What Is a Mandalorian? Your Guide to the Mysterious ‘Star Wars’ Character

     November 27, 2019

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Who is the nameless Mandalorian at the center of the events of the Disney+ original series The Mandalorian? Sure, it’s cool to have a show named after you but, uh, what do we really know about this guy? Well, we know the Mandalorian is played by Pedro Pascal and we know that there is a small number of Mandalorians who have survived the Empire’s reign of terror. But before we can even look ahead to future episodes of The Mandalorian, it might do us some good to break down who this Mandalorian is that we’re following in the show as well as what his personal history is and the history of his people.

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Image via Disney/Lucasfilm

As far as we know, the Mandalorian we’re following in the Jon Favreau-created series does not have a name. He is an orphan from Mandalore, the Mandalorians’ home planet. Through flashbacks, we know the Mandalorian lost his parents when he was a child during an attack and presumably grew up in a Mandalore orphanage. We’ve seen other adult Mandalorians hiding out on their makeshift new home planet where our Mandalorian returns to have meetings and get new armor forged. We also know Mandalorians are forbidden from taking off their helmets, with the implication being the Mandalorian hasn’t taken off his helmet for years. The logistics of always wearing a helmet haven’t been discussed (does he take it off to eat or sleep or bathe? Does it get sweaty under there?) but it will surely, hopefully be addressed in the coming episodes. Luckily, the helmet hasn’t prevented us from learning that the Mandalorian does, in fact, emote and he’s got a strong moral compass thanks to his setting aside of money for other Mandalorian foundlings and his soft spot for the Child, a.k.a. Baby Yoda.

Let’s widen the scope and look at Mandalorian history. Mandalore is an Outer Rim planet and, very similar to Game of Thrones, its inhabitants divided themselves into Houses and Clans. These Houses and Clans were frequently at war with one another and as such, raised fearless warriors who were skilled in battle. Their distinctive helmets with the T-shaped mask denote their heritage but it’s important to remember that the Mandalorians we see in The Mandalorian are true Mandalorians unlike Jango and Boba Fett, who wore Mandalorian armor but were just humans. Mandalorian armor is sacred and is often handed down through generations, which may explain why the Mandalorians we see in the show never take their helmets off.

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Image via Disney/Lucasfilm

The Mandalorians have a somewhat grim reputation in the wake of the Clone Wars and the fall of the Empire five years before the show begins. While Mandalore was ruled by a pacifist, Duchess Satine Kryze, during the Clone Wars. Attempting to shift the priorities of her people from being warmongers led to the formation of a separatist group and repeated assassination attempts. As we learned from StarWars.com, Satine was overthrown and Darth Maul, with his crime syndicate, moved in to take control of the planet. While the planet was briefly returned to the hands of a Mandalorian ruler, Mandalore itself would become a pawn in the endless chess game of the Empire’s fight for power.

It’s no wonder the Mandalorian is a man carrying deep trauma with him. He has lived to see the effects of war and deception play out among his people, with little hope to be found. Maybe, just maybe, his journey with Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian will help give him something to be optimistic about.

The Mandalorian is currently streaming on Disney+ with new episodes dropping every Friday through the end of December. For more, check out the very cool concept art from Episode 3, “The Sin.”

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