Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Mandalorians

7 minute read

By Nick Steinberg (@Nick_Steinberg)

Mandalorians have been a source of much interest and speculation from Star Wars fans long before Disney created a TV show about one. We can attribute most of this popularity to Boba Fett, the stylish bounty hunter who endeared himself to millions of fans despite only having four lines in the 1980s The Empire Strikes Back (and a really embarrassing “demise” in that film’s sequel). Thankfully, Mandalorians have returned to respectability thanks in large part to Pedro Pascal’s lead performance as the unnamed protagonist in The Mandalorian. Even if he’s been largely overshadowed by a certain adorable green co-star, Pascal’s “Mando” is a fascinating character, in part because there’s an aura of mystery surrounding him.

Bit by bit, The Mandalorian has revealed aspects from Mando’s past and how the Mandalorian people fit into the Star Wars universe following the fall of the Galactic Empire. However, there are still quite a few questions the show hasn’t answered. So if you love the show but wish it would divulge a bit more information about Mandalorian history and culture, we’ve got you covered.

Here are 11 things you probably didn’t know about these legendary warriors.

11. They Once Had a Vast Empire

By the time we meet them in the Disney Plus series, the Mandalorians are a nomadic tribe of displaced refugees. But at the height of their power, the Mandalorian Empire controlled a large pocket of the galaxy that extended well beyond their home planet of Mandalore. In fact, nearly a thousand worlds were part of Mandalorian Space, a strategic position that lay between Coruscant and the Outer Rim Territories.

Their warmongering also drew some unwanted attention from the Jedi, leading to an all-out war that would prove costly in the long run. Much like the real-life Roman Empire, overexpansion and constant warfare eventually led to the Mandalorian Empire’s fall, punctuated by a cataclysmic event that devastated their home planet Mandalore and turned it into a lifeless desert.

Source: Screenshot via Lucasfilm/Disney

10. Darth Maul Ruled Mandalore For A Short Time

Following the devastation of Mandalore, its people continued to inhabit the planet but were forced to live in domed cities. Around the time of the Clone Wars, Mandalore was governed by a pacifist regime led by Duchess Satine Kryze, which unfortunately opened the door to insurrection.

Believe it or not, Darth Maul’s Shadow Collective overthrew Kryze during the Clone Wars, meaning that Maul was effectively Mandalore’s ruler for a time. Maul’s rule didn’t last long, however. Following a series of convoluted events, including Darth Sidious confronting his former apprentice, Maul was forced to flee Mandalore and the Republic (which later became the Empire, of course), took control of the planet.

Source: Screenshot via Lucasfilm/Disney

9. They Don’t Like Jedi

You know that conflict with Darth Maul we were just talking about? Well, part of the reason the Mandalorians were able to depose the Sith Lord was that they received help from the Jedi. This was a rather remarkable development when you consider the Jedi were sworn enemies of the Mandalorians for thousands of years.

The politics and history are too complex to summarize here accurately, but the feud basically came down to the Mandalorians being warmongers and the Jedi taking issue with that. This is why Mandalorians have so much anti-Jedi technology built into their armor. In fact, Mandalorian warriors are one of the few non-Force users in the galaxy capable of going toe-to-toe with a Jedi Knight.

Source: Screenshot via Lucasfilm/Disney

8. They Also Don’t Like The Empire

Oh, you thought the Mandalorians only had it out for lightsaber-wielding peacekeepers? Think again. After Darth Maul lost control of Mandalore, the planet effectively fell into the Empire’s hands, marking yet another period of civil unrest for its war-weary people. This period was marked by a series of injustices against the Mandalorians, including the Empire, aggressively mining Mandalore and its moon, Concordia, for precious Beskar Steel.

The Empire was eventually overthrown by Satine Kryze’s sister Bo-Katan Kryze and her Death Watch terrorist group. However, it’s suspected that the group of nomads we meet in The Mandalorian don’t recognize Bo-Katan as their leader, which makes both the Empire and other Mandalorians their enemy.

Source: Screenshot via Lucasfilm/Disney

7. At Least One Mandalorian Became A Jedi

Amidst thousands of years of conflict, the Mandalorians actually shared a period of prolonged peace with the Jedi. This peace was brokered by a Mandalorian named Tarre Vizsla, who himself was inducted into the Jedi Order at a young age, making him the first known Mandalorian to become a Jedi. Befitting a warrior belonging to two different, highly-regarded orders, Tarre constructed a unique black-colored lightsaber for himself called the darksaber.

The darksaber became the symbol of House Vizsla and a valuable heirloom in Mandalorian culture. According to Mandalorian custom, one could only obtain the darksaber by defeating its previous owner in combat. Sabine Wren, a respected Mandalorian freedom fighter, later gave the darksaber to Bo-Katan Kryze after the latter took control of Mandalore.

