- "What is it with you Mandalorians, never knowing how to solve anything except through the end of a blaster?"
- ―Kanan Jarrus
Mandalorians were a predominantly human ethnolinguistic cultural group who originated on the planet Mandalore. Mandalorians had a particularly unique role in galactic history as legendary warriors against the Jedi, and could be commonly found not only on the Mandalorian homeworld and its moon, Concordia, but across Mandalorian Space and the galaxy at large on worlds such as Kalevala, Krownest, and Concord Dawn. Mandalore had a largely martial history, but by the time of the Clone Wars the pacifist and reformist New Mandalorian political faction controlled Mandalore's government, led by Duchess Satine Kryze. This led to internal conflict with other Mandalorian groups like Death Watch, who wanted to maintain the warrior ways of their Mandalorian heritage.
After the rise of the Galactic Empire, the Mandalore system came under the rule of the Empire with Gar Saxon as their Viceroy, while other Mandalorian worlds such as Concord Dawn were free from Imperial rule until Clan Saxon was defeated by the Mandalorian clans loyal to Bo-Katan Kryze who later took up the title of Mand'alor soon after.
The Mandalorian crusades and early expansion
- "The Mandalorians have endured war since before the formation of the Republic."
- ―Fenn Rau
Originating from the planet Mandalore in the Outer Rim, the Mandalorians' history was one of warriors who would become feared throughout the galaxy, gaining reputation as feared mercenaries and bounty hunters. Even prior to the formation of the Old Republic, war dominated their way of life.
This life of war eventually turned to dreams of expansion and a group of Mandalorian warriors known as the crusaders began waging war against other people to conquer their worlds. Armor-clad and wielding swords, the crusaders lay waste to many worlds during their wars. The crusaders conquered several worlds and systems beyond their own, among them the planets of Krownest and Concord Dawn. This world would bare the scars of a hundred wars, as almost a third of its planetary mass was fractured and reduced to space rubble. These early conquests would remain part of the Mandalore sector during the later years of the Galactic Republic and into the reign of the Galactic Empire.
War against the Jedi
- "I know that these commandos fought in many wars, often against the Jedi."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi
The Mandalorian crusaders' expansion eventually brought them into conflict with the Jedi Order and the Old Republic they protected. Their first confrontations with the Jedi Knights took the Mandalorians by surprise: their use of the Force and the powers it granted them was a challenge that they had never seen before. However, the prideful nature of the Mandalorians would not allow that disadvantage to stand and the technologically advanced people began to devise ways to overcome the powers of the enigmatic Jedi. The result was a major advancement in the development of Mandalorian technology, specifically of their arsenal and their infamous armor. They also developed a fighting style that combined their entire arsenal and skills to allow them to counteract the Jedi's supernatural abilities. With these new technologies, the Mandalorians began to win their share of conflicts with the Jedi and their warriors earned the reputation of being capable of confronting and defeating Jedi Knights. The generations-long conflict ensured an enmity that lasted for several wars and was remembered by the wider galaxy even millennia later during the Clone Wars. These clashes between the Mandalorians and the Jedi Order would become immortalized through cubist murals displayed in Mandalore's capital city of Sundari and on the moon Concordia.
Despite their near continuous conflicts, the Mandalorians and the Jedi were not always in conflict. The most prominent example of this was when the Mandalorian-born Tarre Vizsla, a member of the powerful House Vizsla, was inducted into the Jedi Order as a child. True to his Mandalorian nature, Vizsla distinguished himself from his Jedi peers by creating a unique lightsaber: the Darksaber. At some point in his life, Tarre Vizsla became the Mand'alor, the sole ruler of Mandalore and a revered figure among his people. Following his death, the Jedi recovered the Darksaber and returned it to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Mandalorians would later honor him by building a large statue of him on Mandalore to cement his legacy.
During the last centuries of the Old Republic, the Mandalorians struck at the very heart of their enemies' power: members of House Vizsla infiltrated the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and stole Tarre Vizsla's Darksaber. They used the saber to conquer the entirety of Mandalore, and united the diverse houses and clans throughout their territory.
The devastation of Mandalore
- "Once upon a time, these plains were covered with grass. But I never saw it. This destruction happened before I was born."
