Just like its overarching Star Wars universe, The Mandalorian has a habit of dangling loose plot threads only to neatly tie them up sooner or later. But there has been one weird detail that forms an integral part of the series, the fact that the Mandalorians don’t take off their helmet and armour in front of a living soul. For ardent Star Wars loyalists, who have binged on every film and TV series under the franchise, this was a major plot hole as every other Mandalorian seen before the Disney+ series had no stoic rules about their armours and expressed no qualms about taking off their helmets.
Till now, Din Djarin and his fellow Mandalorians have stuck to their principle of not taking off their armour even if it meant certain death and it has been perpetuated that “this is the way” in opposition to the Mandalorians’ portrayal before the show. Those aware of this inconsistency had lobbied theories that ranged from the showrunners retconning the attributes of the clan to just setting a plot arc with answers in the near future. And thankfully, it is the latter that has won as the latest episode “The Heiress” clarifies that Mandalorians doggedly refusing to remove their helmet is so not the way.
The episode sees Din Djarin and Baby Yoda being saved by three Mandalorians and just as he is about to thank them, they remove their helmets, stunning the bounty hunter into silence only for him to angrily accuse them the next second of stealing the armours. And unless your introduction to the Star Wars universe began with The Mandalorian, you will know right off the bat that they are the real deal.
Two of the Mandalorians are Koska Reeves (Sasha Banks) and Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides) who are being led by Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff). She is a Mandalorian who resided on the planet Mandalore and went up against Darth Maul to free her homeland. While initial tension in her relationship with Satine, the former ruler of Mandalore, made her joining the cult section of the clan known as the “Death Watch,” Bo-Katan soon came to understand her sister’s pacifist ways and sided on the Light Side of the Force. Seen throughout Star Wars: The Clone Wars, she last appeared in Star Wars Rebels: Heroes of Mandalore where Sabine Wren bestowed the DarkSaber on her with the responsibility to unite the clans of Mandalore and defeat the Empire.
In response to Mando’s query about the whereabouts of her armour and claims that a true Mandalorian never takes off their helmet, Bo-Katan explains that the armour had been in her bloodline for generations. And as for the rule of not taking off the helmet, she explained that the rule is only followed by “Children of the Watch.”
Who are Children of the Watch?
Before The Clone Wars, the Mandalorian culture had, more or less, achieved peace and given up on their penchant to battle and use force to fulfil their mission. The times were such that most of the Mandalorians had given up on the ancient tradition of never parting with the armour and were comfortable with showing their face in public. But Death Watch was a fanatic group made of estranged members of the clan who wanted to re-establish the old ways.
Bo-Katan explains that what Mando thinks is the “way” is actually a lifestyle followed only by a “cult of religious zealots that broke away from Mandalorian society.” She reveals that he is a Child of the Watch and though nothing more is revealed, it is obvious that “Children of the Watch” could be an offshoot branch of the Death Watch, hopefully without a Darth Maul. Just like the Nite Owls Bo-Katan now leads was a part of the Death Watch but parted ways with it after its association with the deadly Sith Lord.
Given this clarification, it is now apparent that of the different sects of Mandalorians, it is the Children of the Watch who can’t take off their helmets. Din Djarin, who became an orphan during the Republic Era and was raised as a foundling, grew up knowing nothing but how the Mandalorians under the Children of the Watch function. And as the revelation of this detail is obviously not without a larger motive, we can safely hope that it hints at a future when Mando will embrace the current Mandalorian “way” and may even take off his helmet again, though hopefully this time it will not be because he has a severe head injury.