Masks have always played a huge role in Star Wars. Darth Vader was defined by his ominous mask for years. Boba Fett’s hidden face made him an unlikely star. Kylo Ren... also had a mask. Then came The Mandalorian, which introduced Din Djarin and his complex “Way” of never showing his face to anyone.
But one type of mask that’s been hiding in plain sight all along could be the most important of all. We’re talking, of course, about the Tusken Raiders. Here’s why their devotion to masking-up matters to the future of Star Wars and The Mandalorian Season 3.
What Tusken Raiders look like and why they wear masks
An unmasked Tusken Raider has never been shown in Star Wars canon, but they have been depicted in various non-canon comics and video games (learn more about that here). The reason why Tuskens wear masks is also debated, but the most popular guess is that it’s to protect themselves from the harsh desert dunes of Tatooine. (Sort of like the Fremen in Dune.)
But the Tusken Raider’s devotion to their masks extends beyond practicality. It’s ingrained into their culture, much like Din Djarin’s “The Way” in The Mandalorian. Here’s a particularly fascinating passage from the ultimate source of Star Wars knowledge, Wookiepedia:
All Sand People wore mouth grilles and eye coverings to retain moisture and keep sand out. However, their need to protect their bodies from Tatooine's weather grew into a taboo against exposing any part of their bodies in public. Because of this, Tuskens almost never unmasked themselves, even in front of one another. They were forbidden to remove their clothing in front of others except at childbirth, on their wedding night, and at coming-of-age ceremonies.
(As proof, the article cites Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, a canon book published in 2015.)
So we’ve established why Tusken Raiders wear masks, as well as a surprising connection between these Tatooine tribes and Din Djarin’s cult-like upbringing, but what does this have to do with The Mandalorian? As usual, it all comes back to Boba Fett.
Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian Season 3
Mando may keep his mask on at all times for misguided reasons, but we doubt those reasons will change in The Mandalorian Season 3. Meanwhile, the end of Season 2 and the status of the Darksaber seems to suggest Season 3 will focus on a conflict between Djarin and Bo-Katan over who gets to lead their people as the one true Mandalore.
But maybe there’s a third competitor for the title. Boba Fett is just as much a Mandalorian as Din Djarin, and thanks to his time with the Tusken Raiders, he understands the importance of covering one’s face arguably more than anyone else in the Star Wars galaxy.
So can Boba bridge the gap between mainstream Mandalorians and Mando extremists like The Watch? If anyone can do it, it’s Fett.
The Book of Boba Fett is streaming now on Disney+.