15

In episode 3 of The Mandalorian, it is said that Mandalorians never remove their helmets for any reason. Really? Not even to sleep or bathe? Is there any canonical source for this idea? I’m going to assume that the “never” implies “Never removes their helmets in public…” but…

…in flashback scenes to the Mandalorian’s childhood, nobody is really pictured wearing Mandalorian armor let alone helmets. They simply seemed like basic humans who might just be unified by wearing maroon wardrobes all the time.

So what is the deal with this claim? What is the canonical context of the claim?

“This is the way.”


Looking for in-universe, canonical explanations; not armchair speculation and theories. If none (currently) exist, legends explanation would suffice. Regardless, please provide references and context.

  • 6
    In Clone Wars there was an entire planet of Mandalorians walking around without helmets. In Rebels, there were plenty of Mandalorians wearing helmets and carrying them or leaving them on a table to eat. – Jeeped Nov 23 at 6:57
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    I think there's a strong implication that the protagonist wasn't born a mandalorian - his donations of beskar to foundlings for example. He saved the young yodling because he empathised with the little runt. – Journeyman Geek Nov 23 at 9:01
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    I haven't been watching The Mandalorians, but I remember that in Rebels Sabine Wren took off her helmet pretty much whenever she was aboard their home ship or otherwise in a relaxed situation. If we take this "never remove their helmets" thing at face value, would that prove that Sabine was a shameless exhibitionist? By the standards of other Mandalorians, it was practically as if she were walking around in the nude all the time with no sense of 'decency'? (Not that I seriously believe this, you understand.) – Lorendiac Nov 23 at 16:47
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    @JourneymanGeek Is that how you interpret it? It seems to me the Mandalorian in this show was a child survivor of a massacre on Mandalore and that is why he is sympathetic to children in trouble. – JakeGould Nov 23 at 17:48
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    @JourneymanGeek Although no longer Canon, in Legends the Mandalorian culture is founded on adopting the orphaned and outcast - there is basically no difference between a "born" and "adopted" Mandalorian. This goes back to when the people who would eventually become the first Mandalorians were forced off their home planet by war. Their own name for themselves - "Mando-ade" - means "Children of Mandalore", which is the title of their leader. This included defeated enemies joining them - much like the old Roman practice of assimilating cultures. The original Mandalorians were also not human. – Chronocidal Nov 26 at 16:51
16

The direct answer is Yes they do remove their helmets per previous visualizations of Mandalorians. Although in The Mandalorian they haven't doffed their helmets, nor fully explained why just yet.

It has been proven in previous shows, and even in The Mandalorian that they used to walk around without helmets on, or even armor for the most part.

In Star Wars Rebels (2014-2018), Sabine Wren is mostly seen without her helmet on, as are most of the Mandalorians in the show.

In Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) there are episodes involving the Siege of Mandalore. Although in this instance most of the Mandalorians are wearing their armor and helmets, there is a scene where Anakin is shown talking to a Mandalorian female without her helmet on. There are other scenes throughout the pretty long series depicting Manadlorians without their helmets on.

It is also assumed that Mandalorians at some point have to doff their armor and helmet in order to eat, bathe, etc. I think it is a general understanding that they only do that in the privacy of their homes and with people they trust their lives with.

Also due to the flashbacks of Dyn Jarren, you can conclude that wearing the armor at all times was not a custom before. I imagine we will get more information on this throughout the season.

Update: As you have probably seen in the latest episode, they DO in fact remove their helmets. Although we did not see the protagonists face, his helmet was off.

  • 2
    "As for The Mandalorian (2019) TV show, we were given a cryptic idea of why they won't remove them. They are in hiding." I'm not sure I buy that. If they were hiding, why identify themselves so obviously? – Harabeck Nov 25 at 14:24
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    You missed the point. Yes, they are hiding. But how does keeping their helmets on help with that? It only identifies them as Mandalorian. If they want to use their rep to make some money, then sure, they could put on their helmets and go up one at a time to hunt bounties or whatever. But why wear them in private? Everyone in the galaxy seems to know what a Mandalorian helmet looks like. If they were taking extra steps to stay hidden, then step 1 is to not wear them. – Harabeck Nov 25 at 14:39
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    I actually got the opposite impression from the exchange about helmets: Yes, their true numbers are hidden, but they intentionally wear their helmets as a sign of pride or courage. That's why it was so important that the protagonist had never removed his: he refused to hide his culture. He dealt with the Empire, but he did not remove his helmet to conceal what he was--he stood before them as a Mandalorian. – Liesmith Nov 25 at 22:56
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    @fgysinreinstateMonica That edit you made (which I reverted) where you changed “Yes” to “No” makes utterly no sense unless one is being hyper specific in conditions. This answer — as written — is fine. – JakeGould Nov 26 at 14:58
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    Marking this off as the answer because it is a well thought out, cited and written answer… And I also just want to end the seemingly endless flood of armchair speculation “answers” (aka: comments) that are being posted. Just one caveat: If as the series progresses new canon details pop up, this answer might be unchecked in favor of someone who has more current details. But still… This is a good answer. Nice work! – JakeGould Nov 26 at 15:31
13

In episode 4, we see him take his helmet off to eat. This is after a villager asks him about removing it. It also clarifies that they do remove their helmets when nobody else is around.

OMERA: When did you last take that helmet off?

MANDALORIAN: Yesterday

OMERA: I mean in front of other people

  • Jinx! I was posting any own answer when you were posting. But small correction to this: The villager’s name is Omera, not Wynta. – JakeGould Nov 30 at 0:08
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    @JakeGould Yeah, just came to edit. Wynta was her daughter – Machavity Nov 30 at 0:09
  • Nice! Also, the episode explained it really well without being too preachy. – JakeGould Nov 30 at 0:11
7

I think there’s a certain amount of context. Or as Obi Wan would say: “From a certain point of view.”

