- Qui Gon Jinn Lightsaber Guide – “Your Focus Determines Your Reality” - January 8, 2023
- Darth Tenebrous Guide: Mathematical Genius Meets Sith Sorcery - January 3, 2023
- Darth Caedus Guide – for the Greater Good - December 24, 2022
Star Wars has many species, civilizations, and cultures for fans to explore. There are hundreds of planets just on the Outer Rim of the galaxy, and each one has its own unique feel. But of all the different races, species, and anatomies throughout the expansive Star Wars universe, few sentient beings have a CV as colorful and blood-soaked as the Mandalorians.
Mandalorians are pretty badass, aren’t they? They’re like Space Spartans. And the one thing that has given them a sizeable advantage over their competition for generations is their prized and precious beskar.
Beskar is a genuinely Mandalorian resource, no matter how many other cultures look on enviously and pillage what they can. Mandalorians and beskar go together like birds and feathers, like banthas and fur.
And today, I’ll detail exactly what beskar is, where it comes from, and why it’s such a precious resource throughout Star Wars.
Key Info Up Front
Ready for a Star Wars nutshell of information?
Beskar is a kind of metal that is mined exclusively on Mandalorian-owned planets. It is among the strongest substances in the known universe, able to withstand blaster fire, lightsabers, rockets, fire, radiation, and extremely sharp teeth.
What is Beskar and Where Does it Come From?
Beskar is a rare metal primarily mined on the Mandalorian moon of Concordia but is also found in smaller deposits on other Mandalorian-controlled planets. Beskar, in its purest form, undiluted, is one of the strongest materials ever to exist. Since it is so rare, however, it is often diluted to increase its application and size. Even after dilution, beskar alloy is resistant to blaster fire, lightsaber attacks, explosions, and plenty of other deadly weapons. But pure beskar, almost unheard of, could protect its wearer from a Krayt Dragon, an army of lightsaber-wielding Jedi, lava, and probably a Death Star laser.
Okay, not the Death Star laser, but hopefully you get my point.
Beskar and Mandalore
As I aptly named them above, Mandalorians are like Space Spartans. Spartans were a caste of militarily-focused people who lived in Greece and were known for being warriors first. If you’re born in Sparta and want to be a doctor? Well, you need to be a warrior doctor. Want to be a poet? You’ll have to be a warrior first, so you’ll be a warrior poet.
And Mandalorians are precisely the same. They are warriors first, then everything else second. This makes even the average Mandalorian proficient in space martial arts and an ace shot with most blasters. But what truly gives Mandalorians the edge in combat, what allows them to wage war against the entire galaxy and hold their own, is their beskar.
Imagine if Spartans had body armor. And kevlar shields and riot helmets. They wouldn’t have many enemies.
That’s essentially what a Mandalorian is. A Space Spartan with invincible body armor.
Beskar has been around for a long time. In Star Wars legends, beskar was simply called Mandalorian Steel and was much more common. It was also utilized more in weaponry, not just defenses. In the current Star Wars canon, beskar is highly uncommon to come across in the galaxy and is almost always worn by a Mandalorian.
Or a thief.
In the current canon, beskar is mined on Mandalore’s moon, Concordia. Mandalorians mined the moon so much, there is little natural vegetation left. And since their homeworld has been bombed and razed so many times, the Mandalorians aren’t left with much nature to enjoy.
There aren’t many things that can bring a Mandalorian down once they’re equipped with pure beskar armor. If it’s diluted, you can shoot them with an enormous laser, snipe them in their armor’s weakspot, or crush them with extreme machinery. If it’s pure beskar, you’ve got a problem.
One of the only things that can stand up against beskar is, well, beskar. In Star Wars legends, beskar weapons were much more common since Mandalorians weren’t seen as so rare or awe-inspiring. They were badasses, make no mistake, but they weren’t mythical. So taking them out was easier; just find a beskar weapon. There are tons.
But in the current Star Wars canon, a beskar weapon is even rarer than beskar armor. Several of the Mandalorian clans agreed that making beskar weapons was taboo. They forbade it within their clans in an attempt to route out any clan that was making a beskar weapon.
And it worked. Few beskar weapons exist now. And since few Mandalorians exist, there are even fewer chances of beskar weapons being forged.
There are other substances in the universe equal if not stronger than beskar, however, and if one were to use a weapon made of those against beskar, they would be victorious. Cortosis crystals, phrik, and even ancient lightsabers with abnormally powerful kyber crystals rank as high as beskar. Creating a railgun that fires cortosis spikes might be an interesting invention. And phrik was commonly used for electrostaffs, which could be a weapon to use against Mandalorians.
Beskar and the Empire
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of an Imperial officer trying to figure out how to handle the Mandalorian problem. We have approaching limitless resources as the Empire, but Mandalorians have approaching invincible armor. How do we, the Empire, conquer people who historically cannot be conquered?
From the inside, of course.
Mandalorians are familiar with infighting. When they’re united, they are a force to be reckoned with. But when even one clan is against the will of Mandalore, the entire thing gets far less formidable.
The Empire saw Mandalorians as a threat to their power and sought to subdue them preemptively. One less thing to worry about as they expanded their reach across the galaxy.
When the Republic became the Empire, it already had political control over Mandalore. They merely changed the logo on some of their banners and that was it. But the Mandalorians suddenly realized they were subjugated individuals and immediately fought back. The Empire used Mandalore as an example to show other planets what happens when you mount an offensive against the Empire.
The Great Purge of Mandalore was a complete wipe of the planet. It was a feat the Empire only successfully completed on a handful of planets. Jedha, Ilum, and now Mandalore. They would send a force of soldiers down to the planet, strike at critical targets, then bombard heedlessly across the planet’s surface. The Empire razed Mandalore to the ground.
