There is no culture in the Star Wars universe that defines the phrase “Survival of the fittest” more than the Mandalorians. This warrior culture has proven time and time again that it is war that drives them in the universe. Yet they do not engage in battle because of blood lust, or any great desire to conquer. They fight because they feel that their culture–in fact all cultures–define themselves in combat. They see war as the catalyst for an evolving culture, the constant thing that forces people to develop and grow. Though they may seem evil to many in the galaxy, those that study their people and their history will see that they actually live by a warrior code of honor that compels them to challenge worthy opponents wherever they find them. They have proven time and time again that they are more than a match for anyone in the galaxy, even Jedi and Sith, making the Mandalorian warriors one of the most fearsome sights in the galaxy.
Though their numbers would eventually include members and genders from many different species, the Mandalorians were originally a group of near humans known as the Taung. Hailing from Coruscant, they found themselves in conflict with the humans that inhabited the planet millenia before the Republic was founded. They were eventually driven off the planet and took refuge in the Outer Rim, led by the warlord Mandalore the First. They conquered a world in the Outer Rim and renamed it Mandalore, after their leader, and adopted the name Mandalorians for their species. It was around this time that they were seen as the finest warriors in the galaxy, known for their use of cutting edge weaponry and armor, as well as the strict warrior code they lived by.
For thousands of years, Mandalore’s new inhabitants would not stray far from the Mandalore sector, instead venturing on a series of further conquests to capture the worlds of Ordo, Gargon, and Shogun. Nearly three thousand years after settling on their adopted homeworld, the Mandalorians began to expand their ongoing crusade outward. They engaged a species known as the Nevoota in a conflict that would lead to the extermination of the Nevoota and the deification of war in the Mandalorian culture. Led, at this time, by Mandalore the Indomitable, the Mandalorians continued on a campaign of expansion, extending their reach throughout the Outer Rim. One such planet they came across was Basilisk, home of the war droids people would later come to identify with the Mandalorians. Though the Basiliskans received aid from both the Republic and the Jedi, they found themselves losing their planet to the Mandalorian invaders. Realizing that they would lose their world to the Mandalorians, the Basiliskans poisoned their planet so the Mandalorians would not be able to use it. The Mandalorians decided to abandon the poisoned planet and move on, but not before seizing a sizable number of Basilisk War Droids for their own use.
The Mandalorians continued their match of conquest, deciding to aim their forces towards the Teta system and its Krath forces. What they didn’t know was that the Krath recently had the control of their forces usurped by fallen-Jedi-turned-Sith-Lord Ulic Qel-Droma. Challenged to a duel by Mandalore, Ulic defeated the leader of the Mandalorians in one-on-one combat and was granted the loyalty of Mandalore and all of his forces, creating the first Mandalorian-Sith allegiance. Through this allegiance, the Mandalorians joined the Sith forces in assaulting the Republic, their advanced weaponry proving quite effective against the Republic’s military forces. Yet when the Mandalorians were tasked with capturing the Iziz Royal Palace on the planet of Onderon, their fleets were destroyed in a surprise attack by Republic Forces while the bulk of their warriors were assaulting the planet below. Realizing the battle was lost, Mandalore the Indomitable ordered his forces to retreat to the jungle moon of Dxun. During this retreat, Mandalore’s Basilisk crashed on the moon’s surface, causing him to be separated from the rest of his forces. When he dragged himself out of the wreckage he was surrounded by many of the vicious predators that called the planet home, Though he fought bravely, he was eventually killed by these beasts, bringing an end the the Mandalorians role in the conflict. While scouring the jungle in search of their leader, a Mandalorian warrior came upon Mandalore’s remains. In the custom of his people, this warrior took Mandalore’s helmet for his own, becoming the new Mandalore. This warrior, who would come to be known as Mandalore the Ultimate, would spend the next 20 years rebuilding the Mandalorian forces before starting his own war, The Mandalorian Wars.
