- "Beskar is a uniquely resistant iron that develops a wide range of properties—and colors—in the hands of skilled metalsmiths. Depending on the alloy, it can take any form from plate, laminate, and wire to foam, mesh, micronized particles, and even a transparent film. Mandalorians jealously guard their beskar-working skills and refuse to sell the formulas for any price; attempts to reproduce finished beskar elsewhere have been disappointing. The ore is found solely on Mandalore, and only Mandalorians know how to work it to maximize its extraordinary properties."
- ―Pilas Manaitis's Strategic Resources of the Galaxy
Mandalorian iron, also known by its Mando'a name of beskar, was an extremely durable iron ore whose only known source was the Outer Rim world of Mandalore and its moon, Concordia. The Mandalorian warrior culture that inhabited Mandalore mined their planet for beskar, using it in the creation of weapons, armor, and starships, occasionally even selling the rare and valuable metal on the galactic market. The introduction of certain additives during the smelting process served to increase the strength of the natural ore, and Mandalorian metalsmiths guarded the secrets of forging beskar from outsiders, passing along the techniques from one generation of metallurgists to the next, strictly within the Mandalorian community. A versatile metal, Mandalorian iron could be melded into multiple alloys and forged into various configurations.
Mandalorian iron was rare throughout the galaxy, as the only known source for the ore was the planet Mandalore and its orbiting moon, Concordia, both located at the heart of Mandalorian space in the Outer Rim. Some speculated that beskar could be found in the other worlds of the Mandalore system, as well. The Mandalorians referred to the iron by the name beskar, and despite the word's origins in the Mando'a language, it became common for even non-Mandalorians to refer to the element as such. Mined from beneath the surface of Mandalore and Concordia, Mandalorian iron was one of the toughest metals known to science. Cherished for its incredible strength and durability, beskar was notable for being able to withstand blows from even a lightsaber, and was commonly thought to be nearly indestructible, making beskar more prized than durasteel or cortosis.
The natural strength of beskar was amplified during the forging process, using techniques developed and closely guarded by Mandalorian metalsmiths, many of whom would sooner die than reveal their secrets to outsiders. In the foundry, carbons were often added to the ore to create a molecular cage structure that allowed Mandalorian iron to be lighter than contemporary metals, while still retaining its incredible toughness. Without the addition of carbon, beskar was significantly heavier. Repeated folding of Mandalorian iron during forging further enhanced its strength. Mandalorian metalsmiths combined beskar ore with several other metals to create multiple alloys capable of being shaped into various configurations, and were also responsible for affecting the final color of the finished beskar during the smelting process. When two pieces of beskar were struck together, the resulting sound was heavy and dull, more solid in resonance than the high tinny frequency produced from striking durasteel.
- "If you're worth that much, you can afford some better armor. Look at the state of you. All scrapes."
"We Mando boys like to show we've been in action. Anyway, this is top-grade beskar—full density, two percent ciridium, no fancy lamination or carbon-alloy."
- ―Ny Vollen and Kal Skirata on the latter's Mandalorian armor
A versatile metal capable of being combined into several alloys and molded into a number of forms, beskar became a common material in Mandalorian craftsmanship. Depending upon the composition of the alloy, Mandalorian iron could be rendered into solid plates, a laminate, wire, mesh, or micronized particles, even a foam, or a transparent film. Though materials such as durasteel and alum were commonly used in the creation of Mandalorian armor, Mandalorian iron was considered the most desirable choice for a soldier's armor. Armor forged of beskar could withstand blunt force, strikes from a lightsaber, and repeated blasterfire, though the force of the impact still transferred in part to the wearer.
Mandalorian iron was also a common resource in the production of weapons: traditional Mandalorian sabers known as beskade were forged of Mandalorian iron, with the metal folded and struck repeated during the process to create the sturdy blades. Mandalorian kal knives were also cast from beskar iron. Micronized beskar was used in the creation of powerful crushgaunts, capable of breaking bone with ease, and bladed bes'bev flutes were crafted from Mandalorian iron, as well. Beskar could be employed in the creation of lightsaber hilts in order to make them capable of resisting blows from an opposing blade, and Mandalorian iron crafted into hand-held shields could be used for defense and offense alike, allowing the wielder to strike their opponent or cut them with edges that have been honed to a razor sharpness.
Ancient Mandalorian manacles were made of beskar, and the tough Mandalorian iron allowed them to compete with the advent of newer binder technology, such as force shackles and laser cuffs, for centuries. Many buildings in the New Mandalorian capital city of Sundari utilized beskar in their construction, and Mandalorian iron was used in the creation of the city's prison cells, just as it had been for years in powerful beskar cages. Beskar was also often used in the construction of Mandalorian starships, including the likes of the Bes'uliik-class starfighter, which featured an outer armored shell of micronized Mandalorian iron.
