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A handful of creatures in Star Wars are mentioned but never shown. Womprats and others are mentioned in one-liners by various characters, but because we as the viewer don’t know what the animal looks like, whatever joke the writers attempted loses some of its ‘oomph.’ One creature that has only been mentioned in hushed tones and folk tales comes from Mandalore, the Mythosaur, one of the view species of fauna that inhabited the planet.
In addition to being one of the more giant creatures in the Star Wars galaxy, the Mythosaur is one of the symbolic lynchpins of Mandalorian culture. After conquering its native planet, the Mythosaur skull became a symbol of Mandalore and the Mandalorian people. The Mythosaur is not in any mainline Star Wars media thus far, despite its significant in-universe influence on Mandalorian culture. However, the upcoming season of The Mandalorian may feature an appearance of the legendary creature on the eponymous character’s cultural homeworld, providing him with a challenge to overcome and a means of raising the Mandalorians up from the sewers and back into galactic legend.
Bottom Line Up Front
The main thing to keep in mind about the Mythosaur is its sheer size-these things were big. I’m not talking Jabba’s Rancor big, either. Some Legends storylines described four-legged bone-armored reptiles the size of a small city. The fact of its size puts the strength of the Mandalorian people into perspective: the Mythosaurs were the dominant species of their planet, utterly unopposed by any other native species. And then a group of insane warrior-zealots wiped them ALL out.
The proto-Mandalorians pitted their new warriors against these giant creatures as a means of proving themselves: to tame one was to prove a Mandalorian’s skill with animals, to kill one was to cement their prowess as a warrior. After their extinction, they became invariably linked with the Mandalorian leadership and were a proud symbol of their culture. For the galaxy at the time of The Mandalorian, Mythosaurs only exist in folklore and prophecies of Mandalorians in exile. However, there are certain (subtle) narrative signs that one may have skirted out an existence in the mines beneath Mandalore.
The New Hunters
The beginnings of Mandalorian society are sparse, as far as the official Canon is concerned. Much of the origins mentioned are broad and vague: the Mandalorians came and conquered. They “rode the great Mythosaur,” Kuiil states in The Mandalorian’s pilot. Yet the Armorer, in The Book of Boba Fett, remarks that the Mythosaur has passed into myth and legend. One such legend foretold that the Mythosaur’s return would herald a new age of Mandalore, but the Star Wars media so far has not laid out much of Mandalore’s history at its foundation. Legends have plenty of material, which may be labeled as Canon in later iterations.
The Taung’s Wild Hunt
In Legends’ storylines, the first Mandalorians originated from the planet of Coruscant. They were the Taung, a humanoid subspecies which fought a bloody war against another subspecies called the Shell. In-universe historians have speculated that the Shell were real humans, but that’s beside the point. The Taung fought, lost, and fled the war on their homeworld and hid on a moon in the Outer Rim.
The Taung was already a proud warrior race, so cowering in exile was never going to last long. Soon enough, a Taung warrior who would come to be known as Mandalore the First led his people to conquer the world that would bear his name. He set the stage for the warrior culture, who renamed themselves Mandalorians (meaning the “Children of Mandalore), and began a civilization destined for galactic infamy.
In the process of securing their homeworld (mass species genocide), the Mandalorians tamed and (in most cases) ruthlessly hunted the native Mythosaurs. The skull of the extinct Mythosaur became one of the central symbols in Mandalorian iconography for generations after Mandalore the First. The Mythosaur’s skull was used as the emblem for the Neo-Crusaders, Galactic Republic-era Mandalorians, and as the logo for a Mandalorian shipbuilding company.
Boba Fett’s (and therefore Jango Fett’s) bore that same symbol in movies and shows, without even knowing what it looks like outside concept art. One Legends comic does present a scenario where an artisan comes close to recreating the Mythosaurs appearance, somewhat similar to how Jurassic Park “accurately” recreated how dinosaurs looked pre-extinction.
Welcome to Mythosaur Park
I swear I’m not kidding- a Star Wars Legends story sees a Mandalorian– a member of a historically stern warrior race, create a Jurassic Park-esque theme park to attract thrill-seeking tourists after the Rise of the Galactic Empire. The theme park’s authenticity, specifically the Mythosaur replicas, was questioned and it was ultimately never opened. The newly dubbed “City of Bone” was sold to the Imperial garrison on Mandalore soon after it became defunct.
Years into the Empire’s reign, it became the headquarters of an Imperial Slaver called the Suprema for a time before its destruction at the hands of the new Mandalorian Protectors, a fundamentalist sect within the Legends storylines. The Mythosaur in the park was gargantuan, but such a massive skeleton received criticism from other Mandalorians for not being big enough. If nothing else is consistent across canons, the Mythosaur’s massive size certainly is.
