The Mandalorian Has Made the Tusken Raiders Very Fascinating

The first episode of The Mandalorian season 2 has finally premiered on Disney+ and all of us were absolutely blown away. For those of you who haven’t seen it, this is going to contain a lot of spoilers. For those of you who have, how about that depth into Star Wars lore? The Tusken Raiders, the clash with the Krayt Dragon, and picking up with Boba Fett’s last known location. Favreau and Filoni really know what they are doing on this project.

This episode felt more like Star Wars than all 3 of the new movies. Now, I loved those movies, there was something special about each and every one of them, but The Mandalorian has captured the essence of Star Wars perfectly. The Western feel in this episode was spot on, they captured every element of a classic Western while introducing some great new ideas, scenes, and dialogue. 

Timothy Olyphant absolutely nailed his role as Cobb Vanth, he was the perfect person for the role. He played a pretty noble man, I expected Vanth to be a bit arrogant and self-righteous, considering he appointed himself Marshal, but he was a humble man who just wanted Mos Pelgos to be free, I can respect that.

But let’s get to the good part and take a look at how The Mandalorian turned the Tusken Raiders from savages to survivors of the Dune Sea.

The Language

Like any intelligent species, you need to communicate with one another to accomplish tasks and exchange ideas. How does a species that shrieks and yells create a language? Well, mix some grunts in with sign-language, of course. Thank you to Troy Kotsur for creating this language for the Tusken Raiders and giving us some incredible depth. This concept was introduced during season one, but was expanded even more for Chapter 9, “The Marshal.”

Troy Kotsur is a deaf actor so The Mandalorian team felt it seemed fit for him to get to play the role as a Tusken Raider. With that role came the responsibility of creating a language unique to the Tusken Raiders and their culture. In an interview Kotsur said, “I did research on the culture and environment of Tusken Raiders, my goal was to avoid American Sign Language. I made sure it became Tusken Sign Language based on their culture and environment.”

This goes to show how well thought out this language was and how well Kotsur did to make his name synonymous with Star Wars and the Tusken Raiders. But what makes this even better, is there is now a group created and completely dedicated to creating a complete Tusken Raider Language as complete as Aurebesh, the written language of Star Wars.

The Krayt Dragon

As Mando and Vanth search for the Krayt Dragon’s home, they run into some Tusken Raiders who are doing the same. Thanks to Mando’s ability to communicate with them, they are able to join forces to get rid of the beast. As they try and navigate getting rid of it, we discover a lot more about the Tusken Raider culture.

We learn that the Tusken Raiders, who have been taming the Dune Seas for generations have studied the Krayt Dragon, its behaviors, and diet. Without the help of the Tusken Raiders, there is no way Mando and Vanth would have been able to accomplish this task.

The knowledge they provided was key to killing it. Beginning with understanding how the beast eats and sleeps. They knew to feed it a Bantha to make it sleep longer, this shows the intelligence of the species. They speak using sign language, so I am sure there is limited written documentation of this, so the ability to understand the dragon must have been verbally passed down.

Their ability to simply feel and listen to their surroundings to understand what the beast is doing inside its cave is incredible. There is a deep understanding of the land, the beast, and so much more that must have taken years to hone in.

The Mandalorians have stories of legendary battles with the Jedi, but imagine camping out with some Tusken Raiders and hearing some Krayt Dragon horror stories. Yikes.

The Weak Spot

The Tusken Raider’s vast knowledge of the Krayt Dragon extends to understanding the weak spot on the naturally armored beast. This was the key to killing it. The idea to lay explosives in the sand and lure the beast out is an interesting tactic, but one that has worked for generations. Besides, the Tusken’s don’t have Mandalorian armor, a jetpack to fly out of the beast, or an Amban Rifle to shock the sucker.

One thing that I didn’t know I needed to see until I saw it, was those Tusken Raider’s running for their lives. A dead sprint on the sand is not easy, but damn can they run. The way they wake the Dragon was hilarious, too. I actually laughed out loud when they got to the mouth of the cave and gave that infamous shriek. How old school was that tactic? If it works, why change it?

A Closer look

The campfire scene when Mando and Vanth get to know them a little better and begin planning shows how welcoming the culture can actually be. They give Vanth something to drink, a black orb that looked like it smelt interesting, but still, they offer it to him as a sign of peace and respect. It is Vanth who remains hostile to the Raiders, as they try and offer him something, even with their bad history.

While the Tuskens and the townspeople set up how they are going to attack, we get a closer glimpse at how they do things. One thing I thought was interesting was the Tusken cleaning the Bantha’s teeth. They know how to take care of their animals, just look at those Massiffs and the way they were able to tame those ferocious little beasts. That takes some guts.

The Tuskens are also an extremely proud people who are good to their word. Though they may be looked at as savage raiders, there is no reason for them to not be honest people. I am sure they are happy to keep a peace treaty with Mos Pelgos for as long as possible, they have more things worry about in the Dune Sea.

A Proud Culture

The Tusken Raiders went from being desert savages to an intelligent species that has been well received by fans. The Raiders we saw in A New Hope and Attack of the Clones aren’t the same ones that we see in The Mandalorian. I felt for them when the dragon attacked and covered them in acid. They were slaughtered by Anakin and fans didn’t really bat an eye because of the perspective we had been given on them. 

The Mandalorian is achieving the goal of creating a different perspective in the Star Wars universe. Something that is new to the fans, we get to see Star Wars through a new set of eyes, one that is impartial from the Jedi and dislikes the Empire because, well, they are the Empire. A refreshing look at such a familiar thing, The Mandalorian has become one of the greatest things to ever happen to the franchise. 

Thank you for reading and remember, utinni!

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