The Mandalorian season 3 reveals the tragic fate of Mandalore – but what did the planet look like before the Purge and the Night of a Thousand Tears?
This article contains spoilers for The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2.The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2 revealed the ravaged world of Mandalore – and dropped an intriguing hint about what the planet was like before the Great Purge. The Mandalorians had always been restless and warlike, difficult (if not outright impossible) to rule, and it is no surprise they earned the ire of the Empire. But even their wisest leaders would never have anticipated the scale of the Empire’s retribution; angered at Mandalorian disobedience, Imperial leaders ordered a brutal attack on the planet itself. The Empire’s goal was to “glass” the entire world, to bombard Mandalore with turbolasers and fusion bombs, leaving its surface crystallized by the relentless heat and pressure. This was the Empire’s worst punishment, one that would render an entire planet uninhabitable and unusable.
The Empire’s attempt to destroy Mandalore was only partly successful, though. When Pedro Pascal’s Din Djarin visited the planet in The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2, he was surprised to find a planet with a breathable atmosphere – one still inhabited by creatures that once lived in Mandalore’s wastelands. Life appears to have survived in the caves beneath the ruins of Sundari, the former capital city of Mandalore, and it is no doubt flourishing elsewhere. Katee Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan Kryze was heartbroken to see what had become of Mandalore, remembering the planet’s past beauty, but even this was a miracle. Still, Bo-Katan’s reflection will surely have left many viewers wondering what Mandalore was once like.
Mandalore Before The Star Wars Saga
It’s important to note Bo-Katan never saw Mandalore at its most beautiful. The old Expanded Universe revealed Mandalorians once lived on a paradisiacal world, one with lush veshok tree forests and grassland plains that were perfectly suited to farming. The apex predators of Mandalore were the Mythosaurs, reptilian creatures that could be as large as an entire city. But sadly, this beauty did not last, because the warring tribes of Mandalore largely laid waste to their homeland. Bo-Katan’s words in The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2 seem to imply this ancient history is canon in Star Wars once again.
Mandalore During The Clone Wars & Star Wars Rebels
Mandalore was once beautiful, but the incessant conflict between the different tribes had affected the planet’s entire climate. The Mandalorians retreated into cities beneath domes that maintained a stable atmosphere, and it is likely the famous Mandalorian armor was originally designed to help the people survive when they left the cities – explaining why their helmets pressurize. There’s some evidence the poisonous gases were stratified in the upper atmosphere, meaning the valleys were survivable, but the planet’s ecological crisis was accelerating during Bo-Katan’s lifetime. The short story Kenobi’s Shadow by Greg van Eekhout, published in The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark, reveals the plains were still fertile grasslands around the capital city of Sundari during her childhood; but by the time of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, they had become a desert, likely reflecting the impact of acid rain.
As seen in The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2, Sundari was situated over the richest beskar deposits on Mandalore. This makes perfect sense; beskar was the foundation of the Mandalorian economy, and the city naturally grew up around these mines. This domed city was famous for its intricate architecture; the dome provided a natural limit to Sundari’s expansion, so as population grew, buildings were extended upwards. The buildings were made of permacrete and transparisteel, and the buildings often featured beautiful transparent windows to accentuate the overall design. Many bridges and walls were also transparent, possibly a security feature allowing for a wider angle of vision.
Sadly, as Din Djarin learned in The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2, Mandalore has been destroyed and Sundari left in ruins. The Empire attempted to lay waste to the entire planet Mandalore in the Night of a Thousand Tears, but it seems their efforts to destroy the world were only partly successful. Life survived, hiding in the valley caves and the mines beneath Sundari. The atmosphere remains breathable in the valleys, perhaps meaning Mandalore can be reclaimed. If so, The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2 may yet offer hope to the scattered Mandalorians.
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