October 23, 2020
Star Wars' Most Lethal Warriors: The Mandalorians
The Star Wars franchise means something different to every fan. For some fans, it’s John Williams’s musical score that makes Star Wars special. For others, it’s the epic lightsaber duels between Jedi and the Sith.
Since their inception in 1977, the Star Wars films have always enjoyed a rich history of lore, world-building and unique characters. And while Star Wars fans are notoriously hard to please, most fans will agree that The Mandalorian delivered some epic moments and memorable new characters.
The Mandalorian takes place between The Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, an era seldom explored by the series. The show quickly introduces us to the stoic and mysterious bounty hunter, referred to as Mando, who wears metal armor similar to Jango and Boba Fett.
This may have left some fans wondering if Mandalorians are a race, religion, or faction, and whether our new protagonist is related to the Fetts. With The Mandalorian Season 2 set to release later this month, we thought it was a good time to shed light on the mysterious Mandalorian people and their savage history.
The Mandalorians are a warrior group of people that originated on the planet of Mandalore in the Outer Rim territories. The group lives by a strict code of ethics that guides their behavior. And while most Mandalorians are human from planet Mandalore, any race can become Mandalorian as long as they follow the Mandalorian way of life and are accepted by the clan. Abiding by the Mandalorian code is the single most important tenet of being a true Mandalorian.
Throughout their ancient history, the Mandalorian people would engage in countless civil wars and battles with other factions, including the Jedi Order. Their affiliation with war and conflict earned them a fierce reputation, but ultimately led to the demise of their group.
As Mandalorians looked to expand their influence beyond Mandalore, a warrior group called the ‘Crusaders’ began to take over nearby planets and systems within the Outer Rims. Their early conquests included notable planets Concord Dawn, Kalevala and Krownest, which would remain strategic settlements for Mandalorians throughout the reign of the Galactic Empire. However, the hostile takeover of planets, especially those in the Inner Rim, would soon catch the attention of the Jedi Order.
During these planetary conquests, a Mandalorian leader known as ‘Mandalore The Great’ began a war against the Jedi Order and The Old Republic.
Mandalorians initially underestimated the power of the Jedi, who could manipulate The Force and wielded deadly lightsabers. In response, Mandalorians developed new armor and weapon technology, as well as a new style of fighting capable of combating their new foe. The Beskar modifications applied to their armor allowed them to deflect light blaster fire and indirect strikes from lightsabers. This led to several wars, and a generations long conflict with the Jedi. And culminated with one final the battle with the Jedi.
The final battle with the Jedi took place on Mandalore. Damage to the surface was so severe, it left the home planet uninhabitable, as a scorched and lifeless white desert. The remaining Mandalorians were forced to create sealed domed cities to escape the now harsh environment.
While surviving Mandalorians looked to rebuild Mandalore, a civil war erupted for control of the home world. The New Mandalorians, led by pacifist Duchess Satine Kryze, sought peace while traditionalists looked for vengeance against the Jedi. With support from Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan Obi Wan Kenobi, the New Mandalorians eventually arose victorious against the insurgents and took back control of the planet. The remaining traditionalists were exiled to the moon Concordia, where they were presumed to have died off from infighting.
Satine’s rule of Mandalore and the Mandalorians would last until the beginning of the Clone Wars and the group would thrive during her leadership.
Unbeknownst to the New Mandalorians, traditionalists had survived and quietly regrouped as the “Death Watch.” Now with a new banner and sympathizers within the Mandalorian society, the Death Watch sought to usurp the pacifist government and restore their warrior lifestyle. The terrorist faction first aligned themselves with Count Dooku and then later with crime syndicate and former Sith Darth Maul to take over Mandalore. Duchess Satine was later killed by Darth Maul, ushering in a new generation of civil war and unrest between Mandalorians.
The Great Purge was orchestrated by the Galactic Empire sometime prior to the events of The Mandalorian. This event resulted in the mass eradication of Mandalorian people, seizure of their Beskar metal, and Empire occupation of Mandalore. The remaining survivors were forced into hiding to avoid persecution. It was for this reason that many within the Galaxy thought the Mandalorians became extinct.
After the Empire, it’s unknown how little remains of the once feared Mandalorian people. A large number of Mandalorians were seen fighting other bounty hunters while aiding Mando and The Child’s escape from Nevarro, although many perished. Because of their nomadic nature and ability to survive, Mandalorians will likely always be around in the galaxy.
To prevent further infighting among the Mandalorian people and reunite the clans, leader Cadden Blackthorne created the “Mandalorian Code of Honor.” These rules set out to preserve the strong sense of heritage amongst Mandalorians, while giving them honor and purpose. Calling yourself Mandalorian meant following strict rules. These rules were shaped around three main texts for the Mandalorian. First, you have the Canons of Honor, meant to describe how a Mandalorian ought to behave in conflict:
Then, you have the Resol’nare or the six central tenets of Mandalorian Culture which describe how a Mandalorian ought to live every day, and these also create the means of becoming a Mandalorian:
These six rules were condensed into the child’s nursery rhyme:
Education and armor,
Self-defense, our tribe,
Our language, our leader—
All help us survive.
And finally, the Supercommando Codex governs how a Mandalorian ought to fight in battle. It is a collection of several hundred commandments governing moral behavior in battle.
During the first season of The Mandalorian, it was also established that Mandalorians are prohibited from removing their helmets in front of anyone. Doing so causes the wearer to no longer be considered Mandalorian. This has caused some confusion with fans since we’ve seen countless Mandalorians remove their helmets before. The helmet rule could be unique to Din’s clan “The Tribe,” although the jury’s still out for now.
