The Mandalorian presented a side of the Mandalorian culture and lore that seemed inconsistent with previously established Star Wars canon, but thanks to The Book of Boba Fett, those perceived lore problems have been fixed. In the most recent episode, Din Djarin takes center stage while Boba Fett takes a week off, and he returns to his coven to set up a big Mandalorian lore dump.
Mandalorians don’t appear in any of the Star Wars movies, but Boba Fett’s Mandalorian armor inspired a number of Expanded Universe stories to flesh out the Mandalorian warrior people (even though Fett himself isn’t actually Mandalorian). Those « Star Wars Legends » stories aren’t part of modern Star Wars canon under Disney, so the Mandalorian lore is being rebuilt from the ground up. A lot of it was established in Star Wars animation, and now it’s being expanded in The Mandalorian and the most recent episode of The Book of Boba Fett.
Interestingly, when the Mandalorians debuted in live-action, their culture didn’t exactly align with the established canon. They had a religious devotion to something called « The Way » and followed extreme rules such as the fact they never removed their helmets. The reason for many of these perceived inconsistencies in canon surrounding Mandalorian lore was partially explained when Bo Katan appeared in The Mandalorian season 2, but now episode 5 of The Book of Boba Fett brings back The Armorer and Paz Vizsla to explain even more.
Mandalore Fell Because Bo Katan Violated the Darksaber Rules
In Star Wars Rebels, Sabine Wren gifts the Darksaber to Bo Katan Kryze, giving her the title of Mand’alor and ritual authority to stand to rule of Mandalore, which she desires to wield to rebuild their presence on their home planet after they had been defeated by the Empire in the years after the end of the Clone Wars; however, when Din Djarin tries to do the same after winning it in combat from Moff Gideon, she refused to accept it. Gideon informed Din the Darksaber can only be rightfully claimed in trial by combat, which seems to contradict the events of Star Wars Rebels.
It turns out Bo Katan’s acceptance of the Darksaber in Star Wars Rebels was in violation of the trial by combat rule. As the Armorer tells din, Bo Katan is a « cautionary tale » because the Darksaber was « gifted to her and not won by creed. » The reason it’s a cautionary tale is because Mandalore’s decimation by the Empire and Moff Gideon coming to possess the blade happened under her watch. Whether or not the creed actually holds any supernatural sway over destiny and fate isn’t clear, but given the sequence of events, the rules of the creed are proven true by the Empire decimating the city of Mandalore in the Night of a Thousand Tears, which scattered the Mandalorian people throughout the galaxy. The Armorer says Bo Katan and house Kryze « lost sight of The Way… and we lost our world. »
What is The Mandalorian Creed of « The Way » is the Opposite of the Jedi Code
In modern Star Wars canon, the Mandalorians were depicted as a warrior people with their own distinct government and culture separate from the Republic or the Empire, which was fairly uncommon in the societies seen in other stories set during those times. The Mandalorians and the Jedi mostly got along, but there’s numerous references to a historical feud between the two groups, and The Book of Boba Fett reveals one of the fundamental philosophies that separated the Jedi from the Mandalorians.
In The Mandalorian season 1, the Mandalorians frequently use the phrase « This is the Way » as a sort of call and response mantra, but it’s never exactly clear what « The Way » is outside of the obvious fact that it’s a sort of creed by which this sect of Mandalorians lived. When The Armorer tells Din Djarin Grogu being trained as a Jedi means he’ll be taught to forego all attachment, Din reveals the two philosophies are fundamentally opposed: « That is the opposite of our creed. Loyalty and solidarity are the way. » This sets up an interesting conflict for Grogu, who Ahsoka already refused to train because of his attachment to Mando. With Din still considering him a foundling and seeking him out to deliver a beskar gift, it’s possible those two philosophies may come to a head, implying potential conflict or major philosophical changes for Luke, Din, or even Grogu as they decide the proper « way » to raise Grogu.
