The Mandalorian‘s season three trailers indicate Din Djarin will try to reunite Mandalorians. Those famed warriors are currently “scattered like stars in the galaxy” after the Empire destroyed their home world. But even with the Darksaber unifying his people won’t be easy. Mandalorians weren’t united before Palpatine rose to power. Civil war made them vulnerable to the Sith Lord’s scheming. Not that they have any love for the Jedi, the only group they’ve fought more than other Mandalorians. And that long and contentious past with Force users is why the other half of Din’s clan, Grogu, faces an uncertain future.
The Ancient History of Mandalore and War with the Jedi
Tens of thousands of years ago during the Old Republic, Mandalore was a lush planet full of jungles, grasslands, and lakes. It was also a planet of warriors who revered their honor above all else. The many wars Mandalorians fought led to the ecological destruction of the planet. That resulted in Mandalore’s signature domed cities sprouting up across the now desert world.
Many of those destructive battles took place with the Jedi, whom Mandalorians began warring with almost as soon as the two groups came in contact. Their conflicts were constant, and the ramifications changed Mandalore forever, even beyond its topography.
The Modern History of Mandalore and the Mandalorian Jedi Tarre Vizsla
No Mandalorian joined the Jedi Order until Tarre Vizsla more than 1,000 years before A New Hope. He also made the Darksaber and ruled his homeworld and all its people as Mand’alor. When he died the Jedi took the Darksaber and placed it in their temple on Coruscant. However, during the Fall of the Old Republic at the end of the Jedi-Sith War, Mandalorian warriors broke into the temple and reclaimed the Darksaber.
The iconic weapon, a dark-hued lightsaber, became a symbol of Mandalorian power. And legend says the one who wields it will rule over all of Mandalore’s people. Just so long as they are also a Mandalorian who won the Darksaber in battle.
The Rise of the New Mandalorians
Mandalorians organize themselves by clans, with some made up of multiple families under one House’s rule. Eventually those clans turned on one another. The long civil war that followed ravaged the already battle-weary planet even further. All of that destruction gave rise to a group known as the New Mandalorians, pacifists who completely abandoned their people’s ancient warrior ways. Eventually the New Mandalorians took control of Mandalore under the command of a Duchess.
The new ruling power banished the remaining Old Mandalorians to the nearby moon Concordia. Those exiled warriors did not die out as expected, however. Neither did they abandon their cause.
Mandalorian Civil War Brings the Sith and Jedi to Mandalore
Star Wars Rebels showed the last Duchess to ever rule over Mandalore, Satine Kryze. Duchess Satine, whom Obi-Wan Kenobi loved, tried desperately to keep her planet neutral during the Clone Wars. She refused to declare for either the Galactic Republic or the Separatists. But her efforts were doomed by both the Old Mandalorians and the plans of Sheev Palpatine.
The Jedi refused to formally help Satine when the Old Mandalorians—under the command of Death Watch leader Pre Vizsla, Tarre Vizsla’s ancestor who possessed the Darksaber—began attacking. The only Jedi help Mandalore got at various points was from Obi-Wan, Anakin Skywalker, and Padawan Ahsoka Tano in unofficial roles.
Eventually Pre-Vizsla partnered with Darth Maul in a devious scheme to return Mandalore to its warrior heritage. Their terrorist attacks led the scared people of Mandalore to call for a return to the old ways, bringing Death Watch and Pre into power. The planet’s era of pacifism came to an end with the death of Duchess Satine.
Palpatine and the Empire Take Control of Mandalore
Pre Vizsla did not reign long. Almost immediately after his ascension Maul challenged him to one-on-one combat. The former Sith apprentice killed Pre. He then claimed the Darksaber and all of Mandalore for himself, installing a puppet to serve as the face of his new government.
Maul’s time as Mand’alor wasn’t long, either. Some clans in Death Watch refused to accept him as ruler since he was not a Mandalorian. That included the one led by Satine’s sister Bo-Katan. She had fought against her sister’s pacifist government previously. This time she worked with Obi-Wan to try and defeat Maul.
But it was too late to save Mandalore when it finally asked for help from the Jedi, the Galactic Republic, and its clone army. The Chancellor didn’t send help until the war was almost over, as Palpatine used that request to take control of the planet. Soon after the Jedi and clones arrived on Mandalore the Senate named Palpatine Emperor, bringing Mandalore under Imperial control. Bo-Katan was named regent of the planet, but she ultimately refused to serve under Imperial rule.
The Jedi, whom had long ago been Mandalore’s greatest enemy, could not save its own Order, let alone Mandalore. And to some it seemed like the Jedi brought about the planet’s downfall. Little did they know how bad things would get under a Sith Lord.
Mandalorian Clans Unite Against the Empire
The Empire installed Gar Saxon of Clan Vizsla as ruler of Mandalore. This led to further civil war among Mandalorians and the planet’s near total destruction.
Bo-Katan, leader of the Nite Owls, led a coalition of clans (including Clan Wren) to fight back against the Saxon regime. After proving victorious Bo-Katan accepted the Darksaber from Sabine Wren, who herself had found it. It served as a symbol of Bo-Katan’s rise as Mandalorian leader once again. Clans like Vizsla, Rook, and Eldar (seen in a The Mandalorian season three trailer with Din Djarin) acknowledged their new leader. However, once again the Empire would cut Bo-Katan’s reign short.
The Great Purge of Mandalore
Once the Empire was unable to maintain control of the planet and its people it ordered the destruction of Mandalore. Carried out by Moff Gideon, The Great Purge’s mass bombings and assassin droids killed most of the planet’s people. The few remaining survivors and their clans scattered throughout the galaxy, as seen on The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.
One of those clans included The Children of the Watch, an offshoot of Death Watch. Mandalorians like Bo-Katan think the Watch are zealots for their extreme beliefs, such as never removing her helmet in front of another living creature. The Watch’s Armorer also thinks Bo-Katan’s time as Mand’alor was doomed because she did not win the Darksaber in battle as creed demands, the way Din Djarin won it.
He now possesses that famed Mandalorian weapon—along with both the legacy and prophecy that comes with it—which could help him unite his people. But he also has with him the one thing almost every Mandalorian everywhere hates: a Force user.
The Uncertain Future of Grogu and Mandalorians
The history of Tarre Vizsla, Mandalore’s most revered warrior, would seem to make a Foundling like Grogu an even better candidate to unite Mandalorians than Din. It was a Mandalorian Jedi who ruled as Mand’alor and built his people’s most important weapon.
But both ancient and recent history would make any Mandalorian weary of a Force user—one who is rediscovering his incredible powers—if not downright hostile. Whether Jedi or Sith, they seem to bring nothing but death to Mandalore. Din himself called the Jedi “enemy sorcerers.”
Of course, he also once called Mandalore “cursed,” but is now returning to his peoples’ home world. And he certainly doesn’t think of Grogu as an enemy or a sorcerer. Grogu is the other half of his clan, a powerful ally, and a member of his family. If a zealot of the Watch can learn to love and accept Grogu as one of his own—so much so that he would even remove his helmet in front of him—other Mandalorians might, too.
Just so long as they don’t collectively decide to banish or kill him first. Grogu can use the Force, but neither the Jedi or the Sith ever managed to defeat all Mandalorians.
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.