As The Mandalorian began, many questions lingered about what exactly had happened on Mandalore, the planet the Mandalorian people originally called home. Why had Din Djarin’ s sect of Mandalorians been exiled to Nevarro, left in hiding and cut off from other Mandalorians while working as bounty hunters to make ends meet? The last we’d seen chronologically of Mandalore was on the show Star Wars Rebels, during an optimistic period where the Duchess Bo-Katan Kryze united the clans and houses together to fight against the Empire who had been occupying their planet.
Din Djarin spoke of a great purge that had forced his Tribe to go underground, but it was Moff Gideon who first uttered the words “The Night of a Thousand Tears.” In his threats to Din Djarin, he reminded the Mandalorian that he had survived the E-Web blasters the night the Empire laid waste to Mandalore and it seemed like Moff Gideon had the power to make it happen all over again. The Armorer from Din’s clan later explained that the only reason the Tribe survived was because their sect had been cloistered on the nearby moon of Concordia.
So why is the “Night of a Thousand Tears” so critical? And why is it likely the events of that night will play into the new season of The Mandalorian? Read on.
Mandalore’s Infamous Night
The event that became known as the “Night of a Thousand Tears” was the Empire’s great purge of Mandalore, marching on the great domed cities of Mandalore like Sundari city with KX-series security droids and other weapons and troops of mass destruction. There, they laid waste to the Mandalorian people. Though the Mandalorians fought back, they ultimately lost. Moff Gideon defeated Bo-Katan Kryze and took the weapon and Mandalorian symbol of power known as the Darksaber from her, scattering what was left of the Mandalorian people to the wind.
For the dogmatic followers of The Armorer like Din Djarin, it was said that Mandalore was a cursed planet. Because the Darksaber was given to Bo-Katan by Sabine Wren, instead of won in honorable combat as was their tradition, Mandalore was doomed to fall. As far as they were concerned, the blame for the downfall of Mandalore rested with Bo-Katan and not necessarily the Imperial forces who perpetrated it.
Decades of Turmoil
The Night of a Thousand Tears is pivotal in the history of Mandalore, but there were so many events in relatively recent history that led to it. Mandalore has been a flashpoint of conflict for decades, going back to a civil war between Death Watch and the more pacifist sects of Mandalorians. With the help of two Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Duchess Satine Kryze (sister to Bo-Katan) was able to wrest control of the government and usher in an era of peace for Mandalore. During this time, Mandalore maintained its neutrality when the Clone Wars broke out, aligning itself with neither the Republic or Count Dooku‘s Confederacy.
They weathered many attacks from within, but it was the extremists members of Death Watch that bedeviled their days. Led by Pre Vizsla, the Death Watch launched attacks against the more peaceful Mandalorians, hoping to bring them back to their traditional warrior ways. Vizsla was successful to a point. With the help of the former Sith lord Maul, a Shadow Collective was formed and a plot to take back Mandalore was enacted. Using the other members of the Shadow Collective — the Pyke Syndicate, Black Sun, and others — as a decoy, they “saved” Mandalore from its invaders. The power struggle between Vizsla and Maul was fierce, but it ended with Maul on top, controlling Mandalore from the shadows.
Bo-Katan, allied alongside the former Jedi Ahsoka Tano, besieged Mandalore in an effort to take control of the planet. Ultimately, they were successful, but the Empire marched in not long after the Great Jedi Purge. They appointed an Imperial loyalist, Gar Saxon, to take control of Mandalore and worked on weapons to keep them in check.
A young Mandalorian, Sabine Wren, who was part of a rebel cell opposing the Empire, took the Darksaber from Maul (who had himself taken it from Pre Vizsla) and sought to reinstall Bo-Katan as the ruler of Mandalore. Together, they fought the Empire, but that’s when the Empire decided to viciously strike back with their purge of Mandalore entirely.
In the third season of The Mandalorian, we’ve been promised a whole host of Mandalorian characters, led chiefly by Din Djarin and Bo-Katan Kryze. The two of them are going to be at odds for a number of reasons. First, as the Armorer explains, Bo-Katan isn’t viewed as a real Mandalorian by their sect. In the second season of The Mandalorian, Din Djarin was skeptical of Bo-Katan and her fellow Mandalorians because they did not follow his dogma. They removed their helmets and didn’t adhere to the creed of their Tribe. Bo-Katan pressed Din Djarin into service against the Empire in return for helping him get Grogu back and didn’t always live up to the letter of her bargains.
More than that, the object of Bo-Katan’s obsession was the Darksaber. She hoped to capture it back from Moff Gideon in combat, paving the way to her restored leadership of Mandalore. Unfortunately for her, Moff Gideon lost it to Din Djarin instead and she then refused to take it from Din peacefully, having been scorned for once doing so from Sabine Wren. How this brewing conflict between the two will play out remains a mystery for fans of the show, but it has everything to do with what happened on that fateful “Night of a Thousand Tears.”
In the third season of The Mandalorian, we’re very likely to get more context about what happened that night and for it to prove to be shocking, upending everything we think we know about it. And that’s how Star Wars has always worked. There’s always one more surprise to come.
The Mandalorian kicks off its third season on March 1, 2023.
To learn more about the history of Mandalore and its wars, click the link below!