- "No true Mandalorian can live alongside the Death Watch."
- ―Walon Vau
The True Mandalorians were a Mandalorian group of supercommandos who remained loyal to Jaster Mereel, their leader and the reigning Mand'alor, when Mereel's reformist ideals for the Mandalorians were met with opposition from Tor Vizsla's radical splinter group known as the Death Watch. Assembled from the standing full-time army of the planet Mandalore, and a number of prominent Mandalorian clans, the True Mandalorians were a highly organized and skilled group of soldiers whose moral code put them in heated opposition to the Death Watch. They were followers of the Supercommando Codex, and the True Mandalorians believed in Jaster Mereel's ideals for a Mandalorian culture in which honor and decency was valued over the barbarism and brigandage favored by Death Watch.
Across the galaxy, the True Mandalorians battled the Death Watch in a series of conflicts that collectively came to be known as the Mandalorian Civil War. On Korda Six, Jaster Mereel was betrayed by his trusted ally Montross and was slain by Vizsla, but he was succeeded as Mand'alor by his surrogate son Jango Fett, who exiled Montross and continued to lead the True Mandalorians against Death Watch. The Battle of Galidraan, however, would prove to be the True Mandalorians' undoing. Nearly eradicated by a Jedi task force fooled by a Death Watch lie, Fett was the sole True Mandalorian to survive the events of Galidraan. The man who went on to wage a lone war on the Death Watch that saw the sect broken and Vizsla killed, before distancing himself from the Mandalorian people to become a famous bounty hunter. Though the True Mandalorians were destroyed at Galidraan, their code of honor and ethics survived, and served to inspire the core ideology of the later Mandalorian Protectors.
Organization and philosophy
- "…the Mandalorians fractured, giving rise to a chaotic splinter group. They called themselves the 'Death Watch' and followed a barbarian called Vizsla, who believed that the Mandalorians should conquer the galaxy. Vizsla orchestrated a bloody coup against the True Mandalorians, still loyal to a reformed murderer named Jaster Mereel, who held that the Mandalorians were merely highly paid soldiers."
- ―Count Dooku, discussing the True Mandalorians' role as the enemies of Death Watch
The True Mandalorians were a group of Mandalorian supercommandos who rallied to the cause of Mand'alor Jaster Mereel following Tor Vizsla's attempts to divide the Mandalorians and usurp Mereel's leadership over the warrior culture with his splinter-faction of violent radicals known as the Death Watch. The True Mandalorians supported Mereel's attempts to lead a reform of the Mandalorians' more savage members, and followed the teachings of the Supercommando Codex that Mereel authored. The Codex outlined honorable behavior through a modernization of the ancient Canons of Honor and elaboration on the Resol'nare, the six basic tenets of the Mandalorian culture which the True Mandalorians heeded.
Highly skilled and well organized soldiers, the True Mandalorians had been assembled primarily from the planet Mandalore's full-time army, in addition to drawing numerous members from several of the Mandalorian homeworld's most prominent clans. Despite being well organized, True Mandalorian rank and unit structure remained nebulous beyond their loyalty to the Mand'alor's authority, as most Mandalorians of their era held little regard for official rank and preferred an informal command structure. Instead, the True Mandalorians divided their forces based upon the tactical necessity of a coming mission, choosing trusted and respected soldiers to serve as squad commanders for the duration of combat.
The True Mandalorian army existed primarily as a fighting force to combat and destroy the threat of the Death Watch, for whom the organization's members harbored a strong hatred. When not embroiled in conflict with their rogue Mandalorian foes, the True Mandalorians would sometimes offer their martial services to prospective parties as a mercenary company. Jaster Mereel saw an honest nobility in mercenary work, which had become a staple in the Mandalorian culture over the centuries. Among themselves, the True Mandalorians fostered a strong sense of camaraderie, respect, and care for each other's well-being, exemplifying the Mandalorian tradition of looking out for one's comrades on and off the battlefield.
Tactics and equipment
- "We're dividing into three units. Those of you with flight experience have been assigned to Vertigo Company. We're hitting them high. Jango's grunts will provide covering fire and keep the extraction points clear. Headhunter Company, you'll follow Jaster to the recovery site. Kill anything that gets in your way."
- ―Montross, during a pre-battle briefing
Like most members of the Mandalorian warrior clans, the True Mandalorians wore personally owned sets of Mandalorian armor with plates that were colored in a variety of shades and combinations. Common designs favored overall palettes of greens or grays—colors which traditionally represented the concepts of duty and mourning, respectively, in the Mandalorian culture—while others adorned their armor with paint schemes favoring red, yellow, silver, and blue. Some True Mandalorians also elected to don the faction's unique identifying sigil on their armor, and decorated their torso plates with personal symbols. Multi-pouch utility belts and capes of various sizes were common armor accessories among the True Mandalorian ranks. Numerous True Mandalorians customized their armor with modular weaponry, including gauntlet-mounted flamethrowers, vibroblades, and rocket launchers, while a number of others elected to wear jetpacks for the added benefit of flight.
