‘The Mandalorian’ Explained: Who is Bo-Katan Kryze?

Katee Sackhoff reprising her character from ‘The Clone Wars’ in ‘The Mandalorian’ suggests a deep dive into ‘Star Wars’ history.
Bo Katan Kryze Clone Wars Screenshot
By  · Published on May 13th, 2020

The Mandalorian Explained is our ongoing series tracking Lucasfilm’s The Mandalorian.

News about the second season of The Mandalorian is dropping fast and loose. A few days ago, we got word that Temuera Morrison is on tap to resurrect Boba Fett (and maybe Captain Rex) in the Disney+ Star Wars series, and that info was already coming off the heels of Ray Park teasing his possible return as Darth Maul. Now, according to /Film, Katee Sackhoff will join them as Bo-Katan Kryze, the same character she voices in the animated series The Clone Wars.

As someone who desperately wants the rest of the world to pay attention to the exceptional storytelling contained within the Star Wars animated universe, this batch of creative casting brings great joy. The Mandalorian is on the verge of making both The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels essential viewing. While the movies rarely and barely acknowledge the existence of the cartoons, The Mandalorian is making a big play to incorporate the rich history of the animated tales as a means of boosting its mythology, which makes sense since The Clone Wars and Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni is one of the key creative players behind The Mandalorian.

What’s so interesting about Bo-Katan Kryze?

She is the sister of Satine, the Duchess of Mandalore, who was murdered by Maul when he took command of their planet during The Clone Wars. Never appreciating her sister’s pacifist teachings, Bo-Katan played a part in her sister’s death when she aligned with the Mandalorian terrorist cell known as Death Watch. They were responsible for leading a rebellion against Satine, which lefts space for Maul to rule.

However, Maul’s command did not sit well with Bo-Katan. A civil war erupted, and during the final four episodes of the final season of The Clone Wars, Bo-Katan partnered with former Jedi Ahsoka Tano to take down the Dark Side gangster. As we learn in Rebels, Bo-Katan was appointed regent of Mandalore after Maul’s expulsion. During Imperial rule, the Emperor pushed her out of power, placing his puppet Gar Saxxon in command.

Another civil war raged. Having reclaimed the Darksaber from Maul, Mandalorian Rebel Sabine Wren placed the ancient, mystical blade in Bo-Katan’s hand. With the weapon in her grip, Bo-Katan was able to wrangle majority support on Mandalore and reclaim the planet for her people.

The big question is: how did the Darksaber go from her possession at the end of Star Wars: Rebels and into the clutches of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) during the first season of The Mandalorian?

To tell that story, we need Katee Sackhoff.

Based on the casting information we’re getting, the second season of The Mandalorian will come with plenty of flashbacks. The Disney+ series takes place roughly six years after the events of Return of the Jedi and 29 years after the Siege of Mandalore, as seen in The Clone Wars. Having expired on the tip of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lightsaber in Rebels, Maul is long dead. Ahsoka Tano was in her teens when she first encountered Anakin Skywalker, so the casting of the 41-year-old Rosario Dawson tracks, but unless Sackhoff is playing Bo-Katan under old-age makeup, her Mandalorian warrior will be trapped in the past.

Again, that makes sense, since we need to see her Darksaber fall into the mitts of Moff Gideon. Considering the positive critical and fan response to the final season of The Clone Wars on Disney+, it only makes sense to tighten its bonds with The Mandalorian.

There is a reason that the final four episodes of The Clone Wars were connected to Mandalore. Franchise synchronicity. This world is the new Tatooine. All roads will lead back to it.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)