Din Djarin, Sabine Wren, the Legends versions of Jango Fett and Boba Fett – why is bounty hunting such a popular profession among Mandalorians?
The Mandalorian‘s eponymous hero, Din Djarin, is far from the first bounty hunter to prowl the galaxy in Mandalorian armor, and he likely won’t be the last. Since the first appearance of Boba Fett, the sight of the distinctive Mandalorian gear has represented the bounty hunting profession as much as it has Mandalorian culture. In both canon and Star Wars Legends, many Mandalorians became bounty hunters, to the point where, in both continuities, Mandalorian weaponry and armor became popular among non-Mandalorian bounty hunters. So why do so many Mandalorians become bounty hunters in both universes? The answer is found in the history and culture of Mandalorians.
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In the Expanded Universe, Mandalorians are an ancient, nomadic, warrior culture whose early history largely consisted of planetary conquests and serving as something of a “third party” during the constant wars between the Jedi and Sith. Though the Mandalorians originated with the Taung species on Mandalore, anybody of any background could become a Mandalorian if they lived by Mandalorian culture. Mandalorians were among the galaxy’s most formidable non-Force sensitive warriors, and they took great pride in their martial prowess. Because of this, many Mandalorians took a liking to the bounty hunting profession when their days of conquest and crusades ended.
At certain points in Mandalorian history, the culture itself was a collective bounty hunting organization, particularly during the rule of Jaster Mereel, who created a moral and ethical manifesto called the “Supercommando Codex.” As seen in Jango Fett: Open Seasons, Mereel turned the Mandalorians into an army who helped worlds in need in exchange for both money and the honor of combat. His successor, Jango Fett, became an independent bounty hunter after the disastrous Battle of Galidraan as a means of keeping Mandalorian culture alive after so many of his men died. Jango’s rival, Montross, and many of his descendants (including, most famously, his son Boba Fett) also became bounty hunters. Because of the immense popularity of bounty hunting among Mandalorians, the galaxy at large saw the culture and the vocation as fundamentally intertwined.
Mandalorian culture and history remain largely the same in canon, though there was a period of time where Mandalore attempted to move past their warlike culture and become a pacifist society. This era, which possibly began several decades before Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, did not last long. Mandalore fell back into its warrior ways before the end of the Clone Wars. In The Mandalorian season 2, episode 5, Michael Biehn’s Lang recognies that Din is a bounty hunter just by sight of his Mandalorian armor, showing just how it remained a common profession among them.
Aside from The Mandalorian‘s Din Djarin, famous examples of canon Mandalorian bounty hunters include the Rebel Alliance’s Sabine Wren and Ketsu Onyo. Unlike their Legends counterparts, Boba Fett and Jango Fett are not Mandalorians. In canon, they’re hyper-competent, but otherwise ordinary human bounty hunters who use Mandalorian armor and weaponry because of its effectiveness in capturing and killing fugitives. It’s understandable why Mandalorian gear is perfect for bounty hunting: Mandalorian culture itself is tailor-made for producing the galaxy’s best bounty hunters.
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