The third season of breakout success Star Wars show The Mandalorian is now shooting, and a very interesting photo from on-set made its way to the internet showing off some props being used by actors. However, while the helmets in question have strong visual ties to multiple designs seen previously in the franchise, they might raise more questions than answers.
A trio of red helmets are seen on the photo, made of some very glossy and shiny material. They sport some vaguely Mandalorian helmet shaping as well as the iconic T-shaped visor, but with an extra strut running down the middle. The design has a sort of ancient Hellenic vibe to it - something we've already seen with the Forgemaster's own helmet in the series.
The first association people made were to the Praetorian guard from The Last Jedi. These elite fighters were Supreme Leader Snoke's personal bodyguards, and wore similar glossy red armor - as did the Sith Troopers in The Rise of Skywalker. Many assume that the helmets seen on the leaked photo belong to a more numerous, lower-ranking force of goons attached to the Praetorians.
We've already seen setup towards some of the sequel trilogy's plot points being laid in The Mandalorian, so our hero tangling with some kind of precursor to the Praetorians as part of the Imperial Remnant's retinue is not out of the question - however, the helmets also bear resemblance to other designs we've seen in the franchise before.
Having already mentioned the Forgemaster, it should be again pointed out that the helmets have a lot of Mandalorian visual cues; since the storyline is likely building towards Din Djarin adventuring back to the homeworld, that could track. The eye slits are reminiscent of the helmets worn by guards on Mandalore in The Clone Wars.
Another point of similarity exists between the leaked helmets and the Senate Guard. Wearing blue uniforms with helmets similar to these, the Senate Guard later became reorganized into the Imperial Royal Guard, with an updated helmet design and a wardrobe change to red. In The Clone Wars, viewers were introduced to the Senate Commando, a version of the guard that swapped the ceremonial robes for more practical armor - maybe we are seeing a Commando version of the Imperial Royal Guards here.
Finally, but with the lowest likelihood of having any tangible connection, these leaked red helmets look an awful lot like the war droid head designs seen in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the 2003 RPG from BioWare that stands to this day as one of the most beloved Star Wars games of all time.
In any case, we'll have to wait until the show debuts - or we get more leaks - to find out whether The Mandalorian season 3 really will tangle with The Last Jedi backstory, or if these glossy not-Mando helmets tell a different story entirely.