History of the Mandalorians (part 1)
When Boba Fett first appeared in the Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978, fans had one question on their minds; Who was that masked man? Then ESB novel teased us when it described Fett's armour as "the kind worn by a group of evil warriors defeated by the Jedi Knights during the Clone Wars." Now, 25 years later, with the PT showing Jango Fett's role in the development of the Clone Army, at long last most of the secrets of the Mandalorians can be revealed...
The history of the Mandalorian Shock Troopers goes back a long way, some say the dawn of the recorded galactic history. Though in modern times the Mandalorians have become a grab-bag of alien races, included Humanoids, Togorians and Kerestians. The Mandalorians were once strictly a grey skinned warrior race. Xenoanthropologists believe that this original Mandalorian species was descended from the ancient Taung Shadow Warriors of Dha Werda Verda legend. Particularly compelling are similarities between the Mandalorian language and surviving Taung texts.
The planet Mandalore has figured steadily in Mandalorian history, though whether it was the planet of origin remains disputed; legend has it the world was named after its conqueror Mandalore the First, whose warriors slaughtered the mammoth Mythosaurs that dominated the planet. Historically, the Mandalorians often made conquered planets their home, planets such as the great gladiatorial combat world Kuar during the Great Sith War and the surreal Shogun years before that. This practice led to the use of the name 'Mandalore' as a title signifying the appointed leader of the Mandalorian clans. Thus, 'Home' was acknowledged as wherever the Mandalore deemed to hang his mask. The traditional Mandalorian crest, frequently mistaken for a Bantha skull, bears a striking resemblance to the skull of a male Mythosaur. But in truth, the symbol was actually adopted in reverence to a legendary Mandalorian combat-training master.
The Mandalorian Shock Troopers have undergone many permutations. The oldest documented incarnation is the Mandalorian Crusaders from around 4000 - 5000 years BBY. Made up of clans of simian-like humanoids, these nomads roamed space seeking conflict, following a code called the 'Canons of Honour.' The Canons aimed at helping warriors attain personal glory via combat and loyalty to one's clan. Despite this simplistic aim, the Crusaders were scarcely primitive, placing highest priority on plundering cutting-edge weaponry at every opportunity.
History of the Mandalorians (part 2)
The label of Mandalorian Crusader is misleading. Its thought that the Crusaders' forefathers were a religious warrior society with sophisticated laws that devolved into the Canons. But following the Mandalorians' epic clashes with the Insectoids of Nevoota, war, once a ritual form of worship to the Mandalorian Gods, became itself divine and reverential. Henceforth, any campaign promising holy carnage was regarded a 'Crusade.'
This mentality led the crusaders to eradicate entire species like the Fenelar, Tionians and Kuarans. Thousands of years later, the Ithullans too would suffer the same fate. In fact, the only species to survive a full-fledged Mandalorian onslaught were the neighbouring Mandallian Giants. These fierce combatants not only repelled Mandalorian attacks but earned enough respect to later fight beside them.
Unsurprisingly, the Mandalorian Crusaders jumped at the chance to participate in the Great Sith War in about 4000 BBY. Fighting for the Sith, these soldiers of fortune struck at the Republic's very heart on Coruscant. However, the Jedi eventually ralied and defeated the Sith and their Mandalorian allies.
But that didn't stop the Mandalorians. On the contrary, the temporary defeat precipitated a frenzied conviction that the 'Great Last Battle' was at hand. For 20 years, the Mandalorians zealously invaded non-Republic worlds on the fringe of known space, raiding their resources and building up a powerful army. Anticipating an apocalyptic war, the Neo-Crusaders began accepting members of other species into their midst, treating these 'converts' as equals. Together, they unleashed a series of Jihads known simply as the Mandalorian wars. (Due to their temporal proximity to one another, these conflicts are generally grouped with the Great Sith War, Cleansing of the Nine Houses, and War of the Star Forge under the name 'Old Sith Wars.')
After three long years, the reigning Neo-Crusader cheiftain Mandalore the Ultimate was killed, and the Mandalorians were defeated. Many thought them extinct, and it's largely conceded that the Mandalorian species itself all but vanished from the galaxy then. However, its warrior culture survived.
