Mandalorian Terms Explained
MandalorianWhat is the meaning of the word Mandalorian anyway? Basically, a Mandalorian is someone from the planet Mandalore. Historically they were known as warriors who fought the Jedi Knights, but in terms of "modern" Star Wars history their most recognizable representatives are bounty hunters like Boba Fett and Jango Fett, who wore Mandalorian armor (though weren't considered "real" Mandalorians -- long story). And now, of course, there's also the titular Mandalorian of the TV series.
Beskar Steel or Mandalorian SteelAfter the titular character returns from his first adventure in the opening scene of the premiere, he is sent by Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) to an area still loyal to the defunct Empire. There he meets an unnamed Imperial played by Werner Herzog who tasks him with a new, more complicated bounty, and pays him with beskar.
Fans of author Karen Traviss might be familiar with the term. Travis added a number of elements to Mandalorian culture before the Disney acquisition (and beskar was first written about in an issue of Star Wars Insider), but it was not incorporated into canonical Star Wars until The Clone Wars animated series. There it was revealed that Mandalorian armor is made of this steel. It can withstand blaster shots and is even somewhat resistant to lightsaber blows. In essence, this could be the Star Wars equivalent of vibranium. Either way, it is clearly sacred, as we see it ceremoniously heated into one of the Mandalorian’s armor pauldrons.
SignetWhen the Mandalorian visits the Armorer in the premiere episode, she asks if his signet has been revealed. Apparently it has not yet, so this term remains a bit of a mystery at the moment. It could be that it's some kind of personalized symbol or marking that a Mandalorian earns through their achievements. When the Mandalorian says here that he does not yet have a signet, the Armorer makes him a plain pauldron in response. Maybe once he does get that signet, she would've included it on the piece of armor. Surely this matter will be further explored as the series continues.
Bounty Puck, Chain Code, Tracking FobWhile the Mandalorian was negotiating a fee with the unnamed Werner Herzog character, as well as Greef Karga, a few terms came up. These appear to be new tech not previously seen in Star Wars. The bounty puck, as seen at the beginning of the episode (when the Mandalorian speaks with the Mythrol), is a device that emits a hologram that showcases an image of the target. Greef tells our hero that there is no puck for his new target, which means that the Mandalorian does not know what his quarry looks like.
The tracking fob is used by bounty hunters to locate their targets. This device apparently includes a chain code, which perhaps is similar to coordinates on a star map, only it’s for finding people rather than places. Or maybe the chain code is specific info or stats about the target, like his or her age? The tracking fob for the Mandalorian’s new target in the premiere is missing some numbers, though it seems a Mandalorian like our title character is a skilled enough tracker to use this excerpt to find the bounty.
Kuiil and UgnaughtKuiil (voiced by Nick Nolte) is the vapor farmer who leads the Mandalorian to the hideout at the end of the first episode. Ugnaughts have been in Star Wars lore since The Empire Strikes Back, although this one appears to be more conversational, as well as friendly to humans, than the ones on Cloud City. They have also appeared in The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.
Blurrg and MythosaurThese two-legged beasts of burden transported the freedom fighters of Ryloth (think Hera Syndulla’s father, Cham) in The Clone Wars, and also appeared in Star Wars Rebels. They first appeared in the non-canonical made-for-TV movie Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. This creature also evokes memories of the animated beast Boba Fett rides in the infamous Holiday Special, the mythosaur. In another clever homage to the Holiday Special, the Ugnaught Kuiil refers to the mythosaur when encouraging the Mandalorian not to give up on his riding lessons.
RavinakThis snake-like creature is new to the Star Wars universe, and crashes through the surface of the icy world from the opening of the first episode, taking a bite at the Mandalorian’s ship, the Razor Crest. It’s reminiscent of the joopas from Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels (“The Lost Commanders”), as far as being a monster from below the surface, but other than that, this is a new denizen in the mythology.
MythrolThe blue-skinned alien that the Mandalorian puts into carbonite and collects the bounty on is a new species to Star Wars as well. If you recognize the voice, it’s because the actor is Saturday Night Live alum Horatio Sanz.
TrandoshanWe were first introduced to Trandoshans on Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer in The Empire Strikes Back. The reptilian-like humanoid, Bossk, seen there has also appeared in The Clone Wars and the Star Wars Rebels junior novel, Ezra’s Gamble, but his species has shown up throughout canonical Star Wars. They are known for their ferocity and tracking skills, and in the first episode of The Mandalorian, they’re in the bar in which the Mandalorian talks with Greef Karga.
Kowakian Monkey-LizardRemember the jester-like monkey creature from Return of the Jedi? His name is Salacious Crumb, and he gave C-3PO all he could handle aboard Jabba’s sail barge. These creatures have appeared most prominently in The Clone Wars, the Star Wars Resistance episode, “Signal from Sector Six” (that one was a giant one!), and in the market on Batuu (in Galaxy’s Edge). In a brief moment of macabre humor in the Mando pilot, a Kowakian money-lizard is shown roasting on a spit, while his companion looks on, whimpering. Perhaps this scene was in… poor taste.
NiktoThese creatures guard the fortress where the Mandalorian discovers the MacGuffin at the end of the first episode. Niktos also made their debut in Return of the Jedi aboard Jabba’s sail barge, where Luke Skywalker made quick work of them in the epic action sequence on Tatooine. George Lucas was inspired to name these aliens (as well a few others from Episode VI) due to the line, “Klaatu barada nikto” from the 1951 sci-fi classic The Day The Earth Stood Still.
RodianGreedo. ‘Nuff said. Just kidding. But seriously, Greedo’s species is Rodian. A few of them can be spotted in the bar where the Mandalorian talks with Greef Karga in the premiere. There’s also one frozen on the Razor Crest. They are a Star Wars staple and have appeared in just about every iteration of the franchise. #mcklunky
HutteseThe language that Greef Karga speaks (along with basic, i.e. English as far as the viewer is concerned), as well as many other characters in the opening of The Mandalorian, is most famously spoken by Greedo and Jabba the Hutt in A New Hope and is prevalent in Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi. It has been a long time since we heard huttese spoken onscreen, so this was a nice callback to the language invented by Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt. Burtt was inspired by the language of the Quechua people of the Andes and highlands of South America.
Anything else that needs explaining from the first episode of The Mandalorian? Let’s discuss in the comments. I have spoken!Dan Z (@MrZehr) is an educator, Star Wars influencer, writer, and podcaster, and is the host & co-creator of Coffee With Kenobi (@CoffeeWthKenobi).