- "Now that you have abundant beskar, you'll rearm. Roche may be outside of your sector, but the last time Mandalorians had plenty of beskar, the Mandalore sector became much, much bigger."
- ―Sass Sikili
The ancient Taung progenitors of the Mandalorian culture were said to have been drawn to what became Mandalorian space by the lure of indestructible beskar ore, and discovered beskar sometime after their conquest of the planet Mandalore around 7000 BBY. The acquisition and use of Mandalorian iron was a contributing factor in the early expansion of the Mandalore sector. Mandalorian metalsmiths developed techniques and different methods for working the iron which they came to guard closely from outsiders, and passed down from one generation to the next. However, its incredible strength attracted the attention of many non-Mandalorians, and beskar quickly earned a reputation as one of the strongest metals known to science, and one of the most desirable elements in the galaxy; armies throughout the galaxy sought to obtain supplies of Mandalorian iron, and it became one of the most valuable metals on the galactic market. Attempts to purchase the knowledge of beskar iron-working from Mandalorian metalsmiths though the years had all failed, and all endeavors to replicate finished beskar without the aid of Mandalorian craftsmen had been met with similarly poor results.
Mandalorians furnished starships and constructed weapons with beskar, while the Jedi Master Arca Jeth utilized a heavy slab of Mandalorian iron to seal the tomb of the deceased Sith Lord Freedon Nadd on Dxun. The beskar door proved an impediment for the Dark Jedi Exar Kun, who was shocked to find that his lightsaber was rebuffed by the Mandalorian iron, and only gained access to the blocked tomb with repeated strikes of his saber at its highest power output. By the time of the Cold War between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire, Mandalorians had come to view beskar as the ideal material for crafting Mandalorian armor, and recognized the substantial benefits it provided when battling lightsaber-armed Force wielders, a viewpoint that lasted for generations. The Sith Lord Darth Rivan also made use of Mandalorian iron in his Sith fortress on Almas: the door to his ritual chamber and the floor of his lightsaber practice room were crafted from beskar, as was a chest Rivan used to hold his most valued Sith tomes. Another Sith, Lord Odion of the Grumani sector, had a throne of Mandalorian iron installed aboard the bridge of his flagship, the Sword of Ieldis, while some Sith warriors elected to wear heavy beskar armor as part of their apparel.
A Mandalorian resourceEdit
- "Beskar is enormously strong, able to deflect blaster bolts and even lightsaber blades. Yet it is light and flexible, particularly when forged with carbon and ciridium. A skilled naur'alor can shape beskar into almost any form, manipulating its strength, color, and other properties. This knowledge is ours alone..."
- ―Tor Vizsla, founder and leader of the Death Watch
As time went on, Mandalorian iron became a prominent export from the planet Mandalore, fulfilling an economic niche for the Mandalorians on the galactic market. Following the Mandalorian Excision of 738 BBY that birthed the peaceful New Mandalorian faction, the pacifist sect made substantial use of Mandalorian iron in the construction of their capital city of Sundari, located in one of the white-sand deserts of Mandalore. Many of the city's grand buildings and towers featured beskar in their architectural makeup, and durable Mandalorian iron was used in the creation of cells at the city's prison. Some of the beskar utilized by the New Mandalorians came from breaking down suits of traditional Mandalorian armor the pacifist sect had relinquished upon embracing peace, repurposing the material toward non-martial ends.
Before the Mandalorians ceased waging large-scale warfare, they turned to Mandalore's moon, Concordia, seeking to uncover new deposits of beskar ore. Once an agricultural settlement, Concordia was transformed into a mining base by Mandalorian prospectors who scoured the moon for beskar. Ugly mines came to scar the surface of Concordia, and the mining operation was so extensive that the forests of Mandalore's moon were nearly destroyed in the effort. The mining operations on Concordia eventually slowed, to the point they were believed by the New Mandalorian government to have ceased altogether. However, the forces of the Death Watch—a violent and radical Mandalorian splinter group that opposed both the modern honorable ways of the warrior clans and the pacifism of the New Mandalorians—continued to maintain mining operations on Mandalore and Concordia in secret, acquiring beskar for weapons and armor. The Death Watch's founder and leader, Tor Vizsla, touched upon these mining efforts and beskar in general in a manifesto he wrote entitled Ba'jurne Kyr'tsad Mando'ad.
Mandalorian police units continued to make use of ancient beskar-forged Mandalorian manacles during this time, keeping them as part of their standard equipment, as well as blastproof beskar shields. The personal star yacht of the New Mandalorian leader, Duchess Satine Kryze, was furnished with beskar flatware used by passengers for dining.
