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The Mandalorian’s Bo-Katan is key to understanding Mandalore’s complicated history

Her (and her sister’s) history on Mandalore is alluded to in episode 2

Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) in a closeup Photo: Lucasfilm

When The Mandalorian season 3 premiere “The Apostate” ends, Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff, both in the Clone Wars animated series and The Mandalorian) is in a rough spot, having forfeited her mission to restore Mandalore — for now. With Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) being the rightful bearer of the Darksaber blade by combat technicality, Bo-Katan is left with no legitimate claim to Mandalorian leadership. So her supporters have all but abandoned her.

Brooding on her throne, she mocks the eponymous Mandalorian for looking into the lost cause of the poisoned Mandalore. Din is left puzzled over her abandoning her cause.

But Bo-Katan’s background — a royal one, as she says in episode 2, complete with a sisterly rivalry — illuminates the dark past and pressures that lead her to this state.

[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for Bo-Katan’s and Satine Kryze’s arcs in The Clone Wars.]

Who is Bo-Katan?

Introduced in season 4 of The Clone Wars animated series, Bo-Katan Kryze first appeared as the lieutenant of Pre Vizsla (voiced by The Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau), leader of the Mandalorian extremist group Death Watch. While the New Mandalorian movement was in power and pushing for pacifism, Death Watch was a fringe group out to revive the ancient Mandalorian warrior culture: the way of wars, honor-bound duels, the weapons, and the beskar armor. Just to describe Death Watch’s own ethics: Bo-Katan partook in Vizsla’s enslavement and murder of a village and a long-term ploy to overthrow Duchess Satine Kryze (Anna Graves), Bo-Katan’s own sister, from Mandalore’s throne.

Bo-Katan held a great suspicion of outsiders interfering in Mandalorian politics, so she was skeptical of Vizsla’s alliance with Maul, a Zabrak and fallen Sith with connections to crime syndicates. While she continued to participate in staged attacks on Mandalore, ultimately her suspicions were proven correct when Vizsla was slain in an honor-bound duel for the Darksaber, with the Mandalorian throne then falling to the Zabrak, in season 5, episode 15 of The Clone Wars (“Shades of Reason”). Thus began Bo-Katan’s mission to reclaim Mandalore along with her fellow Nite Owl dissenters.

Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) sitting on the throne with the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu looking at her Photo: Lucasfilm

During the Empire’s dominion of Mandalore in Star Wars Rebels (season 4, episode 2, “Heroes of Mandalore”), it seemed like a good idea for Bo-Katan to accept the Darksaber from Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar), a Mandalorian (and daughter of one of Katan’s Nite Owls) who recovered it from Maul’s Dathomir lair. Even without the customary duel for Darksaber ownership, Bo-Katan had the might and morale to unify Mandalorian warrior clans. However, accepting the Darksaber without a proper duel backfired on her reputation when Imperial Moff Gideon stole it during the Imperial Great Purge upon Mandalore. Despite Bo-Katan’s plan in The Mandalorian season 2 to retrieve it through a duel that could legitimize her leadership once and for all, the Darksaber landed in Din Djarin’s grasp.

So far in The Mandalorian, the disillusioned Bo-Katan has not challenged Din Djarin to a customary duel for the blade. Whether or not Bo-Katan will leave her Kalevala throne and once again pursue her ambitions and the blade, ashes seem to follow her Sisyphean quest for sustainable leadership of Mandalore. What follows her, too, is the ghost of Satine.

Who is Satine Kryze?

This brings us to Duchess Satine Kryze, a foil to her sister’s warrior ways. A designated regent of 1,500 systems, Satine believed neutrality and pacifism were the future. Having lived through the Mandalorian Civil War, the loss of many lives, and scorched forests, she devoted herself to eradicating Mandalore’s warrior past, the beskar armor included. (Note that Satine’s fashion sense is closer to the sensibilities of Padmé Amidala’s than the traditional beskar armor.)

The duchess’s staunch neutrality especially placed her at odds with both the Republic and Death Watch extremists. For one, the Republic’s Chancellor Palpatine (secretly Darth Sidious) pushed for Republic military invention to “save” (occupy) Mandalore from rising threats. In Satine’s words, such occupation would “[trample] our right to self-determination.”

Ultimately, though Bo-Katan tried to liberate Satine from Maul’s grip, the two never got a chance to work out their differences. True to her “coincidental” namesake of Ewan McGregor’s doomed love interest in Moulin Rouge, Satine was slain by the Darksaber wielded by Maul.

Posthumously, Satine ended up inspiring some of Bo-Katan’s later ambivalence about violence. “My sister tried that [being that new kind of Mandalore leader]. I never understood her idealism,” she lamented in season 7, episode 11 of The Clone Wars. Still a hotheaded Mando, Bo-Katan hasn’t conceded to her sister’s pacifism but mourned the unity that could have been.

What happened to Mandalore?

After Satine’s assassination, Bo-Katan teamed up with the Republic to finally depose Maul from Mandalore — an unprecedented military alliance that violated 100-year-old treaties. Bo-Katan hoped the Republic’s presence would be temporary, but the Republic occupation would later morph into the Empire occupation, and the planet’s eventual “poisoning” in the Great Purge, as referenced in The Mandalorian season 2 and “The Apostate.” So Bo-Katan’s fight for Mandalore’s liberation never ended, but the planet’s alleged inhabitable state made matters difficult.

Should we care about the nephew?

In “Chapter 11: The Heiress,” Bo-Katan claims she’s the last of her line. Though Star Wars television has yet to address a loose end (branch?) in the family tree: Korkie Kryze (Whit Hertford), the nephew of Satine and Bo-Katan. He’s the son of unspecified Kryze relatives — that is, if you’re not one of many conspiracists who theorizes that Korkie is the secret love child of Satine and Obi-Wan Kenobi (oh, the scandal of a Jedi and Mandalorian noblewoman having relations). A cadet who idolized Satine, Korkie spent his life training for Mandalorian politics. He was last seen unsuccessfully breaking out Satine from Maul’s prison — with Bo-Katan’s assistance.

As of now, Korkie has remained MIA in the Star Wars franchise with no solid confirmation of his death. Depending on Mandalorian bloodline rules, Korkie may be another succession dispute just waiting in the wings. Or maybe Korkie is now just as relevant as Derol in the Glass Onion mystery — which is to say, not important.

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