Star Wars: The Mandalorian has introduced mainstream viewers to a corner of the Star Wars Universe they never really encountered in the movies: the warrior culture of Mandalore. As such, a lot of The Mandalorian fans know only what the show has told them about Mandalorian culture, namely that there is only one way: the way of The Mandalore. However, The Mandalorian "Chapter 11: The Heiress" just changed the game in a big way, as Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) met some fellow Mandalorians who challenge his entire belief in the Way of The Mandalore.
So what exactly is "The Way of The Mandalore?" Allow us to breakdown some Star Wars canon for you!
(SPOILERS) In The Mandalorian Chapter 11, Din Djarin meets Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), leader of the Nite Owls, an elite squad of Mandalorian warriors. It's Bo-Katan who finally exposes Din Djarin to a truth he's long avoided: the belief system of "The Tribe" Din belongs to (run by The Armorer) is actually a fringe sector of Mandalorian culture, once known as The Children of the Watch.
The Tribe's belief system stresses rigid ancient practices of Mandalorian culture - the most famous being never taking off your helmet in the presence of of others. It is that strict Old Testament-style religious belief that is known as "The Way of The Mandalore." As fans now know all too well, the religion is typically referred to as "The Way," acknowledged with the chant "This is the way" - i.e., "This is the Way of the Mandalore."
The key thing to understand is that the The Tribe and The Way are only practiced by a very small sector of Mandalore. The Star Wars animated series Clone Wars and Rebels delved a lot deeper into Mandalore's larger culture and clashing factions - including introducing Bo-Katan Kryze and her story. Most of the warriors on Mandalore during the Clone Wars - and afterward, during the Galactic Civil War - took off their helmets. It was, again, only the fringe extremists who adhered to ancient ways of never taking off the helmet. Mandalorian culture binds many different races and species under a common warrior creed - but the severity of that creed has definitely evolved with time.
Now that Din Djarin has learned that he's basically in a cult, it will be interesting to see what happens. One of his fellow members of The Tribe is Paz Vizla, a member of a family line that has a major grudge to settle with Bo-Katan Kryze and the Nite Owls. A new Mandalorian Civil War could be on the horizon...
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