By the start of the galaxy-spanning Clone Wars, the effects of the widescale beskar mining operation on Concordia began to fade, and the moon's forests had begun to flourish again. At this time, the Mandalorian soldier Walon Vau possessed black beskar-forged Mandalorian armor in addition to a traditional Mandalorian beskad saber. Wad'e Tay'haai, Vau's mercenary contemporary and a fellow Mandalorian member of the Cuy'val Dar—an elite group of training sergeants hand-picked to instruct the clone commandos of the Grand Army of the Republic—owned a bladed Mandalorian bes'bev flute cast from Mandalorian iron, painted the same violet color as his iron armor. Tay'haai's good friend, and another member of the Cuy'val Dar by the name of Kal Skirata, wore armor that was a Mandalorian iron alloy containing two percent ciridium. Skirata's armor lacked carbon in its composition, traditionally used to form a molecular cage structure that made beskar lighter, resulting in a significant weight increase. Around this time, Pilas Manaitis wrote at length on the attributes and advantages of Mandalorian iron in his work Strategic Resources of the Galaxy.
After the Galactic Republic was transformed into the Galactic Empire, Imperials began brokering negotiations with the clan chieftains of Mandalore in order to establish a garrison base on the planet and acquire the rights to mine for Mandalorian iron. An offer of eight hundred million credits was issued for exclusive beskar mining rights in the verdant Tokursh region of Mandalore, and the MandalMotors company was solicited to refurbish old prison ships and construct new ones with Mandalorian iron enhancements. In addition, requests were made to acquire specialist beskar equipment including manacles, holding cages, and security doors. However, as time passed, relations between the Empire and Mandalore changed from cordial to hostile: Mandalore was taken over by the Imperials and its people enslaved. The Empire strip-mined Mandalore's shallow veins of beskar ore, shipping a significant amount offworld before Fenn Shysa and the Mandalorian Protectors were able to liberate Mandalore from the Empire. Around this same time, the Sith Lady Lumiya used Mandalorian iron to construct portions of her lightwhip.
In 24 ABY, at the four-hundred-twelfth Proceedings of Galactic Anthropology and History at the Brentaal Academy on Brentaal IV, historian Vilnau Teupt gave a keynote speech entitled "Industry, Honor, Savagery: Shaping the Mandalorian Soul." During the speech, he discussed the place of beskar in the vast history and culture of the Mandalorian people.
War and resurgenceEdit
- "Mand'alor, you're looking at a test forging from a new lode of beskar."
"But the Empire strip-mined Mandalore. They took all the iron."
"They missed a bit. A big bit. [...] This is a planet with a tiny population, and even the Imperials didn't survey all of it. They stripped the shallow veins. This is a deeper lode, and we'd never have found it if the vongese hadn't left craters you could sink a small moon in. There's a crew a hundred klicks north of Enceri still doing test drills, but it looks like a big, big lode that was exposed."
- ―Medrit Vasur and Mand'alor Boba Fett, discussing the discovery a new lode of beskar ore on Mandalore
Decades later, the Mandalorian soldier Goran Beviin came to possess an antique beskad forged of Mandalorian iron, as well as a pair of micronized beskar-laden crushgaunts. When the extra-galactic race of invaders known as Yuuzhan Vong launched an attack on the known galaxy with the intent to conquer it, Beviin battled the aliens with both iron-made weapons. After the end of the galactic invasion by the Yuuzhan Vong and their devastating attack on Mandalore, a new source of Mandalorian iron was discovered in 40 ABY. Heeding the orders of reigning Mand'alor Boba Fett, two Mandalorians—one a geologist, and the other a minerals engineer—were returning to Mandalore when they decided to take an orbital scan of the surface damage that had been incurred by the Yuuzhan Vong. Upon comparing their results to previous geographic data, the two elected to investigate further upon planetary approach, only to find an undiscovered lode of beskar a few kilometers north of the small town of Enceri. The iron had been deeper than the Imperials thought to mine during their occupation, exposed by chance by a Yuuzhan Vong singularity bomb. Foreman Herik Vorad was placed in charge of overseeing the mining of the new beskar lode, and as it was found on land that didn't belong to any one individual, Mand'alor Fett declared the iron to be a resource for all of Mandalore. He also settled on a compromise that allocated a portion of the Mandalorian iron to be manufactured into goods for foreign export, while another portion would be kept for the Mandalorians' domestic needs, including defense armament.