With many of the Taung now dead, Mandalore the Ultimate aggressively expanded his recruiting efforts, welcoming members of all alien descent into the Mandalorian culture. As a result, the Mandalorian ranks swelled with an influx of warriors from countless worlds. In an effort to help cohesion and uphold order among the greater variance in species, a new generation of more uniform armor was implemented at the suggestion of Mandalore’s closest adviser, Cassus Fett,thus forming a powerful new generation of warriors known as the Neo-Crusaders. Decades after their defeat in the last war, many Mandalorians had become convinced that their once-prophesied “Great Last Battle” was soon to be at hand. It was at this time that the Mandalorians were approached by the “True Sith,” those descended from the original Sith Order from Korriban, and convinced that they should unleash their fleets on the Republic once more. The Mandalorians began by conquering a large mount of planets in the Outer Rim, outside of the territory held by the Republic. Since the Mandalorians had not actually attacked the Republic in any way, the Republic refused to intervene, allowing the Mandalorians to easily gather resources from their conquered worlds. When they finally did strike the Republic, they did so in true Mandalorian fashion, without mercy and in full force. Striking in three separate invasion corridors, the Mandalorians did everything they could to goad the Republic, and the Jedi, into fighting them. They showed no mercy to the planets they attacked, leveling cities and razing whole worlds in their attempt to get the full force of the Republic to face them. Though initially very successful in their campaign, once Revan lead the Jedi into the war, the Mandalorians found themselves being pushed back. Eventually their forces were defeated, with Mandalore the Ultimate being slain by Revan himself. The Mandalorians who survived had their weapons and armor stripped from them, leaving them with nothing but the honor of having fought in the war they just lost. In a final act of humiliation, Revan took Mandalore’s mask and hid it, keeping the Mandalorians from being able to choose a new leader to rally their forces.
Without a leader to unite them, many Mandalorians began to turn to mercenary work to get by. They began to obtain a reputation as guns for hire, albeit very skilled guns for hire. Many felt at this time that the Mandalorians had been dealt a killing blow from which they could not recover, until the rise of Mandalore the Preserver. Mandalore the Preserver began his life as Canderous Ordo, a prodigious warrior who served during the Mandalorian Wars. Having turned to mercenary work after the war, Canderous ended up ironically joining up with the very man who instrumented the Mandalorians’ downfall, Revan. Under Revan’s leadership, Canderous assisted in defeating Darth Malak and bringing an end to the Jedi Civil War. After the war ended Revan helped Canderous track down Mandalore’s mask, allowing him to become the new leader of the Mandalorians. Under his leadership, the Mandalorians began to slowly rebuild themselves, allowing them to come back from the brink of death and begin to thrive again. Canderous did not simply sit back and consolidate his forces, however. In true Mandalorian fashion, he lead his warriors to battle time and time again, though on a smaller scale than the wars of his past. Possibly his most important campaign involved assisting the Jedi Exile in bringing down the Sith Triumvirate after the first Jedi Purge that occurred after the Jedi Civil War, paving the way for the return of the Jedi to the galaxy. It is ironic that after the war between the two, both the Jedi and the Mandalorians were instrumental in bringing each other back from the brink of destruction.
Though he was successful in ensuring the Mandalorians did not die out, Canderous was not able to fully unite the Mandalorian clans once more. For nearly three centuries the clans remained scattered, lacking a massive conflict that would bring them together once more. When the True Sith finally returned to the galaxy, they attempted to gain the loyalty of the Mandalorian clans, but many of the warriors refused to join under their banner. It was at this time the Sith decided on a more subtle approach to bring the warriors under their command. They engineered the rise of a young gladiator on the planet Geonosis, and insured that he claimed the title of Mandalore, allowing him to unite the scattered clans. They then used this new Mandalore to block the Republic supply lines, repelling the Republic fleet when they attempted to break the blockade. The Mandalorians were choking the Republic until a group of Smugglers broke the blockade and delivered some much-needed supplies to the Republic forces. After this, the young gladiator that became Mandalore, who would later be known as Mandalore the Lesser, would attempt to rally the support of the clans by holding an event known as the Great Hunt. The champion of the hunt, a warrior by the name of Artus, challenged Mandalore the Lesser to a duel and shot the imperial puppet, killing him and claiming the title of Mandalore for himself. Calling himself Mandalore the Vindicated, this Mandalore withdrew his support after the signing of the Treaty of Coruscant, leaving many on both the Republic and Sith sides wondering what the Mandalorians’ future role in the conflict would be.
Warriors by nature, the Mandalorians will undoubtedly be found all over the galaxy as the war breaks out between the Republic and the Sith once more. Players can be sure to encounter, and kill, many of the warriors as they make their way through their individual story. I, for one, look forward to running across Mandalore himself, possibly during a flashpoint or future operation. Perhaps we will even get a few chances to take down a Basilisk War Droid or two. If past BioWare games are any example, we will be able to expect some truly epic encounters with the Mandalorians once we get in game. With their large fan base and interesting history, and as some of the greatest warriors in the galaxy, I eagerly await for the new chapter in the Mandalorians’ history to unfold before my eyes.
One Response to “TOR Lore: Mandalorians”