- "We are the Death Watch, descendants of the true warrior faith all Mandalorians once knew. Now my people are living in exile because we will not abandon our heritage. Our people were warriors. Strong. Feared! Now they're ruled by the New Mandalorians who think that being a pacifist is a good thing. They've given away our honor and tradition for peace. Duchess Satine and her corrupt leadership are crushing our souls, destroying our identity. That is our struggle."
- ―Pre Vizsla introducing the Death Watch to Darth Maul on Zanbar
The Death Watch—or Kyr'tsad in Mando'a—was a Mandalorian splinter group founded by Tor Vizsla, who opposed Jaster Mereel's Supercommando Codex. Their primary goal was to return the Mandalorians to their ancient roots as warriors, and advocated the savage raider mentality of the past. The Death Watch fought Mereel's True Mandalorians for primacy during the Mandalorian Civil War, manipulating a team of Jedi led by Master Dooku into wiping them out at the Battle of Galidraan. When the only surviving True Mandalorian, Jango Fett, escaped from custody, he hunted and killed Tor Vizsla.
The Death Watch scattered and seemingly disbanded until the beginning of the Clone Wars when they reemerged under the leadership of Pre Vizsla, targeting Duchess Satine Kryze of the New Mandalorians. Striking from their hidden base on Mandalore's moon, Concordia, they orchestrated several terrorist attacks on Mandalore and Kalevala while garnering support from the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Eventually, when they allied themselves with Darth Maul and the Shadow Collective, they successfully took control of Mandalore from Duchess Kryze. Maul then killed Pre Vizsla, and the Death Watch splintered into two factions—those who gave their loyalty to Maul and those who refused to follow an outsider, led by Bo-Katan Kryze. When Spar founded the Mandalorian Protectors as Mandalore the Resurrector, the Death Watch went into hiding again, under the leadership of Lorka Gedyc, but resurfaced again during the Galactic Civil War, operating out of a base on Endor.
- "They dressed themselves up as patriots wanting a return to the good old days of the Mando empire, but it was just a cover for organized crime."
- ―Kal Skirata
In the wake of the Ithullan genocide in 200 BBY, many Mandalorian warriors expressed a desire to shed the dishonorable ways of the past. A century and a half later, the charismatic warrior Jaster Mereel became the new Mand'alor, and instituted a new standard of Mandalorian behavior known as the Supercommando Codex. He asserted that the Mandalorians were simply highly-paid soldiers, and should conduct themselves as honorable mercenaries. However, not all agreed with the Codex and Mereel's radical changes. A barbaric soldier by the name of Tor Vizsla attracted warriors fond of the old ways into his own movement, giving birth to the Death Watch. The Death Watch were skilled warriors, but ill-disciplined to the extreme and plagued with constant in-fighting under the egotistical leadership of Vizsla. In accordance with Vizsla's beliefs, the Death Watch stood for a return to the ways of the ancient Mandalorians, raiders and savages, and aimed to eventually wage a second war of conquest across the galaxy. In turn, Mereel's faction recast themselves as the True Mandalorians and a civil war broke out between the two groups.
Mandalorian Civil War
On the agricultural world of Concord Dawn, the Death Watch engaged the True Mandalorians in a fierce firefight that ended in the True Mandalorians' retreat. As Jaster Mereel and his men fled into the farming fields, Vizsla ordered his own forces to hunt them down. When they came upon a young Jango Fett working on his family's harvester, they took him captive and forced the boy to lead them to his home where Jango's father was harboring Mereel's troops. Vizsla savagely beat the man in front of Jango while he demanded the location of the hidden Mandalorians, going so far as threatening to shoot him in the head right in front of his son. However, Jango's mother intervened, killing one of the Death Watch soldiers with Vizla with a blaster rifle. Jango was rescued from Vizsla by the intervention of Mereel and his soldiers, but his parents were murdered and his sister taken by the Death Watch. As they escaped into the fields, Vizsla ordered that they be burned with the hopes of killing Mereel and the True Mandalorians. The Death Watch moved into a nearby town following their perceived victory over the True Mandalorians, intent on a celebratory raid before moving on to Moonus Mandel. Unfortunately for them, the True Mandalorians were lying in wait, striking the Death Watch when their guard was down. Nearly all of the Death Watch soldiers fell to blasterfire or perished in the bombing of their tank, and although Jango Fett avenged the death of his family by killing the Death Watch soldier responsible for their murderer, Vizsla managed to escape.