The Paz Vizsla (aka: Heavy Infantry Mandalorian) is questioning the protagonist’s (Dyn Jarren) courage:

“Our world was shattered by the Empire with whom this coward shares tables.”

Then he tries to remove the protagonist’s helmet, which triggers the fight. Disrespect was meant and given out by that action. The helmet is clearly important and removal of it was meant to be symbolic.

“When one chooses to walk the way of the Mandalore, you are both hunter and prey.”

There’s a certain reputation to that armour, and considering the Empire apparently has them in hiding, even after they are gone, there’s obviously a certain risk to being seen as a Mandalorian.

“How can one be a coward if one chooses this way of life?”

Kinda backs it up. There’s a risk to being seen as a Mandalorian.

“Have you ever removed your helmet?”

In previous context — is almost like saying, “Have you ever denied being a Mandalorian?”

Considering Paz’s distaste for hiding this makes sense:

“Has it ever been removed by others?”

Would presumably suggest defeat.

I suspect this doesn’t mean they live in their helmets — and considering the response “This is the way…” and how that immediately stopped the fight — I suspect there was some cultural and religious implications there.

I’m also pretty sure the protagonist will lose his helmet at some point…

While I’ve yet to watch the episode in question, this recap on io9 seems to confirm that the protagonist does remove his helmet to eat:

“Mando hasn’t taken off his helmet in front of people since he was a kid, but (as many people wondered after the comments last week) he does take it off to eat if he’s alone.”

  • As an aside - I typed in the quotes while watching the relevant sections of the episode. Feel free to make corrections to my spelling. Also calling the Main Mandalorian the protagonist seems chunky. I like "Heavy" and 'Armourer' for the other two mandalorians with lines... but for the hero... I donno. – Journeyman Geek Nov 27 at 0:27
  • Great answer! Fleshed out names and specifics. – JakeGould Nov 30 at 16:11
4

I’ve already accepted an answer that does a nice job of summarizing Mandalorian mythos and customs throughout the series, but episode 4 of The Mandalorian “Sanctuary” explains it very well in one simple scene:

After coming to a local village on the planet Sorgan, he meets the villagers — including Omera — who asks the same obvious question about the helmet and this exchange occurs:

Omera: “Do you mind if I ask you something?”

Dyn Jarren: “Go ahead.”

Omera: “How long has it been since you’ve taken that off?”

Dyn Jarren: “Yesterday.”

Omera: “I mean in front of someone else?”

Dyn Jarren: (While looking at the children playing outside.) “I wasn’t much older than they are.”

Omera: “You haven’t shown your face to anyone since you were a kid?”

Dyn Jarren “No. I was happy that they took me in. My parents were killed and the Mandalorians took care of me.”

Omera: “I’m sorry.”

Dyn Jarren “This is the way.”

Omera: “Let us know if there’s anything you need.”

Dyn Jarren “Thank you.”

Then she leaves and we see…

…Dyn Jarren sits down at a table near a window with a plate of food; he has taken his helmet off and is watching the children play outside.

Dyn Jarren sitting down to eat a meal and watch the children play with his helmet off.

0

I don't know everything about the Mandalorians, but I can tell you that in the KOTOR 1 video game, you can meet and bring in your team one Mandalorian leader that is Canderous Ordo. He is not all the time in full armor. He is an interesting addition in the game.

But those stories happen a long time ago before the SW movies so maybe since the tradition of never removing their helmet happened.

Also, The Old Republic stories, despite having a good success (KOTOR 1 & 2 video game + Star Wars MMORPG "The Old Republic") don't seem to be "canon" (means not recognized officially by Disney who owns the licence nowadays). But I don't see how we can ignore so many years of published Star Wars content that made many Star Wars fans delight ! So I presume you can count on this helmess Mandalorian!

  • By the way I found that my answer is very accurate since Disney is considering to bring back the Old Republic part in the official canon, one movie on the topic is already finished to write, or not far. See here : buzzfeednews.com/article/kateaurthur/… – MyGamebooks Nov 27 at 8:34
  • Regardless of whether Disney are thinking about bringing KotOR back into canon, it currently isn't part of Canon. You are also basing your answer on the one Mandalorian we see without helmet - nor Mandalorian armour, either - in the games, who has major doubts about the Mandalorian leadership and has, effectively, "left". Spoilers, but his character arc is all about accepting that the Mandalorian people haven't lost their way and can be redeemed. The rest of the KotOR Mandalorians are all wearing both helmet and armour. – Chronocidal Nov 27 at 14:31
  • Yes Chronocidal you are right but from my knowledge it's the only time that we see Mandalorians like this so I thought that it worthed at least to mention it. I always wondered if they were like humans or some kind of weird aliens under the armor. Since Disney gave an official work of preparation of movies around these stories, we might see all of that soon. But for the moment we have to keep it on the side. – MyGamebooks Nov 28 at 10:55
  • And by the way he is definitely a real Mandalorian : we see him in full armor and helmet : Ordo as Mandalore the Preserver. vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/starwars/images/b/bb/… You can learn about his legendary fate here : swgames.fandom.com/wiki/Mandalore_the_Preserver – MyGamebooks Nov 28 at 10:59
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    As per the tour, StackExchange is not a forum. Ask questions, receive answers - "just talking about a topic I really like and showing what is an important part of the possible written storylines." is, unfortunately, outside of the scope of this website. – Chronocidal Nov 28 at 11:36

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