the Jedi."

"The Mandalorian" has continued the long-held franchise tradition of having a protagonist — in this case, Din Djarin, voiced by Pedro Pascal — survive multiple run-ins with hostile space creatures. One of Din's earliest adventures saw him and his pint-sized companion, Grogu (then known only as the Child), taking on a big, rhino-like mudhorn. Last week, we also saw some other Mandalorians facing off with a giant space alligator, while this week, Din heads down into the mines of Moria Mandalore to clumsily wield his darksaber against some new four-eyed creatures.

These encounters are all well and good, but whereas creature effects were a strong suit for "Return of the Jedi," the digital era of "Star Wars" has struggled to live up to its precedent with weightless monsters that are sometimes just designed to be "family-scary," as director J.J. Abrams once called the rathtars in "The Force Awakens" in the Blu-ray audio commentary for that film. If you've seen one rathtar, you've seen them all.

It's been a few years since we saw a "Star Wars" monster that was really creepy, but all that changed this week with the cyborg creature that takes Din captive in the mines of Mandalore.

General Grievous meets The Thing

As Din Djarin rockets down into the mines, you half-expect him to run smack dab into a Balrog or cave troll. Like Gimli in "The Lord of the Rings," he even finds a relic of his former civilization in the form of a half-buried Mandalorian helmet. As Din makes the mistake of picking up said helmet, he's immediately grabbed by a spidery cyborg alien, which comes rising up out of the dirt.

On the one hand, you could see this creature as a riff on the giant "Lord of the Rings" spider, Shelob. On the other hand, its mechanical nature is more in line with the spider tank from "Ghost in the Shell" or the infamous "80-foot tarantula" from "Wild Wild West."

It's when it opens up and something else comes crawling out of the top that the cyborg monster becomes truly creepy. As Grogu peeks around the corner, it's as if our own inner child is watching its worst nightmare come to life. The monster has this one biomechanical eye, which is like a cross between HAL-9000 and the trash compactor monster from "Star Wars: A New Hope." Its skeletal body, however, is more reminiscent of General Grievous, last seen spinning four lightsabers at once in "Revenge of the Sith."

When Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) comes to the rescue, only the darksaber can take down the cyborg monster. Even then, however, it comes back to life, its head scrabbling away like the creature in John Carpenter's "The Thing." We never know how it came to be or what it wants, but it can't be anything good, and in the recent history of "Star Wars," you'd be hard-pressed to find a more memorable, nasty creature.

New episodes of "The Mandalorian" air Wednesdays on Disney+.