Armor does not make a Mandalorian. The armor is simply a manifestation of an impenetrable, unassailable heart.
Mandalorians get the job done and look great while doing it. They have been developed in significant, sometimes overlapping, often totally different ways across Legends publishing, video games such as Knights of the Old Republic and Republic Commando, and in canon on the small screen—across Clone Wars, Rebels, and now the Mandalorian. If you want the inside scoop on the vast background on Mandalorian culture and the discrepancies and departures across the Canon/Legends divide, this is the reading guide for you, and you won’t be disappointed.
To get a full picture on Mandalorians, you’ll certainly need to take a step into a larger world. While this list is all Legends for now, you can take this list alongside Clone Wars and Rebels to get the fuller picture of how Lucas, Filoni, and Favoreau have gone a different direction. The Canon Mandos, as of the Clone Wars, are warriors of old now living in a reformed pacifistic society, while others rebel in secret. This militant group, Death Watch, and Clan Vizsla, overlap from Jango Fett: Open Seasons, which functions as Jango’s Legends origin story. Karen Traviss has certainly been the architect of Mandalorian culture in Legends continuity, seen in The Republic Commando series and much later in the timeline in her Legacy of the Force entries, and her work is beloved by many.
Traviss’ Mandalorians are as fully-formed of a culture as you’ll find in the Expanded Universe. Her superb world-building encompasses all aspects of what it means to be Mandalorian. She develops the Mando’a language, the Dha Werda Verda dance (reminiscent of the Maori Haka), the concept of loyalty and honor to Mandalorian warrior ideals as more important than biological bloodlines, and even spirituality and the afterlife. She wrestles with the Mandalorians’ history as morally-ambiguous mercenaries and how that competes with their code of honor. We even see the rivalry between Mandos and Jedi, from the Clone Wars to the Legacy of the Force series.
We look forward to expanding this list when tie-in material is published alongside The Mandalorian, but in the meantime, shoot straight and run hard!
A tie-in novel to the Republic Commandos video game, Hard Contact is the first in a five book series. This novel introduces a squad of clone troopers as they take on a precarious mission to destroy a nanovirus production facility on the Separatist-controlled planet of Qiilura. When the clones find themselves split up behind enemy lines, their chances of success seem slim. If they’re to be successful and make it out alive, each trooper will have to rely on his clone brothers to have his back.
Karen Traviss’ Republic Commando series is one of the most celebrated and dearly loved Legends series out there. Hard Contact, its first installment, is responsible for laying the foundation for fans’ staunch dedication.
The second installment in the Republic Commando series brings Omega Squad together with Delta Squad—units with plenty of rivalry between them—in order to stop an internal terror threat on Coruscant. It also develops the Mandalorian mercenary-turned commando instructor Kal Skirata as a main character. It takes the foundation laid in Hard Contact and adds more complexity, character development, and clones into the mix for an excellent Clone Wars novel.
This is the third installment in Karen Traviss’s Republic Commando series, focusing on the Omega and Delta Companies of special ops clone commandos, their Mandalorian father-figures Kal Skirata and Walon Vau, and Jedi generals Etain Tur-Mukan and Bardan Jusik. This story develops the themes of family and loyalty as the clones investigate Palpatine’s plot and track down the cruel Kaminoan cloner Ko Sai. Will the commandos' loyalty ultimately lie with the Republic for which they fight, or the Mandalorians with whom they identify culturally?
The job of the clone troopers is simple: destroy the enemy at all costs. But as the war wages on and its atrocities add up, some clones start question their purpose and plan to lay down their arms altogether. Suddenly, a seemingly simple command from Chancellor Palpatine ruins those plans and also leaves them wondering exactly who the enemy is that they’re supposed to destroy.
Karen Traviss—who has proved more than capable of placing the reader inside the helmet of a trooper—is once again successful with this novel. The pain and suspense of the Order 66 scene in Revenge of the Sith is somehow stretched the entire length of the novel. Readers who have followed the Republic Commandos series can’t miss this part of the story!
Order 66 may have unified the galaxy under the Empire’s control, but it split members of the clone army. Just weeks after the order was carried out, former brothers-in-arms now find themselves on opposite sides. Will they ultimately choose to serve their Emperor or their ex-comrades, the Jedi? And just how far are they willing to go in the process?
While the Jedi may have gotten the worst of it, Karen Traviss manages to brilliantly portray the struggle of the clones following Order 66. This book serves as a fitting end to her run with the Republic Commandos.
How did Jango Fett come to wear the Mandalorian armor? How did he wind up in business with Count Dooku? This story from The Force Unleashed’s Hayden Blackman from 2002 features Clone Wars staples such as Concord Dawn, Death Watch, and clan Visla and is in many ways a Jango Fett origin story.
