‘The Mandalorian’: Who Are The Mandalorian’s Tribe? Could They Be Death Watch?

When it comes to The Mandalorian and its titular protagonist, there are still many questions to be answered. Surely, many fans are curious to learn more about baby Yoda and the Mandalorian himself, as well as his history. But what about his tribe? For reasons as of yet unknown, the protagonist’s people are in hiding, and allegedly only go out one at a time. So what’s the deal? There are some details hinting that they could be leftovers from a terror group called the Death Watch. 

What is the Death Watch?

The history of the Mandalorians is full of war, both external and civil. The Mandalorians are a fierce race of warriors, simultaneously feared and valued throughout the Star Wars universe for their skill. In fact, they are historically one of the few races capable of going up against the Jedi Knights. 

At one point, after a civil war that resulted in immense bloodshed across Mandalore, their government entered a period of pacifism. However, there were Mandalorians who did not appreciate their new government. They formed a group called the Death Watch, and swore to bring Mandalorian warrior culture back to their people. 

The Death Watch was eventually backed by Darth Maul and Count Dooku, as well as the criminal underworld. They staged a variety of terrorist attacks on Mandalore, though not under the name Death Watch. The fear they caused convinced the Mandalorian people that they needed to return to their old ways, and earned the Death Watch their support. 

Darth Maul’s horns

Darth Maul is a Dathomirian Zabrak male, a species notable for their face tattoos and horn patterns across their skulls. Fans may have noticed that, in The Mandalorian, the woman who works the forge sports horns similar to Zabrak horns across her helmet. This could be a callback to Darth Maul, the de facto leader of the Death Watch during their takeover of Mandalore.

While this obviously is not concrete evidence in and of itself, it is possibly very telling. And while it’s not yet entirely clear exactly which planet The Mandalorian takes place on, there are stories that cite the Death Watch on other planets.

The Death Watch fell apart on Mandalore before the Galactic Civil War. However, the canon portion of the Star Wars wiki states, “During the Galactic Civil War, survivors of the Death Watch could be found on the distant and seedy world of Ankhural, where Umbaran spies would barter their services to them.”

Could the protagonists’ group be exiles left over from the Death Watch and the takeover of Mandalore? It would be an interesting wrinkle to throw into the plot.

A people in hiding

There are still some confusing details that may conflict with the concept of the tribe being Death Watch, and others that might support it. The tribe mentions the Great Purge, and the decreased numbers of the Mandalorians. This could be a reference to Order 66, in which the Jedi were purged, or a separate purge of Mandalorians entirely. 

It may also be worth wondering why the Death Watch would still exist roughly 30 years after the destruction of the Empire. The Death Watch was formed in 19 BBY, and The Mandalorian takes place in 9 ABY, resulting in a 28-year gap between the two occurrences. 

However, some fans are confused by mentions of reduced numbers and Mandalorians in hiding. Towards the end of Star Wars Rebels, it was clear that the Mandalorians were gathering together against the Empire. While their planet has been rendered largely uninhabitable by warfare, the last we saw the Mandalorians were doing fine and living under domed cities. 

Perhaps some other Great Purge occurred when the Mandalorians rose up against the Empire, one that we don’t yet know about — and perhaps that’s why the Mandalorians have dwindled in numbers and power.