- "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, 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.
- "The Mandalorians have endured wars since before the formation of the Republic."
- ―Fenn Rau
The ancient history of the planet Mandalore was that of a warrior people known for being feared mercenaries and bounty hunters. In ancient times, a series of crusades were undertaken by a group of Mandalorian warriors known as the Mandalorian crusaders, during which they came into conflict with the Jedi Order. During this period Mandalorians would become known for fighting and often defeating Jedi Knights, as murals depicting these exploits would be created and displayed in Sundari, the capital of the planet Mandalore, as well as on Mandalore's moon, Concordia. During a crusade into the galaxy's Inner Rim, they devastated the planet Ubduria out of contempt for the native Ubdurians, whom they viewed as dishonorable cowards.
The Mandalorians also waged war against the Old Republic. During the fall of the Republic, members of House Vizsla snuck into the Jedi Temple and liberated a weapon known as the darksaber, a unique lightsaber created by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian ever inducted into the Jedi Order as a child. The planet Concord Dawn, a Mandalorian colony, was ravaged by almost one hundred wars amongst the Mandalorian people. Centuries of constant warfare and relentless campaigns of conquest ravaged Mandalore; the last great struggle between the Mandalorian warlords and the Jedi caused a cataclysmic event that devastated the once-glorious planet. This scorched much of its surface into lifeless white desert, uninhabitable outside of hermetically sealed dome cities, and ended the conflict in favor of the Jedi.
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 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 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, Fenn 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 Emprie, 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 Fenn 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 cruiser that was preventing the rebels from escaping. Able to escape, the remaining rebels fled the system, while the Mandalorians returned to Krownest.
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. For example, House Vizsla was comprised of Clan Vizsla and its allies like 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 the Mandalorian guard in addition to 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 using 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.
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