In the hidden culvert that is the last stronghold of the Mandalorian warriors, the Armorer’s voice is law. As the ranking member of the clan featured on Disney+’s The Mandalorian and forger of some of the galaxy’s best armor, she helps the Mandalorian build the equipment he needs to complete his bounties and protect the Child.
Introduced especially for the Star Wars live-action series in season one, the Armorer remains a bit of a mystery to fans who might only really know her as “the female Mandalorian.” Here’s what we know about the Armorer so far:
Who is the Armorer?
Many characters in The Mandalorian go by titles instead of names. The main character of The Mandalorian is named Din Djarin, but he’s mostly referred to as “the Mandalorian” because his name doesn’t really matter to the story. This is an intentional choice for a show the creators hoped would feel like the Westerns and legends that inspired George Lucas in the 1970s. This is why many of the characters fit the archetypes of an alien old west combined with classic action figures from a Star Wars toy box.
The Armorer doesn’t have a name, just her title, and the gear and weapons to match it. With her imposing appearance, it’s hard to imagine her in any role except the heavy-hitter. Besides being a strong fighter who kills all the stormtroopers sent after her, her other defining trait is her wisdom. She reminds the other Mandalorians of the code dictating their secrecy and religious beliefs, leading them in the chant of “This is the way.” Like the other Mandalorians in the era when the show takes place, she has a devout aversion to removing her helmet in front of others.
She also joins the ranks of many other Mandalorian women in the Star Wars saga: Rebellion weapons expert and teen artist Sabine Wren; the sisters Satine and Bo-Katan Kryze, who led opposing Mandalorian factions during the Clone Wars; Maul’s cruel lieutenant Rook Kast; and others.
The Armorer and Beskar
The crafting of armor is a key aspect of Mandalorian culture. In fact, the distinctive visor, plated armor, and jetpack of the Mandalorians have been part of the Star Wars mythos since Boba Fett first appeared in the Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978.
The alloy used to create this armor is called beskar, which is also known as “Mandalorian steel.” It’s a valuable material since it can even absorb hits from a lightsaber or a direct blaster shot. As we learn on the show, the Empire had been harvesting beskar from Mandalore, the Mandalorian home planet, for years following a Great Purge that left the few survivors scattered.
Beskar armor is rare since only a few chosen Mandalorians know how to make it. As one of them, the Armorer is the keeper of an ancient tradition in a galaxy that has thrown one challenge after another at the Mandalorians.
The Armorer and the Expanded Universe
Nothing else is known about the Mandalorian armorer outside of her appearances in the television series so far. Fortunately, the Star Wars Expanded Universe will start to explore this era further. A new novel by Adam Christoper is set to tie into The Mandalorian is scheduled for December 2020. But until anything more is revealed there, the show is mostly self-contained.
To zoom out into the wider universe more speculatively, The Mandalorian is set after the end of the Galactic Civil War. The Armorer’s authority means she appears to be older than Din Djarin. He was a child during the Clone Wars, so it’s possible she was a teen or an adult when the Republic fell and the Siege of Mandalore rocked her home planet.
The horns on her helmet suggest a connection to The Clone Wars that hasn’t been confirmed. In that animated series, Mandalorians loyal to the former Sith Lord Darth Maul wore horns like this on their helmets. Look at Imperial loyalist Gar Saxon from The Clone Wars and the comics. The Mandalorians loyal to Maul wanted to violently wrest their planet away from its pacifist government. They were defeated and scattered when Jedi Ahsoka Tano captured Maul and spearheaded the Republic campaign on Mandalore, which inevitably put the planet under Imperial control after Order 66.
The Armorer’s current status as the matriarch of a hidden clan doesn’t mean it’s impossible that she was a Mauldalorian, but it’s also not a confirmation. It’s also possible she might be a Zabrak, the same alien species as Maul, with the helmet fitting over her natural horns.
Who Plays the Armorer?
The Armorer is portrayed by Emily Swallow, with Lauren Mary Kim as stunt performer. Swallow is best known as Amara on Supernatural. Meanwhile, Kim now has two well-known Star Wars characters on her resume. She also performed motion capture stunt work for Ahsoka Tano in her duel against Maul in The Clone Wars.