Years later, the Death Watch would lure their True Mandalorian foes into a trap on the planet Korda Six. When Jaster Mereel and his troops came to the aid of a Korda Defense Force security squad pinned down on the planet by local enemy forces, the Death Watch revealed themselves—much to the surprise of the True Mandalorians. Jango Fett, now a fully-fledged Mandalorian warrior, fought back dozens of Death Watch soldiers alongside the True Mandalorians under his command, while Jaster Mereel and his second-in-command Montross came under fire from Vizsla himself. Baring the scars from their previous encounter on his face, Vizsla rained down attacks from his four-wheeled tank on Montross and the injured Mereel. When Montross betrayed the wounded Mand'alor and left him alone on the battlefield, Vizsla was granted his revenge as he gunned down Mereel with his tank's laser cannons. The True Mandalorians were forced to flee the planet and the Death Watch was victorious.
Approximately 44 BBY, the Death Watch became involved with the governor of the Outer Rim world Galidraan. The governor provided refuge for the Death Watch at his castle and was involved in funding Tor Vizsla's attempts to rebuild the Death Watch, presumably after a costly loss. He also hired the True Mandalorians to deal with an insurrection on his world as part of a plot by the Death Watch to draw in their enemy. While the True Mandalorians—now under the leadership of Jango Fett, replacing Jaster Mereel as Mand'alor—dealt with the rebels, the Governor of Galidraan contacted the Jedi Council, claiming that the that Mandalorians were murdering "political activists", along with women and children. In order to lend credence to these claims and gain the Jedi Council's assistance, Vizsla and his own troops provided the body count of innocents. Upon completing their contracted assignment, Jango Fett went to personally speak with Galidraan's governor, both to collect the Mandalorians' payment and to find out where Vizsla was being harbored. Vizsla and a few of his troops revealed themselves and opened fire on Fett, forcing him to escape out of a nearby window via jetpack at the same time the Jedi ships were arriving to deal with the supposed Mandalorian threat. Vizsla and the Death Watch had only to stand aside while the Jedi strike team under Jedi Master Dooku all but wiped out the True Mandalorians, save for Fett himself who was captured and delivered into the custody of the governor of Galidraan who subsequently sold Fett into slavery.
Two years later, Fett would escape and return to Galidraan, recovering his lost Mandalorian armor and demanding the location of the Death Watch from the governor at blasterpoint. He would find the Death Watch forces aboard Vizsla's personal starship, the Death Rattle, over Corellia. Fett used a starfighter to cripple the ship's engines while assaulting the bridge, using his jetpack to fly through the viewport. He clashed with Vizsla in a lengthy fight that spanned the halls of the dying ship and even into an escape pod, continuing on after crashing to the surface of Corellia. At the climax of their fight, both injured and Fett poisoned by Vizsla, a pack of dire-cats attacked and killed Vizsla, while sparing the poisoned Fett. With Vizsla finally defeated, the remaining members of the group scattered throughout the galaxy, but although they were seemingly destroyed, the beliefs of the Death Watch remained amongst some Mandalorians.
- "Not everyone on Mandalore believes our commitment to peace is a sign of progress. There is a group that calls itself Death Watch. I imagine these are the renegades you are looking for. They idolize violence and the warrior ways of the past."
- ―Duchess Satine Kryze of Mandalore to Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi
During the formation of the Grand Army of the Republic on Kamino, Jango Fett—clone template and primary military adviser for the Grand Army—hand-picked a group of one-hundred individuals, seventy-five of which were Mandalorian, to train elite clone commandos for the army, a group that would become known as the Cuy'val Dar—"Those Who No-Longer Exist". Two of the Mandalorian trainers, Isabet Reau and Dred Priest, attempted to ingrain the beliefs of the Death Watch into their clones by secretly forming battle circles in the bowels of Tipoca City. Jango Fett discovered the existence of the battle circles and quickly put them to an end, viciously beating Priest.
Though weakened, the Death Watch managed to operate under the Mandalorian principle of ba'slan shev'la, or "strategic disappearance". Maintaining a fairly secret existence following Tor Vizsla's death, the remains of the Death Watch showed themselves nearly twelve years later, shortly after the First Battle of Geonosis. With the True Mandalorians gone and Jango Fett dead following the events on Geonosis, the Death Watch set its sights on the Mandalorian faction known as the New Mandalorians, a reformist political faction emphasizing pacifism that was interested in moving the Mandalorians even further from its conquering warrior roots than the True Mandalorians, with their goal being a peaceful and neutral Mandalorian state. At the time, the Death Watch was operating from a base on Concordia, a moon of Mandalore, where they were secretly led by Concordia's governor, Pre Vizsla. In order to get support for their attempt at taking over the Mandalorian government, the Death Watch allied themselves with the Confederacy of Independent Systems. As part of this alliance, Death Watch commandos performed sabotage missions for the Separatists against Republic targets. One such mission involved a commando attempting to sabotage a Republic cruiser; the Death Watch commando was captured, but rather than surrender and submit to questioning, he committed suicide. His actions in addition to falsified rumors led to the Republic's belief that Duchess Satine Kryze, leader of the New Mandalorians and head of the Council of Neutral Systems, was training a Mandalorian army for the Separatists.
