I am so happy to announce that this is the last post of the year, time flies fast, and we soon find ourselves talking about The Mandalorian again. Yes! Let’s discuss that amazingly produced Star Wars live-action series. We can clearly see how much the whole team involved on the series love what they are doing, I will leave many arguments aside on how great this show is, but we can always talk about this series on Instagram.
I have already talked about Din Djarin’s challenge on masculinity during season one of this series, in case you miss the post you can find it here. I am writing another entry following the same theme to continue with gender discussion because, as you already might know, I truly believe that these types of representations should be praised and highlighted. We must always remember that it is fundamental to notice how women are represented in movies, series and books, but we must also focus on men. Just ask yourself, is it the right type of human being the world needs? Is it worth having the title of being a hero? Yes, an equal society can only take place if we also recognise positive qualities in masculine characters.
Please be aware that this post contains spoilers of The Mandalorian season II.
Let me introduce you to Din Djarin, better known simply as “Mando”. Din is the main protagonist of The Mandalorian, and as such, we expect him to be a strong man. And because this is Star Wars, inspired by western and samurai, of course, we see him fighting extraordinarily, being skilful with his blaster and almost looking invincible with his beskar armour. But this character is not classical of the western that seems never to die, indifferent, and the guy who wins the girl in the ending. Djarin is the future. In season one, we see how he evolved from being presented as a cold and quiet man in chapter one. As the series go on, we know his parents were killed during what seems to be a Separatist invasion of his home planet and he was saved by the Mandalorian, specifically, the Watch. Later, he became a foundling until he took the creed and vowed never take off his helmet to follow the way of Mandalore. During the serie, this character shows some qualities that must be highlighted and praised. Yes, because Din Djarin presents some attributes that have been traditionally represented exclusively in female characters and rarely seen in masculine ones. I can argue how Star Wars, has represented positive gender roles in general, but that is another story. All I can say now is that the whole Mandalorian team (yes, Filoni, Favreau, the directors, actors, actress, creative department, everyone) clearly took seriously gender roles in the series.
Now, let’s see some positive qualities Din Djarin has shown in season two:
V. He has some weakness
He is a Mandalorian, his kind is known for being the best warriors in the galaxy, but Djarin is not the powerful man that seems to be invincible, supernatural as the steel of his beskar armour. How many times heroes are represented as if they have so many lives, how many times have we heard that men cannot show weakness? Why this is seen as a bad quality when in reality it is what makes all of us human beings? All of us will get tired at some point and would love to take a nap, for example. To show some weakness it is what makes him not only a positive character but also interesting for the story. We knew in season one that he disliked droids for a good reason. But now in season two, after so much action we see our favourite character being restless some times, something logical that makes the show even more human and familiar for all of us.
In the episode called “The Passenger”, chapter 10, Mando, Grogu (Baby Yoda) and the Frog Lady are stuck inside an icy planet called Maldo Kreis. After running away from the X-wings, crushing the Razor Crest and barely surviving, of course, Din is tired and insists Grogu that it is time to rest. Believe it or not, he picks up the kid and says: “Nap time”.
Din takes care of Grogu and makes him sleep, while he also takes some rest. We are given a more realistic character that like us, needs to restore his energies, he is not a robot or a machine.
Another interestingly moment where Mando’s vulnerability is evidenced in chapter 17 called “The Believer”, he decides to take off his armour to disguises as a trooper. He has to battle against pirates who want to destroy the cargo of the truck he and Mayfeld are driving to get inside the Empire’s base. Despite Djarin fights against them, when he goes inside the truck we can see how tired he is after the battle. It is not as if our protagonist can go on and on without getting tired. In the same episode, Mando decides to remove his helmet even if it is against the creed. These are hard choices, but he makes these decisions as it is the only option to get the coordinates to save Grogu. Here, it is fundamental to add that Pedro Pascal did an absolutely amazing job with his facial expression. We see a very uncomfortable Din, not the secure and powerful mandalorian warrior that might battle against many stormtroopers. Instead, Djarin is a man who seems to be afraid and would love to see himself swallowed by the earth.