Why Mando’s Coven Don’t Remove Their Helmets, But Other Mandalorians Do
When The Armorer and Paz Vizsla returned in The Book of Boba Fett, we finally learned a little more about what set Din Djarin’s Mandalorians apart from the Mandalorians shown in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. The animated Star Wars shows visited multiple Mandalorian houses, clans, and sects, including House Kryze, who led the pacifist New Mandalorian government on Mandalore during the Clone Wars; Clan Vizsla, who led the militaristic rebellion known as Death Watch against the New Mandalorians from Mandalore’s moon of Concordia (also colloquially referred to as « Mauldalorians » due to their time as part of Darth Maul’s Shadow Collective when they painted their armor black and red and gave their helmets horns); Clan Wren (part of House Vizsla) on Knowest, one of the few Mandalorian strongholds to survive into the later years of the Galactic Civil War between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance; Clan Saxon (also part of House Vizsla), who led the Mandalorian Super Commandoes who were a part of Death Watch, Darth Maul’s Shadow Collective (where they put horns on their helmets and painted their armor red and black to match the former Sith), and even served as the Emperor’s enforcers agains other Mandalorians during the Galactic Civil War, again modifying their armor, this time to look more like stormtroopers; with appearances and references to numerous other Mandalorian families, groups and traditions, all of which were defined by theior own idiosyncracies, but still maintained the same basic tenets of Mandalorian culture.
The Mandalorian introduced the most radical sect of Mandalorians yet, The Tribe, members of The Children of the Watch, whose religious devotion to « The Way » set them apart from all other Mandalorian groups seen to that point, introducing a number of extreme rules such as the fact that they were never to remove their helmets. Bo Katan refers to the Children of The Watch as a « cult of religious zealots that broke away from Mandalorian society » who aimed to restore the « ancient way. » Bo Katan may view them as extremists who « broke away » from Mandalorian society, but it’s clear The Children of the Watch see themselves as the only true adherents to Mandalorian tradition, blaming the fall of Mandalore on House Kryze « losing their way. »
In The Book of Boba Fett, The Armorer reveals their sect would have been destroyed during the great purge if they hadn’t been « cloistered on the moon of Concordia, » suggesting even stronger ties to Pre Vizsla’s Death Watch, given the same home planet, the presence of Paz Vizsla as a member, and the similar use of « Watch » in their name. Death Watch didn’t follow the same helmet rule, but did have a far more traditionalist vision for Mandalorians, believing it was a violation for House Cryze to set up a pacifist government. Death Watch also possessed the Darksaber and respected its authority, so when Bo Katan accepted it as a gift and Mandalore fell, it may have pushed them into an even stricter adherence to the ancient Mandalorian Way, as The Armorer claimed « only those who walked The Way escaped the curse prophesied in the creed. » They believe The Way ensured their survival after The Great Purge and will ultimately lead to their return to Mandalore. If they believe a violation of the creed is the reason the Mandalorian empire fell, it makes sense why they would lean into even the most extreme rules, such as the rule to never remove their helmets.
Of course, Din Djarin has removed his helmet a number of times, and after he defeats Paz Vizsla in combat for the Darksaber, he admits this to The Armorer, who declares he’s no longer a Mandalorian. However, due to other tenets of The Way, he’s not stripped of his Beskar armor, his Clan Mudhorn sigil, or even the Darksaber, so that ex-communication may only be true for the two remaining members of The Tribe, while Bo Katan and the other remaining Mandalorians may not follow the same dogma. Even so, if Darth Maul was given authority over Mandalore when had the lightsaber, then there’s no reason to believe Din Djarin would be rejected as long as he has it, unless it’s taken from him in trial by combat, although even then there’s plenty of Mandalorian clans who weren’t born on Mandalore, and they obviously don’t take issue with helmet removal, so, for now, it seems like there’s only two people who only see Din as a « former Mandalorian, » unless Din’s own devotion to The Way is still strong enough for him to consider himself an outcast.
Regardless, The Book of Boba Fett’s brief visit with The Tribe included enough heavy-handed name-drops to create an entire season of MacGuffins, so The Armorer telling Din his can purify himself in the « living water » of Mandalore likely indicates another quest for Din to undertake when The Mandalorian returns in season 3. With Din in possession of the Darksaber and Bo Katan desiring to retake Mandalore, it’s entirely possible Din could serve as a unifying force for the remaining Mandalorians, even including The Children of the Watch, meaning a whole lot of new Mandalorian lore could be on the way.
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