In the current canon of the ‘Star Wars’ franchise, the planet of Mandalore plays an important role in the overall narrative. Located in the Outer Rim territories of the galaxy, it is the homeworld of the war-like race known as the Mandalorians. During the fall of the Old Republic, Mandalorian warriors raided the Jedi temple to retrieve the darksaber, the black-bladed lightsaber that originally belonged to Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian to be accepted in the Jedi Order. The Mandalorians expanded their influence far beyond their home star system, encompassing two thousand others at one point.
The planet underwent several regime changes toward the tail-end of the reign of the Galactic Republic. After the rise of the Empire, the planet was rendered inhabitable, and millions of Mandalorians perished. Here is everything you need to know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD.
How Was Mandalore Destroyed?
Mandalore was already uninhabitable before the event known as the Purge. Internal wars between the Mandalorians damaged the planet’s surface to such a severe degree that the inhabitants had to build insulated bio-cube cities. The peace-loving New Mandalorians lived there while the warriors were exiled to the moon Concordia, where they secretly formed the Death Watch terrorist movement with Pre Vizsla as its leader.
During the Clone Wars, Mandalore declared neutrality between the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, but that proved increasingly difficult because of the Death Watch’s repeated attempts on Duchess Satine’s life. Satine was eventually killed by the former Sith lord Maul as revenge against Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, the rule of Maul’s Shadow Collective on Mandalore didn’t last long. He and his Mandalorian associates were overthrown by Bo-Katan Kryze and her warriors with the help of the Republic forces and Ahsoka Tano.
After the fall of the Republic and the near extinction of the Jedi Order, the galaxy saw the rise of the Empire. Despite being the Regent of Mandalore, Bo-Katan downright refused to adhere to the Imperial orders and eventually was betrayed by Clan Saxon, an influential Mandalorian family that secretly made a deal with the Empire. After Bo-Katan’s removal, the Empire appointed Gar Saxon of Clan Saxon as Viceroy and Governor of the planet, and the Imperial supercommandos were placed under Saxon’s command to maintain order on Mandalore.
After the death of Gar Saxon, his brother Tiber succeeded him as Governor. This led to the advent of another civil war on Mandalore, with Clan Saxon on one side backed by the Empire. And Clan Wren on the other side. Bo-Katan and her fighters joined the latter group and helped them take down Clan Saxon. Afterward, Sabin Wren and representatives of other clans convinced her to accept the Darksaber and assume the leadership of Mandalore.
Unfortunately, the Empire returned for revenge. Despite Bo-Katan and her people’s desperate attempt to fight against it, the Empire unleashed its might on Mandalore. What happened afterward is known by many names. Some Mandalorians refer to the Great Purge, while Moff Gideon called it the Siege of Mandalore. On what became known as the Night of a Thousand Tears, countless Mandalorian recruits were killed with gunships, armed with heavy repeating blasters, before the TIE/sa bombers were used to decimate the domed cities of Mandalore, including its capital, Sundari. To finish off the survivors, the KX-series security droids and probe droids were deployed.
Why Was Mandalore Destroyed?
As Bo-Katan regained power after the second civil war, the Empire realized that they could never have complete control over Mandalore. During the rule of the Saxon clan, the Empire established a military academy on Mandalore. Ironically, Sabine was a student of that academy. Confronted with failures on multiple fronts, the Empire decided to commit genocide, which led to the deaths of the majority of Mandalorians.
During this conflict, Bo-Katan lost the Darksaber, which subsequently came into Gideon’s possession. At least one Mandalorian group seems to think that the Purge happened because of a curse placed on the Darksaber. A person can only use the Darksaber if they have won it fairly from the previous owner. If that’s not the case, the ownership will be illegitimate. As the Armorer tells Din Djarin, “She [Bo-Katan] once laid claim to rule Mandalore based purely on her blood and the sword you now possess. But it was gifted to her and not won by Creed. Bo-Katan Kryze was born of a mighty house, but they lost sight of the way.” The implication here is that Mandalore was destroyed because Bo-Katan wasn’t the legitimate owner of the Darksaber.