- "Because we were willing to die for our cause, we became the Death Watch, led by the Secret Mandalores. To ensure we would be led by the most powerful, we decreed that any warrior could challenge the Secret Mandalore for leadership of Death Watch."
- ―Tor Vizsla
The title of Secret Mandalore was one assumed by the leader of the radical Mandalorian splinter group known as the Death Watch. Also known as the Death Watch Overlord, these individuals held the belief that they were the true claimants to the traditional role of Mand'alor, leader of the Mandalorian people and clans. They stood in opposition to the "Anti-Mandalore," who ruled the pacifistic New Mandalorian people, and the "True Mandalore," chosen by the members of the mainstream Mandalorian warrior clans.
Notable Secret MandaloresEdit
- "People of Mandalore, I am Pre Vizsla of Clan Vizsla. Death Watch is here to save you from these intergalactic gangsters that threaten our great city. This is a war, and we will win! Join me, and let us defend Mandalore against the criminals. We need action, not pacifism!"
- ―Pre Vizsla
At the start of the Clone Wars, Pre Vizsla had stood publicly as the governor of Concordia, one of Mandalore's two moons, but in secret, he was the latest leader of the radical Mandalorian splinter group known as Death Watch. Vizsla despised the pacifistic New Mandalorians and their leader, Duchess Satine Kryze, believing the Mandalorians would be better off reclaiming their ancient role as conquering warriors. To this end, Vizsla aligned Death Watch with the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars, promising his support to the cause if the Confederacy's leader, Count Dooku, aided him in deposing Kryze. Despite their efforts to manipulate the Galactic Republic into moving against Mandalore, believing an armed Republic occupation would trigger the New Mandalorian populous to violently rebel and rally to Death Watch, Kryze was able to stem the Republic's occupation plans by speaking out before the Galactic Senate on Coruscant, and Vizsla's plans were dashed. Death Watch was eventually exiled from the Mandalore system, and Pre Vizsla had a falling out with Dooku that left his face scarred and his hatred for the Confederate leader immense. Vizsla led the now nomadic Death Watch across the galaxy, settling on the snowy world of Carlac, before moving on to the swamp-covered moon of Zanbar.
During one of Death Watch's travels, Vizsla came across the Sith Lord Darth Maul, and through the Zabrak Sith, found a new path to overturning the New Mandalorians' pacifism. Vizsla formed an alliance with Maul, and together they established a criminal contingent known as the Shadow Collective by recruiting elements of Black Sun, the spice-dealing Pyke Syndicate, and the foot soldiers of the Hutt Cartels. With their army of criminals, Vizsla and Maul put a plan for overthrowing the New Mandalorian government into action: the Collective's gangsters would assault the New Mandalorian capital city of Sundari and create chaos, making Duchess Kryze appear weak in the eyes of her people, only for Death Watch to arrive and rescue the New Mandalorian citizenry from their attackers and win public favor. The plan went as intended, with the New Mandalorian police unable to combat the numbers and firepower of the offworld criminals; the New Mandalorian people sought the aid of an administration that could do nothing to protect them, and it was only when Death Watch took to combating the criminals overtaking Sundari that order was restored. With the backing of the people, Pre Vizsla stormed the Sundari Royal Palace and had Kryze arrested. The Secret Mandalore of Death Watch took his place as the new leader of the New Mandalorians. Vizsla's time as Mand'alor of the New Mandalorians was short-lived, however, for with his goals met, he turned upon his Sith ally and tried to have Darth Maul incarcerated. Maul escaped his confines and challenged Vizsla to a fight to the death for leadership. Though Vizsla fought fiercely, making use of the full arsenal his Mandalorian armor made available to him, he was defeated and killed by Maul, who proclaimed himself to be the new leader of Death Watch and Secret Mandalore.
- "I claim this sword, and my rightful place as leader of Death Watch!"
- ―Darth Maul, taking possession of the Darksaber
From a young age, the Dathomir-native named Maul was raised and trained as a Sith by the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious. Becoming Sidious' Sith apprentice and earning the title of Darth upon his ascendance to Sith Lord, Maul became a fearsome force in his master's plan to conquer the galaxy. However, his time under Sidious was cut short when, in 32 BBY, Maul was grievously wounded by the Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi while on Naboo. Cut in half at the waist, it was only Maul's hatred and the power of the dark side of the Force that kept him alive, languishing for years in squalor on a garbage-covered world where his body had ended up until he was found, half insane, by his estranged brother Savage Opress. Opress took Maul back to Dathomir, where his mind was restored and his body was rebuilt with cybernetics by the Nightsister Mother Talzin. Possessed of his faculties once more, Maul set out to exact revenge upon Kenobi, taking Opress as his own Sith apprentice.
Maul's pursuit of vengeance eventually led him into an alliance with the radical Mandalorian Death Watch and their leader, Pre Vizsla. Seeing their combat prowess and efficiency as useful, the Sith agreed to help Vizsla topple the regime of the pacifist New Mandalorians. Together they assembled a collective of criminals comprised of gangsters from Black Sun, the Pyke Syndicate, and the Hutt kajidics, only to set them lose on the New Mandalorian capital of Sundari to spread fear and chaos in order to undermine the pacifist administration. With the people in a panic, Death Watch was sent in to stop the criminals, putting on a show for the populace that won the public's favor. Disgraced, the New Mandalorian leader Satine Kryze was deposed and Pre Vizsla took her place, only to immediately turn upon Maul and his apprentice. Unbeknownst to the Death Watch leader, Maul had anticipated his betrayal: the Sith Lord challenged Vizsla to a duel for leadership, killing him and proclaiming himself to be the new Secret Mandalore in charge of Death Watch. Maul's leadership was challenged by elements of the Death Watch loyal to Vizsla's lieutenant, Bo-Katan Kryze, who refused to follow a non-Mandalorian like Maul, instead breaking away from those who swore fealty to the Sith Lord. Maul reinstated the former Prime Minister Almec to serve as a puppet ruler of the New Mandalorians, so that he could affect control over both factions while remaining unseen by the galaxy at large. Despite this, Maul's former master, Darth Sidious, was able to track his one-time apprentice to the planet Mandalore, where he engaged Maul and Savage Opress in a lightsaber battle that ended with Opress's demise and a beaten Maul brought to heel by the Dark Lord of the Sith for his own purposes.