- ―Sabine Wren
Despite the unity that House Vizsla had brought to Mandalore, such was the warrior temperament of the Mandalorians that it did not last. Constant warfare and relentless campaigns of conquest ravaged Mandalore. Warlords from various clans emerged to fight the Jedi, but also to fight among themselves. The last great struggle between the Mandalorian warlords and the Jedi occurred on Mandalore itself, and caused a cataclysmic event that devastated the planet, scorching much of its surface into a lifeless, white desert.
This event ended the war between the Mandalorians and the Jedi, as well as the Mandalorians' dreams of expansion. As a result of their homeworld's devastation, a major focus on reconstruction occupied the warriors for a time; the uninhabitable conditions of Mandalore's surface forced them to adapt, just as they had adapted to the Jedi's use of the Force. Instead of abandoning Mandalore, they constructed sealed dome cities, such as the capital city of Sundari. Other Mandalorian clans chose to settle on worlds of the Mandalore sector, such as Clan Wren on the snow planet of Krownest, while the Protectors established a base on the moon of Concord Dawn. As the victorous Jedi helped establish the new Galactic Republic as the dominant galactic government, the Mandalorians remained isolated in their sector, their warrior ways and desire of conquest still alive though they would eventually fall into civil conflict.
Mandalorian Civil War
In the years prior to the Invasion of Naboo, a new conflict broke out between the Mandalorian people: the Mandalorian Civil War. The war was fought between competing ideals within Mandalorian society, including those who wished to see Mandalore return to their warrior past and the New Mandalorians, led by Satine Kryze. Also involved were the Protectors of Concord Dawn, an elite group of warriors sworn to defend the Concord Dawn system. At the end of the civil war, Satine Kryze ruled as the Duchess of Mandalore, and the warrior clans were exiled to Concordia.
Death Watch and the Shadow Collective
Unknown to the New Mandalorians, during the Clone Wars, the Concordian governor Pre Vizsla revived the Mandalorian culture as the Death Watch, and began committing terrorist acts on Mandalore, a Republic cruiser, and Kalevala. Conspiring with Count Dooku of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, Vizsla hoped the Republic would believe an intervention was necessary, so Death Watch could fight their invasion and be hailed by the Mandalorians as heroes. However, the plot failed and the Galactic Senate rejected the Mandalore Defense Resolution. Death Watch fled to become mercenaries, allying first with Separatist senator Lux Bonteri to plot Dooku's downfall, and then with the Sith Lord Darth Maul's Shadow Collective to win back the support of Mandalore's people. However, after Vizsla betrayed Maul, Maul killed him and became Death Watch's leader, prompting Bo-Katan Kryze to rebel against him.
Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi investigated the coup, but was captured, and Maul killed Satine to spite him. Kenobi escaped and returned to inform the Galactic Republic; in the meantime, Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, secretly the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious, captured Maul and imprisoned him in the Spire on Stygeon Prime. Maul's Mandalorian super commandos proved to be loyal and freed him, but nevertheless Maul's hold on Mandalore collapsed. Following the Siege of Mandalore, Bo-Katan was named Regent of Mandalore. Eventually Kryze was ousted out by Clan Saxon when she refused to follow Emperor Palpatine and the planet was ultimately occupied by the Galactic Empire. Meanwhile, the Protectors, who regarded Death Watch as traitors, assisted the Grand Army of the Republic in training clone troopers. Skull Squadron, commanded by Fenn Rau, assisted the Republic by training clone trooper pilots and fought in the Third Battle of Mygeeto.
After the Imperial occupation of Mandalore, Rau's Protectors established a base on the third moon of Concord Dawn, getting paid by the Empire to protect their system on their behalf, while other Mandalorians under the leadership of Gar Saxon, the Imperial Viceroy of Mandalore, would go on to serve in the Imperial Military as Imperial Super Commandos. In 2 BBY, Saxon and his Imperial Super Commandos wiped out the Mandalorian Protectors; as a result, Rau decided to join the rebellion. Later that year, the Spectres rebel cell member Sabine Wren found the Darksaber on Dathomir after she, Kanan Jarrus, and Ezra Bridger fought a battle there against Maul. At the urging of Fenn and the rebel leaders Hera Syndulla and Jarrus, Sabine agreed to begin training with the Darksaber so that she could reunify her people and rally them to help the rebellion. Following Sabine's training, she, Rau, Jarrus and Bridger returned to Krownest to Clan Wren's Stronghold. There, Sabine attempted to convince the clan's leader and her mother, Countess Ursa Wren to join the rebellion. At first, Ursa decided to surrender the Jedi to Viceroy Saxon and his Imperial Super Commandos in exchange for the darksaber and sparing her daughter. When Saxon branded her and Clan Wren as enemies of the Empire, Ursa and her son Tristan fought Saxon and commandos alongside Rau and the Jedi. When Saxon tried to kill Ursa with the Darksaber, Sabine took Bridger's lightsaber and fought Saxon. Sabine was then able to reclaim the Darksaber and subdue Saxon. When Saxon tried to shoot Sabine, he was then killed by Ursa. His death created a power vacuum among the Mandalorians. Sabine then decided to stay behind and help her mother, clan and Rau find Mandalore's true leader to whom she would give the Darksaber.