The Mythosaur in Canon
Besides two mentions in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, the Mythosaur has been completely absent from all canon Star Wars material. Its mention in the latter of the two series may hint at how the Mythosaur could return. The Armorer’s comment implies that we are seeing the resurgence of the Mandalorians as a force to be reckoned with in the post-Empire galaxy unfold, and the prophecy of the Mythosaur’s return would herald a new age of power and conquest.
So what does this mean in the story? What does this mean for our favorite Mandalorian? Narrative theories that inspired the original Star Wars may provide an answer. Following Joseph Campbell’s monomyth formula, The Book of Boba Fett places Din Djarin relatively low in his personal development. He has been cast out of the Mandalorian covert for removing his helmet and has yet to master the Darksaber, a Mandalorian lightsaber that bequeaths the leadership of Mandalore unto its bearer. The Armorer states that he must venture into the mines deep within their ruined homeworld and find his absolution there to atone.
Perhaps this implies that Din Djarin will face his “dragon” in the form of the Mythosaur. “Facing the dragon” is an archetypal term, interchangeable with “facing your demons” or, in this case, atoning. To the Children of the Watch, Din Djarin has broken the Creed and can no longer be considered a Mandalorian. Now fans of the show know by now that Din Djarin isn’t the kind of Darksaber-wielder to grab leadership without being a true “Mandalorian” (a la Darth Maul). Naturally, we can expect Din Djarin to come out on top by either a) killing the Mythosaur or b) taming and riding the Mythosaur, and my money is on B.
Not only that, but a battle with the Mythosaur at the point Din Djarin currently find himself would provide an opportunity for massive personal growth. Don’t forget, we last left the Mandalorian struggling to master the Darksaber. As the Armorer said, he was fighting the Darksaber instead of his opponent. His mind was rattled and crowded with his identity struggle and thoughts of Grogu. Entering those mines to atone for breaking his Creed, to become a “Mandalorian” again, could mean that he faces the Mandalorian’s cultural icon. Going further, conquering the Mythosaur as the ancient Mandalorians did, while using another cultural symbol of Mandalorian leadership; this would cement Din Djarin as the true leader of the Mandalorian peoples. (Talk about a comeback story)
Of course, dear reader, I could be wrong in my assumption. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for The Mandalorian to throw a curve ball at us and get more symbolic with its Mythosaur-related prophecies. The Mythosaur could be wholly extinct, and Din Djarin would find nothing but old bones and perhaps a ruined theme park (wouldn’t that be hilarious). Taking that direction could mean that the “Mythosaur’s” return symbolizes the return of the Mandalorians to their homeworld and of their resurgence as a galactic power, or rather the return of a specific Mandalorian.
Much like many of the more obscure/rare things in Star Wars lore these days, the breadth and depth of details vary between Legends and Canon. Much like Mandalorian culture itself, the Mythosaur is one such subject, having rich mythology and symbolic history in Legends but having less, comparatively, mentioned detail within the accepted Canon. It may turn out that the Star Wars powers that be will reaffirm Legends lore about the creature and its connection to Mandalorian society. Theories surrounding the usage of this creature present more theories surrounding Din Djarin’s personal character development, and how he may rise to the status of Mandalore. Nevertheless, the prospect of seeing this massive creature onscreen will surely be one of the highlights of the upcoming third season of The Mandalorian.
Question: What does the symbol on Boba Fett’s armor mean?
Answer: That animal-esque symbol is the Mythosaur skull. Mandalorians have adorned their weapons and armor with images of their homeworld’s now-extinct apex predator’s skull for generations.
Question: Why did the Mandalorians hunt Mythosaurs?
Answer: The Mythosaurs were hunted as a test for new warriors in Mandalorian clans. To tame a Mythosaur was to prove your prowess as a beast-tamer, of sorts. To best a Mythosaur in combat and kill it, meant to prove one’s warrior prowess and the Mandalorian will to conquer.
Question: Did the Mandalorians ride Mythosaurs?
Answer: Yes! The Mandalorians tamed and rode the great Mythosaur of Mandalore-past, before brutally hunting them into extinction, that is.
There you have it! Now you know just a little more about one of Star Wars‘ more symbolic species. Be sure to check out our other articles about Mandalorian characters and culture. Also, be sure to check out The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Star Wars 1977, the comic book that introduced the Mythosaur on Disney+ and wherever vintage comic books are available!
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