The True Mandalorians were armed with an array of blasters, ranging from rifles to carbines. Others preferred to carry blaster pistols, and some were known to wield dual pistols into combat. Some True Mandalorians equipped their blaster rifles with combat knives to create improvised bayonets. The True Mandalorians ferried their forces into battle aboard Meteor-class dropships, often launched down into a planet's atmosphere from larger carrier vessels in orbit. Operational in air as well as the vacuum of space, the dropships possessed heavily armored hulls and twin blaster cannons that protected the onboard contingent of soldiers until they could be deployed on the ground.
Members of the True Mandalorians convened for mission briefings prior to battle, in which intelligence was shared, strategy was discussed, and assignments were given out. True Mandalorians preferred performing first-hand reconnaissance rather than rely on intelligence provided by others, and kept in constant contact with one another in the field via their helmets' built-in comlinks. When assaulting a ground-based target, the True Mandalorians would rapidly insert their troops from the air, coming down in Meteor-class dropships, around which a secure landing zone was quickly established. True Mandalorians recognized the advantage of air support in combat, and often designated a portion of their forces to provide cover for their ground units from the air using jetpacks.
The True Mandalorians were known to plan and execute tactical ambushes, utilizing the advantages of surprise and their surroundings to their benefit, such as the tight confines of a narrow street or the high ground an overhanging balcony afforded them, in order to box in and eliminate foes. They were not opposed to the use of various deceptive techniques in order to better strike at their enemies, including disguises to blend in among a larger crowd, and feigning frailty to lower an opponent's guard. Armored enemy transports were felled using mines, attached covertly to the vehicle's outer hull and detonated remotely. When engaging Force-sensitive opponents, the True Mandalorians understood the limited effectiveness of blaster weaponry when faced with the ability of a lightsaber to deflect energy bolts. They instead preferred the use of projectile and explosive weapons, in addition to close-quarters unarmed combat.
- "The mercenary Jaster Mereel, who became Mandalore in 60 BBY, sought to reinstitute the warrior codes. His True Mandalorians were opposed by mercenaries who argued that the way to restore the clans' honor was to topple the hated New Mandalorians and repay the Republic's savagery in kind. This group became known as the Death Watch."
- ―Vilnau Teupt
In the year 200 BBY, multiple Mandalorian clans clashed with the Ithullan race in a war over a narcolethe distillery. Upon their victory, these clans proceeded to engage in the genocide of their defeated foes, wiping out nearly the entirety of the Ithullan people. In the wake of what was considered by a variety of historians to be the greatest crime of its era, many Mandalorian soldiers were dissatisfied with the widespread savagery and brigandage that had become prevalent among a number of their contemporaries. Close to a century and a half later, in 60 BBY, the title of Mand'alor—the traditional leader of the Mandalorian clans—was claimed by a charismatic soldier by the name of Jaster Mereel; a respected and highly principled man, formerly a Journeyman Protector of Concord Dawn, Mereel sympathized with the clans' dissatisfaction and set out to institute a reform. He revived and modernized the ancient Canons of Honor that the Mandalorians of the past had once followed, creating a series of several hundred commandments governing moral Mandalorian behavior, which he entitled the Supercommando Codex. The Codex, like the Canons before it, drew heavily from the Resol'nare, the six central tenets of the Mandalorian culture. From the Codex, Mereel preached that any Mandalorians who wished to fight would no longer be allowed to act as raiders and brigands, but merely highly-paid soldiers, and should conduct themselves as honorable mercenaries.
However, not all agreed with the Codex or Mereel's reforms. The New Mandalorians—a pacifistic political faction in existence since the aftermath of the Mandalorian Excision of 738 BBY—believed in peace and non-violence above all, and despite Mereel's reforms, any act of Mandalorian violence was fundamentally against what the New Mandalorians stood for. More dangerously, though, were the Mandalorian rogues Mereel had sought to reign in: immoral mercenaries who enjoyed their lives of lawlessness and unaccountability, and would-be revanchists, conspiring against the peaceful New Mandalorians who they saw as an affront to the Mandalorians' warrior traditions. Under the leadership of the barbaric Tor Vizsla, these outlaws banded together in order to oppose Mereel's reforms, calling their new splinter faction the Death Watch; Death Watch dreamed of a return to the ways of the ancient Mandalorians and the downfall of the hated New Mandalorians, and plotted to eventually wage a second war of conquest across the galaxy. From numerous clans and Mandalore's full-time army, those who were most loyal to Mereel and his ideals rallied to their leader, recasting themselves as "True Mandalorians" in opposition to the Death Watch outcasts. With pressure to destroy the Death Watch from Mandalorian hardliners, tensions escalated until open conflict broke out between Death Watch and the True Mandalorians, and civil war ensued.
Soldiers of Jaster Mereel
- "Jaster will do what's right for the Mandalorians—he always has."