After he puts on the helmet again, he recovers his confidence and takes action to leave with Mayfeld, becoming the action heroe again.
IV. He has patience for teaching
How many times we have to say to a kid to don’t do something? Ask Din Djarin when teaching Grogu.
Since season one, we have seen the child eating the most disgusting things even if Mando insists him not to and he gives him food. In chapter 10, “The Passenger”, Grogu wants to eat the eggs and Mando has to repeat him numerous times not to do that. In the following chapter, the mandalorian has to warn little Grogu to behave well while staying with the Frog Lady and her husband, Djarin tells him: “you are going to stay here, so I want you to be respectful. You know what I am talking about”. He means not eating their eggs and to behave well.
In chapter 12 “The Siege”, Din tries to instruct the child to help him fix the Razor Crest so they can continue on their mission to bring the kid to a Jedi. He tells him: “all right, let’s try this again. Ok…did you… do you have the wire? Ok… Did you get the red wire out? No, no, show me the red one. Yes, good. Now, you are going to plug that red wire where the blue wire goes in the board….But be careful… hold them apart…Are you ok?” He patiently repeats the child to connect the correct wires accordingly to their color and not to bring them together. But he fails as the kid does what he wasn’t supposed to do. Despite that, Djarin does not lose his patience and then we see them drinking soup and thinking of what to do next.
In the chapter that follows, “The Jedi” we can appreciate one of the most beautiful moments from this season: Ahsoka tells Din to try asking Grogu to catch a stone using the Force. He replies that the kid never obeys him, if that could happen it would be the first time, Ahsoka insists that first time is the best one to remember and that he must try to connect with Grogu. And Din successfully does in a very fatherly like manner, instead of the stone, he shows Grogu the knob from his ship, the one the child adored so much. What also matters in this scene is the dialogue, Djarin shows once more his patience for teaching the little kid. He says: “Grogu, you want this? Come on, You can have it. Come on. You see that? Good! See? I knew you could do it. Very good”. The dialogue echoes what a proud parent would say to his kid after doing something successfully.
III. He cares
This quality is seen numerous times during the two seasons. In season one, he cares about Grogu, Kuiil, and even Greef Karga (would he had wanted to kill him he would have shot in a different place as he knew Karga had the beskar). Additionally, he is against murdering the guard that watches the prison of the Republic. And he also cares about Cara Dune’s fate. In season two, even if it might seem an insignificant action, he offers some blankets to Lady Frog so she can keep warm from the coldness. But more evident is the care he has for the kid.
In “The Heiress” when he and the child are thrown into the ocean and saved by the Nite Owls, Din can barely breath but all he says and implore is that they must save the child. This scene reminds us to the one we saw at the end of last season, when Djarin was almost passing away and his dying wish was asking Cara to take care of the kid and take him to the other mandalorians.
During numerous times, Din says: “wherever I go, he goes” when Grogu is going to be left somewhere else. He really makes sure that the kid will be safe and does not leave him alone to his luck. When he meets Cara and Greef again, in episode “The Siege”, they discover that Moff Gideon is still hunting the child, Mando runs away, leaving everything behind to take the kid with him and make sure he is safe. In the same episode where he meets his old friends, Grogu eats so many space cookies while Din is battling against the TIE fighters that the child vomits them, it is Din who cleans the child with his cloak. And while assisting the child, he is asked to stay in Navarro and he responds: “sorry. I have some onboard maintenance I got to take care of”, which of course is Grogu who is sitting next to him with his safety belt on.
In “The Jedi”, Ahsoka tells Din about the bound he has with Grogu and the risk that might carry if the kid takes the Jedi path. When Din and Grogu were supposed to say goodbye, Djarin decides to stay with Grogu and let him rest in his arms before taking him back to Ahsoka. After that, he makes sure the kids looks well before handling it to the jedi, who refuses to take him. This attitudes are classical representations of a mother, but here we see them in a masculine character representing a father.