History of the Mandalorians (part 3)
Following their failed campaign, the crusaders found a new object of worship - the almighty credit. Decimated and embittered, the surviving mandalorian warriors turned ruthlessly mercenary in order to survive. Informally called the Mandalorian mercs, these individuals hired out their lethal talents to the highest bidder without regard to silly notions like justice, morals and honour.
Some loyal Mandalorian Shock Troopers, such as Canderous Ordo and Master Jaing, successfully brought some of the clans to heel. Many other Mandalorian Mercs, however, carried on this ruthless agenda for millenia as evidenced by the villainous Ung Kusp as well as Mandalorian Shock Trooper participation in the seemingly endless New Sith Wars, lasting from 2000 - 1000 years ago. But then, a few decades before the outbreak of the Clone Wars, one man changed everything.
Jaster Mereel, a deeply pious human and extraodinary soldier, immediately noticed a deep-seated dissatisfaction in the hearts of many a hardboiled Mandalorian. As a former Journeyman Protector, Mereel brought a strong ethic that extended far beyond the limited Mandalorian ideology of fighting for credits. His prowess in combat earned him the respect of his peers, and when Mereel fought tooth-and-nail to become reigning Mandalore and unite the disparate clans, his ideals became the foundaion of a new creed: the supercommando Codex.
Not all agreed with Mereel's ideas, however. Many bloodthirsty and amoral Mandalorians resented him, having enjoyed the unaccountability of their mercenary lifestyles. Among them was the soldier Vizsla, who gathered the dissenters into a splinter group, the Mandalorian Death Watch. Mereel's supercommandos, in turn, recast themselves as the true Mandalorians, and total war ensued.
The Mandalorian Civil War not only killed Mereel and Vizsla, but it also nearly destroyed the Mandalorians. Only a handful of Death Watchmen survived the superior organization and skill of the true Mandalorians, hiding out in the Outer Rim for decades. The latter, though, were totally wiped out when the Jedi were duped into thinking the True Mandalorians had wrought grave atrocities on the poulation of Galidraan. Only one True Mandalorian, Jango Fett, survived, and he later became the primary donor for the Republic's Clone Army.
Jango Fett died as the Clone Wars began, but thanks to one of his Clones, the Mandalorian tradition survived. Alpha-02, an aberrant ARC trooper the Kaminoans failed to recondition, became obsessed with rebuilding the Mandalorian supercommandos. Returning to mandalore, he recruited an army of 200 soldiers from local police units, and another dozen came from the unlikeliest source - former Death Watchmen. Near the Clone Wars' climax, these new Mandalorian Protectors helped Mandalore's government seize MandalMotors' facilities in the capital of Keldabe for Separatist use. Squads of Mandalorian supercommandos carried out covert missions for the Confederacy of Independant Systems. Following the death of a prominent Separatist commander, the Mandalorian Protectors armed with a Battle Legionnaire droid army executed multiple devastating blitzkriegs on Republic targets, including Kamino and New Bornalex.
By the end of the war, however, only a trio of the 212 shocktroopers was thought to have survived: childhood friends Tobbi Dala and Fenn Shysa, and a shell-shocked Alpha-02. Dala and Shysa returned to their impoverished homeworld, hoping to live out their lives in peace. However, the Galactic Empire eventually caught up with them. When Dala gave his life to rid Mandalore of Imperials, Shysa realized that the time to revive the Mandalorian supercommandos had come.
Under Shysa as Mandalore, the Protectors flourished. They assisted the Alliance of Free Planets in defending Known Space from Nagai and Tof invaders, and helped deliver the crucial blow in the New Republic's campaign against Lord Shadowspawn. For decades, however, the Protectors served chiefly as guardians of the Mandalore sector until the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion. Led now by the former Bounty Hunter Boba Fett, the Mandalorian Protectors returned conditionally to their mercenary ways for a time (something even Fenn Shysa advocated on occasion, such as is the race for the tessent idol) before committing themselves unilaterally to defending the galaxy from the Vong occupation.
Only time will tell who will reign as Mandalore after Fett is gone and what the future holds for the Mandalorian Shock Troopers.