- ―Jango Fett
As the Mandalorian Civil War between the True Mandalorians and the Death Watch began in earnest, the New Mandalorians elected to remain neutral in the conflict, with their government refusing to aid either group. In 58 BBY, the war had spilled onto Concord Dawn, an agricultural world located in the Outer Rim's Mandalore sector, and the homeworld of Jaster Mereel. There, the True Mandalorians engaged the Death Watch in a lengthy firefight, but were ultimately forced to withdraw, scattering their forces while retreating into the fields of crops belonging to the local farmers. Mereel and his troops found refuge on the homestead of the Fett family, but Death Watch soon followed, intent on destroying the True Mandalorians. They savagely interrogated the father of the family and threatened the life of his young son, Jango Fett, if he refused to provide Death Watch with the True Mandalorians' location. Chaos broke out when the boy's mother attempted to defend her son and husband with a blaster rifle, leading to the death of the young Fett's parents and the kidnapping of his sister, Arla, when Death Watch struck back. Amidst the violence, Mereel broke from the True Mandalorians' cover in the fields in order to rescue Jango Fett, grabbing the boy as the True Mandalorians provided covering fire long enough to flee deeper into the fields.
Unwilling to let the True Mandalorians get away a second time, Death Watch set the fields ablaze, hoping to turn their enemy's cover against them. As the fire closed around them, Jango Fett showed the True Mandalorians to a large irrigation pipe that they were able to enter and use to escape the burning field unharmed. With his parents dead, Jaster Mereel brought Fett along with his soldiers to the nearby town, where the True Mandalorians began to lay an ambush for Death Watch. In the belief that they had been victorious in finishing off the True Mandalorians, the Death Watch rode into the town with intentions to pillage as they pleased before moving on, but when a Death Watch soldier accosted an older man with a walking stick on the street, the individual revealed himself to be a True Mandalorian in disguise, throwing aside his cloak and stick as he opened fire. From the overhead balcony of a nearby building, the True Mandalorian soldier Montross fired down on the Death Watch, his shots providing cover as the young Fett planted an explosive mine on the underside of Death Watch's armored transport; as soon as Fett was clear, the mine was detonated and the tank was destroyed. What Death Watch warriors remained alive were picked off as Mereel and his troops moved in from the surrounding alleyways, while Fett himself killed the man responsible for his family's death. Though Tor Vizsla ultimately escaped with his life, the battle on Concord Dawn proved a victory for the True Mandalorians. The Death Watch had been all but eliminated, and Jango Fett was taken in by Jaster Mereel, becoming a Mandalorian.
Years passed without another appearance from Vizsla, and the True Mandalorians believed the Death Watch to be no more in the wake of the battle on Concord Dawn. Finding themselves now without a foe to fight, the True Mandalorians were reinvented by Jaster Mereel as a mercenary army. In 52 BBY, six years after Death Watch's defeat, the True Mandalorians were contracted by the Korda Defense Force to extract a team of rookie security personnel pinned down under fire on the planet Korda Six by a group of local hostiles. Intelligence collected by the Kordans indicated these native fighters were poorly armed and without a formal army, and upon accepting the job, the True Mandalorians traveled to the Korda system in the Inner Rim. En route to their destination, the members of the True Mandalorians were briefed for the coming mission, first by Jaster Mereel, who outlined the objective and the mission parameters, and then by Montross, who issued assignments to the troops. For the Kordan job, the forces of the True Mandalorians were divided into three units: Vertigo Company, a jetpack-equipped aerial unit under Montross' command; Headhunter Company, the armed extraction team under Jaster Mereel's command, tasked with recovering the security personnel; and Jango's grunts, a rear-guard unit assigned to defend the landing zone and provide cover fire, under the command of Jango Fett. Arriving in orbit over Korda Six following the briefing, the True Mandalorians boarded Meteor-class dropships and disembarked from the carrier toward the surface below.
As the True Mandalorians entered the atmosphere, their fleet of dropships were overwhelmed by a barrage of ion cannon fire. Several were struck and rendered without power, forcing the dropships to make to a series of rough crash landings with various degrees of success. The ships that were able to land and deploy troops did so under heavy fire from a large and heavily armed hostile Kordan force, the likes of which the True Mandalorians' intelligence hadn't anticipated. The Mandalorian troops were forced to move into trenches for cover in order to survive the powerful onslaught, while those that were unable to reach the safety of cover in time were cut down by enemy fire.
With reports of mounting casualties and the realization that their intelligence had been woefully inaccurate, Jaster Mereel ordered all units to rendezvous at Jango Fett's position at the landing site, and commanded Vertigo Company to abort their planned attack run on the Kordan hostiles. Montross, however, insisted that the True Mandalorians push forward, refusing Mereel's orders to retreat as he led Vertigo Company to press their attack. Montross and his soldiers assaulted an enemy emplacement at the top of a large ridge, but fell prey to heavy blaster fire and a sudden grenade strike. While his troops made for the True Mandalorians' landing zone, Mereel personally attacked the Kordans alone, rescuing Montross. At the same time, Fett had chosen to use Montross' ill-guided assault as a diversion in order to make for the security team with his own troops in an attempt to complete the mission. When Fett's True Mandalorians arrived at the forested extraction point, however, they discovered not a team of security personnel in need of rescue, but a Death Watch ambush. A firefight erupted, and Fett attempted to stem the Death Watch's initial advantage of surprise with a stream of fire from his gauntlet flamethrower, but the skirmish quickly devolved into close quarters combat, necessitated by the tight confines of the area's trees.