In the aftermath, the Empire viewed beskar as theirs and went about collecting or commandeering everything they could. When the Empire fell, Imperial Remnants picked up where they left off. Though the Imperial Remnants weren’t mining beskar, they still had plenty to work with, not to mention an abundance of credits to make purchases with.
Mandalorians see beskar as their ancestral right. And the Empire sees it as theirs by conquer. Both list obtaining as much beskar as possible as high on their priority list.
Crushgaunts were large combat gloves with beskar woven into their fabric. They were considered a power glove since they also enhanced the grip strength of the wearer. They were used before the Clone Wars and would make someone strong enough to break duracrete, crush durasteel, and snap bones in two.
The Darksaber was an early version of the portable lightsaber made by the first Mandalorian to join the Jedi Order, Tarre Vizsla. I could do a whole article about the Darksaber, but for now all you need to know is that the entire handle is made of beskar. The buttons, the emitter, and the crystal housing unit-all beskar.
No one knows where the beskar spear came from, but we can guess the Empire forged it. How they learned to forge and manipulate beskar, we’ll never know. But they don’t seem exceptionally skilled at it since all they made was a pointy stick. The spear was initially wielded by Morgan Elsbeth but was taken and given the Din Djarin by Ahsoka Tano. Din later melted the spear down when he learned it could be used against the Mandalorians.
The beskad was a sword that looked suspiciously like a Spartan sword design. It’s single-edged, one-handed, and entirely beskar. It was used in traditional duels and hand-to-hand combat between Mandalorians during the High Republic era.
The kal was a dagger held in the offhand during beskad duels. Mandalorians used these in unison with the beskad. It was shorter and used mainly for the killing stab.
The munit’kad halberd is a bit confusing. It used to be the weapon used by Mandalore himself a thousand years before the battle of Yavin. But it’s also just a prop in the background of most Star Wars movies (Solo, VII, VII, IX) and was also used by Ap’lek, a Knight of Ren. It’s hard to imagine the personal weapon of Mandalore–the ruler, not the planet–would end up a prop in the background of other people’s stories, but it’s possible. The halberd head is made of pure beskar and vibrates at supersonic speeds. So it’s not just a beskar halberd. It’s also a vibroblade. A vibroblade beskar halberd.
During the height of the Empire, Mandalorians were a chronic problem. They were better-trained, better-equipped rebels with more hatred for the Empire. Imperials were scrambling for a way to counteract the invincible armor of Mandalorians since stealing and forging beskar themselves seemed off the table.
The Empire thought up a test. They asked every graduating cadet of the Imperial Academy on various worlds to think of the Mandalorian problem- particularly the beskar problem- and pose a theoretical solution. Kind of what Harvard and MIT do with cultural and environmental issues around the world. There’s no wrong answer. The professors want to see how you think of the problem and where your mind goes in search of a solution.
The Empire gave this problem to their cadets, and somehow they were surprised when the perfect answer came from a Mandalorian herself. Sabine of House Wren gave a theoretical solution to the problem and devised the Arc Pulse Generator, which she affectionately named “Duchess.” Duchess would produce high amounts of concentrated electricity that would bypass the beskar armor and vaporize the Mandalorian inside.
She thought it was just a thought-provoking question. But later discovered, to her horror, that the Empire had built her Duchess and was using it against her people. The Arc Pulse Generator was a great weapon to use against Mandalorians. Best of all, it left the beskar armor untouched–aside from some cremation ash–so the Empire could scavenge as much as they wanted. The Duchess is the most effective weapon against beskar-clad Mandalorians.
Question: Is Boba Fett’s armor Beskar?
Answer: It is now. Boba Fett’s armor used to be classified as durasteel, and you can look it up in most Star Wars Encyclopedia books. But recently, after seeing the success of the Mandalorian and not wanting to disrespect the original gangster, they retconned Boba Fett’s armor to be beskar. They haven’t detailed if it’s pure beskar but seeing as it’s colorful and full of scars, it probably isn’t.
Question: What non-Mandalorians wear Beskar?
Answer: Enfys Nest, Ahsoka Tano, and Lourna Dee all wore beskar armor at one point in their adventures. All badass women. Enfys Nest has beskar gauntlets, and Lourna Dee wore a full suit and hid her lekku tails to pretend she was a Mandalorian. And of course, we can hope that Grogu wears a suit of beskar chainmail soon enough.
Question: Why can’t the Empire forge Beskar?
Answer: I’d be willing to bet they can, they just aren’t using it for everyday items. Throughout the Mandalorian show, we see beskar steel plates with the Imperial insignia melted into them, implying that Empire at least can mark their initials in beskar. They might not be able to forge armor, but they can make a spear and they can make their mark.
Forging beskar requires not just heat but a mixture of electricity as well. One also needs a beskar gravity hammer and beskar tongs to handle the molten material, and I’m not sure the Empire has any of those. The forging of beskar is one of the most important secrets Mandalorians guards. It’s a tradition that is written nowhere. It’s passed down verbally from one armorer to the next.
Beskar dates back thousands of years before the battle of Yavin, and even back then, it made Mandalorians badasses. Walking around KOTORs universe with beskar is like having a cheat code active.
While Mandalorians bring martial prowess, deadly skill, and battlefield experience to their fights, it’s the beskar-plated armor that ensures their victory more often than not. That beskar, along with phrik, kyber and cortosis crystals, is one of the most precious resources in the galaxy.
Check out these related Star Wars articles for more knowledge on the galaxy far, far away