The Mandalorian: Who is under the helmet, anyway?


Since Jon Favreau  released the first summary of the show “The Mandalorian” via Instagram, we’ve seen a steady stream of new information about what’s in store. What hasn’t been said however might prove more interesting than what we know.

The excitement around the new Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian was already high before the show’s name was even announced. Then on October 3, Jon Favreau gave us our first taste, telling us the title, setting, and the main character we would eventually see.

His post told us the show is set in the fairly undefined time period between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.  We will see a “lone gunfighter” in the outer reaches. Within 24 hours, Favreau went on to show us a character we can assume is the eponymous Mandalorian, and since then we’ve gotten more teases of what that world will look like.

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Mandalorian history in general has been explored better on television than in Star Wars films with long arcs in The Clone Wars giving us characters like the Duchess Satine, Bo-Katan Kryze, Pre Visla, and the entire saga of “Death Watch;” a group of Mandalorian warriors hoping to restore the martial past of the planet, moved to pacifism by Satine’s family rule.

Star Wars Rebels and gave us the marvelous Sabin Wren, and further defined just how the rise of the Empire affected Mandalore and the Houses there. Bo-Katan returns to eventually take on the Dark Saber and rule the planet.

So a televised The Mandalorian picking up from there seems rather fitting. In film, the word “mandalorian” started as just a descriptor of Boba Fett’s armor in publicity around The Empire Strikes Back; television has afforded us a long form story for this planet and people.

Something that has impressed me with those tales is how well they represent women. Satine Kryze is a pacifist, but in no way weak.  Bo Khatan is a warrior, like Sabine later on in Rebels, or her mother Ursa.  Knowing how well represented Mandalorian women are, I noticed something about the descriptors we’ve seen. Read this again:

“Another warrior” and “a lone gunslinger” are not particularly gender specific. Without casting rumors or announcements, there is really no way to be sure yet that the lead role may not belong to a woman. There is that image of a broad-shouldered warrior Favreau has shared. It would not be the first time however modern Star Wars has presented us a set of armor that was utilitarian and avoided advertising the wearer’s gender.

Captain Phasma was  a physically strong woman warrior in armor that avoided stereotypes often presented in fantasy and science fiction. That presentation was something that Gwendoline Christie found “exciting,” particularly the way Phasma was not sexualized.

Next. Star Wars: George Lucas on set of The Mandalorian with Jon Favreau. dark

Despite controversy, The Last Jedi has been a financial success both in theater and on home video. Current televised iterations of science fiction mainstays Star Trek and Doctor Who both now feature women in the lead roles. Will The Mandalorian add to the list of incredible women Star Wars has given us since a certain Princess hid plans in an astromech?

What do you think? Who do you think is hiding behind the mask?