By Ian Roth
After reading every rumor, overreacting to every fake scoop on Twitter, and waiting for what seemed like an eternity, The Mandalorian trailer for the upcoming second season dropped on the Star Wars YouTube page on Tuesday. Fans were reunited with their favorite space father-and-son duo and were teased on where they were going and what kind of challenges they would encounter on their journey to return The Child back to his own people. “His own people” of course being the Jedi, or what’s left of them after the fall of the Empire.
While all of that, plus the first appearance of Sasha Banks’s character and the reappearance of Tatooine, was very exciting, I ended up thinking more about one of the lines of dialogue spoken during the trailer.
During the sequence at seaport, The Armorer from season 1, or what sounds like the The Armorer, describes Mandalore’s past with the Jedi Order: “The songs of eons past tell of battles between Mandalore the Great and an order of sorcerers called Jedi.”
Din Djarin responds with, “You expect me to search the galaxy and deliver this creature to a race of enemy sorcerers?”
For the life of me, I couldn’t get these lines out of my head after watching the trailer. Even after all the spectacular visuals and stunning locations I was stuck wondering to myself, Why did Din Djarin refer to the Jedi as a race?
Firstly, it’s important to remember during the first season of The Mandalorian one of the main themes of the show was “what does it mean to be a Mandalorian?” Was it a way of life? Was it a choice? Was it a race of people? Over the course of the show, that question slowly unraveled itself to its climax in the final episode – “Redemption.” After finally getting the full backstory of Din Djarin in his flashbacks to the Clone Wars, he explains that you don’t have to be born into being a Mandalorian.
“Mandalorian isn’t a race. It’s a creed. I was a foundling. They raised me in the fighting corps. I was treated as one of their own,” he says.
During the episode I was already drawing comparisons to how the Jedi find members of their own order. Yes, you can inherit Force powers and be born into being a Jedi, but more often than not, the Jedi have their own “foundlings” and raise them themselves. Being Jedi isn’t a race. It’s a creed. At the time, this set up all kinds of parallels in the story. Primarily, Din Djarin and The Child are both foundlings of enemy orders. While The Child isn’t a Jedi by definition (yet), he represents the idea of the Jedi in the show alongside Din, who represents the Mandalorians. That irony, that silent tension, is one of the reasons why The Mandalorian has so much depth.
Even knowing all of that, I’m still stuck asking myself, Why did Din Djarin refer to the Jedi as a race?
Whether he consciously realizes it or not, it sounds like Din Djarin harbors some resentment towards the Jedi Order. Perhaps over years and years of growing up in the teachings of the Mandalorian culture he has built up a fear, a dormant uneasiness, of what he believes the Jedi are. Not only does he refer to the Jedi as a “race,” but also as “enemy sorcerers.” The choice of words isn’t a coincidence, but, again, the irony is that he refers to them as both of those things. Especially because Din just revealed to the audience, and to his new companions with him on his journey, that his own “Mandalorian race” is a myth. It is also incredibly ironic that he refers to the Jedi as the enemy even though the embodiment of the Jedi in the show, The Child, saves his life more than once during their travels together.
If I was a betting man (which, for the record, I am not) I would bet that this season of The Mandalorian will be diving deeper into the divide between the Jedi and the Mandalorians. In Canon, there has been everything but a concrete backstory given as to why the two factions have always been enemies. In a recent interview, Jon Favreau, the series’ co-creator, teased that season two will be both “bigger” with “less isolated” stories. So perhaps in this season we will see just how that happened along with more stories of battles between the Jedi and the Mandalorians.
Finally, on a more tangible note, what a genius theme to incorporate into the nuance of this show! In times of such stark divides in our own world, I think that having this running idea of factions not seeing eye to eye solely based on their own culture’s fabrications of others is relevant. Behind lots of Star Wars storytelling there has always had political motivations. George Lucas was never shy about sharing his displeasure on the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon and how each influenced the overall arc of the Original and Prequel Trilogies. Even though this may not be the case for Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, and the other creators of The Mandalorian, the early themes of this season undoubtedly reflect the world we are living in in 2020.
About the author:
Ian Roth is the host of the TalkingWithMyHans YouTube channel and the voice behind the corresponding Twitter account, @TalkWithMyHans. With nearly a decade of audio and video production experience, he’s put himself up to the challenge of bringing an air of positivity to the Star Wars fan-base. Ian has a Bachelors degree in Broadcast Communications from Millersville University and has been a Star Wars fan for longer than he cares to remember.