The Mandalorian builds on a rarely seen corner of the Star Wars universe, with the new Disney+ series full of terms associated with Mandalorian mythology that may be new to some viewers. That’s especially the case since the Mandalorians – aside from Boba and Jango Fett – aren’t important in the Skywalker Saga. They do, however, have a strong presence in other forms of media, like cartoons, books, and video games.
Mandalorian culture has its beginnings in the original Star Wars trilogy with Boba Fett. Introduced in The Empire Strikes Back as a heavily-armored bounty hunter who captures Han Solo, Boba Fett is associated with the species because of his iconic Mandalorian armor. So while Boba Fett isn’t actually a Mandalorian, he is responsible for furthering their reputation in the galaxy, and introducing them to fans. Though depicted as a villain, the highly-trained mercenary has gained a great degree of popularity, causing him to be featured as a protagonist in his own books. For years, Boba Fett was set to receive a solo movie, but the project was scrapped in favor of The Mandalorian, which centers on a character who actually is a Mandalorian.
Disney+’s first live-action Star Wars TV series shines the spotlight on an entirely new character. Starring Pedro Pascal as the titular bounty hunter, The Mandalorian sends the main character on a dangerous mission in the outer reaches of the galaxy where he encounters various established alien races from the Star Wars universe, including the Jawas and a mysterious baby Yoda. Of course, Mandalorian culture factors into the show as well. Here’s what you need to know about the mythology of Mandalore and its people.
The Mandalorians were never mentioned by name in the original movies, and it was never clear where Boba Fett obtained his Mandalorian armor. The name “Mandalorian” was first coined in a Star Wars comic published by Marvel in the 1980s. It was eventually established that the Mandalorian armor worn by Boba Fett in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi was acquired by his father, Jango, who presumably stole it from a real Mandalorian. The Mandalorians are skilled warriors from the planet Mandalore. The Mandalorians received a few appearances in books set in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, before being more thoroughly fleshed out in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. In The Clone Wars, the Mandalorians were temporarily ruled by Darth Maul.
Mandalore is an inhospitable planet that dwells on the Outer Rim. The people of Mandalore are broken up into clans, which are often at war with each other. The constant in-fighting between the Mandalorians have dramatically changed the face of their planet, forcing the Mandalorians to live in domed cities. The Mandalorians are a war-like people who are known throughout the galaxy for their violent nature and distinctive, nearly impenetrable armor. The armor is so recognizable that Boba and Jango are commonly mistaken for Mandalorians. The Mandalorians’ armor signifies their clan affiliation, and is something that is traditionally passed down to their descendants for hundreds of years. The armor is made with Beskar, a resource found only on Mandalore.
In the first episode of The Mandalorian, a character makes a reference to an event called “The Great Purge”. Some are speculating that this refers to the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith when the Jedi were eliminated by the Empire on the orders of Palpatine. Alternatively, it could relate directly to a yet unrevealed event in Mandalorian history. It was said that the Empire placed its seal on a stash of Beskar Steel, which could mean that the Empire had to kill large numbers of Mandalorians in order to get their hands on the Beskar Steel.
When the main character in The Mandalorian is struggling to learn how to ride the Blurrg, Kuiil (Nick Nolte) shames him into trying again by mentioning that the Mandalorian’s ancestors once rode the Mythosaurs, which were the ancient beasts of Mandalore. The Mythosaurs were enormous, four-legged, horned creatures who dominated the planet for centuries until they were driven extinct by the arrival of a group of powerful warriors led by Mandalore the First.
One of the main characters featured in the Disney animated series Star Wars: Rebels is Sabine Wren, a member of the Mandalorian race. In the series, Sabine wears her own version of the Mandalorian armor. She lived on Mandalore during a time when they were under the control of the Empire. Sabine was trained in making weapons at the Imperial Academy of Mandalore. Like other Mandalorians, she later put her skills to use as a bounty hunter, where she met up with the other main characters. A season 3 episode of Star Wars: Rebels dealt with a Mandalorian civil war, which was one of the many wars waged between opposing factions of Mandalorians. Sabine would come to briefly wield the Darksaber, a one-of-a-kind lightsaber made by the first Mandalorian to be inducted into the Jedi Order, Tarre Vizla. Sabine passed the Darksaber on to Bo-Katan, deeming her worthy of leading the Mandalorian race.
Pedro Pascal’s character in the new Disney+ series is the first Mandalorian to be feature as the main protagonist in any Stars Wars movie or show. Though it hasn’t been said on-screen, the Mandalorian’s real name has been revealed to be Dyn Jarren. A troubled childhood that may be connected to the Clone Wars was hinted at in flashbacks, but for the most part, his backstory is a mystery. Following the tradition of Boba Fett in the original Star Wars trilogy, the Mandalorian hasn’t removed his helmet (so far). In the vein of Clint Eastwood’s western heroes, the Mandalorian is a man of few words and a crackshot who shoots first and ask questions later. Described as a very “expensive” bounty hunter, Pedro Pascal’s character is singularly focused on finishing his next job and getting paid. However, his interactions with Baby Yoda and Kuill indicate that the star of The Mandalorian is also a man of integrity, and not just an unfeeling, money-hungry mercenary. More may be revealed about the character and his past as the series continues to unfold.
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