HEAT VISION

How New 'The Mandalorian' Character Opens Up a World of Possibilities

THE MANDALORIAN
Lucasfilm Ltd.
Mando’s place in the galaxy is challenged by an actor reprising her fan favorite role from animation.

[This story contains spoilers for The Mandalorian season two, "Chapter 11: The Heiress."]

This is the way. Or is it? In the third episode of The Mandalorian season two, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) discovers that the Mandalorian creed, Way of Mandalore, he’s been brought up in since childhood isn’t the only way, and in fact might not even be the right way when it comes to claiming his identity as a Mandalorian. Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard and written by Jon Favreau, “The Heiress” continues plot threads set up in the animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels. As the Mandalorian seeks others like him in order to help him deliver The Child to the Jedi he steps into a much larger legacy.

The latest episode of The Mandalorian officially brings Bo-Katan Kryze into live-action, where she is portrayed by Katee Sackhoff, who also voiced the character in The Clone Wars and Rebels. The former leader of Mandalorian terrorist organization, Death Watch, and would be once and future ruler of Mandalore, Bo-Katan’s appearance in the episode not only serves to further express the essential nature of the Star Wars animated series within the canon, but also answers a number of questions about the nature of Mandalorians that viewers have had since the first season. Chief among the questions was the mandate that a Mandalorian could never remove their helmet in front of another living being, something that seemed to contradict the Mandalorian culture that executive producer Dave Filoni established as showrunner on The Clone Wars and Rebels in which Mandalorians were often seen removing their helmets. Well, it turns out that Din Djarin belongs to a cult of religious zealots, Children of the Watch, who broke away from traditional Mandalorian society. That’s right, the guy we’ve been following over the course of the past 10 episodes is an extremist, and he didn’t even know it. To fully understand what this means for Djarin going forward is to reflect on Mandalorian culture as a history of civil wars and conflicting ideologies.

During The Clone Wars, Bo-Katan’s sister, Satine ruled as Duchess of Mandalore and sought to move Mandalore further into pacifism to stay out of The Clone Wars. Bo-Katan, on the other hand, believed that Mandalorians had a duty to honor their history as warriors. She joined forces with Mandalorian Governor, Pre Visla, wielder of the legendary Darksaber, as lieutenant of the Death Watch. Their efforts to restore Mandalore pushed the planet into the center of The Clone Wars. Alongside the discarded Sith, Maul and his brother Savage Opress, Death Watch overthrew Satine. But of course, trusting Sith always ends in heartbreak. Maul claimed Mandalore for himself after defeating Visla and taking the Darksaber as his own. And to add further insult to injury he killed Satine. Bo-Katan sought redemption by joining forces with the Republic, and Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Ahsoka Tano to drive Maul off of Mandalore. While Bo-Katan was set to become the new ruler of Mandalore, the establishment of the galactic Empire and her refusal to bow to Palpatine left her in exile. The result threw Mandalore into another civil war, with clans of Imperial loyalists and rebels creating a new wave of violence.

Years later, during Rebels, the Mandalorian Sabine Wren reclaimed the Darksaber from Maul and eventually gave it to Bo-Katan so that she could reunite the warring clans of Mandalore and use its power to symbolize her right rule. But before she could restore her planet to its former glory, the Empire instituted the Great Purge, an act of genocide that killed most of the Mandalorians, and caused Bo-Katan to lose the Darksaber to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) in events that have yet to be detailed. As viewers saw in the latest episode of The Mandalorian, Bo-Katan along with her group, Nite Owls, remain on a quest to recover the Darksaber and restore Mandalore. It’s a quest that Djarin is given a chance to be a part of, and to discover his heritage from a true Mandalorian, but he turns down the offer until he can deliver the Child to the Jedi.

But even the act of not joining Bo-Katan, Djarin is fundamentally changed by the encounter, and the realization that a life spent in a helmet, living and hiding in the sewers doesn’t have to be the way. The Armorer, who has essentially raised him, could have been the wrong master. And in true Star Wars fashion, Djarin now finds himself torn between two sides of a single religion or creed, but rather than the dark side and the light, it’s the Children of the Watch, and Clan Kryze. While Bo-Katan tells him that Mandalorians are stronger together, it seems inevitable that there will be conflict between the two sides before any union can take place. An initial result of this conflict could possibly mean more face time for Djarin, which Pedro Pascal fans surely wouldn’t mind. But there’s also a chance of yet another Civil War on the path to restoring Mandalore. And then there’s that third complication lying in wait:  the arrival of Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), who although considered a pretender may have just as much claim to call himself a Mandalorian as Djarin has. When it comes to connecting The Mandalorian to the larger Star Wars lore and setting the stage for the future, Chapter 11 is one of the most important episodes of the series thus far.

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