The Mandalorian season 3: what was the Great Purge of Mandalore – and what are the Mines of Mandalore?

What are the Mines of the Mandalore? What was the Great Purge? Where are the Living Waters? Here’s everything you need to know about the biggest questions from The Mandalorian S3

The Mandalorian charts the journey of its eponymous bounty hunter, following him from planet to planet in a galaxy far far away as he gets into different adventures while raising Baby Yoda Grogu.

While the first two series of the Star Wars spinoff were relatively self-contained affairs, the third series – currently airing on Disney+ - expects a little more from viewers, asking them to follow convoluted conspiracies and understand vast fictional histories to appreciate the significance of the Mandalorian’s latest adventures.

With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about Mandalore – from its culture to its history – as you watch the third series of The Mandalorian.

What is The Way of the Mandalore?

A promotional image for The Mandalorian S3, depicting Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin in front of a yellow and green sky (Credit: Disney+)A promotional image for The Mandalorian S3, depicting Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin in front of a yellow and green sky (Credit: Disney+)
A promotional image for The Mandalorian S3, depicting Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin in front of a yellow and green sky (Credit: Disney+)

The Way of the Mandalore is an ancient religious order that had, for the most part, fallen out of fashion by the era in which The Mandalorian is set; it dates back to the earliest days of Mandalorian society, named after their founder, the Mand’alor.

The Way dictates that adherents must always protect other followers of the Creed, and raise any abandoned children (also known as foundlings) in keeping with their faith. The central tenet of their religion, though – the most important of any of their rules – is that followers of The Way must never remove their Mandalorian helmet. Anyone who does is considered an apostate and is excommunicated from the tribe, only readmitted if they bathe in the living waters beneath the planet Mandalore.

Who are The Children of the Watch?

The Children of the Watch are an extremist orthodox group who still strictly follow The Way. Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) was found by the Children of the Watch as a young orphan, and raised by them to follow the Way – meaning that, when he encountered other Mandalorians like Bo Katan (Katee Sackhoff), he was surprised at their more liberal outlook on life, uninhabited by the essentially widely abandoned ancient Mandalorian faith.

By the third series of The Mandalorian, the Children of the Watch had been nearly entirely destroyed by Imperial forces. Only a handful of the tribe survived – including Paz Vizsla (Jon Favreau) and the Armorer (Emily Swallow) – before going on to rebuild on a new planet.

What was The Great Purge of the Mandalore?

The Children of the Watch gained prominence in the wake of the Great Purge of Mandalore. A systemic attack carried out by Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) on behalf of the Galactic Empire, the Great Purge saw the slaughter of the Mandalorian people and the theft of their planet’s natural resources. After this attack, Mandalorian groups – like the Children of the Watch, or Bo Katan’s followers – had to operate in secrecy for fear of reprisals from the Empire.

In the years after the Clone Wars, Mandalore was under the occupation of the Galactic Empire. Gradually, though, a resistance movement developed, and it became clear that the Empire couldn’t control the planet for much longer. Some time between the Battle of Yavin (depicted in Star Wars: A New Hope) and the Battle of Endor (depicted in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi), Emperor Palpatine ordered the Purge. The first night of the attack became known as ‘the Night of a Thousand Tears’ amongst the few Mandalorians that survived.

What is the Mandalorian home planet?

After the Great Purge of Mandalore, the Mandalorian home planet was strip mined by the Empire and left essentially uninhabited. The surviving Mandalorians believed Mandalore to have been nearly entirely destroyed – meaning that, when Din Djarin was instructed to bathe in the living waters beneath the surface of the planet to atone for straying from the way, he was in effect being told there was no available path to redemption.

Still, Djarin was convinced that the living waters of Mandalore had survived the bombings, and in Series 3 of The Mandalorian journeys to Mandalore to find them.

What are the Living Waters of Mandalore?

Located beneath the Mines of Mandalore in the city of Sundari – or, at least, thought to be located there before the purge– the Living Waters were the source of Beskar, a special mineral used by Mandalorians to create their armour.

Though most Mandalorians believed the Living Waters to be unremarkable – a spent natural resource but nothing more – the Children of the Watch were more superstitious, and believed them to have special properties. They might well have been right: when Din Djarin bathes in the living waters, he’s attacked by a Mythosaur, a creature from Mandalorian legends previously thought to have been just a superstition.