Their presence on Korda Six revealed, Death Watch moved to confront Jaster Mereel personally on the battlefield. From the troop bay of an armored tank, Tor Vizsla lashed out at Mereel with a wrist-launched rocket that the Mand'alor barely evaded, while Montross leaped clear with his jetpack. As the tank's blaster cannons opened fire, Mereel called to Montross for an airlift, but Montross rejected his plea; dissatisfied with taking orders from Mereel, Montross left the Mandalorian leader to Death Watch as he flew back to regroup with the other True Mandalorians. Though Mereel attempted to return fire before retreating on foot, and Jango Fett rushed to aid him, Mereel was overpowered and mortally wounded by the tank's sustained assault. Fett arrived in time to see Montross depart, but he was only able to comfort Mereel as he died, and subsequently carried the Mand'alor's body back to the True Mandalorian extraction point. There, Montross had claimed that both Mereel and Fett had died in combat as part of a bid to claim the title of Mand'alor for himself. When Fett arrived carrying Mereel's body, he informed the others of Montross' betrayal: Montross was exiled, and Fett succeeded Mereel as Mand'alor with the backing of the True Mandalorians.
Jango Fett's army
- "Hello, Governor. We took care of your problem. The Mandalorians have prevailed. Your reign is secure. It's time for you to uphold your end of the agreement. You've been harboring a murderer. You've even funded his attempts to rebuild the Death Watch. Now, what I want to know is…where is Vizsla?"
"He…he left Galidraan!"
"That's not the right answer. I killed your enemies…now tell me where to find mine!"
- ―Jango Fett to the governor of Galidraan
Though the Death Watch had caught the True Mandalorians by surprise with their return, under Jango Fett's leadership, the True Mandalorians not only made it off of Korda Six with the majority of their forces alive, but went on to hunt the Death Watch across the galaxy. Eight years after the events on Korda Six, in 44 BBY, the True Mandalorians followed the trail of Death Watch to the planet Galidraan in the Thanium sector. Upon discovering rumors that the Governor of Galidraan was harboring Tor Vizsla and financing his efforts to rebuild the Death Watch, the Mand'alor Fett arranged to aid the governor in his struggle against a group of local rebels in exchange for information on the whereabouts of Vizsla and the Death Watch.
The True Mandalorians assaulted the Galidraan rebels at their base, striking from the air with jetpacks before landing and engaging the rebels on the snow-covered ground. A short and overwhelming attack, the Galidraan rebels were unable to match the True Mandalorians' blasters, wrist-rockets, and flamerthrowers, and subsequently perished. With their task complete, Fett ordered his troops back to the camp they had established on Galidraan, while Fett himself journeyed to the governor's palace in order to collect their payment. There, Fett met with the governor and informed him of the rebels' defeat, but when he asked for the agreed upon information on Vizsla's whereabouts in return, the governor denied that Vizsla was on Galidraan. At that moment, Vizsla and a cadre of Death Watch soldiers broke from their hiding place within the palace and attacked Fett, forcing the Mandalorian leader to flee the governor's palace via a large window using his jetpack. Vizsla fired his blaster after Fett, striking and damaging his jetpack, and forcing him to crash land in the snow far from the True Mandalorian camp.
Though the True Mandalorians had succeeded in locating the Death Watch, their hunt only played into yet another trap Death Watch had set for their foes. While the True Mandalorians fought the rebels, the governor of Galidraan had contacted the Jedi Council on Coruscant, the capital world of the Galactic Republic, asking for the Jedi Order's aid in dealing with an army of Mandalorians he claimed had been slaughtering political activists. No sooner had Fett uncovered Vizsla's presence on Galidraan, when Consular-class cruisers bearing a Jedi task force descended upon Galidraan. Vizsla instructed the governor to direct the Jedi to the True Mandalorians' camp and inform them that Fett's troops were responsible for the murder of innocent women and children—Death Watch itself would provide the necessary bodies for evidence of the True Mandalorians' supposed crimes. Though Fett was able to spot the Jedi ships, his helmet's comlink had been damaged in the fall, forcing Fett to run to the camp through the snow on foot in order to warn his comrades.
