This article contains spoilers for The Mandalorian.
Season two of hit Disney+ Star Wars show The Mandalorian has got off to a fantastic start, delivering plenty of surprises so far on the journey.
Including the appearance of none other than fan favourite character Bo-Katan Kryze, brought to life in live-action by actor Katee Sackhoff, who also voiced her in animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
But who is Bo-Katan Kryze? Is she a Mandalorian? What is her connection to the Darksaber? And what could she mean for the show?
Let’s take a deep dive into it…
Where Is Bo-Katan Kryze From?
One of the most important figures in Mandalorian culture and history, Bo-Katan is a human who was born on the planet of Mandalore (the home-world of the Mandalorians) into the House Of Kryze, a family and political faction very active in Mandalorian society.
Her older sister, Duchess Satine Kryze, ruled Mandalore and the New Mandalorians, but Bo-Katan disagreed with her sibling’s pacifist views, instead believing that their people should embrace their martial past and become soldiers.
These beliefs would lead Bo-Katan into joining the Mandalorian terrorist group known as the Death Watch, who sought to revive their warring heritage.
Who Are The Death Watch?
The survivors of the Mandalorian Civil War who were exiled to Mandalore’s moon Concordia formed a group known as Death Watch, which was led in secret by Concordia’s governor Pre Vizsla.
During these early days their aims were simple: overthrow the pacifist government of Mandalore (led by Satine Kryze), and restore of the warrior ways of the Mandalorian people.
Within this group, Bo-Katan Kryze swiftly ascended in the ranks serving as a faithful lieutenant to Pre Vizsla, also leading an elite group of soldiers called the Nite Owls.
The group soon became exiled from the Mandalore system, then setting up base in the Outer Rim on a planet called Carlac.
With an initial distrust of the Republic, they joined forces with Sith Lord Count Dooku, who then betrayed the group after manipulating them.
Now also wary of both the Jedi and the Sith, Death Watch then formed a union with none other than Darth Maul, who was seeking revenge against Obi-Wan Kenobi, something the group was also doing as he was partly responsible for their exile from Mandalore.
Bo-Katan opposed this alliance with Maul, but she was overruled by both Vizsla and fellow members of Death Watch.
Death Watch’s plan with Maul was simple, overthrow Satine’s government and liberate the people of Mandalore, and they quickly got to work, forming an army called the Shadow Collective which helped them achieve this aim.
When Maul declared himself both the new ruler of Death Watch and of Mandalore though Bo-Katan was dissatisfied, leading her group the Nite Owls in a counter-insurgency.
Naturally these events led to a civil war on Mandalore between the various rival factions, a brutal conflict which resulted in the devastating death of Satine, and Bo-Katan rescuing Obi-Wan from Maul’s captivity, forging a new alliance with the Jedi.
What Was The Siege Of Mandalore?
With Maul still in control of Mandalore, Bo-Katan asked Obi-Wan to inform the Galactic Republic about their situation, hoping that they would come to the planet’s aid.
Which they eventually did in the Siege Of Mandalore, a battle which saw Maul captured, the planet freed, and Bo-Katan become appointed Regent Of Mandalore.
However, the rise of the Empire quickly rendered this victory meaningless as they took control of Mandalore, occupying the planet.
Did She Work For The Empire?
Naturally the Imperial occupation led to more violence on Mandalore, with another civil war breaking out.
It also had consequences for Bo-Katan too, who refused to do the Empire’s bidding and was forced to abdicate by Gar Saxon, a former Shadow Collective super-commando and member of the Saxon Clan.
He then became Mandalore’s Governor, serving under the Empire, whilst Bo-Katan along with others went into hiding.
Who Are Her Allies?
Let’s fast forward to two decades later, which saw Bo-Katan Kryze return to our screens in animated show Star Wars: Rebels, as she forged an alliance with the Mandalorian Clan Wren who resisted the Empire.
From this clan, Ursa Wren killed Governor Saxon leading to yet another civil war breaking out on Mandalore.
Bo-Katan played an important role in the Clan Wren’s fight against Imperial forces, helping them successfully destroy a superweapon known as the Duchess.
During this time she worked closely alongside Ursa Wren and her daughter Sabine Wren, also fighting next to Jedi Ezra Bridger.
It is also important to note that Bo-Katan also aligned herself with former Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano, seeking her help for the earlier fight against Maul.
These two have clearly remained allies as Bo-Katan name drops Ahsoka in her appearance in The Mandalorian (more on this later).
What Is The Great Purge?
Impressed by Bo-Katan, Sabine Wren chose the warrior to be leader of the ongoing rebellion against the Empire, rallying the support of Bo’s Nite Owls and the Mandalorians.
The Imperial forces responded in full force though, with the battle becoming known as the Great Purge, which resulted in not only the deaths of most of the Mandalorian people, but also the Empire gathering up their beskar, which is of course the metal used to make the Mandalorian armour.
Surviving Mandalorians splintered into separate groups and scattered themselves across the galaxy, being forced underground, including Bo-Katan herself.
What Is Bo-Katan Kryze’s Connection To The Darksaber?
It was during the Great Purge that Bo-Katan lost possession of the Darksaber, an ancient and unique weapon which was made by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian ever inducted into the Jedi Order.
Thus the unique lightsaber is seen as a unifying symbol in Mandalorian culture, with Sabine Wren passing it on to Bo-Katan Kryze when she chose her to be leader of the rebellion.
As a consequence of the Great Purge, the weapon fell into the hands of the villainous Imperial officer Moff Gideon, played by Giancarlo Esposito in show The Mandalorian.
What Is Her Role In The Mandalorian?
The next time we meet Bo-Katan (this time in live-action) is in episode three of season two of The Mandalorian, with the chapter being titled The Heiress.
On the moon of Trask, Bo-Katan and fellow Mandalorian fighters Koska Reeves and Axe Woves (also former members of Bo-Katan’s Nite Owls) rescue Din Djarin and The Child from the Quarren Captain.
And here is where it gets really interesting. Bo-Katan tells The Mandalorian who she is, informing him that she is the last of her line, then removing her helmet much to the disgust of Din Djarin who believes that she is breaking the Mandalorian code – that no living being shall ever see a Mandalorian’s face.
It quickly becomes clear that following the Great Purge the Mandalorian culture has become fragmented, with Bo-Katan leading one group and Mando being a member of another – titled Children Of The Watch.
This splinter cell is essentially a cult of religious Mandalorian zealots, who broke away from society and look to reestablish the ancient ways of Mandalore, thus explaining why he refuses to remove his helmet.
Rather upset Din Djarin blasts off away from Bo-Katan, Koska and Axe, but the trio catch up with him, with Bo-Katan recruiting Mando’s help for a heist job on Trask, offering information about the location of the Jedi in return.
After the success of the mission, Bo-Katan tells Din Djarin (who is looking to reunite The Child with his people) where he can find Ahsoka Tano, a former Jedi who she has clearly remained allied with over the years.
Bo-Katan also states her wish to reclaim the Darksaber and leadership of Mandalore, with the belief that the weapon will help her unify the fractured people.
We reckon this won’t be the last we see of Bo-Katan then in the show, especially since Moff Gideon (who is in possession of the lightsaber) is looking to hunt down The Mandalorian and The Child.
Din Djarin and Bo-Katan’s paths then will surely cross again in the future. And if she reclaims the Darksaber, it will be interesting to see the effect this has on the Mandalorian people, including Mando himself as clearly the two have very different views on what is the way.