The spiritual mysteries of ‘The Mandalorian’
For the uninitiated, “The Mandalorian” is a live-action series that explores an outer rim of the ever-expanding “Star Wars” galaxy. In Season Two, airing now on Disney+, the main character — named Din Djarin — is looking for other Mandalorians, a diaspora in exile from their home planet.
Raised by a religious cult, Djarin suddenly discovers other Mandalorians who — gasp! — follow different creeds, or perhaps no creed at all. He greets this new fact with the enthusiasm of a man handed a ham sandwich at a bris.
In the ’70s and ’80s, the interstellar saga explored Eastern traditions, mainly Buddhism and Taoism, just as many “spiritual, but not religious” dabblers were doing the same. At the turn of the millennium, “Star Wars” caught the McMindfulness craze — 1999’s “The Phantom Menace” opens 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 orthodox conservatives and liberals.
Until recently, the show kept most explicit details about the Mandalorian religion under wraps. We know that Mandalorians consider themselves both hunters and prey, never remove their helmets in front of other people and vow to always protect each other in a blaster fight. And the weapons thing.
Since being rescued as a war orphan, Djarin has been schooled in “the Way,” which he believes is singular and shared by all. But, in a recent episode called “The Heiress,” he is shocked to meet other Mandalorians who casually remove their helmets, breaking a big taboo.