- "We conquered whole star systems. We had an empire. When cities heard our armies were coming, populations fled before a shot was fired. Now we cling to a pathetic sector of dirtball planets, we scramble for the crumbs that the cowardly aruetiise throw when they want us to fight for them, and they use us as a breeding stock for their clone armies. The aruetiise will always treat us like an animal species to be used for their convenience until we stand up for ourselves again."
- ―Lorka Gedyc
After Death Watch fractured and turned upon itself following Maul's ascension to leadership, Lorka Gedyc formed a new iteration of Death Watch, assuming leadership over the group by 19 BBY. Gedyc thought highly of the Mandalorians of old, who had forged an empire that spanned across vast swaths of the galaxy. The now diminished state of the Mandalore sector was abhorrent to Gedyc, and the Death Watch leader felt that the Mandalorians' penchant for mercenary and bounty hunting work was tantamount to scrambling for crumbs. Following the Republic's reorganization into the Galactic Empire, Lorka Gedyc saw an opportunity to restore the glory and power Death Watch believed the Mandalorians had lost. Gedyc allied Death Watch with the new Empire, and directed Death Watch members Dred Priest and Isabet Reau to assist the Imperials in establishing their garrison on Mandalore, just outside the planetary capital city of Keldabe in the "City of Bone." Priest thought highly of Gedyc and the Death Watch leader's plans, though he was killed for his ties to the radical sect by fellow Mandalorian Mij Gilamar, and the Empire ultimately moved to enslave Mandalore and its people.
By the year 1 ABY, with Mandalore now firmly under the control of the Galactic Empire, a remnant of the Death Watch had fled to the forested moon of Endor. Operating out of a hidden underground bunker, they were led by a Human male Mandalorian who made use of the Overlord title. From the bunker, the new Overlord commanded a force of Death Watch Wraiths, Ghosts, and Bloodguards, while rekindling Death Watch's relationship with Black Sun during the Clone Wars, contracting with the syndicate's assassins in exchange for their aid in furthering Death Watch goals.
Though Death Watch had fallen into obscurity, word of their survival on Endor eventually reached Imperial Commander D'krn on Tatooine, who believed that the Death Watch's Overlord could be a promising candidate for a new wave of cloned stormtroopers, just as Jango Fett had been for the former Republic's Grand Army. To that end, D'krn hired a group of spacers to retrieve a sample of the Overlord's blood. The survival of Death Watch on Endor had also come to the attention of Boba Fett, who was working for Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine at the time. As the son of Jango Fett—who had fought Death Watch to their near eradication decades earlier—Boba Fett sought to see the splinter group dealt with once and for all, offering assistance in breaching the bunker and payment to the spacers if they eliminated the rogue Mandalorians. The spacers eventually assaulted the Endor bunker, killing numerous Death Watch troops including their Overlord, before returning to D'krn with a vial of his blood.
Behind the scenesEdit
Death Watch and its leader were first introduced to the Star Wars universe with the release of the Jango Fett: Open Seasons series, written by Haden Blackman and published in 2002. A year later, in 2003, the Star Wars Galaxies video game put out an update entitled "An Empire Divided," wherein a new Death Watch leader was depicted in the Imperial era, one possessing the title of Overlord. The Republic and Imperial Commando series of novels by author Karen Traviss, as well as the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series also introduced other leaders of Death Watch during and after the Clone Wars, but it was only with the 2013 release of The Bounty Hunter Code reference book by Jason Fry, Daniel Wallace, and Ryder Windham, that the Death Watch leader was given the proper title of Secret Mandalore.
- Darth Plagueis (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
- Jango Fett: Open Seasons 1 (First appearance) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Jango Fett: Open Seasons 2 (Appears in flashback(s))
- Jango Fett: Open Seasons 3 (Appears in flashback(s))
- Jango Fett: Open Seasons 4 (Appears in flashback(s))
- Republic Commando: Hard Contact (Mentioned only)
- The Clone Wars: Secret Missions 3: Duel at Shattered Rock
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Mandalore Plot"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Voyage of Temptation"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Duchess of Mandalore"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Corruption" (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Friend in Need"
- The Wrath of Darth Maul
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A War on Two Fronts" (Mentioned only)
- The Clone Wars: Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Eminence"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shades of Reason"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lawless"
- Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel (Mentioned only)
- Imperial Commando: 501st
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided (First identified as Overlord)
- Rebellion 4: My Brother, My Enemy, Part 4 (Picture only)
- Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice (Mentioned only)
- The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett (First identified as Secret Mandalore)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 The Essential Guide to Warfare
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 The Clone Wars: Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Imperial Commando: 501st
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Mandalore Plot"
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 The Essential Atlas
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Duchess of Mandalore"
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Friend in Need"
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shades of Reason"
- ↑ Darth Plagueis
- ↑ The Wrath of Darth Maul
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Revenge"
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lawless"
- ↑ Jango Fett: Open Seasons