The Mandalorian is back, and Din Djarin is on a mission: find his people, so they can guide him in the ways of being a dad to a Force-wielding little green fella infinitely more popular than him. But Mandalore, a world burdened with such a tumultuous history, is once again broken. Who could he turn to?
Although our first episode of the show teased a certain connection to Mandalorian history watching our hero’s quest from afar, it’s clear that beyond his encounters with the Marshal of Mos Pelgo, our titular Mandalorian is going to spend a chunk of this season on the lookout for groups of his own kind. Here’s a few potential factions that could play a role, and a guide to who’s who under the helmets.
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The Nite Owls
Led by Bo-Katan Kryze (more on her in a bit), the Nite Owls were an all-female commando unit once part of Death Watch (more on them in a bit, too) at the height of the Clone Wars, the lingering scars of a Mandalorian civil war that divided its peoples over whether Mandalore should reject or embrace its past warrior culture. But when Darth Maul’s Shadow Collective usurped control of the Death Watch, the group (as well as the Nite Owls) splintered.
Those that stayed faithful to Kryze became part of the Mandalore Resistance that went on to liberate the planet from Maul’s grasp. When Kryze’s regency was deposed by Imperial rule, they liberated it once again with the aid of the Rebel Alliance. Those that didn’t became renegade members of the Shadow Collective, Maul’s personal super commando guard. With him gone, and with Mandalore seemingly once again laid low by Imperial might by the time of The Mandalorian, it’s hard to say if the Nite Owls themselves still exist as a faction — but if they did, it wouldn’t be the first time they had risen out of the ashes of Mandalorian subjugation.
House Viszla and Clan Saxon
House Viszla often found itself at odds with the previous factions mentioned here. Pre Viszla, the House’s leader, broke off from the New Mandalorian government post-reformation to lead Death Watch, fighting the Old Republic and House Kryze’s rule. When Pre Viszla was betrayed by Darth Maul during a coup d’etat, however, House Viszla’s strength diminished — but not entirely. One of its vassals, Clan Saxon, played a major part in Mandalore’s Imperial occupation, with brothers Gar and Tiber Saxon ruling as Imperial Viceroys and providing the Empire with loyalist forces for its Supercommando program.
We don’t know what became of either Clan Saxon or other parts of House Viszla after Bo-Katan Kryze’s resistance liberated Mandalore during the Galactic Civil War, but we know some survived and their re-appearance wouldn’t be the first time we’d seen elements of House Viszla’s long past on The Mandalorian. Not only is the Darksaber the weapon of a Viszla (Tarre, the first Mandalorian Jedi Knight), one of the members of the Tribe that Din Djarin was part of bore their name. The character in question is Paz Viszla (originally incorrectly identified as Paz Vizla before the show’s credits were updated), the gatling-gun-wielding heavy voiced by Jon Favreau in the show’s first season.
House Kryze and Clan Wren
Mandalorian society was largely composed of familial vassals which swore loyalty to larger ruling Houses. Kryze was one of the most notable Houses after Mandalore’s reformation into a pacifist society in the latter days of the Old Republic, thanks to a Kryze — Duchess Satine Kryze, Bo-Katan’s sister — taking rule above a ministerial council. Kryze’s rule came to a tragic end at the climax of the Clone Wars, however, when Darth Maul and Death Watch united to usurp her rule, disposing and ultimately executing her.
What happened to House Kryze after that is mostly unknown — B0-Katan survived the conflict and eventual Republic siege of the planet to oust Maul’s rule, becoming a key figure in Mandalore’s resistance once the Empire arrived on the planet. But even if House Kryze itself is laid low by the time of The Mandalorian, that’s not to say vassal clans that were part of its protection hadn’t survived. We only know a few of Kryze’s vassals at the time of the Galactic Civil War — like Clans Eldar and Rook — but Wren, the home family of Star Wars Rebels’ Sabine Wren, was one of the most prominent, reuniting with Bo-Katan’s resistance to oust Imperials from Mandalore in the year before the Battle of Yavin. Maybe at least some of them survived the Great Purge that followed?
As previously established, Death Watch were a splinter faction that fought against the New Mandalorians’ calls for an isolationist, pacifistic culture after a grand civil war had devastated much of Mandalore’s surface. After losing the conflict, clans affiliated with Death Watch were exiled from their homeworld, leading to them fleeing to local colonies and moons to established bases of power. They operated throughout the height of the Clone Wars as both an antagonistic force to Duchess Satine’s rule but essentially acted as a pre-Civil War time capsule of old Mandalorian culture. They were mercenary warriors who battled on the front lines of the war and recruited new foundlings into their way of life — like Din Djarin himself, an orphan taken in by Death Watch forces after a battle on the planet Aq Vetina.
Death Watch were seemingly mostly dissolved by the end of the Clone Wars, however. With Pre Vizsla’s death at the hands of Maul, Death Watch was broken into sub-factions that were either subsumed into Bo-Katan Kryze’s resistance or became mercenaries — lone-wolf freelancers or members of Maul’s Shadow Collective.
Once the elite guard of Duchess Satine, the Protectors were one of the few martial traditions the New Mandalorians kept after reformation. An elite unit of warriors, the Protectors were both bodyguard and mercenary forces in spite of Mandalore’s own non-intervention policies. Protectors served as advisors to the Grand Army of the Republic, training elite units and Navy pilots and fighting alongside Republic and Jedi forces, even as Mandalore itself remained neutral in the wider war.
By the Imperial occupation of Mandalore, the Protectors had left their homeworld and established a mercenary base on Concord Dawn, roaming the territory and making deals with Imperial forces in exchange for operative freedom. Fenn Rau, leader of the Concord Dawn protectorate, eventually aligned with Rebel forces to help liberate Mandalore from Imperial rule but paid a price: the Imperials decimated the Concord Dawn base, leaving the Protectors vastly diminished. While what was left of them, under Rau, pledged themselves to Bo-Katan Kryze as they had her sister before her, there might be other splinter groups of the former guard that, much like those on Concord Dawn, left their home and survived calamity in the process.
Right now, we don’t know how fruitful Din’s efforts will be. If he does find fellow Mandalorians to help him, they could be like his own former enclave, an entirely new group of scattered survivors. Maybe he’ll finally come face to face with that shadowy figure from the end of “The Marshal” and find himself set on another path. But given the repeated rumours we’ve heard of familiar elements from Star Wars’ past appearing this season, it wouldn’t be surprising if at least one of these groups from Mandalore’s conflict-ravaged recent past re-emerged to help one of its adoptive sons.