Mandalorian Culture: Colour Symbolism

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In the Star Wars universe, it is not only the lightsabers that have strikingly noticeable colours. The Mandalorian culture also has its own colour symbolism. These colours often feature on the Mando armour – their beskar’gam.

Traditional Lore

The Mandalorian culture was first explored in-depth – in great, great depth – in a series of novels by Karen Traviss about the Republic Commando (published during the late 2000s). A sub-plot of the series focussed on the fact that the Republic army clones had been cloned from Jango Fett – a Mandalorian. Some of them, therefore, explored Mandalorian culture in an attempt to define their identity.

Everyone who has watched The Mandalorian knows how central the Mando armour is to their culture. Karen Traviss outlined the traditional spectrum and symbolic meanings of colours that Mandalorians use while painting their armours. These colours indicate the warrior’s current life goal or attitude.

This distinction, however, is not absolute. A Mandalorian may be wearing a given colour for different reasons. For instance, each Mandalorian clan usually has one colour they prefer. When the clones served in the Republic army, even those who embraced their Mando roots used colours to signify their rank. A Mandalorian is also allowed personal preference when picking a colour for their armour.

Young Boba Fett wearing red armour to honour his late father as seen in The Clone Wars animated series.

The Colours

The Mandalorian colour scheme is therefore not a dogma. However, it is a general rule of thumb that when you see a Mando wearing certain colours, you can assume that they wish to convey the following message:

Blue – Reliability. Jango Fett is shown wearing blue armour. There is hardly anything that could capture his personality better: he presents himself as professional through and through that his employers can trust in all ways.

Green – Duty. Boba Fett’s armour used to be green. However, we do not know whether it was meant to have a deeper meaning at that point. Boba was sure dutifully fulfilling his contracts, but maybe this came down to just personal preference.

Red – Honouring a Parent. If you watch early The Clone Wars episodes, you will notice that there, young Boba Fett is wearing red armour. In this case, the reason for it is obvious: it is not too long after Jango’s death. It is nice that TCW did this small touch.

The remaining colours did not really have notable representation on-screen, but they are still part of the lore:

Black – Justice.

Gold – Vengeance.

Grey – Mourning a lost love.

Orange – A lust for life.

White – A new start.

I do not know whether The Mandalorian series will use any of these. But we can keep our eyes peeled for any signs. And am I the only one who thinks that The Baby should start wearing red?

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Rostislav Kurka
Rostislav is a Protestant theologian and a self-trained Sith, counting Jan Hus, Dorothee Sölle, Darth Revan and Darth Traya among his main influences. He hails from the hundred-towered city of Prague, where he had spent a large part of his life creating worlds and inspiring young generations to roleplay. His involvement in organising children's camps led him to accidentally writing a Lord of the Rings musical, which made him temporarily famous, and a Three Musketeer-Jedi fanfilm, which didn't. He has recently moved to the frozen waste of Finland, because that's it, the Rebels are there.