One of the most fearsome visages in the galaxy is the expressionless mask of a Mandalorian. We might not know much about the man under the helmet in The Mandalorian, the new live-action Star Wars series that debuted on Disney+ this week, but the iconic armor itself tells us a lot. From a history rife with violence and conflict, to the planet’s avowed neutrality during the last days of the Republic, and its Imperial occupation in the Galactic Civil War, Mandalore is a world of proud warriors and citizens who honor its storied history.
Who are the Mandalorians? Let’s take a look at the scarred world and its inhabitants.
A Long Time Ago
Mandalore is an Outer Rim planet that has been entirely ravaged by continuous war. Its society is divided into Houses and Clans, which frequently battled each other for power over the centuries. Its warmongering people also took the fight outside the confines of Mandalore; its fearsome fighters were even unafraid to take the Jedi head-on in ancient conflicts.
Centuries of battle changed the planet’s surface into a barren landscape. By the time of the Clone Wars, the endless deserts are dotted with domed cities with most of its populace living peacefully inside. Mandalore’s armored warriors were exiled to the moon of Concordia, presumed to have died out as the years passed.
As yet another civil war ended shortly before the rise of the Empire, the new ruler, Duchess Satine Kryze, focused on keeping the New Mandalorian government out of violent conflict at almost any cost.
The Clone Wars
Duchess Satine was a pacifist, a revolutionary philosophy for the warrior planet. Her stance made her a target of repeated assassination attempts and a coup, as dissidents on Concordia organized themselves into the Mandalorian-armor clad group Death Watch. Funded by the Separatists, the conflict soon drew the attention of the Jedi and Obi-Wan Kenobi, who had a personal and complicated history with Satine. Despite their efforts, Satine was overthrown as ruler, and a crime syndicate with Darth Maul at the helm took control of the planet.
As the situation on Mandalore escalated, the Galactic Republic finally stepped in, and became a permanent presence on the planet that had once fought fiercely to remain independent.
Star Wars Rebels
After the Clone Wars, Bo-Katan Kryze, sister of Satine, served as the planet’s regent for a time. When she refused to bow to the Emperor, she was betrayed by Clan Saxon, and Gar Saxon became the Imperial Viceroy of Mandalore.
After rebel Sabine Wren retrieved the Darksaber from Maul, she returned home to Clan Wren of Mandalore to find that the Empire was firmly entrenched in their power. Gar Saxon, loyal to the Emperor, destroyed a colony of Mandalorians on Concord Dawn to quell any potential uprising. Their deaths, coupled with Saxon betraying Clan Wren, led to a small, organized faction of insurgents on Mandalore itself. The armor-clad warriors fought for their planet as civil war erupted once again, this time against Clan Saxon and the might of the Empire.
The Empire deployed a weapon designed to penetrate the alloys in Mandalorian armor, but Bo-Katan, Sabine, and the rebels destroyed it before the death toll climbed even higher. Victorious in the costly civil war, Bo-Katan accepted the Darksaber and Mandalore was united under one leader once again. But the conflict was only beginning. The full power of the Empire would be unleashed against the planet in the Galactic Civil War.
The armor worn by the warriors of Mandalore is not simply for defense. Helmets are often customized to show clan affiliation, and each piece honors the legacy of the warriors that came before and all they had fought for. “The armor I wear is 500 years old,” Sabine told Ezra Bridger. “I reforged it to my liking, but the battles, the history, the blood, all lives within it. The same goes for every Mandalorian.”
Bounty hunters from elsewhere in the galaxy recognized the protective value of the armor and sometimes claimed it for their own. “Jango Fett was a common bounty hunter; how he acquired that armor is beyond me,” Prime Minister Almec was quick to tell Obi-Wan Kenobi on their first meeting.
What history will be discovered in The Mandalorian and his beskar armor? True to its roots, we already know it will be one of blood and battle.
Find out more about Disney+ on StarWars.com and watch The Mandalorian now.
Kelly Knox is a Seattle-based freelance writer who loves creating Star Wars crafts with her daughter. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox.
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