Trench Run: Why It Makes Sense For The Mandalorian to Treat Droids This Way– EXPLAINED

(L-R): Foot droids with Greef Karga (Carl Weathers), Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Foot droids with Greef Karga (Carl Weathers), Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Somehow, the sight of The Mandalorian kicking super battle droids forces me to love him even more. He is not happy. His face under that helmet is a Darksaber all on its own. And I am telling you that this man was hurting.

If you told an 11 year old me that a Star Wars protagonist would act like a sophisticated gentleman around Ugnaughts but revenge-kickline a series of droids, I’d have wondered hard and long about what those crafty Star Wars roleplayers were up to.  (Role playing was all the Star Wars we had had in the Dark Times, the long fallow period between Return of the Jedi and the Thrawn trilogy. No matter what you think about the prequel trilogy or the sequels, you do not want to live in such a world. )

Leeroy Jenkinings on the Droids

But where’s all this aggression and Leeroy Jenkinings on the droids coming from? Despite living with a group of people who can’t see any way out of living directly below a pterodactyl and directly next to a dinosaur-alligator, Mando is not this stupid. I’m hearing from my fellow commentators that this behavior is not like Din, or at least the Din this show has presented for three and a half seasons. What happened to all the love for all the droids?

He never had it to begin with.

One of the first things this man did in the entire series was refuse a droid-driven transport. This was profoundly embedded business for him. Battle droids murdered his parents, and nearly killed him along with them.

Imagine cowering in a cellar as a small child, completely on your own, with no idea what’s happened to your parents and what’s about to happen to you. And we know Din saw the battle droid about to obey its programming. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to make himself as small as possible and it’s easy to see how this little boy could grow up to become a ruthless bounty hunter.

Turning the Trauma on Its Head

These moments were paralleled in Episode 1 when Mando blasted the living daylights out of the IG unit who tried to off Baby Yoda. Little Din was rescued by a Mandalorian who destroyed a droid, and grown-up Din repeated the pattern: A defenseless child, completely alone, now owed his life to a Mandalorin and will be raised in the Creed, even though he wasn’t born into it.

That entire incident might have operated as a cleansing moment for Din Djarin, and the last-ditch intervention of IG-11 in Season 1 also turned his trauma on its head. This time, the lives of both him and his son were saved by a droid. But we never got definitive word from Din’s own helmet that he was now sitting cozy with all things mechanical.

“Might As Well Let Them Have At It”

Here’s the grand total of evidence we have that Din is now down with droids. When he– like everybody and everything else in this franchise–landed on Tatooine in Season 2,  he grudgingly allowed those obnoxious pit-stop things to get within maintenance reach of his Razor Crest. In that scene, his words on the entire subject, in total, were: “Might as well let them have at it.”

And in The Book of Boba Fett, while building his new starfighter, he permitted a Gonk droid plus the pit droids to help, but they pretty much stayed on their side of the garage.

Most importantly, Mando was in a hurry. Now that he had new space wheels after the destruction of the Razor Crest, he was desperate to visit Grogu. (You’d rush, too! You would!) This was a matter regarding his son, so Din was going to take all the help he could get–even if it was droid-sourced.

Little Guy

The one droid he did interact with was the make and model of one that’s deeply coded in Star Wars lore as non-threatening and a trustworthy companion. The droid that helped Din place the panel on his starfighter is a BD unit, the same type that fans spent hours and hours with while playing Jedi: Fallen Order. This droid was an integral part of that story, and, I mean, look at him– he’s adorable and even smaller than Grogu. There’s not a lot of reason to fear this guy, so no wonder Mando grants him an almost-affectionate thank you.

This season, Mando attempted to revive IG-11, but then? Then it reverted to its original programming. This was the realization of one Din’s worst fears, and this episode likely was the processing and fallout of that distress. But this droid is the only one in the galaxy that he trusted absolutely, so he was still willing to try to get it in working order even after it tried to kill him, his son, his friend, and at least one Lionel Richie-style statue of a head. The man is loyal– give him that,

Two Feet Into the Cave

So IG-11 wasn’t an option, but Din still needed a droid to sniff out potential poisons on Mandalore. And for reasons known only to himself and the Force, he allowed the long-suffering R5 to operate as his wingman, even though he didn’t trust it, it was literally falling apart in front of him, and it wasn’t rated for exploring caves– and yeah, it got maybe two feet into a cave before falling over.

