Michael J Manacci

While science fiction is a geekdom I hold close to my heart, my childhood could be summed up in two words: Star Wars. Seeing as how I am one of the many old-school fans who grew up acquainted with the old canon, which is currently referred to as “Legends, ” I have since come to admire the deep, fulfilling, and rich history of warriors that are perhaps tactically on par with the likes of The Jedi Order: Mandalorians. So naturally, when Disney announced the very first television series to take place in the universe I lovingly refer to as my “mental playground” was to highlight a Mandalorian culture, I was equally excited and anxious to await what the newly created series headed by Dave Filoni would bring us.     

As the first live-action Star Wars TV series, “The Mandalorian” does George Lucas’ vision total justice as we follow the adventures of our main character, Din Djaring. A war orphan of the Clone Wars, he was taken in by a family of sorts of Mandalorian traditionalists, known collectively as “The Children of The Watch.” In Legends, Mandalorians are not a race but a people; they are not a cult but loyal disciples; they are not a culture, but indeed a way of life. Truth be told, they are the very thing in life that truly is invincible in life: An idea. As it is a traditional way for Mandalorians to make a living, Din makes his living snuffing scum and villainy across through bounty hunting. Granted, it’s a dangerous game, but survival is the game’s name in a Post-imperial galaxy with a mediocre Republic clinging to whatever power it can. While out on what seemed like an ordinary job for his profession, Din’s life would be forever changed by his projected target for elimination: a former Jedi Youngling named Grogu.     

Throughout the show’s current three seasons, the dynamic duo of Din and Grogu run into a menagerie of characters as they travel the known universe. What seems even more interesting is the people they run into become quite close to our heroes as someone or some groups are added to their “extended family,” including the likes of Galactic Civil War veterans, other cliques of Mandalorians, even the likes of Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker.    

Given that Mandalorians are not a people to not give regard to traditional beliefs like classical heraldry, they appear to be primarily a conclave of people and alien races from their own individual species and cultures, to which both are added to the Mandalorian cultural mosaic. Because of the intense diversity in their past, shortcomings, and mistakes, all Mandalorians fully support one another, including Din and Grogu, more so as they find their way toward redemption and becoming true Mandalorians. Amazingly, it is through this strong sense of belonging and unity that Mandalorians can overthrow the imperial remnant forces occupying their homeworld and rebirth their culture upon returning to the planet of Mandalore. At long last, Din Djaring has found what he was seeking: a family far more significant than any bloodline could give a man and his son by adoption, Grogu.     

While the various faiths of the world have their own ways of handling the fatherless. It has been experience that the followers of Jesus of Nazareth are fully committed to improving the lives of the orphans around the globe. Please note not every orphan is the stereotypical child.  Their blood relatives have abandoned some. Some departed from their families voluntarily due to dysfunction. Still, some are elderly and outlived all their friends and family. Within the flock of the good shepherd, the concepts of nationality, social class, materialism, race, and denomination become irrelevant, for we are all one in Christ.     You see, dear reader, God judges no one by the standards of mortal men. Instead, it’s who you are on the inside, not who your parents are and how wealthy they are. The prophet Isaiah says in chapter forty-three, verse one:    

“But now, This is what the Lord says, He who is your creator, o Jacob and he who formed you, O Israel, Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, You are mine!”     

Isaiah 43:1

Jesus echoes this teaching in Matthew 12:46-50:     

“While he was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to him.” Someone said to him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak to you.” But, Jesus replied to the one who was telling him and said, “Who is my Mother, and who are my brothers?” And extending his hands towards his disciples, he said, “Behold! My mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, sister, and mother.”      

Matthew 12:46-50

Whatever trauma, abuse, or terrible things have come between you and those you happen to share genetics with, it doesn’t matter anymore when you repent and accept Jesus of Nazareth as your Lord and Savior. Then, you will belong to a family of over 1.6 Billion. When we are called home to our eternal glory, it will be the mother of all family reunions!