Source: Screenshot via Lucasfilm/Disney

6. Beskar Armor is Strong Enough to Repel a Lightsaber

Remember that anti-Jedi tech the Mandalorians have? Well, their strongest and therefore greatest defense against the Jedi is their armor … and it’s all thanks to Beskar Steel. This precious alloy has an extremely high damage tolerance and is not only capable of repelling a direct blaster shot, but a lightsaber strike as well.

Beskar is so powerful that the Empire got hold of a weapon called the Arc Pulse Generator (which was, ironically, created by a Mandalorian), to use against the Mandalorians. Capable of super-heating Beskar Steel, the Arc Pulse Generator was a Mandalorian’s worst nightmare. But hey, at least we know our old pal Mando will be able to hold his own against a lightsaber-wielding Jedi or Sith if the time comes!

Source: Screenshot via Lucasfilm/Disney

5. Mandalorians Have a Real Soft Spot For Orphans

While it may seem a bit crazy for a bounty hunter like Mando to risk his life and reputation for little Baby Yoda (sorry, we’re sticking to this name until the show gives us something else to work with), it’s a decision in keeping with Mandalorian tradition. Mandalorians have a soft spot for orphans, and as we learn early on, Mando himself was once what’s called a Foundling — a young child orphaned and taken into the care of the Mandalorian community. This means that Mando may or may not be a “true” Mandalorian, as he was not born into their culture.

Although Mandalorians have a penchant for taking in orphans, their motives aren’t always altruistic. Typically, they only take in Foundlings if they have displayed a willingness to survive or fight. This raises the question: would Mando have gone back to save Baby Yoda if he hadn’t used Force powers to keep him from that Mud Horn? Honestly, we’re not sure if we want to know the answer.

Source: Screenshot via Lucasfilm/Disney

4. Mandalorians are Surprisingly Progressive

The female blacksmith Mando visits for armor forging was probably your first clue, but Mandalorians are a surprisingly gender-neutral culture. For a warrior society, it’s certainly surprising to find Mandalorians have a 50/50 gender split in pretty much all aspects of life. If you’re fighting a Mandalorian in battle, there’s a 50% chance of a woman being under the helmet. And when it comes to the household, men are expected to chip in equally.

Even the Mandalorian language reflects this equal footing, as it puts little emphasis on male and female distinctions. This progressive culture actually makes sense when you take Mandalorian politics into consideration, as their society places little importance on birthplace or nobility. Instead, it’s a meritocracy that values one’s actions and accomplishments above all.

Source: Screenshot via Lucasfilm/Disney

3. Mandalorians Have a Rich Artistic Culture

For a people best known for waging war across the galaxy, Mandalorian culture places a surprising amount of importance on art. In fact, they even have their own art movement — Mandalorian cubism (Picasso, eat your heart out). Mandalorians created art about what they knew, so unsurprisingly, much of their art depicted images of war.

In fact, before she found the darksaber on Dathomir and gave it to Bo-Katan Kryze, Sabine Wren was a famous cubist artist and cultural critic. In a disturbing twist, Darth Maul was also a fan of the style, having kept a stolen cubist painting of Duchess Satine Kryze, aka the Mandalorian leader he killed in the Clone Wars.

Source: Screenshot via Lucasfilm/Disney

2. Mandalorians Have Their Own Board Game Too

When they’re not out fighting wars and forging new pieces of Beskar Armor, Mandalorians like to let off steam in a way many of us are quite familiar with: playing board games! In fact, as revealed in Star Wars Rebels’ third season episode “Imperial Super Commandos,” the Mandalorians even invented their own board game, Cubikahd (really sticking with the cube theme, huh guys?).

Much like the famous game Dejarik we see C-3PO and Chewbacca play aboard the Millennium Falcon, Cubikahd is a strategy game played on a holographic board. Each player has four knives (of course) that they need to move around the board in order to capture their opponent’s pieces. Alternatively, it’s known as “Stabble,” and if The Mandalorian ends without Mando playing around with Baby Yoda, we’re writing a very strongly-worded letter to Disney!

Source: Screenshot via Lucasfilm/Disney

1. Boba and Jango Fett Weren’t Actual Mandalorians

Outside of Mando himself (hey Lucasfilm, can you give our guy a name already?!), the most famous Mandalorian characters have been Boba Fett and his dad Jango. Yet despite providing the iconic Mandalorian look, both Jango and Boba are merely pretenders. This was revealed in episode 12, season 2 of Clone Wars, when New Mandalore Prime Minister Almec denies Jango Fett is a Mandalorian.

Most likely, Jango either found a set of Beskar Armor or killed a Mandalorian and stole it from them. Since Boba is Jango’s son, this means he also isn’t a real Mando. Tough break as well for the millions of clone troopers who, as it turns out, were cloned from some guy and not a true Mandalorian.

Source: Screenshot via Lucasfilm/Disney

Nick Steinberg (@Nick_Steinberg)