Many of us have enjoyed The Mandalorian on Disney+ and are eagerly awaiting new episodes being released for season two. Mandalorians are very distinctive visually and have a strong, fascinating tribal code that is very intriguing. However, sparked by a conversation that me and a few of the crewmates of H.M.S FinalBoss were having after watching episode one of season two (or Chapter Nine if you’re being pedantic), we were left with some questions, notably whether Jango Fett was a Mandalorian and, well, WTF even is a Mandalorian? So in the first of this new series of “What is a…” articles, we will discover exactly what a Mandalorian is.
A brief description of the Mandalorian people
The Mandalorians are a people of fierce, legendary warriors from various species that pride themselves on their code and martial prowess above all else. They have been feared Bounty Hunters and mercenaries throughout the galaxy. Their symbol is the skull of a mythosaur, which they are said to have once ridden. Once a people of expansion and conquest, civil war and Imperial occupation has left them a scattered people, operating in far-flung clans, in hiding from the galaxy.
The Mandalorian armour is distinctive and made from an incredibly durable metal called Beskar. The armour often includes advanced weaponry such as wrist-mounted sonic repulsors, rockets, flamethrowers, jetpacks and tactical displays. Their fighting style and use of weaponry derives from their wars against the Jedi, where they were renowned as Jedi killers across the galaxy.
A brief history of the Mandalorians: The rise
The Mandalorians begin their history on the planet of Mandalore, where they became a brutal warlike people. They did not contain this to their own planet though, as they soon began conquering worlds around them in the Mandalore sector and eventually started expanding into the Inner Rim.
This is when they started threatening the Republic, which brought them into direct confrontation with the Jedi for the first time. Initially taken aback by the Jedi’s use of the force, they soon adapted their weaponry and fighting style to combat the new threat. This included magnetic boots to hold them in place, their signature armour made of Beskar (which can withstand lightsabers) and sonic repulsors that could push objects like the force can.
However, despite the continuing wars with the Jedi, a Mandalorian named Tarre Vizsla became a Jedi and created his unique lightsaber, the Darksaber (which pops up many times in the canon, including the final episode of the first season of The Mandalorian). He becomes leader of all Mandalore eventually. After his death, the Darksaber was taken by the Jedi, only to be re-taken by the Mandalorians when they infiltrated the Jedi Temple on Coruscant.
A brief history of the Mandalorians: The fall
However, due to the constant infighting and never-ending conquest, the wars started to take their toll on the Mandalorians. They were soon pushed back and the final battle with the Jedi took place on Mandalore itself. This caused a planet-wide cataclysm which defeated the Mandalorians and resulted in their planet being a blasted wasteland. They were forced to live in domed cities. The victorious Jedi then helped to expand the Galactic Republic.
After their defeat, civil war broke out on Mandalore, with one faction of Mandalorians wanting a continuation of their warlike ways and the other wanting greater sophistication and order. The warlike side lost, and Mandalore was united under Satine Kryze. After seeing the enormous loss of life from the wars, she makes Mandalore a pacifist world and joined (and led) the Council of Neutral Systems during the Clone Wars.
What followed is covered in the Clone Wars TV show, so in order to save spoiling it for everyone (and myself, being only halfway through season 4), I shall skim over it. A faction called the Death Watch revived the Mandalorians’ old warlike ways in secret and did terrorist acts throughout Mandalore. The fighting with the rebel group led to the occupation of Mandalore by the Galactic Republic (soon to be the Galactic Empire).
A brief history of the Mandalorians: Occupation, the purge and becoming a scattered people
The Empire’s occupation of Mandalore was tough, the Mandalorians being fiercely warlike and independent. After infighting and resistance against the Empire, the Mandalorians eventually fought their way free of the Empire and began to govern themselves again under the Lady Bo-Katan.
The Empire would not be snubbed so easily though. They undertook the Great Purge and killed the majority of the Mandalorians and stole their armour for the Beskar it contained. The remaining Mandalorians go into hiding and operate in separate clans throughout the galaxy, even after the fall of the Empire. This is where the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian” starts.
Was Jango Fett or Boba Fett a Mandalorian?
This was a question that popped up after watching chapter nine of The Mandalorian, one in which none of the three of us watching really knew the answer too. It’s a fair question, both of them wear Mandalorian armour, so why not? Well, the answer is a bit more complex than that.
In Star Wars Legends (the once canon Expanded Universe that is no longer true lore for the Star Wars franchise), Jango was a Mandalorian. However, that was then changed in the current canon. Almec, Prime Minister of Mandalore, tells Obi-Wan in an episode of The Clone Wars, that “Jango Fett was a common bounty hunter. How he acquired that armour is beyond me”. It is worth noting his Mandalorian suit is also said to be made of Durasteel alloy, instead of Beskar (although they are not always made of Beskar because of the scarcity of the metal).
Boba Fett is an unaltered clone from Jango Fett, in every respect his son. We know that he did not then become a foundling for the Mandalorians, as in the Clone Wars it is revealed that he was taken under the wing of non-Mandalorian Bounty Hunters and later becomes a Bounty Hunter himself. He used his father’s helmet to conceal a bomb in an attempt to kill Mace Windu and there is nothing to say that the rest of his armour was his fathers in canon, so he probably purchased his armour in homage to his father. If we can assume that Din Djarin (i.e. The Mandalorian) would know what Beskar looked like on sight, the reaction he gives the armour he finds in Chapter Nine could well indicate it is genuine Beskar.
However, despite this, an announcement teaser for The Mandalorian suggests that Jango and Boba were Mandalorians. So, the question of “Was Jango Fett or Boba Fett a Mandalorian?” currently has conflicting answers. I have only seen the first episode of season two of The Mandalorian though, so who knows what answers that could be revealed on the hit Disney+ Star Wars show?
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