Hello everyone and welcome to The Sarlacc Pit! This week will be all about Mandalorians, the humans people of the planet Mandalore. Mandalorians such as Jango Fett, Pre Viszla, and Sabine Wren are some fan favorites throughout the Star Wars franchise. In this post, I’m going to talk a little about their history and culture that have been revealed in canon so far. There will be minor spoilers, so read at your own risk!
Early History and Culture
Earliest accounts of the Mandalorian people described them as powerful warriors who were often employed throughout the galaxy as feared mercenaries and bounty hunters. Mandalorians originated on the Outer Rim planet Mandalore, but spread inward, conquering, and in some cases totally destroying, other planets.
While all of Mandalore answered to a central ruler, the people were divided into different clans, with leaders of each clan governing their own houses. The Mandalorians had a strict code of honor, which often allowed for deadly one-on-one combat to settle disputes.
Mandalorians were most recognizable by their armor, which commonly featured T-shaped visors, specialized vambraces, and jet packs. The color of the armor and different markings either symbolized clan unity or personal accomplishments. In Legends canon, this armor was based off the appearance of an ancient alien race native to Mandalore, which eventually died out. This information has not been canonized yet, however.
Mandalorians vs. Jedi
Mandalorians, who thrived in battling strong opponents, often fought with the Jedi Order. In order to combat a Jedi’s Force abilities, Mandalorians would use either group tactics, or specialized weapons in their vambraces such as sonic blasters, paralytic darts, or energy whips. Thousands of years before the Clone Wars, the conflict between the Jedi and Mandalore resulted in the destruction of the surface of Mandalore.
Before this conflict, however, a Mandalorian named Tarre Vizsla was inducted into the Jedi Order. He created an interesting type of lightsaber known as the darksaber and was a powerful Jedi. When he died, the Jedi Order interred the darksaber in the Jedi Temple, until Clan Vizsla stole it from the Temple. The darksaber was then passed down to each successive leader of Clan Vizsla, and eventually to the leaders of the group known as Death Watch.
The Clone Wars and Death Watch
Before the Invasion of Naboo, there was a Mandalorian Civil War, where groups of warriors who wanted Mandalore to return to their warrior past fought against the New Mandalorians, who wanted a peaceful Mandalore. The New Mandalorians, and peace, won in the end and the warrior clans were exiled to the moon Concordia.
On Concordia during the Clone Wars, Pre Vizsla, leader of Clan Vizsla, resurrected the group known as Death Watch, and conspired with Count Dooku to have the Separatists invade Mandalore, where Death Watch would swoop in, stop the invasion, and be hailed as heroes. However, their plot was discovered and stopped, and Death Watch fled to become mercenaries.
That was, until, they were approached by Darth Maul and joined with the Shadow Collective. Under the guidance of Darth Maul, Death Watch was able to overthrow the New Mandalorian government. That was, until, Maul was captured by Darth Sidious. Without Maul’s leadership, Death Watch’s hold on Mandalore collapsed, and the planet was taken over by the Galactic Empire.
When Mandalore was taken by the Empire, many Mandalorians worked either protecting important sectors for the Empire, or as Imperial Supercommandos. However, some defected to the Rebellion, choosing to fight for the freedom of their planet instead of for the tyrannical Empire.
Other Mandalorians, unwilling to fight for anyone else, still worked throughout the galaxy as mercenaries or bounty hunters, keeping the legends of the old ways of Mandalore alive through the galaxy.
People tend to look at Mandalorians and assume that they are the most bad ass characters in whatever series they are looking at. The beautiful thing about Mandalorians is that that assumption usually ends up being true. From Boba Fett to Sabine Wren, these armored humans sporting jetpacks and rocket launchers always captures the attention of the audience whenever they come on screen. Mandalorians have a long history of ass kicking, and made themselves into powerful enemies for whoever wanted to pick a fight with them. Lately, “Rebels” has begun to really get into what happened on Mandalore during the reign of the Empire, so if these warriors have tickled your fancy, you might want to check that out.
I will leave you with a final fact: while I will always refer to him as a Mandalorian, Boba Fett is technically from Kamino, as he was a clone of Jango Fett. Furthermore, despite claiming that he was from the Mandalorian world of Conchord Dawn, Pablo Hidalgo has stated that Jango Fett is not Mandalorian either. So, hopefully we will see a little bit more on that in the future. As for next week, I am going to discus one of my favorite groups of vehicles in Star Wars canon: walkers! Thanks for reading, and may the Force be with you!