Mandalorian’s Identity Crisis Feels Like The Skywalker Retcon Again

Din Djarin is a member of a Mandalorian sect called the Children of the Watch. Descended from the group known as the Death Watch, they are considered religious zealots by their fellow Mandalorians because of their commitment to old ways that others have abandoned. One of their most important rules is that their adherents cannot remove their helmets. Din Djarin was forced to do so to rescue Grogu when he was recaptured by the Imperial Remnant, and as far as the Children of the Watch is considered he is now considered banished. Only by conducting a quest to the ruined Mandalorian homeworld can Din Djarin possibly be redeemed in their eyes.

It’s a classic identity debate, and it feels oddly reminiscent of one seen in the aftermath of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The end saw Rey claim to be a Skywalker, apparently a twist planned since before the prequels were begun. As Pablo Hidalgo explained in a quote in The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, « for our purposes, ‘the Skywalker’ is really a metaphor. It doesn’t have to be something that’s directly connected to blood. » This retcon started exactly the same kind of discussion about what it means to be a Skywalker, and the answer – in traditional Star Wars fashion – seems to be that it depends on « a certain point of view. »

The Mandalorian is telling a refreshing diaspora story. Mandalorians have been scattered across the galaxy, and they are desperately attempting to cling on to their cultural identity at a time when they lack a homeland. Bo-Katan Kryze sought the Darksaber in the hopes she could exploit its symbolism and use it to unite her people. In truth, even with the Darksaber this would be a difficult task; the Mandalorians have always been divided and divisive, disinclined from unity even behind such a powerful symbol as the Darksaber. The Children of the Watch, in particular, will view all their kin, those who have « forsaken » the ancient ways of Mandalore, as fallen. They will view themselves as the only Mandalorian remnant, and Bo-Katan and her ilk as unworthy.