Involvement in Battle of Atollon
Soon afterwards, Bridger returned to Krownest, having escaped from the Battle of Atollon, to request help from Clan Wren for the rebels against Grand Admiral Thrawn, who was attacking the rebel base on Atollon. Although unable to send a full force, due to their current struggles against Clan Saxon, Ursa agreed to allow Sabine, Tristan, and Rau to lead several Mandalorian volunteers and ships to accompany Ezra and Chopper back to Atollon. The Gauntlet and several Fang fighters traveled back to Atollon, where they destroyed the Interdictor vessel that was preventing the rebels from escaping. Able to escape, the remaining rebels fled the system, while the Mandalorians returned to Krownest.
New Mandalorian civil war
In 1 BBY, Clan Wren under the leadership of Ursa and Sabine fought on Mandalore against Clan Saxon and the Empire. At some point during the Mandalorian civil war, Sabine and her younger brother, Tristan, arrived at the statue of Tarre Vizsla and discovered that the Empire had built an outpost situated on it. Sabine and Tristan were able to destroy the outpost and preserve the statue to its original state. Clan Wren was joined by several other factions and clans including the sole Journeyman Protector Rau, Lady Bo-Katan's Clan Kryze, Clan Vizsla, Clan Rook, and Clan Eldar. Sabine and the Rebel Alliance's Spectres Jarrus and Bridger also attacked a Imperial prison hoping to find Alrich Wren, although Alrich had been moved. Sabine then offered Kryze the Darksaber, but she refused knowing she was not her sister, Satine. Together they attacked a convoy guarded by the super commandos. They were then able to rescue Alrich. However, the commandos and the Empire then deployed an AT-DP armed with the Duchess weapon prototype that disintegrated numerous warriors of Clans Wren and Kryze. Only Tristan and Ursa survived the onslaught. The survivors were then able to regroup. Sabine and Bo-Katan then planned to destroy it by sneaking aboard Governor Tiber Saxon's Star Destroyer near Sundari to atone for her role in creating the weapon. The combined Mandalorian and rebel forces managed to infiltrate Saxon's Star Destroyer. Following a skirmish, they destroyed the Duchess and Saxon's vessel. After the battle, Lady Bo-Katan assumed the Darksaber and the mantle of leadership over the Mandalorian clans. The Vizslas, Wrens, Kryzes, Rooks, Eldars, and the sole remaining Journeyman Protector Rau pledged allegiance to the new Mand'alor.
Mandalorian clan structure was like a pyramid, with the ruler, or Mand'alor, at the top and the Protectors enforcing their rule. Below them were the political factions known as Houses, made up of family clans. One example was House Vizsla, which was comprised of Clan Vizsla and Clan Wren. Under the rule of Duchess Satine Kryze and the New Mandalorian government during the Clone Wars, the Mandalorians had mostly rejected their martial ancestral ways, but maintained a police force and secret service, who wielded electropoles and shields.
Honor and Traditions
Mandalorians were some of the most feared warriors in the galaxy. As prideful warriors, single combat was integral to the culture and spirit of the Mandalorians, and they had a strong code of honor that could be invoked to settle disputes with one-on-one combat that would conclude with the death of one opponent. This affinity and tradition for single combat extended beyond justice however, as Mandalorians would even seek single combat simply for the glory of fighting a great opponent such as a Jedi Knight, and would even be used to settle leadership disputes. However, some in House Vizsla refused to accept non-Mandalorians like Darth Maul ever becoming ruler of Mandalore via such traditions. Maul himself had Prime Minister Almec lie to the Mandalorian people that Satine had killed Vizsla. The darksaber was appropriated by House Vizsla as a symbol of authority and leadership used to unify the Mandalorians.
