The marketing for The Mandalorian season 3 has focused for the most part on Din Djarin’s journey to the war-torn planet of Mandalore, homeworld of the Mandalorians. It’s a location we’ve only seen before in live-action through a flashback featured in The Book of Boba Fett’s fifth chapter, and that was just a fleeting glimpse of its fall to the Empire.
Veteran Star Wars animation fans will be familiar with Mandalore as it was prominently featured in both The Clone Wars and Rebels. But even then, the Mandalore we saw was nothing but a shadow of its former self. The planet’s history is long and troubled even if we limit ourselves to the post-Disney Star Wars canon, and explains why the Mandalorians we’ve met in the hit live-action show are so grumpy and tied to ancient tradition.
As we head into The Mandalorian’s third season, be sure to check out our brief list of hopes and theories as well as our article on the other upcoming Star Wars TV shows that you should be on the lookout for. It’s a wide galaxy with tons of history, and it seems like Disney and Lucasfilm are just getting started — Star Wars Celebration 2023, coming to London in April, should have plenty more news for us on the TV and movie front.
And if you’re into video games, you’ll be happy to know that April is also giving us Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, the sequel to 2019’s Jedi: Fallen Order. The Force is strong this year, it seems.
What is Mandalore like?
Mandalore is a terrestrial planet located in the Outer Rim of the Star Wars galaxy, in the Mandalore system, part of the sector of the same name. The closest trade route to the world is the Hydian Way, a super-hyperroute which connects to major planets such as Eriadu and Malastare. But of course, centuries of war have made Mandalore an avoided destination for most enterprises and merchants.
The planet occupies the fifth orbit around a yellow sun and has a rotational period of 19 standard hours, with the standard year lasting 366 days. It has a gravity that is adequate for humanoid species and two moons, one of which is Concordia — once a famous mining base and agricultural center.
Though its climate has always been hot and dry, Mandalore’s surface was once lush and contained a variety of Earth-like biomes, including vast jungles and jewel-colored lakes. After several large-scale conflicts, it’s mostly been turned into a lifeless desert.
Mandalore is home to many predators as ferocious as its human inhabitants, including the galaar and jai’galaar, also known as shriek-hawks. But the most famous of them all is the seemingly extinct mythosaur, a gigantic beast whose skull became the iconic symbol seen on Mandalorian armors and decorations.
Mandalore’s history so far
The ancient Mandalorians fought in many conflicts, often against the Jedi Order, and quickly became legends across the entire galaxy. None of them were accepted into the Jedi Order prior to Tarre Vizsla. Before his death, the Mandalorian Jedi ruled all of Mandalore. Later, during the fall of the Old Republic at the hands of the Sith Empire, the Mandalorians raided the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and seized Vizsla’s Darksaber.
The following centuries weren’t peaceful either, with prolonged conflict eventually turning the planet’s once-beautiful surface into an endless desert. Such ecological devastation caused many Mandalorians to turn their back on violence and, from this movement, the New Mandalorians were born.
Fast-forward to sometime before the Trade Federation’s invasion of Naboo and civil war broke out between the New Mandalorians and the “martial traditionalists," which held some degree of power on Mandalore. This conflict killed the majority of Mandalore’s population, but the young leader of the New Mandalorians, Duchess Satine Kryze, made laudable efforts to rebuild their world after the war ended. The capital city of Keldabe had been decimated, so the domed city of Sundari became the new seat of the New Mandalore government.
Meanwhile, the remaining traditionalist warriors were exiled to the moon of Concordia, where they endured and eventually formed the Death Watch terrorist movement under the leadership of Pre Vizsla, wielder of the legendary Darksaber.
Mandalore in The Clone Wars
The Clone Wars saw Mandalore declare neutrality between the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. However, the Death Watch attempted to take back Mandalore with the assistance of Count Dooku and the Separatists. After a bombing attack in Sundari, Duchess Satine and Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi — the two had a difficult, but friendly relationship — uncovered the Death Watch’s plot during a short investigation on Concordia.
Fearing for the stability and future of her planet, the Duchess reaffirmed her planet’s neutrality in the galaxy-wide conflict, which caused Mandalore’s already fragile economy to struggle. Prime Minister Almec saw an opportunity in the struggling economy and established a black market for imported tea with Moogan smugglers. This resulted in the mass poisoning of Mandalorian children and Almec’s arrest.
