By Hannah Herndon
Happy Valentine's day all.
I didn't plan for my day to post to fall on the heart-filled holiday, but whatever, I can work with it.
If you're not into Star Wars, you may have never heard of Mandalore. Mandalore is a system located in the outer rim territories of the galaxy far far away. The best known of the Mandalorians is by far Boba Fett, the ruthless bounty hunter seen in the original trilogy and Clone wars animated series.
The lore and canon of the warrior system has grown and changed over the years, but it has also become one of the most well loved parts of the Star Wars fandom, and it's growing more independent from mainstream SW all the time.
In honor of Valentine's day, I present you with 5 reasons why I love Mandalore.
5: The History.
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to backstory, lore, and other such things that develop the worlds presented in fiction. I am much more inclined to jump on a fandom bandwagon if there's a good history involved, and Mandalore has an interesting one.
I've done a good amount of research on it, but like all Star Wars, there are always a few places intentionally kept blank. (And I am human, so there is absolutely no way I won't make a mistake when recounting the lore, so just forgive me ahead of time if I'm inaccurate in my facts.)
From the beginning, Mandalorians were a warrior people. Founded by a race known as the Taung, they eventually allowed other races into their battle ranks to strengthen their army, causing the modern Mando'ade to be a mainly humanoid clan.
They fought in many battles, often against the Jedi. In one such battle, the Jedi bombed Mandalore's surface, causing the fertile land to become a desolate desert. But the Mandalorians rebuilt their cities in bio-domes, and thus survived.
Eventually, Some of the Mando'ade grew tired of the constant stream of wars that characterized their home world, and longed for peace. The clans of Mandalore divided into two factions: The self-proclaimed "True Mandalorians" led by Jaster Mereel, who fought to restore the codes and honor of the Mando'ade which had become corrupted after the Republic bombing of Mandalore, and the "new mandalorians" who sought to join the republic, bringing peace and security to their world.
A civil war erupted, and though it seemed the battle trained True Mandalorians would be the victors, they were betrayed and destroyed by an insurgency called Death Watch that had risen in their midst. Death watch then vanished into the shadows, leaving The New Mando'ade to believe they had won the war.
Duchess Satine Kryze took control as Manda'lor (soul leader) shortly after, and established a position of neutrality for Mandalore during the Clone Wars.
Unfortunately, Death watch had been training on Concordia, Mandalore's moon, and had railed a specially trained army to overthrow the Duchess. They tried many times, recruiting her officials to betray her, and allying themselves with separatist leaders, but they did not succeed in reclaiming Mandalore's throne until they received help from Darth Maul.
Maul helped Death Watch to successfully gain control of Mandlore, and the support of the people. He had his own agenda however, and ultimately betrayed Pre Vizla, leader of death watch, and took Mandalore for himself. After killing Vizla, Maul brought a final revenge upon Obi-wan Kenobi, and killed Duchess Satine.
Maul was overthrown shortly after by Darth Sidious, leaving the planet in the control of former Prime Minister Almec.
The "current" (around the original trilogy era) history of Mandalore is still a bit unclear, but it is being explored currently in season three of the Star Wars Rebels animated series.
4: The language
Like many star wars systems, Mandalore has its own language, Mando'a. Unfortunately, Lucas Films/Disney decided it wasn't necessary to continue developing Mando'a, so fans were left with only what had already been developed before the project was discontinued.
I'm currently learning Mando'a using the Mando'a dictionary available here:
3: The characters
So far, Star wars has had around 12 developed Mando characters in the shows/movies. I can honestly say there was not a single one of those I was disappointed with.
The antagonists are well done, and the heroes have enough flaws to be believable without being bad guys themselves. Mandos are strong fighters, loyal to their allies and bound by honor to protect whoever the befriend. Despite their warrior ways and love of battle, they don't take life lightly, and place the protection of their family and clan above all else.
My personal favorite characters are Satine Kryze, Sabine Ren, Fen Rau, Bo-Katan Kryze, and of course Boba Fett.
2: The Armor
Perhaps the most well known and recognizable thing about Mandos is their armor. In fact, most of Mando culture and society is based around the construction of armor. The armor itself is characterized by full helmet with a black tinted T-visor, and smaller stand-alone armor plates attached to a black bodysuit.
Mandalorian armor has become such a fan favorite, that a guild for its construction has been formed called the Mandalorian Mercenaries. The "Mercs" construct armor out of foam, metal, wood, and even 3d printed plastic, showcasing their creations at conventions and other fan gatherings.
If you want to see their fantastic work, you can find their armor gallery here: http://mandalorianmercs.org/forum/index.php?board=14.0
And their main site here: http://mandalorianmercs.org/
1: The Darksaber
The Darksaber is by far one of my favorite parts of the Mandalore fandom. Essentially, it's a reverse lightsaber. It has a black blade that glows silver, and was created in ancient times by the first and only Mando Jedi, Tar Vizla. When Tar Vizla died in combat, the Darksaber was returned to the Jedi Temple, where it was eventually stolen by the members of clan Vizla who believed the saber was rightfully theirs. It became a symbol of unity and leadership for the Vizla's. Whoever wields the saber is honored as Manda'lor of clan Vizla. It was used by Pre Vizla to form Deathwatch, by Maul to rule Mandalore, and now (in season three of SW Rebels) by Sabine Wren to attempt to rally Mandalorian warriors to aid the rebellion.
In the latest episode of Star Wars Rebels, Sabine was trained to wield the saber by former Jedi Kanan Jarrus, and his padawan Ezra Bridger. Although reluctant to return to her home world after a difficult past with her family there, Sabine eventually learned to hold her own with the blade, and returned to Mandalore to seek the aid of her clan.
The next episode will air soon, and follow Sabine's return to Mandalore, and (as you can probably guess by reading this article) I am ridiculously hyped for it.