Mandalorian armor developed a legendary reputation that was feared across the galaxy and was visually distinctive with its honeycomb plate patterns and menacing T-shaped visors. It was packed with anti-Jedi tools such as Jetpacks, magnetized boots, tactical displays and armed gauntlets that featured weaponry and tools designed to combat the abilities of the Jedi. Some of this weaponry not only helped combat but outright mimicked Jedi abilities such as their wrist-mounted sonic repulsors. They generally favored WESTAR-35 blaster pistols and Z-6 jetpacks, which could project missiles. The archetypal Mandalorian starfighter design was called the Kom'rk-class fighter.
Mandalorian warriors possessed advanced combat training from their many wars that dated before the Republic's existence. However, it wasn't until their conflicts with the Jedi that they would develop their signature combat style. This style entailed a Mandalorian utilizing a mix of melee, ranged, and hand-to-hand techniques while incorporating the technology in his or her vambraces to surprise a Jedi Knight in combat, allowing the Mandalorian to finish them off. Mandalorian warriors would continue to utilize this style of combat against the Jedi throughout time as well as against other opponents.
Cubism was a popular Mandalorian art movement during the Clone Wars, though after the conflict paintings that had depicted the awfulness of war were being used to promote and glorify it instead. Mandalorians typically trended towards strong angled and hexagonal lines, such as diamond and honeycomb shapes, in their architecture, vehicles, clothing and even haircuts. Sabine Wren, a Mandalorian member of the Spectres, was a talented graffiti artist who personalized and painted her armor. A statue of Tarre Vizsla was erected on Mandalore, and became a symbol for hope and Mandalorian history.
Mandalorians in the galaxy
Mandalorian armor struck fear in the hearts of many across the galaxy. The Trandoshan hunter Garnac kept a Mandalorian Neo-Crusader helmet as a trophy, while the bounty hunters Jango Fett and Boba Fett wore Mandalorian armor, keeping the memory of the Mandalorians alive well into the Galactic Civil War. Jango's armor inspired those of the soldiers cloned from him, starting a design lineage that continued down to the stormtroopers of the First Order. Several Mandalorian war banners decorated the entrance of Maz Kanata's castle on the planet Takodana.
Behind the scenes
When The Empire Strikes Back was in pre-production, there was an idea for squad of "supercommandos" from the Mandalore system armed with weapons built into their white suits. The costume prototype was repainted for Boba Fett, and the idea of the Mandalorians was paid lip service to in The Empire Strikes Back novelization by Donald F. Glut. As mentioned in the novelization, the Mandalorians were now imagined as "a group of evil warriors defeated by the Jedi Knights during the Clone Wars." Fett's popularity inspired a wealth of Expanded Universe literature about him, which assumed he and his father were Mandalorian like their armor. When it came time to introduce the Mandalorians in season two of The Clone Wars, George Lucas and Dave Filoni looked at Mandalore in the EU and decided they would keep the broad strokes of their history. Much of the Mandalorian history referenced were subsequently rebranded "Legends", and not considered canon. Filoni wanted to give the Mandalorian people's appearance a "Nordic flavor". The Clone Wars art department looked at Fett's armor and translated its angles, particularly the diamond shape on the breastplate, into every aspect of the Mandalorian aesthetic. Filoni and Lucas felt it should be made clear that the ancient Mandalorians were an army, not a ragtag band of warriors wearing customized armor, so Death Watch would look uniform. (The decision would also keep Boba Fett's armor unique.) Filoni hoped to eventually show how the Mandalorians became mercenaries who supplied Fett with his unusual armor. When Death Watch reappeared in season four's "A Friend in Need", the characters were given a greater variety of gear, lending them what Lucas described as a "biker gang feel".
Before its cancellation, The Clone Wars was to depict the Siege of Mandalore. Writer Henry Gilroy said Mandalore was likely occupied by the Republic before it turned into the Empire. He speculated due to Mandalore's importance, it was likely a "soft occupation", with a new Mandalorian puppet leader ruling the planet. Star Wars Rebels has since confirmed that the Jedi named Bo-Katan Kryze Regent of Mandalore following the Siege, who was deposed by Emperor Palpatine following the end of the Republic.
- LEGO Star Wars Movie Short (2015 Episode 10: Rebels Raw Deal)
- Disney Infinity 3.0
- Angry Birds Star Wars II
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Mission to Mos Eisley" (Appears in flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (DLC)
Notes and references
- Mandalorian on Wikipedia