Warning: The following contains spoilers from Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett “Chapter 5: The Return of the Mandalorian,” streaming now on Disney+.
True to its episode title, Din Djarin returns front and center in the fifth episode of The Book of Boba Fett, catching up audiences on what the stoic bounty hunter has been up to since The Mandalorian Season 2 finale. One of the biggest consequences having Din give the admission that he both deliberately removed his helmet and has had his helmet removed against his will by someone else. This stands in direct violation of Din’s Mandalorian code — but Star Wars has revealed plenty of Mandalorians who openly present themselves in public without wearing a helmet without that same amount of religious fervor. Here’s why there’s such a discrepancy within Mandalorian society regarding who is permitted to see each others’ faces.
Over the first two seasons of The Mandalorian, Din exposes his face on three separate occasions. In the first season, the assassin droid IG-11 removes Din’s helmet to tend to his wounds and save his life despite Din’s vocal protests. In Season 2, Din removes his helmet to access an Imperial terminal while infiltrating an Imperial installation and at the end of the season to show his face to Grogu for the first time before the child is taken in by Luke Skywalker. Reuniting with the remnants of his clan, Din defended his claim to the mythical Darksaber before confessing to the Armorer, the head of his clan, that he removed his helmet and had his helmet removed. This admission results in Din’s banishment from the clan, violating the sacred Way of Mandalore.
This stands in complete contrast to Mandalorians like Jango Fett and Bo-Katan Kryze, who walk around in public without their helmets, tending to only put them on when entering combat. When Din meets Bo-Katan and her friends in The Mandalorian Season 2, Bo-Katan explains this discrepancy by observing that Din is from the Children of the Watch. This sect follows the Death Watch, introduced during as a splinter group of Mandalorians siding with Count Dooku and Darth Maul against the peaceful rule of Mandalore and espousing the ancient Way of Mandalore.
Bo-Katan reveals to Din that the Children of the Watch are largely regarded by modern Mandalorian society as a sect of religious zealots, with the majority of the civilization not following the same strict tenets as Din’s clan. This difference in cultural stance led to a civil war on Mandalore, with the Death Watch and Maul eventually defeated by a resistance led by Bo-Katan before the events of the original Star Wars trilogy. The Galactic Empire then occupied the planet for years, devastating it in a cataclysmic incident known as the Night of a Thousand Tears in the face of Mandalorian opposition to their occupation.
As Mandalore continues to recover from the brutal Imperial occupation, the legacy of the Death Watch and subsequent Children of the Watch are pushed to the margins of modern Mandalorian society rather than represent the civilization. Meeting mainstream Mandalorians was a big deal for Din in realizing that the ancient Way of Mandalore may not be as universally recognized and respected as the Armorer led him to believe. That said, removing his helmet came at the expense of Din losing his admittance into the Children of the Watch, with the shrinking sect remaining as strictly steadfast to its ancient laws as Bo-Katan leads her people into a more progressive direction.
To see the Armorer and Bo Katan’s differences become apparent, The Book of Boba Fett is streaming now on Disney+.
Sam Stone is a 10th level pop culture guru living just outside of Washington, DC who knows an unreasonable amount about The Beatles. You can follow him on Twitter @samstoneshow and ask him about Nintendo, pop punk, and Star Trek.