In order to investigate this matter further, the Jedi Council dispatched Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi to Mandalore to meet with Satine. At first, the Duchess and her advisers discounted any Mandalorian involvement until Kenobi showed holographic recordings of the Death Watch saboteur. She later revealed the existence of rumors of the Death Watch's return. This was later proven when a Mandalorian bombed the memorial shrine in the New Mandalorian capital of Sundari before committing suicide when Kenobi attempted to apprehend him. Left at the bomb site was a holographic representation of the Death Watch symbol, further highlighting the group's return. During these events Pre Vizsla communicated with Count Dooku who revealed his strategy for the Republic to establish peacekeeping forces on Mandalore. Dooku hoped this would cause unrest and lead the Mandalorian populace to the Death Watch's ideals. Kenobi later discovered the Death Watch base of operations on Concordia and Pre Vizsla revealed himself to the Jedi and the duchess as the leader of the faction. The Death Watch Mandalorians managed to escape and abandoned their base, allowing them to remain at large.
When Satine journeyed to Coruscant to dismiss any thought of Republic occupation, Death Watch made a second attempt on her life. Mandalore's senator, Tal Merrik, was secretly in league with the Death Watch and used his senatorial stamp to smuggle several assassin probes aboard the duchess' ship. When Kenobi gathered the senatorial passengers together and confronted them with a probe killer, its docility betrayed Merrik and he made his move to take Kryze hostage. With the duchess in tow, he made his way to the bridge where he murdered the crew and contacted Vizsla for extraction. A trio of Droch-class boarding ships attached themselves to the vessel and unloaded several B2 super battle droids to cover Merrik's escape. When Kenobi attempted to arrest the senator, Merrik revealed that he had also taken the precaution of rigging the ship's engines to explode and made his way to the waiting boarding ships. Before he could make his escape, however, he was stabbed in the back by Anakin Skywalker.
Once Satine safely arrived at the galactic capital, the Death Watch reoccupied their base on Concordia as a staging area for their impending invasion of Mandalore. A New Mandalorian scout reported to Prime Minister Almec of this development. Almec was confident that Death Watch can't take Mandalore without the populace's support. During a holographic conference with Count Dooku, Pre Vizsla made his move to secure Mandalore's support. A Death Watch assassin was sent to Coruscant to assassinate Satine, as well as an informant who gave her a recording from Deputy Minister Jerec pleading no military assistance. The assassin, however, failed to stop Satine from delivering the evidence to the Galactic Senate thanks to Kenobi's intervention. The Senate revoked its vote to dispatch Republic forces, which compelled Death Watch to cease its planned attack.
Death Watch then broke ties with Count Dooku and the Separatists and vowed to kill the Count. The Death Watch established a camp on the neutral planet of Carlac, kidnapping young females of the native Ming Po. At the same time, Lux Bonteri chose to ally with Death Watch, believing them to be an honorable group, to kill Dooku, whom killed his mother, providing them with a holotrace to the Separatist leader's location. But at the same time, Ming Po chieftain, Pieter, demanded that Death Watch return their captives and leave the planet. At first, Vizsla seemed to comply to his demands, but then ordered his troops to burn down the Ming Po settlement, causing Bonteri to realize his error. However, one of Bonteri's companions was revealed to be a Jedi Ahsoka Tano, who briefly fought off Death Watch before being captured. As Vizsla brought her back to their camp to execute her for her Order's crimes against Mandalore, R2-D2 rallied the Death Watch droids to rebel against their masters, creating a distraction for himself, Tano and Bonteri to escape.
Sometime after Tano's and Bonteri's escape, the Republic followed a Munificent-class star frigate to Carlac. They shot it down and went to the surface to finish off the surviving droids. They encountered Death Watch resistance, including three camps. The Republic set up a outpost from where they could counter the Death Watch, and so the Skirmish on Carlac began. A Jedi Knight joined the battle, destroying the three camps, killing Sergeant Kellov and infiltrating a village that the Death Watch held captive, threatening to destroy it if the Republic did not recall it's forces from the world. The Jedi Knight infiltrated the village, however they were detected and the Death Watch started to burn it. The Republic dispatched a LAAT/i to douse the fires, although it raged on. The Jedi Knight defeated Kherr Dawar, Kro Lann, Mord Jayran and Vizsla himself, although he escaped.