In the later years of the Clone Wars, the Death Watch, now allied with former Sith Lord Darth Maul and his Shadow Collective, organized a series of covert strikes on Sundari. They then promised the terrified people of Sundari protection, which allowed them to take over the Duchess’ government and send her to prison.
Disagreements quickly developed between Pre Vizsla and Maul. This led to Maul challenging Vizsla to single combat and killing him in front of his men, claiming the title of Mand’alor (absolute leader) for himself. Maul reappointed former Prime Minister Almec as a puppet leader.
A portion of the Death Watch forces, led by Vizsla’s lieutenant and Satine Kryze’s sister Bo-Katan, rebelled against Maul’s leadership and later received much-needed help from Obi-Wan Kenobi — the Republic couldn’t send military nor official Jedi support due to Mandalore’s neutrality in the ongoing war. The Jedi Master broke Satine out of imprisonment, but Maul’s forces blocked their escape, and the former Sith fulfilled his personal vendetta against Kenobi by murdering the Duchess.
Bo-Katan’s forces rescued Kenobi and allowed him to escape in the hopes that he would bring Republic reinforcements. Shortly afterwards, Darth Sidious, well aware of the escalating situation on Mandalore and the return of his former apprentice, arrived on the planet to kill Maul’s brother, Savage Opress, and capture Maul.
Maul’s Shadow Collective was temporarily dissolved, but loyal Mandalorian commandos freed him after a while. The Siege of Mandalore would happen not long after Maul’s return, with the 332nd Division of Republic clone troopers, under the leadership of Ahsoka Tano and Clone Commander Rex, fighting alongside Bo-Katan’s forces to regain control of Mandalore.
Even though Maul escaped justice once again, the mission was a success, and Bo-Katan Kryze was appointed Regent of Mandalore. But just as the planet was reclaimed, Order 66 happened and the Empire quickly rose to power. Bo-Katan refused to collaborate with the Imperials and was forced out of power by Gar Saxon and his clan. Saxon was made Viceroy and Governor of the planet by the Empire, which established an Imperial Academy on Mandalore to train the best military cadets of the galaxy.
The Empire and the Great Purge of Mandalore
A notable Imperial cadet from Mandalore was Sabine Wren, whose mechanical and tech-savvy talents were exploited to create the Arc Pulse Generator, a machine capable of reacting with beskar, the metal used in Mandalorian armor. The Empire weaponized the reactor to incinerate insurgents. A horrified Sabine destroyed it and spoke out against the Empire, but the Wren clan sided with the invaders and cast her out. Eventually, she’d find a new family in the rebel cell Phoenix.
Viceroy Saxon ruled Mandalore on behalf of the Empire until he was killed by Ursa Wren, mother of Sabine, after she realized the mistake she had made. This caused a new civil war between the clans of Saxon and Wren. However, Clan Wren’s insurrection was quickly backed by Bo-Katan’s Clan Kryze, Clan Vizsla, Clan Rook, Clan Elder, and Fenn Rau, the last surviving member of the Mandalorian Protectors.
After a strike mission aboard the Star Destroyer of Tiber Saxon (Gar’s brother) and his apparent death, Clan Wren and the other Mandalorian clans pledged allegiance to Lady Bo-Katan, who inherited the Darksaber and the leadership of Mandalore.
The Empire gradually realized they’d never be able to control Mandalore, so the “Great Purge” was launched against the planet. Bo-Katan and her people attempted to fight off the invasion and bombardment of their homeworld, but the assault nevertheless led to a near-total genocide of the Mandalorians. During what was later known as the “Night of a Thousand Tears”, even the Mines of Mandalore and the capital city of Sundari were devastated.
The infamous Moff Gideon participated in the Purge and managed to take the Darksaber from Bo-Katan, who survived and fled Mandalore. Din Djarin’s clan, an orthodox group of Mandalorians called the Children of the Watch, survived the Great Purge because they were hidden on Concordia.
After the fall of the Empire, Mandalore remains a wasteland. Cursed to some and still valuable to others, many Mandalorians have now set their sights on their homeworld, and the Darksaber is the key to uniting all of the clans and tribes under one true rule.
We'll be finding out more about Mandalore as The Mandalorian Season 3 continues, so we'll be keeping this page updated with all the latest lore and reveals. Be sure to check out other great Star Wars content here on Space.com, including our rundowns of the Star Wars movies, ranked worst to best and Star Wars TV shows, ranked worst to best.