The Mandalorian’s Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) has embarked on all manner of adventures and encountered a wide variety of alien species from across the galaxy, but one thing has remained constant in all of those close encounters: removing the helmet is a big no-no. While this commitment to his way of life appeared somewhat admirable at first, recent revelations about the character’s true origins have made it clear that Mando can, and should, relax that most stringent of policies.
I know some fans will immediately find this idea unpalatable and I can understand why. After all, the first season of The Mandalorian bet heavily on the masked warrior shtick, even assuring us that our hero was following the right path through frequent repetition of his catchphrase: “This is the way.” Naturally, Djarin soon found himself among the likes of Judge Dredd and Doctor Doom, characters at their best when their faces are firmly hidden from view.
But roughly halfway through the second season of Disney’s Star Wars spin-off, showrunner Jon Favreau dropped a revelation so Earth-shattering that it’s frankly strange it hasn’t been mentioned since. While stopping off on the moon of Trask, Djarin crosses paths with three fellow Mandalorians, one of whom being the prolific Clone Wars character Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) – and she has some bad news.
As casually as you like, she reveals that Djarin hails from the Children of the Watch, a group of religious zealots whose antiquated way of life hasn’t been taken seriously by the majority of Mandalore in generations. Djarin himself is blindsided by the remark which suggests that his access to information was severely restricted growing up, making his home as a foundling seem all the more cult-like.
This plot twist seems like it can only have been included for one reason: laying the groundwork for more face time in season three. That’s a good thing – and not only because of Pedro Pascal’s dashing chops, although that is a perk. It also has the potential to be a fascinating character arc for Din Djarin, which could see him confront the deception he was raised with and become the true Mandalorian he has always strived to be.
Last week’s episode, titled The Believer, highlighted the necessity of this new direction in a jarring moment when Mando threatened to kill his associate, Mayfeld (Bill Burr), for trying to take off his helmet. These kinds of comments don’t exactly line up with a code of honour now that we know how unnecessary Djarin’s commitment really is. Just like the bloke selling Death Sticks on Coruscant in Attack of the Clones, it’s time for Mando to go home and rethink his life.
Besides, a more flexible approach to his missions might help him gain the same legendary reputation across the galaxy as his fellow Mandalorian Boba Fett (recently retconned as being a foundling himself). Not to mention that a friendly face is best while taking care of an infant or young child and while Djarin has been doing well so far, Grogu probably wouldn’t object to looking his adoptive father in the eyes every once in a while.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that Djarin goes totally helmet-free. A big reason why Disney Plus made this show is that Mandalorian armour is very cool and the headgear is arguably the most striking part of the whole ensemble. Meanwhile, Pascal’s sparing appearances on camera go a long way to making each one a major talking point among fans, as last week’s chapter proved so perfectly.
But it wouldn’t hurt to push Mando in a direction where he’s no longer flooded with inner conflict or filled with outrage at every suggestion he removes his helmet. This is the way? I think not.
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