A man of few words and many blaster shots, Din Djarin “Mando” is a lone wolf bounty hunter who chases down dangerous criminals in the galaxy. As a child, Din’s home village was attacked by Separatist battle droids, killing everyone in the village including his parents and leaving him orphaned. Din was soon found by Mandalorian warriors of the Death Watch, who raised him as a ‘foundling’ and trained him to fight.
Din would later join the Mandalorian enclave, “The Tribe,” who were hiding covertly underground on the planet of Nevarro. On Nevarro, Din worked as a member of the Bounty Hunter’s Guild to supply his clan with money, supplies, and Beskar metal. The Beskar, which was liberated from the despised Empire, was used to forge new armor and weapons for the clan. Per The Tribe’s customs, Din has never revealed his true face to anyone since becoming a Mandalorian.
Once a faithful cadet for the Empire, Sabine was a female Mandalorian warrior during the Imperial Era. Sabine would later become a revolutionary leader of the rebellion after learning of the horrors afflicted on her home world of Mandalore. Sabine wields the legendary black lightsaber known as the Darksaber, which was created by the first and only Jedi Mandalorian, Tarre Vizsla. It’s said that whoever wields the Darksaber has the power to command and rally the Mandalorian people. During the season finale of The Mandalorian, it was revealed that Imperial leader Moff Gideon is now in possession of the Darksaber. At the moment, it’s unclear how he came into possession of the weapon. Hopefully this mystery will be revealed in the upcoming season, where it’s rumored Sabine will make her first live action appearance.
The Death Watch was a terrorist faction created during the Clone Wars that opposed the New Mandalorian government. The group was led by Pre Vizsla, a former governor of Concordia who looked to restore the warrior lifestyle of the Mandalorians. The group planned a coup against the pacifist government with the help of former Sith Lord Darth Maul. After successfully usurping the New Mandalorian government, Pre Vizsla betrayed Darth Maul and ordered his arrest. Maul quickly escaped, however, and challenged Pre Vizsla for his title of Mandalore. A fierce lightsaber duel ensued, with challenger Maul ending the battle by beheading Pre Vizsla. After defeating Pre Vizla, Maul became the leader of Mandalore. Despite his victory, not all Death Watch members honored Maul’s claim to the throne, claiming that an outsider could never rule over Mandalore. Part of the Death Watch, led by Bo Katan, would later turn against those who joined Maul. Bo Katan and her followers eventually sought the help of her former enemies to restore Mandalore’s rule—the Republic and the Jedi Order. The Jedi would send Ashoka Tano and the Clone Troopers of the 501st Battalion to assist Bo Katan in capturing Maul and restoring rule to Mandalore. This final battle, known as the Siege of Mandalore, was one of the final battles of the Clone Wars—ght before the Republic became the Galactic Empire.
Towards the end of the Republic, Jango was known as the best bounty hunter in the Galaxy. Following the invasion of Naboo, Jango was approached by Count Dooku to serve as the genetic template for a clone army. Jango accepted with one condition, an unaltered clone for himself. This clone would later become his “son” Boba Fett, whom he cared for deeply.
The cutthroat mercenary was eventually slain by Jedi Master Mace Wind while defending Count Dooku in the First Battle of Geonosis. Jango’s legacy lives on through the millions of clones within the Grand Army of the Republic.
Despite wearing traditional armor, officials of Mandalore maintain that Jango was not a Mandalorian, but rather a common bounty hunter who stole the armor. Jango’s custom Mandalorian armor included an arsenal of weapons and equipment including a flamethrower, grapple hook, wrist blades, toxic darts and his dual WESTAR-34 blaster pistols.
Boba Fett was a deadly mercenary and bounty hunter born on the torrential rain planet of Kamino. He is an unaltered clone of “father” Jango Fett. Boba learned combat and marksmanship from his father at a young age, a skill he would later utilize as a bounty hunter. During the Battle of Geonosis, his father Jango was killed by Jedi Master Mace Windu.
Orphaned, Boba travelled the galaxy in search of purpose. Boba Fett was soon employed by the gangster Jabba the Hutt, and he gained notoriety as a capable bounty hunter despite his young age. Boba Fett was one of several bounty hunters recruited by the Empire to track down the Millennium Falcon after the Battle of Hoth. When Han Solo and Luke Skywalker arrived in Cloud City, Boba Fett and Sith Lord Darth Vader were waiting. Han was then frozen in carbonite so that Boba could claim the bounty reward from Jabba the Hutt. During the rescue of Han Solo by Luke Skywalker, Boba attempted to stop the Jedi but was knocked into the dangerous Sarlacc pit by a semi-blinded Han Solo. His fate remains unknown.
Like his father Jango Fett, Boba Fett is not considered Mandalorian since he did not grow up learning the Mandalorian way of life.
The next season of The Mandalorian is expected to premiere October 30, 2020 on Disney Plus. In the meantime, check out The Mandalorian Season 2 trailer.
Fans will be thrilled to learn that actor Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones, is rumored to play Boba Fett in the second season of The Mandalorian. Boba Fett was last seen falling into the open maw of the Sarlacc Pit and was presumed dead.
The Darksaber, which has deep roots in Mandalorian culture, was teased in last season's cliffhanger ending. As excitement grows for season two, we expect The Mandalorian to explore even more of this mysterious culture.