Djarin behaves as a father the whole season. He does not only makes sure Grogu is safe, feeds him or teaches him, but he also cleans him and makes sure he looks well. These small details might sound meaningless, but they are so powerful, this dad has even to clean his child after he has thrown up because of eating so many blue space cookies. He is not just a father but a caring father, Djarin wants the best for Grogu, he says to him: “you are very special, kid. We’re going to find that place where you belong and they are going to take real good care of you“. With that sentence, the protagonist is aware of the differences he has with his dear child, and even though he loves him, he is conscious that he is not the right person to train him. Neverthless, those differences do nothing more than make the bond stronger.
In chapter “The Tragedy”, Grogu is in danger as while he is sitting on the Seeing Stone the dark troopers are approaching, Din has to help Boba Fett and Fennec Shand with the rest of the enemies. After leaving the kid, Mando promises him: “Ok, I’m going to protect you. Just stay there. I’ll be back soon”. Of course, the Empire arrives before Din can reach the stone and take Grogu.
In the chapter that follows, “The Believer”, our little green friend does not appear, but he is present in every single action our protagonist does. Even if it means risking his Mandalorian creed, his love for Grogu is what makes Din Djarin go on with the plan. A man risks everything to protect a little child. Mayfeld says: “I’m sorry, I have to abort” after noticing that the man who was inside the Imperial casino was his old supervisor, Valin Hess. And Mando says desperately: “No. I can’t. If we don’t get those coordinates, I’ll lose the kid forever”, and he decides to take off his helmet and let his face exposed to the world, against the creed, everything for saving the kid he loves so much.
In the last chapter of this season, we see Luke coming to take Grogu to train him. Djarin is doubtful whether he should allow de Jedi to take his foundling, Mando does not accept until Luke promises that he will take care of him with his life.
II. He prefers love over power
As a mandalorian, Din Djarin could have anything, in season one he could have remained as a bounty hunter instead of saving the kid. In season two, he could have joined Bo- Katan to restore Mandalore, but his priority was the child. Again, in both seasons, Grogu is everything for our protagonist, Djarin risks his own life and his ship for the little guy.
The producers of this amazing show are conscious of this characteristic the protagonist has. In season one, chapter 7, “The Reckoning”, Moff Gideon wants to capture the child and warns Djarin and his team by saying: “You have something I want. You might think you have some idea of what you are in possession of, but you do not. In a few moments it will be mine. It means more to me that you will ever know”. Now, in season two, in episode 15, “The Believer”, Djarin contacts Moff Gideon and sends him a hologram with almost the same words. But there is a big difference that you would notice if you pay attention to the voice the actors use, specifically the intonation, and also the sentence has some little variations that for someone who studies language are significant. Mando says: “Moff Gideon. You have something I want. You may think you have some idea what you are in possession of, but you do not. Soon, he will be back with me. He means more to me than you will ever know”. Crucial differences in the dialogue are that first, Djarin refers to Baby Yoda as a living being, not as a thing, he appreciates the creature. Secondly, Din says that Grogu will be back with him, not as his property but as a companion, by no means he is possessive. Here, once more, the creators of this show have shown us how important every single detail is.
