But in a recent episode, the Stoic bounty hunter is confronted with perhaps his most formidable enemy: pluralism.
For the uninitiated, “The Mandalorian” is a live series that explores the outer edge of the ever-growing Star Wars galaxy. In the second season, broadcast on Disney +, the main character – named Dean Jarin – is looking for other Mandalorians, a diaspora in exile from his home planet.
Raised by a religious cult, Jarin suddenly finds other Mandalorians who gasped! – follow different religions or maybe no religions at all. He congratulates this new fact with the enthusiasm of a man serving a ham sandwich.
The Mandalorian credo, “guns are part of my religion,” is also relevant today. (Is that bad? That looks bad.)
So far, the answers to this question have been scarce. But a recent episode contains a big revelation.
Star Wars has included religious themes from the beginning
In the 1970s and 1980s, the interstellar saga explored Eastern traditions, mainly Buddhism and Taoism, just as many “spiritual but not religious” razors did the same. At the turn of the millennium, Star Wars captured the madness of McMundilans – the 1999 Phantom Menace is revealed by two Jedi talking about the benefits of meditation.
And now, with The Mandalorian, we see the Star Wars universe borrowing from another modern feature of religion: the battle between orthodox conservatives and liberals.
Until recently, the show kept the clearest details of the Mandalorian religion. We know that the Mandalorians consider themselves both hunters and prey, never take off their helmets in front of other people and swear to always defend each other in a blaster battle. And the weapon.
(There is more about the Mandalorians in other Star Wars series.)
Since being rescued as an orphan from the war, Jarin has been trained in The Way, which he says is unique and shared by all. But in a recent episode called The Heiress, he is shocked to meet other Mandalorians who casually take off their helmets, breaking a big taboo.
These new Mandalorians mock Jarin’s conservative practices and tell him that he is actually part of a small sect of religious fanatics called the Guard of Death.
In other words, there is more than one Way; there are Ways.
Watching Jarin be shocked and confused by this unwanted news was like seeing a defensive fundamentalist freshman in his first class in theology at the University of Liberal Arts. Mind. Blown out.
The Mandalorian repeats the history of the American religion
It is not difficult to see some parallels with our own world. The lost young man finds his identity, community and mission in a violent, countercultural sect. He knows nothing of the diversity of his faith and despises those who are different.
Then pluralism – a sophisticated word for our ability to live together in the midst of differences – struck him in his shiny helmet.
In The Mandalorian, Jarin insists weakly: “There is only one way. The way of the mandalora “, then he turned his rocket backpack and flew away.
The discussion is over.
But not for long, we expect.
We ourselves are not so good at pluralism.
In a sense, the clash of religious views in The Mandalorian repeats the history of the American religion over the past few decades. As believers debate LGBTQ rights, religious freedom, and biblical interpretations, benches have become more polarized and more difficult to find common ground.
Some experts see the tidal waves of xenophobia and tribalism and predict a bad future for peaceful coexistence.
They have a point.
Since this is Hollywood, it seems inevitable that the Mandalorian will eventually follow the path of the unbelieving Unitarians, constantly discarding his beliefs one by one.
It would be nice if that didn’t happen. It’s much more interesting to watch someone fight their beliefs instead of betraying them. What if Jarin stays true to his Path and the others to theirs, without either side trying to turn or force the other.
We could use more models of how different people can coexist without common beliefs, even if they come from a distant, distant galaxy.