Jango Fett arrived at the True Mandalorian camp only moments before the Jedi. The task force, led by Jedi Master Dooku, took the lying governor at his word and demanded the Mandalorians' immediate surrender in order to bring them into custody on the charge of murder, with Dooku's Padawan Komari Vosa adding that should they resist, the Mandalorians would be killed. Innocent and indignant, Fett ordered the True Mandalorians to open fire on the Jedi, specifically targeting Vosa. Though their blasters were effective at holding the Jedi at bay, the energy bolts that were reflected by the Jedi's lightsabers proved dangerous and costly to the True Mandalorian ranks, and Fett instead had his soldiers switch to harder to deflect projectile weapons. As True Mandalorians launched volleys of wrist-fired rockets at their Jedi foes, Fett ordered several jetpack-equipped soldiers to provide air support and cover for the troops on the ground. A number of Jedi fell to the attacks, and numerous Mandalorians perished either to the Force or the slash of a Jedi's lightsaber. An airborne True Mandalorians by the name of Myles was cut down in midair by a Jedi's blade while Fett could only watch. During the melee, Fett personally killed six Jedi with no weapon beyond his own hands, feet, and armored body; the Jedi responsible for Myles' death was disarmed and violently subdued by Fett, before the Mandalorian leader finally ended his life with a fibercord garrote.
Despite his efforts, Fett couldn't change the outcome of the battle: though the Jedi's forces had been halved—eleven of their original twenty slain by the True Mandalorians—every True Mandalorian on Galidraan, save for Fett himself, was killed by the Jedi. With his comrades dead, a defeated and emotionally exhausted Fett fell to his knees in the Galidraan snow and allowed the Jedi to take him into custody. He was stripped of his Mandalorian armor and turned over to the authority of Galidraan's governor, who subsequently sold Fett into slavery while keeping his armor as a treasured prize. The Mandalorian Civil War had come to an end, and through their deceitful machinations, Death Watch triumphed over the True Mandalorians.
Without the active opposition of the True Mandalorians to challenge them, the Death Watch was free to move against the New Mandalorians. While Fett was enslaved, Death Watch incited a bloody conflict on Mandalore that grew to be known as the Great Clan Wars. This second civil war divided numerous clans and pitted family members against one another, as some supported Death Watch's aims, while others believed in the ideals of the True Mandalorians. Many Mandalorians died over the course of the conflict, but Death Watch ultimately failed to unseat the New Mandalorian regime. Several of the chieftain warlords who had been swayed to war by Death Watch went into exile on Mandalore's moon, Concordia, along with several defeated Death Watch warriors. Tor Vizsla and those Death Watch troops who still followed him retreated to regroup and rebuild.
In his training manifesto entitled Ba'jurne Kyr'tsad Mando'ad, Death Watch leader Tor Vizsla instructed his soldiers to watch for the sings of the True Mandalorian remnants rebuilding themselves. He insisted that they must remember that those who escaped Galidraan were as familiar with the Mandalorian principle of ba'slan shev'la, or "strategic disappearance", as they were.
The last hunt of the True Mandalorians
- "The armor's right here, governor—and I'm going to use it to remove your lungs, unless you tell me where to find Vizsla and the Death Watch."
- ―Jango Fett, preparing to hunt down the Death Watch
For two years, Jango Fett lived as a slave aboard a spice transport, until the day that transport came under attack by a group of pirates. During the chaos of the attack, Fett freed himself and killed his captors, before fighting his way off of the transport. Traveling back to Galidraan, Fett infiltrated the governor's palace and recovered the armor that had been taken from him, before demanding the location of the Death Watch from the governor on the threat of death. From there, Fett tracked Tor Vizsla's ship, the Death Rattle, to the planet Corellia. Assaulting the vessel with a starfighter of his own, Fett destroyed the Death Rattle's engines in an unmanned ramming maneuver, while he personally blew his way into the ship through the Rattle's forward viewport using a pair of wrist-launched rockets and only his armor for protection against the blast and the vacuum of space.
Once aboard the crippled Death Rattle, Fett pursued a fleeing Vizsla to the vessel's escape pods, where the two engaged in a brief bout of unarmed combat that saw Vizsla temporarily victorious. Yet as the Death Watch leader moved to board an escape pod, Fett leaped after him, and their battle was taken from orbit down to the surface of Corellia. Emerging from the pod, Fett and Vizsla fought each other fiercely—their efforts attracted the attention of a pack of nearby dire-cats—before Vizsla finally stabbed Fett in the torso with a poisoned blade from his gauntlet. Though the toxin was nonlethal, it sickened Fett and rendered him unable to defend himself against Vizsla, who used the opportunity to beat and berate his foe, all the while oblivious to the dire-cats that had moved in closer and caught Fett's notice. Before Vizsla could deal the killing blow, Fett slashed the Death Watch leader across his stomach, cutting between the gap in his armor's plates and drawing a substantial amount of blood. The scent of the blood caused the dire-cats to finally attack, mauling and killing Vizsla, while leaving Fett unharmed due to the smell of the poison in his bloodstream. With the death of Tor Vizsla, Fett had succeeded in avenging his fallen True Mandalorian comrades, and finally completed the work of his surrogate father, Jaster Mereel.
- "I believed my Masters. I didn't think for myself. They didn't question, either; they took the governor at his word. They just believed. And we killed people. We killed them on the say-so of a criminal."