In the last chapter of the season, “The Rescue”, we see Djarin choosing between power or love. If you have watched Rebels and Clone Wars series, you know how relevant the Darksaber is. But what our protagonist does? He chooses the baby twice. This action is significant, yes, a man choosing a baby over a weapon is brilliant, the producers allowed that to happen explicitly. First, Mando and his allies, Boba Fett, Fennec Shand and Cara go to search Bo-Katan so she could help them to defeat Moff Gideon. Bo- Katan accepts but puts a condition: “One more thing. Gideon has a weapon that once belonged to me. It is an ancient weapon that can cut anything. It cannot cut pure beskar. I will kill the Moff and retake what is rightfully mine. With the Darksaber restored to me, Mandalore will be finally within reach”. But Mando only cares about Grogu, replying: “Help me to rescue the child and you will have whatever you want. He is my only priority“. He literally doesn’t mind about the sword or the power. This desire is confirmed later on when he confronts Moff Gideon. After being asked to throw his blaster, Mando asks Moff Gideon to give him the kid. But Gideon tries luring Din to become impressed by the Darksaber, but our character does not care, the Moff says: “You know why she wants this? Because it brings power. Wherever who wields this sword has the right to claim the throne of Mandalore”. But the protagonist says: “you keep it. I just want the kid”. Djarin does not care about power or fame, he only wants his foundling, the baby to be with him, to be safe. As soon as Gideon says that Mando can take him. our hero moves to take him on his arms, but the Moff betrays his words.
I. He cries
I know we have seen Hobbits, wizards and men crying in The Lord of the Rings, we have seen Anakin Skywalker crying in The Revenge of the Sith after he slaughters everyone. But how many times we heard that men cannot cry? In traditional social conventions, we hear that a million times. Here, the protagonist also shows pain and cries, as all human beings are supposed to be able to. Din Djarin shows his emotions, even his pain, and this makes him a positive man.
In season two, at the end of chapter “The Jedi”, Din was supposed to say goodbye to Grogu as Ahsoka was going to train him. She asks Djarin where is his little friend, and he says: “in the ship. Wait, I’ll get him”. He asks Ahsoka to wait because he will bring his son to her, they both need a private goodbye, and Ahsoka being one of the most compassionated beings, knows this. When Djarin reaches the ship, finds Grogu sleeping in his little hammock and says: “wake up, buddy. It’s time to say goodbye”. But Grogu opens his eyes a little bit to welcome Din and continue sleeping for he feels comfortable. Now, notice this, Djarin instead of being indifferent, picks up Grogu on his arms, and the two take a nap. Literally like a father and son. It is obvious that Din does not want to leave Grogu and that it could be painful, Ahsoka knows this and rejects the child.
The last chapter of season two, especially the ending, explicitly demonstrates how much Din Djarin loves Grogu and gives us more evidence of the positive masculinity this character embodies. Luke Skywalker arrives to take Grogu and Din says: “He doesn’t want to go with you”. But Luke replies: “he wants your permission”. And Djarin looks confused and somewhat hurt, it was something unexpected, even though he was aware that the child had to go with the Jedi. The words that Din says to Grogu reflects more fatherly or motherly like way of thinking which enhance his positive masculinity: “Hey go on. That’s who you belong with. He’s one of your kind. I’ll see you again. I promise. All right, pal. It’s time to go. Don’t be afraid“. Djarin remembers what Ahsoka has told him about Grogu being afraid, and like a father, he tries to calm him. This moment gives us the scene that I had seen in some fan arts, here Din takes off his helmet and lets the child see and touch his face. While saying goodbye, we perceive a Mando showing a tearful eye and sad expression, which again, Pascal managed to do successfully. Din Djarin is not indifferent while separating from Grogu, for he cries and is touched.
So why I am writing this post? Because I believe that it is fundamental to notice the positive qualities some characters have. We cannot only ask to see better representation in a feminine but also masculine ones. Whether it is a protagonist or marginal, no matter its gender or sexual orientation, it is relevant to highlight the positive attributes that make them a good one, a role model in pop culture. We might find more heroines now than in the past, but, unfortunatelly, there are still many of garbage masculine characters that share some common characteristics like arrogance, indifference, and abusive, insensible and selfish personality. The next time you watch a series, a movie or read a book, I challenge you to reflect on the characters, if they portrait positive or negative qualities.
As someone who loves Star Wars, I truly believe the whole team involved in The Mandalorian are doing a brilliant job. The two streamed seasons transcend the entertaining area. The Mandalorian crew are giving us a series that touches our emotions and humanity, as George Lucas did.
✶⋆ Have you watched The Mandalorian? What do you think about the series? I would love to read your comments here or on Instagram.