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

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 predicament, having forfeited her mission to restore Mandalore – for now. With Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) as the rightful bearer of the Darksaber Blade through technical combat, Bo-Katan has no legitimate claim to Mandalorian leadership. So her supporters almost abandoned her.

She broods on her throne and mocks the eponymous Mandalorian for investigating the lost cause of the poisoned Mandalore. Din is amazed that she has given up her case.

But Bo-Katan’s background – a regal background, as she says in Episode 2, complete with sisterly rivalries – highlights the dark past and pressures that led her to this state.

(Ed. remark: This post contains spoilers for Bo-Katan and Satine Kryze’s arcs The Clone Wars.)

Who is Bo-Katan?

Introduced in season 4 of The Clone Wars animated series, Bo-Katan Kryze first appeared as Pre Vizsla’s lieutenant (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 bent on reviving the ancient Mandalorian warrior culture: the way of wars, honor-bound duels, the weapons and beskar- armor. To describe Death Watch’s own ethic, Bo-Katan took part in Vizsla’s enslavement and murder of a village and a long-running ploy to oust Duchess Satine Kryze (Anna Graves), Bo-Katan’s own sister, from the throne of Mandalore.

Bo-Katan had a strong suspicion of outsiders meddling in Mandalorian politics, so she was skeptical of Vizsla’s alliance with Maul, a Zabrak and fallen Sith with connections to crime syndicates. Though she continued to participate in staged attacks on Mandalore, her suspicions were finally proven correct when Vizsla was killed in an honor-bound duel for the Darksaber, with the Mandalorian throne subsequently falling to the Zabrak, in Season 5, Episode 15 of The Clone Wars (“Shadows of Reason”). Thus began Bo-Katan’s mission to reclaim Mandalore along with her fellow Nite Owl dissenters.

Photo: Lucasfilm

During the empire’s rule over Mandalore in Star Wars Rebels (season 4, episode 2, “Heroes of Mandalore”), it seemed as 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 brought him from Maul’s Dathomir lair. Even without the usual duel for Darksaber possession, Bo-Katan had the power and morale to unite Mandalorian warrior clans. However, accepting the Darksaber without an actual duel backfired on her reputation when Imperial Moff Gideon stole it during the Imperial Great Purge on Mandalore. Despite Bo-Katan’s plan The Mandalorian season 2 to retrieve it through a duel that could legitimize her leadership once and for all, the Darksaber ended up in the clutches of Din Djarin.

So far inside The Mandalorian, the disillusioned Bo-Katan did not challenge Din Djarin to a usual duel for the knife. Whether or not Bo-Katan will leave her Kalevala throne and once again pursue her ambitions and the blade, Ash seems to follow her Sisyphean quest for lasting leadership of Mandalore. Whatever follows her is Satine’s ghost.

Who is Satine Kryze?

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

The Duchess’ staunch neutrality, in particular, put her at odds with both the Republic’s extremists and the Death Watch. First, Republic Chancellor Palpatine (secretly Darth Sidious) pushed for Republic military inventions to “save” (occupy) Mandalore from mounting threats. In Satine’s words, such an occupation would “trample (trample) our right to self-determination”.

Although Bo-Katan eventually tried to free Satine from Maul’s clutches, the two never got a chance to resolve their differences. True to her “accidental” namesake of Ewan McGregor’s doomed love interest in Moulin RougeSatine was killed by Maul’s Darksaber.

Posthumously, Satine eventually inspired some of Bo-Katan’s later ambivalence about violence. My sister tried that (as that new kind of Mandalore leader). I never understood her idealism,” she lamented on Season 7, Episode 11 of The Clone Wars. Still a hot-headed Mando, Bo-Katan has not given in to her sister’s pacifism, but mourned the unity that could have been.

What happened to Mandalore?

After Satine’s assassination, Bo-Katan worked with the Republic to ultimately depose Maul from Mandalore – an unprecedented military alliance that violated 100-year-old treaties. Bo-Katan hoped that the Republic’s presence would be temporary, but the Republic’s occupation would later turn into the Empire’s occupation, and the eventual “poisoning” of the planet during the Great Purge, as stated in The Mandalorian season 2 and ‘The Apostate’. So Bo-Katan’s fight for the liberation of Mandalore never ended, but the supposed habitable state of the planet made things difficult.

Should we care about the cousin?

In ‘Chapter 11: The Heiress’, Bo-Katan claims she is the last of her line. Although Star Wars television still has to deal with a loose end (branch?) in the family tree: Korkie Kryze (Whit Hertford), the cousin of Satine and Bo-Katan. He’s the son of unspecified Kryze relatives – that is, if you’re not one of the many conspirators theorizing that Korkie is the secret love child of Satine and Obi-Wan Kenobi (oh, the scandal of a Jedi and Mandalorian noblewoman who have relations). A cadet who idolized Satine, Korkie spent his life training for Mandalorian politics. He is last seen unsuccessfully escaping Satine from Maul Prison – with the help of Bo-Katan.

As of now, Korkie has remained MIA in the Star Wars franchise with no solid confirmation of his death. Depending on the rules of the Mandalorian bloodline, Korkie could be another succession dispute waiting in the wings. Or maybe Korkie is now as relevant as Derol in the Glass onion mystery – that is, not important.