The Mandalorian: the Siege of Mandalore and the Great Purge, explained

The Mandalorian season 3
(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

The Siege of Mandalore and the Great Purge are of the utmost importance in The Mandalorian season 3 – but what exactly are they? The Purge has never been properly shown on-screen, though there have been references and even a brief flashback across previous seasons and The Book of Boba Fett, while the Siege is depicted in The Clone Wars. 

Considering The Mandalorian season 3 will visit live-action Mandalore for the first time, it's clear that understanding this planet's history is going to be crucial to getting the most out of the new episodes. Plus, Bo-Katan Kryze has a major part to play in the latest season, and her history is all tied up with Mandalore. 

We've explained everything you need to know about the Siege of Mandalore and The Great Purge below, so you can get up to speed at a glance. A warning for spoilers for The Mandalorian season 3, though. 

The Siege of Mandalore

Star Wars Trilogy George Lucas

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The Siege of Mandalore is the name of a massive battle that took place on the planet of Mandalore during the Clone Wars, mostly thanks to Darth Maul –  who you probably remember from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Despite getting cut in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Maul survived his ordeal and went on to cause a lot of trouble for the Jedi.

Mandalore was a neutral planet during the Clone Wars. This stance led to the formation of a group called the Death Watch, who weren't so keen on their leader Satine Kryze's peaceful outlook. Maul took over the group – which included Bo-Katan, Satine's sister – and eventually took control of Mandalore before the Jedi intervened toward the end of the Clone Wars. Maul's actions also led to Bo-Katan forming her own rebel group, and she managed to get Ahsoka onside to fight against Maul.

The spiky Sith wanted to use the battle against the Jedi to capture Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan, having had a vision in which Palpatine established the Empire with Anakin as his apprentice (Maul also wanted revenge against Obi-Wan after cutting him in half, of course). However, the two Jedi were both busy at the Battle of Coruscant – aka the opening of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith – so Ahsoka (who had left the Jedi Order by this point) and Commander Rex led the clone troopers instead.

The pair managed to defeat the villain, but the victory was short-lived. The infamous Order 66, which turned the Clone Troopers on the Jedi, prevented them from properly capturing Maul – and the Empire replaced Bo-Katan with a new leader of Mandalore.

All of this happened in 19 BBY, which means 19 years before the Battle of Yavin – better known as when Luke Skywalker blew up the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope. 

The Great Purge – Imperial Era

The Mandalorian

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

This tragedy is how the Mandalorians lost their Beskar, and how the majority of them ended up dead – with the rest forced into hiding. 

A quick background: after the Siege, Rebels character Sabine Wren found the Darksaber – which makes the wielder rightful ruler of Mandalore – on Maul's home planet. A Mandalorian civil war soon broke out between pro- and anti-Imperial sides, and a resistance movement began, which Bo-Katan would lead. Sabine gave her Darksaber for this purpose, which, as explained in The Book of Boba Fett, is believed by the Children of the Watch (AKA the cult Din Djarin is a part of) to have doomed them; the Darksaber must be won in combat. 

Later, the Empire decided that, if it couldn't control Mandalore, it would simply destroy it instead. Imperial forces laid waste to the planet in what's now called the Night of a Thousand Tears, as referenced by Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian season 1. During the Purge, he also took the Darksaber from Bo-Katan, though how this happened hasn't been revealed yet. We can assume he won it in battle, however. Bo-Katan fled Mandalore and managed to survive the horrors. 

As we learn in The Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian season 3 episode 1, this destruction also destroyed the Mines of Mandalore, which creates a problem for Din Djarin; after removing his helmet, he must use the Mines to redeem himself and become a Mandalorian once more in the eyes of the Armorer. 

Crucially, the traumatic event depicted in Mando's past that killed his parents isn't the Great Purge – this attack involved droids from the Separatist side of the Clone Wars, which happened before the Great Purge and before the Empire existed.

Moff Gideon and the Darksaber

The Mandalorian

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The Darksaber is deeply important to Mandalorian culture. Created by the first Jedi Mandalorian, the saber eventually became a symbol of leadership – it is believed that whoever wields the weapon is the rightful ruler of Mandalore. To become the owner of the Darksaber, a person has to win the weapon from its current wielder in combat. We've got a complete history of the Darksaber through the link.

Maul won this ancestral Mandalorian weapon before the Siege, but soon discarded it once he'd attained power. This is how Sabine found the weapon on Maul's home planet of Dathomir – and then handed it to Bo-Katan in 1 BBY (so somewhere between A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back).

In The Mandalorian, Moff Gideon owned the Darksaber, though Bo-Katan wanted it back so she could reclaim her place as ruler of Mandalore. Making things rather complicated, though, is the fact that Din Djarin won the weapon from Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian season 2 finale. After what happened last time, Bo-Katan refused to accept it back after Din tried to offer it to her. He now seems quite attached to the weapon, even fighting to keep it in The Book of Boba Fett. 

When we first see Bo-Katan in The Mandalorian season 3, she's alone and despondent; the Mandalorians backing her abandoned her when they discovered she had lost the Darksaber. She tells Mando that they'll follow him instead, though he doesn't seem interested in leading anyone (for now, anyway). 

The Mandalorian continues on Disney Plus weekly, and you can keep up to date with our The Mandalorian season 3 release schedule

For more on the new episodes, see our exclusive interview with Jon Favreau, which touched on Grogu's Jedi journey, breaking the internet, and if season 4 will be the end, as well as what Pedro Pascal had to say about Mando and Grogu's bond and the "epic" third season

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.