History of the Mandalorians (part 4)
Mandalore the Indomitable:
One of the legendary leaders of the original Mandalorian race, Mandalore the Indomitable always knew he was destined to lead the Crusaders. Not a man of profound intelligence, Mandalore's genius came in his extraodinary intuition. Though Mandalore never understood what drove him personally, save maybe a desire for immortality, he did understand his warriors' deep desire for bloodletting and how to achieve victory.
Mandalore committed his troops to the forces of darkness during the Great Sith War. At it's end, Madalore the Indomitable finally became immortal when wild beasts on Onderon's Dxun Moon devoured him.
Canderous Ordo was one of the Mandalorians who survived the fall of the Crusaders. Ordo was recruited or 'converted' to Mandalore the Ultimate's cause during the Mandalorian Wars, where he was among those to serve as a battle tactician rather than a foot soldier. After losing the war, Ordo - like many other Mandalorian Mercs - sold his services to the highest bidder. Though he despised what unethical monsters most Mandalorian Shock Troopers had become, he saw little use in trying to change that until that glorious day when he would claim the title Mandalore himself.
A native of Concorde Dawn, Jaster Mereel was a respected Journeyman Protector until his rigid ethical code led him to kill a corrupt superior. Charged with murder and Exiled, Mereel soon after became a Mandalorian Shock Trooper and, eventually, their chieftain. His strong morals, however, caused a rift in the Mandalorian ranks, resulting in Civil War. After almost a decade of infighting, the Death Watchman Vizsla on Korda Six gunned down Mereel.
Years after Mereel's death, his legend lives on. When Boba Fett gained notoriety, his appearance and methods gave rise to rumours that Mereel was alive and well, and was merely using 'Boba Fett' as an alias. Its more likely, however, that both Jango and Boba Fett used the name 'Jaster Mereel' as a pseudonym from time to time to honour this great Mandalorian.
An egomaniac, Vizsla led the uprising against Jaster Mereel's True Mandalorians. Calling his faction the Death Watch, Vizsla said he embodied the goal of his Mandalorian forefathers to conquer the galaxy. In truth, this delusional ambition was proclaimed to gratify Vizsla's own ego and attract a power-base of self-interested sycophants.
While the Death Watch had many skilled fighters, their selfishness made for an undisciplined and unharmonious unit. While Death Watchmen often boozed on Mandallian Narcolethe, only their immorality and the voracious will of their narcissistic leader made them formidable. Jango Fett ultimately hunted down and killed Vizsla, though several Death Watchmen still exist.
A coward and traitor, Montross abandoned Jaster Mereel to enemy fire and death rather than helping his leader survive. However, when Montross tried proclaiming himself Mandalore, Jango Fett and the True Mandalorians opposed him, causing Montross to flee.
Montross turned to bounty hunting, later competing with Jango in the hunt for Dooku's former Padawan, Komari Vosa. The two soldiers had a showdown on one of Iego's moon's where Jango left Montross for dead.
Mandalore the Resurrector: (A.K.A. Alpha-02. 'Spar')
An average of 3.5 of every 100 Kaminoan Clones manifest abnormal mental or emotional tendancies. These aberrant clones always undergo careful reconditioning. Always, that is, except in the case of ARC trooper Alpha-02.
Alpha-02, nicknamed Spar, was part of the first 'test-class' of 100 ARC troopers created by the Kaminoans for the Republic when Master Sifo-Dyas put in the order for a clone army. The normal number of aberrant clones appeared and were reconditioned. But one clone, Spar, demonstrated such independence of mind and force of will that the normal reconditioning process did not take. The Kaminoans realized this far too late but through no fault of their own. For eight and a half years, Alpha-02 looked and acted like his fellow clones, until one day mention of Jango Fett's exploits triggered an odd reaction in Spar - a memory that didn't belong to him. Knowing he'd be reconditioned to erase the precious memories that weren't technically his, he made a bold escape from Kamino.