In a sprawlingly complex and thrilling tale of betrayal and blurred lines of loyalty, the Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy is the deep dive into the characters of the bounty hunters The Empire Strikes Back left us hungry for. Simultaneously taking place prior to Episode V and post-Return of the Jedi, Boba Fett is the pivotal player in the dissolution of the infamous guild of bounty hunters. Shadows of the Empire’s villain and head of the Black Sun organization, Prince Xizor, hires spider-like guild leader Kud’ar Mub’at to cull the guild and leave only the best surviving. The fallout of the clan’s destruction has long-term consequences, as various clan members position for power after Fett falls into the Sarlaac pit. But Legends Fett lives to fight another day. He uncovers a conspiracy involving the Rebel Alliance, the Kuat shipyards, and even the Skywalkers themselves…
Boba Fett lives. His enemies would be less than thrilled to find this out. So he fakes his death by abandoning Slave I and stealing Bossk’s ship, The Hound’s Tooth. Bossk leads the opposing faction of the bounty hunter’s guild against Fett in a survival-of-the-fittest race to capture the incredibly lucrative bounty on a high-ranking traitorous stormtrooper. All the while, Prince Xizor manipulates the factions from the shadows…
Boba Fett is the most notorious bounty hunter in the galaxy. In it for the payout, he’s out for himself and himself alone. This tends to make a lot of enemies from the envious in the bounty hunter ranks. Caught in a web of loyalties and scheming, Fett seeks to stay one step ahead of Bossk and his cronies as well as the well-laid plans of Prince Xizor. Meanwhile, what is the truth behind the missing memories of Fett’s companion, Neelah? The Imperial starship factories on Kuat are at stake, as well as Fett’s life itself–again!
Set just prior to the Yuuzhan Vong war, this short story fills in the gaps that lead Boba Fett to lead the Mandalorians against the Vong. Although Mandalorians historically have not been on the same side with the Jedi, this war brings them together. This short story fits into Karen Traviss’s Legends-continuity development of the Mandalorian society and culture.
Being a Jedi turned Sith and finding redemption, Revan has become one of the most powerful Force users by practicing balance between the light and dark sides. Learning how he broke free of the dark side but continuing to draw on its power of his own will puts powerful Force use into perspective.
This novel takes place after the Knights of the Old Republic video game, starting with Revan and Bastilla contemplating their future together. But a threat to the galaxy begins to reveal itself, forcing Revan to leave his wife and unborn child behind to make sure the world is a safe place for his family in the years to come. On the way he encounters Scourge, a Sith strong in the dark side of the Force who intends to break his willpower.
This is the only canon comic series from Dark Horse. It was published very close to the Legends/Canon cutoff in 2014 and is an adaptation from unreleased episodes of the Clone Wars. Maul is caught in a power play between Sidious, Mother Talzin, Count Dooku, and the Death Watch of the Mandalorians. Maul forms the Shadow Collective, an army of Mandalorians, criminals from gangs such as Black Sun, and the Nightbrothers, to take down the Sith Lords.
This massive comics collection begins legendary Star Wars writer John Jackson Miller’s seminal run of Knights of the Old Republic. Not to be confused with the video game of the same title, Miller’s comics focus on Jedi-on-the-run Zayne Carrick as he is framed for a massacre of Padawans. In order to survive and find who’s responsible, he is forced into an unconventional alliance with an unscrupulous band of misfits. Set almost four thousand years BBY, the series is set during the Mandalorian Wars, which serves as the catalyst event leading into the KOTOR video game. Knights of the Old Republic ran for fifty issues and was one of Dark Horse’s best selling comics series.
Former enemies Ulic Qel-Droma and Exar Kun have now united to usher in a new Golden Age of the Sith. In order to do so, they take control of a fierce army of Mandalorians! This volume is part of Dark Horse’s deep dive into the ancient history of the Jedi and the Sith (published several years before the Prequels!) and is best read after Tales of the Jedi: Knights of the Old Republic, The Freedon Nadd Uprising, and Dark Lords of the Sith. These issues can be found in Star Wars Omnibus: Tales of the Jedi, Volume 2.
In this solid entry in the Legacy of the Force series, a number of story-lines intertwine, revolving around the Solo family. Jacen continues down the dark path he began down in this book’s predecessor, Betrayal, under the influence of a dark side Force user from Luke’s past, Lumiya. Meanwhile, Han and Leia seek to intervene in the pending Civil War that threatens the Galactic Alliance by returning to Han’s homeward of Corellia. Upon returning, they find out that Han’s estranged cousin, Thrackan, has a bounty out for Han! Another major plot point in this book is concerning an aging Boba Fett, whose past has caught up with him and who might have to team up with an old nemesis in order to get a job done. For both Fett and the Solos, they will have to reckon with the idea of legacy.
This book relies heavily upon numerous elements of the Legends universe, including the New Jedi Order, the Corellian trilogy, the Mandalorian culture fleshed out in Karen Traviss’s Republic Commando series, and even the old Marvel comics!