The Mandalorian season 2 premiere gave us a new perspective on the Tusken Raiders

Tusken Raider and bantha in THE MANDALORIAN, season two, exclusively on Disney+. Image courtesy Disney+
Tusken Raider and bantha in THE MANDALORIAN, season two, exclusively on Disney+. Image courtesy Disney+ /

We might have returned to Tatooine for The Mandalorian season 2 premiere, but there was something special about the way the Tusken Raiders were portrayed this time.

Everyone knows the Tusken Raiders as the “vicious, mindless monsters” that kidnapped and tortured Shmi Skywalker Lars in Attack of the Clones. A New Hope even elaborated on this too, but not to the extent that Attack of the Clones did. Now, something’s changed. Recently, we got a fresh perspective on these creatures in a way that makes them look sympathetic. Still confused? Let me explain.

Before I continue, I want to stress that there are spoilers for the premiere episode of The Mandalorian season 2 in this article, so please do not continue on if you haven’t seen the episode. Go and watch it and then come back here.

In the season 2 premierewe received a confirmation that Timothy Olyphant was in fact playing Cobb Vanth, a character who appeared in the Aftermath book series. In the episode entitled “Chapter 9: The Marshal,” we see him and Din Djarin, aka the titular Mandalorian, reluctantly join forces with a tribe of Tusken Raiders to stop the threat of a krayt dragon that was terrorizing the Vanth’s home of Mos Pelgo on Tatooine.

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Now, before we dive into the Tusken Raiders in the episode, I wanted to go over what we know of the creatures prior to what we saw in “The Marshal.”

Before “The Marshal”

For fans of Star Warsthe Tusken Raider species is often associated with brutality, and as we stated earlier, courtesy of Cliegg Lars’ quote in Attack of the Clones, they are seen as “vicious, mindless monsters.” A tribe of these beings kidnapped and tortured Shmi Skywalker and essentially left her so malnourished that she died within minutes of her son, Anakin’s, arrival when he went out searching for her.

Shmi’s death sent Skywalker into a  frightening tailspin. He ignited his lightsaber and slaughtered every single Tusken Raider in the village, including the women and the children. Anakin confessed his crime to his soon-to-be wife, Padmé Amidala, who did her best to comfort him.

Over the three years that passed, Anakin’s slaughter of the Tusken Raiders was left largely unsaid given how he felt about the topic. It’s unclear whether Obi-Wan knew that he was aware of what happened, but it is known that he had a feeling something had gone down but chose not to push it.

Anakin’s Padawan, Ahsoka, also sensed something was wrong when they go to return Jabba’s son Rotta during their first mission. Skywalker made an offhand comment about hoping not to have to return to Tatooine. However, when his student went to question him about it, he brushed her off.

Tusken Raiders also attempted to harm Anakin’s son, Luke, 19 years after his fall to the Dark Side where the boy was saved by Obi-Wan, who was going under the name Ben. Also, it’s interesting to note that the creatures were known only as Sand People in A New Hope. The actual name of the species was revealed in The Phantom Menace.

Why the Tusken Raiders caused us to be sympathetic

Going into “The Marshal,” I had literally no idea what to expect. I didn’t know too much about Cobb Vanth, nor did I know he was associated with Tatooine. I knew of the character and I was aware Olyphant had been reported to be in the show, but there hadn’t been concrete proof until the premiere. What surprised me more was how Vanth handled the situation with the Tuskens.

I was surprised at how the Tusken Raiders were handled the second Din and Baby Yoda end up on Tatooine; I knew there was every chance they would appear, and they did as one was seen riding a Bantha as the ship landed on the planet. Seeing the creatures made me kinda cringe at first as I thought they would be the same as they’ve been: savages. The idea of them actually being civilized beings never once crossed my mind once until this episode.

Seeing the residents of Mos Pelgo, Vanth, Baby Yoda, and Din joining forces with the Tuskens was refreshing to watch. They all had a common goal: stop the krayt dragon from tearing apart a village of innocent people. How Mando and Cobb were able to put aside their own differences and the issues they had with the Sand People goes to show that the creatures were not as bad as they have been previously portrayed — as barbarians that had no souls.

If the episode taught us anything, it’s not to judge a species known for violence or what they have done in the past. There is always a reason for what they’re doing. If anything, the Tuskens were extremely relatable as the situation with the krayt dragon almost affected them too.

Next. The Mandalorian Chapter 9: The Marshal ending explained. dark

Want do you think? Did you think the Tusken Raiders were relatable in the episode? Tell us below!