After the events on Carlac, Death Watch established a camp on the swamp moon Zanbar in order to rebuild when they discovered the escape pod of Maul and his brother Savage, who had laid claim to the titles of Dark Lords of the Sith and were wounded by Obi-Wan Kenobi. An alliance would be forged from this action as the lives of Maul and Savage were spared by Death Watch and with them began to build an army of crime lords and gangsters known as the Shadow Collective to help with a coup to overthrow the New Mandalorians. As the plan progressed, the Shadow Collective's gang and crime lord members attacked various targets in Sundari as they fought against the New Mandalorian police forces and overwhelming them with numbers. Once the people were rioting for the government's response and actions during the crisis, Pre Vizsla, Bo-Katan, and several other members of Death Watch appeared. Satine Kryze, the current Duchess of Mandalore, accused them of having some involvement with the attacks, but she was ignored as the people rallied for battle against the Shadow Collective. Death Watch moved quickly and effectively against the crime lords and captured them and Savage, before heading to the royal palace and arresting Maul, along with Satine. Vizsla declared himself the new leader of Mandalore, and promised that he would return the Mandalorians to their warrior heritage.
Maul and Savage soon escaped, and Maul challenged Pre Vizsla to a duel for the title of Mandalore and control of Death Watch. As the two fought, Pre was at first able to hold his own against the Sith Lord but eventually began to tire. After pushing him to the ground, Maul used Vizsla's own Darksaber to behead him and take control of both the planet and Death Watch. However, a single squad known as the Nite Owls, led by Pre Vizsla's most trusted lieutenant, Bo-Katan, refused to acknowledge Maul as Mandalore, calling those who did traitors. Maul ordered them executed, but they were able to escape, killing several of Maul's loyalists in the ensuing firefight. Effectively, Death Watch was split in two—those who swore fealty to Maul, known as Mandalorian super commandos, painted their armor red, while those who followed Bo-Katan retained their blue color scheme.
The Nite Owls, aided by Satine's loyalists, included her nephew Korkie, attempted to spring the Duchess from prison and got her outside Sundari where she could send a message to Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi before she was recaptured. As the Jedi Order and the Galactic Senate refused to intervene in what they perceived to be an internal Mandalorian affair, Kenobi was forced to come alone. After a failed rescue attempt, in which Maul executed Satine, the Nite Owls helped Kenobi escape and fought against the Maul loyalists to allow Kenobi to depart Mandalore and warn the Republic about the truth of its downfall. However, Maul was subsequently defeated and nearly killed by his former Sith Master, Darth Sidious.
When the ARC trooper deserter known as Spar fled Kamino and journeyed to Mandalore, where he eventually took up the role of "Mandalore the Resurrector", he invited many former Death Watch members to join his army of Mandalorian Protectors. Although Spar formed the Protectors in the image of the True Mandalorians, the Death Watch's desire for Mandalore's return to its warrior roots would come to fruition when the Protectors overturned Mandalore's status as a neutral system and aligned with the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
Galactic Civil War and decline
- "We conquered whole star systems. We had an empire. When cities heard our armies were coming, populations fled before a shot was fired. Now we cling to a pathetic sector of dirtball planets, we scramble for the crumbs that the cowardly aruetiise throw when they want us to fight for them, and they use us as a breeding stock for their clone armies. The aruetiise will always treat us like an animal species to be used for their convenience until we stand up for ourselves again."
- ―Lorka Gedyc
By the time of the Galactic Empire's foundation in 19 BBY, Lorka Gedyc had become the leader of the Death Watch as it continued to exist in hiding. Among this latest generation of Death Watch were former Cuy'val Dar members Isabet Reau and Dred Priest. During a run in with fellow former Cuy'val Dar Mij Gilamar in the Mandalorian capital Keldabe, Priest revealed that the Death Watch was indeed still in existence—even openly wearing the group's sigil on his shoulder plate, albeit in a dark blue coloration—and that Lorka Gedyc had "big plans" for the future. He also believed that the Death Watch had changed under Gedyc and was different than the way it had been under Vizsla. The Death Watch had also allied with the Empire, with Priest even assisting the Imperials move in to the garrison being established outside Keldabe. When he'd learned all he felt he could, Gilamar surprise-attacked Priest, stabbing and killing him, and threw his body in the Kelita River, firmly believing that the Death Watch's return to prominence couldn't be allowed for the good of the Mandalorians.