This new lode of Mandalorian iron led to an economically prosperous era for Mandalore, and the creation of new starships such as the Bes'uliik-class starfighter by MandalMotors—whose CEO, Jir Yomaget, elected to provide the Bes'uliik line with micronized beskar armor instead of a beskar laminate—and the Tra'kad, which employed heavy Mandalorian iron armor plating. In 41 ABY, Goran Beviin and Jedi Knight Jaina Solo used beskar training armor and beskad sabers during sparring sessions, while Beviin attempted to teach Solo Mandalorian fighting techniques in order to better combat her Sith Lord brother, Darth Caedus. Around the same time, Beviin's husband Medrit Vasur forged a set of beskar Mandalorian armor for Boba Fett to replace his old set comprised of durasteel plates. Fett put his new plates to good use soon after, during the Second Battle of Fondor, where his Mandalorian iron armor blocked incoming blasterfire while he and over a dozen Mandalorian supercommandos assaulted the Star Destroyer Bloodfin. When the battle was over and Bloodfin had been captured by the Mandalorians, Fett met with Imperial Admiral Natasi Daala, who revealed that she knew where much of the Mandalorian iron the Empire had stolen from Mandalore was located, and suggested the possibility of having it returned to the Mandalorians. Upon completing her training under Beviin, Jaina Solo was furnished with beskar armor plates, which she used during her decisive clash with Darth Caedus aboard the Anakin Solo. Solo also learned from her uncle, Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker, how to perceive the faint flaws left in beskar during the forging process and use the Force to shatter the otherwise impervious Mandalorian iron by exploiting those imperfections.
Behind the scenesEdit
- "Beskar is another name for Mandalorian iron, a super-strong Star Wars metal. Mandalorian armor is tough enough to withstand lightsaber strikes."
- ―Daniel Wallace
Though Mandalorian manacles had first appeared in Tales of the Jedi 5: The Saga of Nomi Sunrider, Part 3, it was only in the later The Freedon Nadd Uprising arc of the Tales of the Jedi comic series that Mandalorian iron was truly introduced to Star Wars canon. The same story was also responsible for introducing Mandalorian iron's lightsaber resistant capabilities. With the release of the Republic Commando novel series and the Star Wars Insider article, The Mandalorians: People and Culture, each authored by Karen Traviss, Mandalorian iron was given the additional Mando'a name of beskar, which has been used increasingly in more recent sources. The People and Culture article, in addition to the previous Insider article, The History of the Mandalorians by Abel G. Peña, provided details on the use, composition, and cultural significance of Mandalorian iron. In 2013, the reference guide The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett, co-written by Jason Fry, Daniel Wallace, and Ryder Windham, featured a section and several informational references pertaining to Mandalorian iron.
- Tales of the Jedi 5: The Saga of Nomi Sunrider, Part 3 (First appearance) (as Mandalorian manacles)
- Tales of the Jedi: The Freedon Nadd Uprising (First identified as Mandalorian iron)
- Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith 2: The Quest for the Sith
- Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith 3: Descent to the Dark Side
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Knight Errant
- Bane of the Sith
- Coruscani Dawn
- 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"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Academy"
- Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures video game
- Republic Commando: Triple Zero
- Republic Commando: True Colors
- The Clone Wars: Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shades of Reason"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lawless"
- "The Feral Queen"—Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.21
- A Mon Alone
- Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel
- Imperial Commando: 501st
- Tales of the Bounty Hunters
- Young Jedi Knights: Jedi Under Siege (Mentioned only)
- Boba Fett: A Practical Man
- Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice
- Legacy of the Force: Fury
- Legacy of the Force: Revelation
- Legacy of the Force: Invincible
- Fate of the Jedi: Outcast
- Fate of the Jedi: Abyss
- Fate of the Jedi: Backlash
- Fate of the Jedi: Allies
- Legacy 27: Into the Core (Mentioned only)
- The Emperor's Pawns
- "The History of the Mandalorians"—Star Wars Insider 80
- The Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Chronology
- "The Mandalorians: People and Culture"—Star Wars Insider 86 (First identified as beskar)
- Evil Never Dies: The Sith Dynasties
- Star Wars Roleplaying Game Saga Edition Core Rulebook
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: New Battlefronts: The Visual Guide
- The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force
- Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Star Wars: The Clone Wars: New Battlefronts: The Visual Guide
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Star Wars: The Old Republic
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Imperial Commando: 501st
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 "The History of the Mandalorians"—Star Wars Insider 80
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Boba Fett: A Practical Man
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 The Essential Atlas
- ↑ 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Legacy of the Force: Revelation
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 "The Mandalorians: People and Culture"—Star Wars Insider 86
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Republic Commando: True Colors
- ↑ Star Wars Galaxies
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 The Clone Wars: Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith 2: The Quest for the Sith
- ↑ A Mon Alone
- ↑ Knight Errant novel
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 The Essential Guide to Warfare
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Mandalore Plot"
- ↑ Republic Commando: Triple Zero
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 Galaxy at War
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 Legacy of the Force: Invincible