- ―Count Dooku, reflecting on his role in the destruction of the True Mandalorians
The loss of his comrades and his time as a slave made Jango Fett a bitter man, and he grew distant from the rest of the Mandalorian people and his role as Mand'alor. With the True Mandalorians gone, Fett turned to the solitary life of a bounty hunter. The destruction of the True Mandalorians at Galidraan haunted Jedi Master Dooku for years after. While at the time he had been appalled by the carnage that had occurred, years later he would privately consider it a turning point in his life, the event that caused him to begin questioning the decisions of the Jedi Council, for Dooku and his Jedi task force had killed the True Mandalorians on the basis of a lie told to the Council by the corrupt Galidraanian governor. The events of Galidraan contributed in part to Dooku's decision to leave the Jedi Order, and he eventually fell under the sway of the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious, becoming his Sith apprentice, Darth Tyranus. Having seen the ferocity of Mandalorian soldiers firsthand, Tyranus captured the only living True Mandalorian beside Jango Fett, a soldier by the name of Silas, who had been absent from the battle on Galidraan and thus survived the massacre there. With the information on Fett he obtained from Silas before killing the man, Tyranus recruited Fett to serve as the progenitor of a clone army meant to one day destroy the Jedi. Fett claimed the first clone for himself, a child whom he named Boba and raised as a son, passing on the True Mandalorian teachings of Jaster Mereel until his death at the Battle of Geonosis.
The scattered Death Watch carried on with their plans to bring about the downfall of the pacifist New Mandalorians in secret, free of the True Mandalorians' interference. Over time, Death Watch rebuilt their forces in hiding, finally emerging at the start of the Clone Wars to again strike at the New Mandalorians, and in 20 BBY, the rogue Mandalorian sect was finally successful in bringing down the New Mandalorian faction.
When Spar—an ARC trooper deserter from the clone army Jango Fett had spawned for the Republic—succeeded his progenitor as Mand'alor, and proceeded to raise an army of Mandalorian supercommandos, his new Mandalorian Protectors were formed in the image of the True Mandalorians. Like the True Mandalorians who came before, the Protectors placed an importance on high moral standards, and followed the teachings of Jaster Mereel's Supercommando Codex. It was also the destruction of the True Mandalorians at the hands of the Jedi on Galidraan, in addition to the oppressive nature of the Republic, that prompted Spar to align the Mandalorians with the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars.
Despite the relatively short time span of their existence, the True Mandalorians made a significant impact upon the historical records of the galaxy. The New Republic Historical Council detailed the rise and fall of the True Mandalorians over the course of the Mandalorian Civil War in their historical chronicle entitled The New Essential Chronology. The Jedi historian Tionne Solusar briefly mentioned the True Mandalorians in her compendium known as The Essential Guide to the Force, and the historical scholar Vilnau Teupt discussed the True Mandalorians during his keynote address at the our-hundred-twelfth Proceedings of Galactic Anthropology and History at the Brentaal Academy, entitled "Industry, Honor, Savagery: Shaping the Mandalorian Soul."
Notable True Mandalorians
- "Now, Death Watch. Tried to oust Jaster Mereel because he liked law and order, and that crimped their game."
- ―Nyreen Vollen
A native of Concord Dawn and a member of the world's law-keeping Journeyman Protectors, Jaster Mereel was an extraordinary soldier and a respected man of strong morals, morals that drove Mereel to kill a corrupt superior officer in an act that saw him banished from his home. Mereel later joined the Mandalorians, and sensing a general dissatisfaction with the decline in ethics among the more dishonorable members of the warrior culture, he fought to become the new Mand'alor and bring a new ideal to the clans, beating out the barbaric Tor Vizsla in the process. With the Supercommando Codex, Mereel declared that any Mandalorian who wished to fight would do so as honorable, highly-paid soldiers. Opposed by the pacifistic New Mandalorian government, and Vizsla's own radical followers calling themselves the Death Watch, civil war broke out between the violent Death Watch and Mereel's own loyal soldiers, who proclaimed themselves the "True Mandalorians." Mereel led his True Mandalorian soldiers against the Death Watch into battle on his home planet, where his troops were saved by the young Jango Fett, and managed to severely wound Vizsla in a skirmish that saw the Death Watch defeated. His family murdered by Death Watch, Mereel became a surrogate father to Fett, and inducted the boy into the Mandalorian culture.