The Death Watch was far from loved in the eyes of many Mandalorians. To most, they were considered little more than savages, hooligans, and undisciplined thugs rather than soldiers. Following the outbreak of the Mandalorian Civil War, Jango Fett considered the Death Watch to be "ex-Mandalorians" due to their radical beliefs and refusal to follow the Mand'alor. The New Mandalorian government labeled them as terrorists and vandals for their destructive actions in opposing the government's peaceful ways. Walon Vau, a member of the Cuy'val Dar, was known to say the Death Watch was the only group he truly considered his enemy. Kal Skirata, another Cuy'val Dar member, felt that the Death Watch—at least its incarnation under Tor Vizsla—was more interested in theft and other crime rather than their supposed goals of reinstating a Mandalorian empire.
As a child growing up on Plavin 6, Nashiak Llalik was fascinated with the armor worn by the Death Watch. He read a lot about them and entertained his younger sister, Saren, with stories about their armor. As an adult, Saren regretted being separated from her brother, partly because she would have enjoyed hearing those stories again.
- Fenri Dalso
- Arla Fett
- Lorka Gedyc
- Bo-Katan Kryze
- Meltch Krakko
- Tal Merrik
- Klin Nif
- Dred Priest
- Isabet Reau
- Hudu Shiv
- Rageon Vart
- Teti Viba
- Pre Vizsla
- Tor Vizsla
- Unidentified Death Watch assassin
- Unidentified Death Watch Mandalorian 1
- Unidentified Death Watch Mandalorian 2
- Unidentified Death Watch Mandalorian 3
- Unidentified Death Watch trooper
- Unidentified Death Watch saboteur
- Death Watch bomber
The sign of the Death Watch was the symbol of Clan Vizsla, which was designed after a stylized jai'galaar in mid-dive, colored red. By the Clone Wars and after, however, the symbol's color had been changed to blue.
- Darth Plagueis (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
- Jango Fett: Open Seasons (First appearance) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Republic Commando: Hard Contact (Mentioned as Death Squad)
- The Clone Wars: Secret Missions 3: Duel at Shattered Rock
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Mandalore Plot"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Voyage of Temptation"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Duchess of Mandalore"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Corruption" (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Friend in Need"
- Star Wars: The Wrath of Darth Maul
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A War on Two Fronts" (Mentioned only)
- The Clone Wars: Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Eminence"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shades of Reason"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lawless"
- Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel (Mentioned only)
- Imperial Commando: 501st
- The Last Jedi (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- Star Wars: Rebellion 4: My Brother, My Enemy, Part 4 (Picture only)
- Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice (Mentioned only)
- Imperial Sourcebook, First Edition (First mentioned)
- Galaxy Guide 5: Return of the Jedi
- The Movie Trilogy Sourcebook
- Alliance Intelligence Reports
- Imperial Sourcebook, Second Edition
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- "The History of the Mandalorians"—Star Wars Insider 80
- Star Wars Galaxies: The Total Experience: Prima Official Game Guide
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Atlas
- Galaxy at War
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Official Episode Guide Series 1 & 2
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Incredible Vehicles
- "Season Four Secrets"—Star Wars Insider 128
- "Launch Pad"—Star Wars Insider 130
- Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side (Symbol only)
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- "10 Amazing Moments from Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season Four"—Star Wars Insider 134
- "Behind and Beyond the Battle Lines"—Star Wars Insider 134
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- "100 and Counting"—Star Wars Insider 139
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 140
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.45
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "The History of the Mandalorians"—Star Wars Insider 80
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 Jango Fett: Open Seasons
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Mandalore Plot"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 The Clone Wars: Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy
- ↑ 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 Imperial Commando: 501st
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Friend in Need"
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Voyage of Temptation"
- ↑ The New Essential Chronology
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel
- ↑ Republic Commando: Hard Contact
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Duchess of Mandalore"
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Friend in Need"
- ↑ Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures (video game)
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shades of Reason"
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lawless"
- ↑ Galaxy at War
- ↑ The Essential Atlas
- ↑ Star Wars: Rebellion: My Brother, My Enemy
- ↑ Alliance Intelligence Reports
- ↑ Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice
- ↑ Star Wars: The Wrath of Darth Maul
- ↑ The Clone Wars: Secret Missions 3: Duel at Shattered Rock
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia