To discuss Mandalore and The Mandalorian, we need to take a step back and head to The Empire Strikes Back movie. After all, it was in that movie that live-action Boba Fett first appeared after his debut in the Star Wars Holiday Special. But Boba Fett still remained a mysterious character since the movie didn’t really explain a lot about him. But thankfully, Attack of the Clones explored more about his origins.
Also, it was this show that introduced Jango Fett, his father as well. But this show didn’t introduce the planet Mandalore. That was done by Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. This show explored their armor especially the beskar steel, the bloody past of the planet, and their contentious relationship with the Jedis. But that’s not the only thing the show told fans.
What More Did The Star Wars: The Clone Wars Animated Series Explore About Mandalore And Its People?
Along with the above information, viewers came to know about Mandalorian culture as well as their leadership structure that was based on honor. The animated series also told fans about the civil war that was raging for years between peaceful Mandalorian progressives and violent extremists.
Furthermore, we came to know about the Darksaber and how it was a symbol for thr planet since it was wielded by the only Mandalorian Jedi to emerge from the planet. This Darksaber commands respect and power also because it’s reserved for the ruler of the planet. So now it’s time to see what The Mandalorian has added to the history of the people and the planet.
The Disney+ show The Mandalorian has done a great job till now of elaborating on the history presented in The Clone Wars series. In season 1, the show explored pretty much what has been said in The Clone Wars series already. But as season 2 came about, the show became very generous with the history lessons. It also made sense because its protagonist- Din Djarin was also opening himself up and making new friends.
He was interacting more with his people too. So season 2 opened up the cracks and explored more of Mandalore’s culture. One of the major things that get explored in the second season is just how much the Mandalorian warriors worship their armors and how far they are willing to go to protect that tradition.
Din Djarin encounters Cobb Vanth, a vigilante in Tatooine who uses the lost armor of Boba Fett to ensure that the Mos Pelgo island remains safe from the Tusken Raiders. When Din Djarin comes to know that someone who doesn’t have the Mandalorian heritage is going around in the beskar armor, his hackles get raised and he gets ready to fight.
But this fight gets delayed due to a Krayt dragon and so Djarin has to work with Vanth instead. Now after the danger passes, the audience might be persuaded to believe that Din will let his new friend keep the armor. After all, Vanth does use the suit just to protect innocents. But that isn’t what happens.
Din Djarin tries to get the armor back. This speaks volumes about how seriously Mandalorians take their beskar armor and why they don’t tolerate any appropriation of it.
Another example of Mandalorian culture comes in ‘The Passenger’. There Din Djarin was ferrying the frog lady and her eggs to Trask. But the journey goes haywire when Razor Crest abruptly crashes on an ice planet that makes Din take back his promise of getting the Frog Lady to safety and to her husband.
So when our Mandalorian was planning on going off to get his work done, the amphibian commandeers voice came from the droid box and it said that he had to escort her and fulfil the “Mandalorian Code.” Now we haven’t heard of this code before. But apparently swearing into the creed demands that one follows promises, takes in foundlings (like Grogu), helps others, respects the beskar armor, and settles disputes through one-on-one combat.
Viewers then understand that anything Din that says that will do, that he has to do. Also, Cara Dune further elaborates on these rules in “The Rescue”. She says here that these rules are what defines a person as a Mandalorian, even more than heritage or bloodline.
At first, viewers thought that season 1 of The Mandalorian’s mythology didn’t line up with the Mandalorian history that Star Wars fans previously knew. However, season 2 does give a much-needed explanation for this and that’s the Children of the Watch.
Viewers must remember that in “The Heiress” when Din meets Bo-Katan Kryze along with her followers, he gets appalled and shocked to see that his fellow Mandalorians are removing their helmets brazenly. Bo-Katan notices Din’s reaction and concludes that Din belongs to the Children of the Watch. We got to know that this a group comprising of extremist zealots who blindly follow the Way of Mandalore and want to return their world to the traditional days.
So this includes raising their kids to be warrior-like through strict behaviours. Also, the Children of the Watch are not told about other belief systems. So Din probably didn’t know that his upbringing was unusual. Not to mention that this explains neatly why Din doesn’t want to remove the helmet even though others did this. After all, the Way of Mandalore teaches one to hide one’s face no matter the cost. So this practice gives new dimensions to the traditional armor worship.
Season 1 didn’t tell us everything about Mandalore’s history. There were obviously gaps. Viewers of Star Wars Rebels know that it is Bo-Katan Kryze who is the leader of the planet since she is the rightful wielder of the Darksaber. However, since then the weapon goes into Moff Gideon’s hands. So there’s the question of how did he get it- did he steal it or did he win it fully fair and square from Bo-Katan?
We can infer what happened from Bo-Katan herself. She is the one who says that she can get the Darksaber back by only beating Gideon. So it does suggest that the two did in fact ended up fighting and Moff won. But her disdain towards this victory does show that his win was dishonourable. After all, Gideon winning in a fight against Bo-Katan does seem really far fetched.
Also, there are several hints in season 2 that show that Katee Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan still thinks that she is Mandalore’s rightful ruler. Also, she is still the head of her house and calls herself “Lady Kryze”. We should also mention that Boba Fett calls her “princess” (even though his voice is completely laced with sarcasm). So that’s another indication that Bo-Katan remains the true ruler of Mandalorians despite the Great Purge.
Another thing that season 1 didn’t adequately expand upon was the ambiguity regarding Jango and Boba Fett’s heritage. Star Wars had previously indicated that Jango got his armor through illegal methods. So this means that he or his cloned son aren’t thought to be Mandalorians in the classical or traditional sense.
When season 2 came around, we got to know how the most well-known bounty hunters are connected to their planet. We saw that Boba Fett used the beskar armor that Mando got from Cobb Vanth. Also, he proved that he was the true owner of the suit by showing his holographic chain code. That was certainly a better option than letting Djarin peel it from his corpse.
The message showed that Jango was adopted as a foundling by Jaster Mereel (he comes from Star Wars legends). Mereel was declared to be his people’s leader and was against the Death Watch. It is this connection that ensures that Jango as well as his son remain tied to the Mandalorian culture.
The season 2 of the show offers different kinds of theories about the present condition of Mandalore. However, viewers don’t know what the truth is as of yet. We see that Din definitely believes that his home planet isn’t there anymore. Instead, it has been turned into a wasteland after the Empire came there.
Now it’s certainly possible that the Children of the Watch lied to him about this. However, Boba Fett also backs up this story by claiming that the Empire did turn their planet into glass. But Bo-Katan doesn’t seem to think so. She thinks that the Empire spread misinformation to drive people away from it. So she thinks that there’s something in the planet that can be saved and she can lead it as its leader. At the least, this tells us about the condition of the survivors who fled during the Great Purge.
In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, it’s said that Mandalore joined the Separatist movement after not interfering initially. But Count Dooku’s betrayal resulted in bloody battles between Mandalore’s people and the clone army of the Republic.
Season 2 shows that the wounds from that era are still fresh. It can be seen in Bo-Katan Kryze’s sharp remarks about the clone biology of Boba Fett. So there’s evidently a general hatred towards clones since the prequel era.
In season 2 of The Mandalorian, Bo-Katan Kryze’s only mission is to get the Darksaber back. So for this, she has to defeat Moff Gideon through combat. However, villains don’t really follow any codes that call for integrity. So Din Djarin battles Gideon and even wins.
So according to the Darksaber tradition, it is Mando who has the weapon and as a result, he is the ruler of Mandalore. But Din isn’t willing to be a ruler so he gives the sword to Bo-Katan. But she refuses to accept it since according to the laws she has to fight him and win it fair and square.
However, Star Wars Rebels tells us something else. The animated show told us that there were many who inherited the sword without fighting at all. In fact, this includes Bo-Katan herself. So she can just take the sword and be a ruler. But Bo-Katan is a proud person and she doesn’t want to just take it. She wants to win it.
So this shows that there seems to be a gap between the animated shows of Star Wars and the live-action ones. We can hope that this will get sorted out in season 3, whenever that drops. Also, we might finally get to see who will be the new ruler of Mandalore.