But in a recent episode, Stick Bounty Hunter faced perhaps its most feared enemy: pluralism.
Bin Balaan, “The Mandalorian” is a live-action series that explores an outer rim of the ever-expanding “Star Wars” galaxy. In season two, now airing on Disney +, the main character – named Din Zarin – is seeking another Mandorian in exile from his home planet.
Raised by a religious cult, Jorin suddenly discovers other Mandalorians who – gasp! – Follow different creeds, or perhaps no creeds at all. He assigns this new fact with a man’s enthusiasm to a ham sandwich on a bris.
Credo, a Mandalorian, “Weapons are part of my religion,” is still in practice. (Is it bad? It looks bad.)
The answers to this question have been sparse so far. But a recent episode made a major revelation.
‘Star Wars’ has featured religious themes since the beginning
In the 70s and 80s, the Interstellar saga explored Eastern traditions, mainly Buddhism and Taoism, with many “spiritual, but not religious” dabblers doing the same. At the turn of the millennium, “Star Wars” caught the craze of McMindility – 1999’s “The Phantom Men’s” with two Jedi talking about the benefits of meditation.
And now, with “The Mandalorian”, we see the “Star Wars” universe borrowing from another contemporary feature of religion: the battle between conservative conservatives and liberals.
Until some time ago, the show kept the most explicit details about the Mandalorian religion under rap. We know that the Mandalorians consider themselves both hunters and prey, never take off their helmets in front of other people and always vow to protect each other in a blaster fight. And the matter of weapons.
(More about Mandalorians in other “Star Wars” series.)
Since being saved as a war orphan, Zarin is schooled in “The Way”, which he considers singular and is shared by all. But, in a recent episode titled “The Heeres”, he shrugs off meeting other congregants who carelessly remove their helmets while breaking a big taboo.
These new Mandalorians mock Jerin’s orthodox practices and tell her that she is in fact part of a small denomination of religious territory called “The Death Watch”.
In other words, there is not only one way; There are ways.
Watching Zarine’s shock and confusion at this unsolicited news was like seeing an asylum-ridden radical freshman in his first theology class at the University of Liberal Arts. Mind. Blow
‘The Mandalorian’ echoes the story of American religion
It is not difficult to see some similarities with our world. A defeated youth finds an identity, community and mission in a violent, counter-cultural sect. He knows nothing about the diversity of his faith and scolds those who are different.
Then pluralism – a fancy word for our ability to live together between differences – smacks her on her shiny helmet.
In “Mandalorian”, Jiren weakly insists: “There’s only one way. Mandalor’s route,” then turns on his rocket backpack and flies away.
But not for long, we hope.
We ourselves are not so great in the plural.
In some ways, the clash of religious ideas in “The Mandalorian” echoes the story of American religion over the past few decades. As believers debate LGBTQ rights, religious freedom, and scriptural interpretations, the pews have become more polarized, making common ground harder to find.
Some experts see the perilous tide of xenophobia and tribalism and predict a poor future for peaceful coexistence.
They have a point.
Because it is Hollywood, it seems inevitable that Mandalorians will eventually go the way of cultless Unitarian, constantly shedding their beliefs one by one.
It would be nice if it didn’t happen. It is more interesting to see someone struggling with their beliefs than surrendering. What would happen if Djarin in his own way and others remained true to him, trying to change or force the other without either side.
We can use more models of how different people can coexist without the common cult, even if they came from far, far away from the galaxy.