What Is the Difference Between a Mandalorian and a Child of the Watch?
This latest episode of The Mandalorian was definitely the most exciting for fans of previous Star Wars content like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. The show has really thrived on the fact that it’s its own thing, but with added characters from the franchise’s past, it’s just really exciting and adds to the overall worldbuilding of the show.
And this episode answered a lot of questions fans might have had regarding the Mandalorians since the series started. Thanks in major part to one familiar face that showed up in this episode. [Spoiler alert: Spoilers for “Chapter 11” of The Mandalorian ahead].
It’s always been established that Mando isn’t from Mandalore; he’s a foundling
Slowly but surely throughout the first season of The Mandalorian, Mando’s story unfolded. It became known that his real name is Din Djarin; Mando was, of course, just a version of “Mandalorian,” since he wasn’t close with a lot of people he came in contact with.
He also revealed that he wasn’t from the planet Mandalore. His version of Mandalorian is more of a religious faction. He was saved by Mandalorians when his town was under attack during the Purge, aka the Fall of the Republic (aka Order 66, or sometime after).
He was then taken in by these Mandalorians and took up their practices. Their culture includes helping foundlings, not taking off their helmets — ever — and also saying “This is the way.” When Mando came in contact with Cobb Vanth, for example, who wore Mandalorian armor but didn’t obey the helmet rule, it was a dead giveaway to him that he wasn’t a Mandalorian.
However, fans of The Clone Wars know that Mandalorians didn’t always have that rule. So The Mandalorian really raised a lot of questions as to why Mando was different. In the decades since the beginning of the Empire did the Mandalorians nearly go extinct and develop these practices? What happened to Bo-Katan and the rest of Mandalore after Ahsoka help kick Maul out? Well, this episode starts to answer those and more.
This episode introduced Bo-Katan and Mandalorians from Mandalore
For anyone who hasn’t seen the two animated series mentioned before, that’s definitely OK. It’s not a prerequisite to enjoy and understand The Mandalorian at all.
The reason Mando is so taken aback by Bo-Katan and her two partners is that they act and fight like true Mandalorians, however, they remove their helmets. Again, that’s a dead giveaway to him that they’re fakers. He apparently doesn’t know Mandalorians outside of his religious sect. That’s all he was taught, which also makes sense.
Bo-Katan isn’t as confused or alarmed, though. She and the two Mandalorians with her give knowing looks and she calls him a “Child of the Watch.” What is that?
As she describes, they are foundlings that former members of Death Watch took under their wing. During the Clone Wars, Death Watch was a terrorist group of Mandalorians who defected from Mandalore. This is because Duchess Satine Kryze — Bo-Katan’s sister — established a pacifist and neutral stance on their planet. Pre Vizsla, another member of a powerful line of Mandalorians and descendent of the first and only Mandalorian Jedi, became the leader of Death Watch. He’s actually voiced by The Mandalorian showrunner Kevin Feige.
As you can tell, Mandalorians are great fighters. They consider themselves warriors. So Death Watch took it upon themselves to continue that belief. They went against their government and continually trying to gain power back on their planet to overthrow the pacifist duchess.
Bo-Katan actually used to be a part of Death Watch
Even though Bo-Katan was related to Duchess Satine, she was all warrior, if it wasn’t obvious. She joined Death Watch and was Pre Vizsla’s righthand. However, once Pre Vizsla made a pact with Maul, she started getting suspicious of where Death Watch was headed. Not only Vizsla making a deal with a former Sith, but they were going to let Maul take over Mandalore with them.
The Siege of Mandalore brought Ahsoka Tano in when Bo-Katan defected from Death Watch. As she’d feared, Maul killed Pre Vizsla, took his family’s Darksaber, and took over their homeworld of Mandalore. The Jedi couldn’t spare anyone other than Ahsoka and her group of Clone troopers that Anakin granted her. She technically wasn’t a Jedi anymore and so she wasn’t allowed to “officially” lead a squadron of troopers as a commander. She did anyway, but still.
Regardless, they won back Mandalore, but a good chunk of Death Watch were still faithful to Maul, something that holds true well after the Republic falls. But some must have just gone on to form their own religious faction of Mandalorians, and that’s what Mando is a part of.
So, long story short, Bo-Katan is a Mandalorian from the planet Mandalore. Mando, aka Din Djarin, is a foundling that was taken in by former members of Death Watch, an extremist group that went on to become religious zealots, as Bo-Katan called them. Mando is a Child of the Watch and a member of that form of Mandalorian. Both are Mandalorians but are a part of two separate versions of the term.