We have seen apocalypses in Star Wars before. Alderaan in A New Hope, of course, Scariff in Rogue One, Hosnian Prime in The Force Awakens, and we’ve had episodes in battle-torn landscapes in all iterations of the movies and shows (and Andor has a bit, but it’s more dystopian), but The Mandalorian has finally given us a sprawling live-action post-apocalyptic world with Mandalore.
Below are (mild) spoilers for The Mandalorian. I’m mainly describing a planet, not anything plot-related, though the planet and a couple of characters mentioned might be minor spoilers.
As a fan of The Clone Wars, I, like others who enjoy the animated series (I may or may not have clasped my hands in glee when both Ahsoka and Bo-Katan first made their live-action appearances), am well-versed in the fate of Mandalore. As such, ever since The Mandalorian season 1, I wondered if we’d get to see the destroyed homeworld. And, yes, we do!
And it was gorgeous! Once a thriving mix of metropolis and art, Mandalore is now a glassed planet (think Halo). It is a world pockmarked by large craters and melted green slag, the color of a melted bottle of Stella you discover in a firepit while camping. The sky is wracked by disturbances, the result of the explosions damaging the atmosphere, which covers the planet in Jupiter-like storms.
And once Din lands and begins to explore, he comes across the capital city buried in the earth, intact but just barely, with creatures having taken root in the buildings. And then there’s a monster living in the bowels of the wreckage with a body and plans so sinister it reminded me of something from Mad God.
Why is Mandalore a wasteland? This is a very light explanation (to avoid spoilers and because it’s complicated – you can read the whole history on Wookiepedia or watch The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels). After the Clone Wars and a Civil War (one of many), Mandalore came together (in a sense) to resist the Empire. Upon realizing Madalore would never submit to their rule, the empire instigated The Purge, which essentially slagged the planet with fusion bombs, scattering the Mandalorians to the winds (in this case, space winds). As a result, we get an abandoned, uninhabitable planet with centuries of history and culture destroyed.
As someone who both loved the Mandalorian plotlines in Clone Wars and Rebels and loves wastelands, it was awesome to see post-apocalyptic Mandalore in live-action glory.