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What is a Mandalorian and why is their armour so cool?

On a list of distinctive, iconic 'looks' featured in Star Wars, Mandalorian armour has to be pushing the top ten. The armour worn by Boba Fett was so recognisable it spawned a fandom over a character who said virtually nothing and never revealed his face. 

Now, years later, we are seeing the Mandalorian people and culture explored more thoroughly through The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. From Jango and Boba Fett and now to Din Djarin, viewers are being given the most amount of insight and backstory to this proud warrior people.  

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. What exactly is a Mandalorian and why is there a show sharing that title? 

What is a Mandalorian? 

Unlike many established Star Wars races, Mandalorians are not a single alien species. Instead, they are the humans and aliens who live on the planet Mandalore and are part of that cultural identity.

Mandalore was a desert planet in the outer rim, where all inhabitants are instilled with strict martial rules and warrior culture. The Mandalorians were known for being foes of the Jedi - though they also opposed the galactic empire and were ultimately occupied by them during the empire's reign. 

Mandalore was split into a variety of clans, which led to frequent battles and civil wars. After leading the Mandalorian resistance against the empire, Bo-Katan reclaimed the Darksaber and assumed the 'Mand'alor' ruler title. 

Some other Mandalorians fled into hiding, a group of which we see in Disney's The Mandalorian - a remnant faction that demands adherence to the Mandalorian code. 

What is Mandalorian armour? 

Imagine designing a set of armour so cool that it spawns an entire storyline. That's what happened to Boba Fett's original costume designer,  Joe Johnston. His vision of the original Mandalorian armour, with its distinctive helmet and jetpack, made such an impact that it defined 'Mandalorian' as a plot device. 

Mandalorian armour is the 'catch-all' term used to describe the set of armour worn by human Mandalorian warriors. It most notably features a t-shaped visor and is made from beskar steel - strong enough to deflect blaster shots and even lightsaber energy. 

Mandalorian armour is, by itself, not a definite 'set'. Many warriors only wear pieces such as the helmet, chest plate, wrist and thigh guards. We see Boba and Jango Fett's pieces of armour frequently in the main films, but further expansions have shown Mandalorian and even Din Djarin decked out in full sets of armour.  

Why do Mandalorians hate Jedi? 

Considering the history of the Mandalorian and Jedi conflict, you might be forgiven for thinking that Mandalore would have sided with the empire and sith. However, it's not a blanket case of good vs evil when it comes to Mandalore's view of the Jedi. 

Their conflict began in the Mandalorian-Jedi war, where Mandalore had to develop new technologies to cope with the Jedi's saber skills and Force abilities. After they had these technologies, they were able to win some of the battles. Ultimately, however, the conflict rose to new heights that saw Mandalore burned into a white desert. The Jedi emerged victoriously and Mandalore was forever damaged - leading to all Mandalorians carrying a grudge against the Jedi. 

Are Mandalorians good or bad? 

Mandalore has a mixed history - with the majority of its expansion coming from martial discipline and appetite for war. Some of the most warlike Mandalorians became the Death Watch, a sect that opposed the new pacifist government of Mandalore who pushed for peaceful ideals during the Clone Wars. 

Like any race, Mandalorians have a mix of good and evil within them - but the martial history does leave them more prone to violence than others. Despite this, we see in The Mandalorian that some members protect the weak and innocent (see Din Djarin and Grogu). 

Many Mandalorians also went on to enter morally-ambiguous jobs like Bounty Hunting, further fuelling our assertion that there's not a straight 'good or evil' answer for Mandalore. 

Is Jango Fett a Mandalorian? 

Jango Fett, played by Tamuera Morrison, is the original genetic archetype who is cloned on Kamino to create the clone troopers. As part of this effort, Jango was gifted an unaltered clone who became his son, Boba Fett.

Jango's origins are shrouded in mystery but he suggests that he is from the Mandalorian-owned planet, Concord Dawn. He is taken in as a Mandalorian foundling and trained in the warrior culture ways. After serving as a Mandalorian commando in the Mandalorian Civil War, he becomes a freelance bounty hunter. 

However, many loyalist New Mandalorians disavowed Jango and said he was an opportunist who had luckily found Mandalorian armour rather than earned it for himself. 

Is Boba Fett a Mandalorian? 

Unlike his father Jango, Boba Fett has no real connection to the Mandalorian world other than his genetic heritage. He has no cultural links to any part of Mandalore and therefore is not a Mandalorian, but wears the armour he inherited proudly. 

How do Mandalorians eat? 

We couldn't create this article without mentioning the fact that over 300 people every month search for this question in Google...wow. 

Okay, so we know from The Mandalorian show that some of the strict Mandalorian breakaway groups don't remove their helmets in front of other people. That doesn't mean that they NEVER remove their helmets. They just do it in private. For that exact reasoning, it's pretty clear how they eat... like everyone else. 


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