Spar roamed the Outer Rim, where he worked at odd jobs for several years while trying to sort out his own troubled mind. After the outbreak of the Clone Wars, however, and the death of Jango Fett, Spar suddenly realized his purpose. Immediately, Alpha-02 went to work rebuilding Jango's supercommandos from the local police on Mandalore, where rumour spread that the son of Jango Fett, the last True Mandalorian, had survived to lead them. As Mandalore the Ressurector, Spar and his Mandalorian Protectors waged war on the Jedi. For their last mission, Darth Sidious ordered the Mandalorian government to send the supercommandos to capture Padme Amidala on Norval II. Once there, Republic forces ambushed them.
Following the wars, Alpha-02 disappeared to the Extrictarium Nebula where, unable to reconcile his dual sets of memories, his mind slowly gave way to clone madness. Spar wasn't sure whether or not he was hallucinating when a woman named Ailyn Vel accused him of being Boba Fett and shot him dead.
Tobbi Dala and Fenn Shysa:
Tobbi Dala and Fenn Shysa were good and honest men. Boyhood friends born on a small province off the coast of Mandalore's largest continent, these local constables enjoyed throwing back a glass or two of Mandallian Narcolethe after a hard day's work. With their destitute homeworld historically marginalized by the Republic, however, Dala and Shysa didn't hesitate to heed Alpha-02's call for troops to resurrect the Mandalorian supercommandos and join a seemingly just Seperatist cause. But history is a harsh arbiter. Though Dala and Shysa were privy to a great duplicity on the part of Darth Sidious, when they returned home from the Clone Wars their own people branded them outlaws and evildoers - a people who'd now legalized slavery to escape Mandalore's legacy of poverty. Cooler minds prevailed, however, and Dala and Shysa were covertly enlisted to train elite special police units around the planet.
When Dala gave his life ridding Mandalore of slavers, the burden of revitalizing not just the the Mandalorian supercommandos but Mandalore itself fell on Shysa. Now a symbol of hope rather than evil, Shysa rallied his people to join the Alliance and oppose the forces of Grand Admiral Miltin Takel. Under Mandalore Shysa's guidance, the Mandalorian Protectors rose from the ashes once more.
After almost 20 years, an aging Fenn Shysa finally rejoined his childhood chum when, in an unexpected turn of events, Shysa gave his life on the planet Shogun saving Boba Fett from death.
Alfreda Goot and Feskitt Bobb:
Alfreda Goot and Feskitt Bobb were washouts from Dala and Shysa's elite police force training programme, managing to cobble together suits of supercommando armour and become soldiers-for-hire.
Goot, a Togorian, didn't amount to much more than a low-rent merc. She worked only a couple of jobs for minor crime lord Slag Flats before trying to make a name for herself collecting the bounty on Han Solo. Goot managed to bait the Corellian smuggler to the Dockside Cafe at Mos Eisley, but her mediocre skil proved inadequate to trump the legendary Solo luck.
Feskitt Bobb fared better. A Mandallian Giant, Bobb was an accomplished and ruthless hunter, famous for capturing the notorious serial killer Kardem. Not only did he carry illegal disruptors as part of his regular arsenal, Bobb had no qualms with using torture methods like the Burning to acquire his quarry.
Bobb also occasionally took special assignments for the Empire. On one such job in the Crystal Forests of Goratak III, a lucky shot from a Rebel abruptly ended Bobb's career.
Jodo Kast was a SpecOps Resistance fighter back when the Rebellion was a local affair. But Kast always valued a solid cred more than intangibles like freedom and justice. During a messy engagement on Goratak III, Kast took down a manhunter whom he mistook for Boba Fett during the confusion. Only afterward did he realize his error.
That gave Kast an idea. Using Mandalorian armour he salvaged from the planet Zaadja, Kast deserted the Resistance and used Fetts name as a way in to the bounty hunting profession. Immediately he hooked up with two hunters, the graceful Zardra and the diminutive Puggles Trodd. the trio ran a series of successful hunts before a botched job on Dura-Kahn soured things. With his brilliant track record. Kast grew arrogant. The fact that his bounties were rarely first rate hardly bothered him. Kast ultimately outsmarted himself, though, when the novice hunter allowed Fett to lure him into a trap and kill him.
History of the Mandalorians (part 5)
Jango Fett grew up the son of a Journeyman Protector. But when the Mandalorian Civil War came to Concord Dawn, Jango's entire family was caught in the crossfire. Jaster Mereel and the True Mandalorians rescued Jango from the Death Watch. Jaster eventually became Jango's mentor, training him in combat, demolitions and other Mandalorian pursuits.