In the belief that the Death Watch was no more following their defeat on Concord Dawn, Mereel took to leading the True Mandalorians as a mercenary army. In 58 BBY, Mereel and the True Mandalorians were contracted to extract an inexperienced security team from hostile fire on Korda Six. With Kordan intelligence suggesting minimal resistance, Mereel viewed the mission as "easy credits" and brought his army in, only to find that an ambush had been laid by the Death Watch. When Mereel's second-in-command, Montross, refused to obey the Mand'alor's order to retreat and found himself surrounded by enemy forces, Mereel was forced to rescue his disobedient subordinate, only to come under fire by Tor Vizsla himself. Montross abandoned the Mandalorian leader, using his jetpack to escape Vizsla's assault while Mereel was left to perish. Jango Fett attempted to rescue his adoptive father, but could not reach the Mand'alor in time; mortally wounded, Mereel died in the arms of his surrogate son, and Fett returned the fallen Mand'alor's body to the True Mandalorians' extraction point. There Montross argued his claim the Mand'alor title, but when the truth of his betrayal was exposed, the True Mandalorians rallied to Fett as their new leader. Montross slipped into exile, as Fett succeeded Mereel as both Mand'alor and the leader of the True Mandalorians in accordance with what his troops believed Mereel would have wanted.
- "You were at Galidraan…tell me, how did one mere man kill so many of your kind?"
"With his bare hands."
- ―Darth Sidious and Darth Tyranus
The son of a Journeyman Protector, Jango Fett grew up on his family's farm on Concord Dawn. His quiet farming lifestyle was uprooted when he was still only a child, however, when the civil war between the True Mandalorians and Death Watch spilled onto his home planet. Fett's family was destroyed by Tor Vizsla and his Death Watch soldiers, and he only escaped their fate due to the intervention of Jaster Mereel, Mand'alor and leader of the True Mandalorians. Fett was taken in by Mereel, who raised the boy as his surrogate son and training him to be a Mandalorian. When the True Mandalorians were contracted to rescue a security team under fire on Korda Six, Fett was given his first command role; at the age of fourteen—now an adult in Mandalorian society—Fett led an infantry unit of True Mandalorian troops on Korda Six, where they discovered the entire mission had been launched on a ruse perpetrated by the Death Watch. Overwhelmed by the native Kordans, and succumbing to a Death Watch ambush, the True Mandalorian forces suffered heavy casualties, including the death of Jaster Mereel. With the backing of the other True Mandalorians, Fett succeeded his surrogate father as leader of the True Mandalorians and Mand'alor.
Under Fett's leadership, the True Mandalorians struck back at the Death Watch, hunting Tor Vizsla to the Outer Rim world of Galidraan. Fett and his soldiers put down a local rebellion against the governor of Galidraan in exchange for information on Vizsla's whereabouts, but when Fett went to collect on the governor's part of the agreement, he was ambushed in the governor's palace by Vizsla and a cadre of Death Watch troops. At the same time, a Jedi task force touched down on Galidraan, seeking to arrest the True Mandalorians due to lies they had been fed by the governor as Vizsla's proxy. The True Mandalorians resisted and a battle between their forces and those of the Jedi broke out; half of the Jedi strike team was slain, six of whom were felled by Fett's own hand, but by the battle's end, the True Mandalorians on Galidraan had been destroyed, with Fett as the only survivor. Subdued by the Jedi and delivered into the custody of Galidraan's governor, Fett was subsequently sold into slavery, until escaping two years later to finish the True Mandalorians' work and eliminate the Death Watch. Tracking Death Watch to Corellia, he crippled their ship and clashed with Vizsla in a prolonged fight that moved from orbit to the surface of Corellia. There, he critically wounded the Death Watch leader, and Vizsla was devoured by a pack of nearby dire-cats that were drawn by the smell of blood. With the True Mandalorians gone, Fett grew distant from the rest of the Mandalorian people and his role as Mand'alor, assuming a solitary life as a lone bounty hunter until his death.
- "Montross! Airlift! Now!"
"Sorry, Jaster. I'm through taking your orders. But I'll take good care of the troops."
- ―Montross betrays Jaster Mereel and leaves him to die on Korda Six
A Mandalorian soldier with a fearsome reputation, when the Death Watch formed in opposition to Jaster Mereel, Montross was one of many who rallied to the Mand'alor, proclaiming themselves to be the True Mandalorians. Montross was one of several Mandalorian hardliners who demanded Mereel take definitive action against the Death Watch, and as civil war broke out, Montross followed Mereel into battle against Death Watch. On Concord Dawn, Montross took part in an ambush that devastated Death Watch forces and nearly saw the death of the rogue sect's leader, Tor Vizsla; even as the victorious True Mandalorians made to depart the Outer Rim world, Montross lagged behind, shooting down fleeing Death Watch stragglers until Mereel ordered him to stand down. Montross and Mereel were often at odds over issues of tactics and Montross' own tendency to inflict levels of collateral damage that Mereel found unacceptable.