The droid itself wanted no part of this. I cannot imagine one single reason for Din to stick that thing in his ride other than to give him a seat next to poor Ahmed Best in the WayBack Balcony.

But this is Star Wars, a modern beacon of hope, a universe in which we’re not supposed to know the odds, so I’ll allow the fan service.

Imagine Luke Skywalker Doing This…

There is one overlooked aspect of the Adventures of R5– while pretty much every single Star Wars protagonist bonded with their droids, Mando wasn’t vibing with this one. He had zero patience with anything approaching a wacky personality and endearing quirks. He was going to roll this droid right into the mines to test for dangerous gasses and life forms while staying entirely ready to let whatever was going to happen to it…  happen to it.

And he wanted R5 to hurry up about it. Din would have no doubt peaced out with Baby Yoda if life got serious. Imagine Luke Skywalker doing this with R2.

And then, when R5 vanished from all instrumentation, the only reason Din bothered to check in on its welfare was because Baby Yoda wailed at him about it, and, frankly, he also wanted to know if he would die should he breathe the air he was sitting in.

The One Thing In Common

In all the droids Mando tolerated, what was the constant element?  Why was he ready to let these select few anywhere near him?

These droids were unarmed.

Pit droid, Gonk droid, astromech– none of them were designed for battle, and to the extent that Din could grant them a modicum of trust, he allowed them to exist next to him when they were needed to help him reach a goal.

And don’t forget that between the events of the construction of the starfighter and this bizarre carnival casserole that is Season 3 of The Mandalorian. Since then, Din had seen IG-11 turn on him and his baby, engaged in a deeply destructive battle against droids in The Book of Boba Fett, and his super-secret Mandalorian covert was ratted out by the loathsome pile of rust he never wanted and pretty much didn’t even need anyway.

In addition to all this, Din Djarin obviously still hadn’t faced the emotional issues stemming from his disrupted childhood. PTSD impacts the way the brain works. It changes the wiring. In severe cases it is never cured– it is managed– and Mando probably isn’t helping matters much in this department with his pretty-much-daily Grade 4 concussions.

That’s why he was kicking those B-2 super droids. That’s why he couldn’t wait to kick those B-2 super droids.  And that is why he was ready to not just play the role of, but be, the bad cop in the droid bar.

Stepping Out Without My Baby

It’s worth noting that Baby Yoda wasn’t with Din when all of this violence and all of these threats took place. Mando could be reasonably certain his boy was safe, and he had backup in the form of Bo-Katan in case the situation at court spun out of control, but Grogu still wasn’t immediately present.

Din Djarin may have had a PhD in exasperated sighing, but he was still willing to help others when and where he could. However, many of these early actions were transactional or connected to his obedience to the Creed. They manifested more naturally after he formed close ties with Grogu. And when there was no little Jedi in his line of sight, he backslid.

Hardcore Best Behavior

Kindness and mercy were present beneath all that beskar, but when Din was cognizant that his son was watching and learning from his every move, he was like me when I’m wearing a skirt and a chapel veil– hardcore best behavior.

Think on the absolute brutality he exhibited during the slaughterhouse scene in The Book of Boba Fett while Grogu was with Luke. He was right back to “I can bring you in warm, or I can bring you in cold.” Din sliced his bounty in half when dude already had a vibroblade sticking out of his chest.

It was telling that Mando injured his own leg with the Darksaber during this melee– he was a man at war with himself. Although he did plenty of slaughtering of his own in that situation, Mando still acted on the echos of Grogu’s influence. He found ways to act honorably both before and after all the stabbing. He told his bounty’s henchmen to bail, then spoke humbly to the workers while leaving them the spoils that he figured was their skimmed salaries anyway.

Quest This Way

That wasn’t just the Creed at work in him– it was also the influence of his child. Have we ever heard Din Djarin come even close to laughing unless he was alone with his son? When Grogu was gone, Mando was emotionally directionless and more prone to give in to rage, into the psychologically desolate life he used to know before he quested his way into Clan Mudhorn.

So why not wreak some revenge on the droids– the non-living beings– he still hadn’t forgiven?