When Mereel was killed, Jango became leader of the Mandalorian supercommandos until the Jedi massacred them. He then became a bounty hunter, often working with Clawdite assassin Zam Wesell. Any bounty was an acceptable target, until he received a message from Darth Tyrannus, who posted a bounty of 5 million Republic Credits for the capture of Tyrannus' former Padawan Komari Vosa, Dead or Alive, during the hunt Jango was to face Montross, the man Jango blamed for the death of Jaster Mereel and the death of Jango's good friend and 'agent', the Toydarian, Rozatta. After a heated battle on the planet moon of Kohlma Montross was beaten and left for dead by Jango.
Then to go for the prize, Komari Vosa, an emotionally unstable young woman fully trained in the Jedi arts, never going to be an easy task but he succeeded. His reward was to be more substantial than the 5 million credits promised, the opportunity to be the genetic blueprint for an entire clone army. Jango agreed, on the condition that he could have a completely unaltered clone for himself. He raised this clone, whom he called Boba, as a son until Jango died by Mace Windu's hand at the Battle of Geonosis.
With only Jaster Mereel's codex as moral guidance, young Boba underwent a crash-course in bounty hunting with such ruthless mentors as Count Dooku, Aurra Sing and Jabba the Hutt. It was a merciless beginning to a career that encompassed the crippling of the Bounty Hunter's Guild, a stint as a Journeyman, fighting alongside and against Darth Vader, a lone assault on an Imperial garrison, and escaping the Sarlacc, earned Boba the reputation of the best bounty hunter in the galaxy.
But then the unthinkable happened: The best grew old. Boba's right leg started decomposing and threatened to become cancerous. Still, that didn't stop him from hunting down his oldest adversary, Han Solo, to the planet Jubilar where fett pinned him under the gun. But Solo got Fett into precisely the same predicament. Fett realized then that, in a radically changing galaxy, only his connection to Solo had remained constant. Perhaps for the first time, the hunter saw something of himself in his prey.
Afterward, Fett decided to give up the hunt. But when he went to see cloner Taun We for his costly leg replacement, she asked Boba to take on one last job : To hunt down the last living Mandalorian supercommando responsible for devastating Kamino in the Clone Wars: Fenn Shysa.
After this final hunt, Fett rejoined the Mandalorian Protectors, leading them in the defence of Gyndine, Tholatin and Mandalore during the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion.
Believed to be the offspring of Boba Fett and another hunter known as Sintas Vel, Ailyn Vel was raised by the latter until Sintas took an assignment to earn pin-money for her daughter's 16th birthday; she never returned. With her mother dead, Ailyn became consumed with hatred for her presumed estranged father.
Vel initially became a hunt-saboteur, hoping to work against Fett. She thought she'd killed him, in fact, when she instead murdered a delirious clone in the Extrictarium Nebula. Taking Alpha-02's suit of Mandalorian armour, along with his ARC trooper hunting kama, Vel began masquerading as Boba Fett just as Jodo Kast had. Falling to the same delusions, she also started believing herself Fett's equal .. or better.
A young, bitter and calculating hunter, Vel adhered strictly to the Bounty Hunter's Creed, welcoming bounties from gangsters like Bwahl the Hutt and the illegitimate Diversity Alliance to rogue Imperial Jeng Droga, for whom she hauled in the traitorous darksider Sarcev Quest for execution.
Ailyn eventually tracked Fett down to the dreamscapes of Shogun, where she found evidence of a dead Mandalorian supercommando and Fett's abandoned Slave IV. Assuming Fett dead, she took his KDY AIAT/i starship and permanently adopted his identity.
Vel disappeared during the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion. Not even Fett knows if she's still alive.
Cassus Fett was a Mandalorian chieftain during the Mandalorian War, he was one of the few chieftains to survive the debacle at Malachor V. He made a name for himself as a bounty hunter following the splintering of the Mandalorian Clans, putting his skills to good use, he became the most wanted man in the galaxy after he Assassinated a Republic Flagship Captain. Cassus is now believed to be dead.