Years later, during the True Mandalorians mission to extract a security team under fire from local hostiles on Korda Six, Montross was placed in command of Vertigo Company, a unit of jetpack-equipped troops tasked with providing air support for True Mandalorian forces on the ground. Though the True Mandalorians incurred severe casualties due to the overwhelming hostile Kordans, Montross and Vertigo Company pressed their attack, disobeying Jaster Mereel's orders to fall back. Mereel personally rescued Montross from the Kordans, but when the Death Watch revealed their presence on the planet and attacked the True Mandalorians, Montross left Mereel to die to enemy fire, having grown tired of taking orders from him. Falling back to the True Mandalorians' landing zone, Montross insisted the Mandalorians retreat in accordance with Mereel's last order, and presented himself as the best choice to succeed Mereel as leader. However, when Jango Fett—Mereel's surrogate son and fellow True Mandalorian—arrived back at the extraction point carrying Mereel's body, he revealed Montross' betrayal. The True Mandalorians rallied behind Fett and appointed him the new Mand'alor, while Montross was forced into exile. Banished from Mandalorian society, Montross became a bounty hunter known for his ruthlessness. He later competed with Fett for a bounty on the leader of the Bando Gora cult after Fett, too, became a bounty hunter following the destruction of the True Mandalorians on Galidraan. In a final confrontation between the former allies-turned-enemies, Fett defeated Montross on Bogden's moon of Kohlma, and left him to be torn apart by mindless Bando Gora cultists.
- "I'll follow Jango. And no one else."
- ―Silas, following the death of Jaster Mereel
A Human male Mandalorian, Silas grew up among the forces of the True Mandalorians. At a young age, he maintained a friendship with Jango Fett, the young surrogate son of Mand'alor Jaster Mereel, whom he respected and admired greatly. When the True Mandalorians were contracted to extract a security team pinned down under heavy fire on Korda Six, Silas and Fett fought alongside each other in the fierce battle that ensued, moving to rescue the security officers while the bulk of the True Mandalorians engaged the native Kordan warriors. At the extraction site, however, Silas and the other members of his unit were ambushed by a resurgent contingent of the Death Watch splinter group; though Silas was unfamiliar with the group, having joined with the True Mandalorians some time after the Death Watch's assumed destruction on Concord Dawn, he quickly adapted and engaged their new enemy.
As Jaster Mereel came under attack by the Death Watch, Jango Fett rushed to his adopted father's aid, with Silas close behind. Upon reaching the battlefield, the two soldiers found that they were too late: in a hail of cannon fire from an armored tank, Death Watch leader Tor Vizsla struck down Mereel, while Silas was forced to restrain Fett from running to Mereel's side and joining the Mand'alor in death. When Vizsla departed, satisfied that Mereel was dead, Fett and Silas recovered Mereel's body, and returned with it to the True Mandalorians' landing zone. There, they found Mereel's traitorous second in command, Montross, attempting to succeed Mereel as the new Mand'alor. Fett objected, on the grounds that Montross had abandoned Mereel to die alone on the battlefield, and Silas rallied to his comrade, insisting that if anyone should take Mereel's place, it should be Fett. With the backing of Silas and the other True Mandalorians, Fett became the new leader of their group, as well as the new Mand'alor. Silas followed Fett faithfully, but when the True Mandalorians were destroyed at Galidraan, Silas was absent from the battle. Years later, he was captured by the former Jedi Master Dooku and brutally tortured for information on Jango Fett. Upon finally relenting and relating his time with Fett to Dooku, Silas was subsequently killed.
Behind the scenes
The True Mandalorians first appeared in Star Wars canon in the 2002 comic series Jango Fett: Open Seasons, written by W. Haden Blackman and illustrated by Ramón F. Bachs. Open Seasons, which focused on the early life of Jango Fett and his induction into the Mandalorian culture, featured the True Mandalorians in all four issues of the series. The True Mandalorians were later referenced in the LucasArts video game Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, which was released December 5, 2002. The organization and its actions were mentioned in Karen Traviss' 2009 novel Imperial Commando: 501st, and again in James Luceno's novel Darth Plagueis, published in 2012.
Further details on the True Mandalorians and their place within the larger Mandalorian culture were provided by the Star Wars Insider article The History of the Mandalorians, by Abel G. Peña. The informational entry for the Mandalorian Protectors in the Galaxy at War sourcebook referenced the True Mandalorians, as did The New Essential Chronology, and the online role-playing guide for the Star Wars Galaxies video game, entitled . As part of their detailing of the history of the planet Mandalore and the Mandalorian culture, both The Essential Atlas and The Essential Guide to Warfare mentioned the True Mandalorians.
During a discussion in Karen Traviss' Republic Commando novel Order 66, the veteran Mandalorian soldiers Kal Skirata and Walon Vau note that they both should have been with Jango Fett at the battle on Galidraan. Though this would suggest that Skirata and Vau were affiliated with the True Mandalorians, or felt some connection to the group, neither character has been canonically linked with the True Mandalorians at this point in time.
- Darth Plagueis (Mentioned only)
- Darth Plagueis audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Jango Fett: Open Seasons 1 (First appearance) (In flashback(s))
- Jango Fett: Open Seasons 2 (In flashback(s))
- Jango Fett: Open Seasons 3 (In flashback(s))
- Jango Fett: Open Seasons 4 (In flashback(s))
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars novel (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (Mentioned only)
- Imperial Commando: 501st (Mentioned only)
- "The History of the Mandalorians" – Star Wars Insider 80
- The New Essential Chronology
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Atlas
- Galaxy at War
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett