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Five Underrated Mandalorians and Concept Designs for Cosplay

Because some characters and designs are just underrated.

By Jenna DeedyPublished about a month ago 9 min read
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Within the vast realm of Star Wars, the Mandalorians hold a prominent position in the ranks of popular cosplay subjects. For over a decade, as a dedicated cosplayer, I have experienced great excitement upon encountering novel characters and character designs at conventions attended with my sister and friends. These endeavors exemplify the beauty of the art form, not only in bringing characters to life through the eyes of talented artists, but also in sparking immense joy among children and families who cherish the opportunity to see their beloved characters materialize. Moreover, witnessing the creative interpretations and personal touches that cosplayers infuse into their designs is a captivating spectacle on social media. Among the most frequently portrayed characters, I have observed Bo-Katan Kryze, Sabine Wren, Padme Amidala, Ahsoka Tano, Hera Syndulla, and Duchess Satine Kryze. These portrayals serve as a testament to the dedication and artistry of the individuals who bring these characters to life.

However, when discussing Star Wars character cosplays, a notable group that stands out is the Mandalorians. Beyond their captivating presence within the Star Wars universe as formidable space-bound warriors, the customizable nature of their armor allows cosplayers the freedom to express their creativity through colors and imagery. Moreover, individuals who choose to create "canon" Mandalorians can seek approval from various Star Wars costuming groups, such as the 501st Legion, The Mandalorian Mercs, the Rebel Legion, and the Mandalorian Protectors.

Despite the popularity of certain Mandalorian characters in cosplay, several lesser-known Mandalorians and concept designs deserve greater recognition within the community. These underappreciated representations offer unique opportunities for cosplayers to explore and showcase their talents.

5. Gar Saxon’s “Imperial Super Commando Armor” from Star Wars: Rebels

Although I am cognizant of the widespread popularity of Gar Saxon's Clone Wars-era armor among Mandalorian cosplayers, it is his Imperial Super Commando armor from Rebels that, in my estimation, stands as the most aesthetically impressive design to have been rendered canon. Its clear likeness to stormtrooper armor evokes a profound sense of nostalgia for viewers of the show, given that it is set a few years prior to the events depicted in 1977's A New Hope. Simultaneously, it enables the audience to differentiate between Mandalorian clans that aligned themselves with the Empire and those that did not. Notably, the red and white color scheme itself exudes classic Disney villain aesthetics, while the "executioner"-style helmet conveys a formidable aura to those who seek to embody the Mandalorian version of the "dark side".

4. Mandalorian Cadets

For pre-adolescent children who may not yet possess the physical and cognitive maturity to use authentic Mandalorian armor, the Mandalorian Cadet attire showcased in the animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars offers a suitable alternative. These outfits can provide an introduction to Star Wars cosplay and acclimate young fans to take part in family-oriented cosplay gatherings and group activities with their parents, older siblings, and grandparents. These attire pieces, characterized by their distinct geometric patterns, are readily adaptable through simple do-it-yourself projects. Basic materials such as royal blue long-sleeve shirts and beige riding pants can serve as the foundation, with the iconic Mandalorian iron heart adorning the center of the shirt. This emblem can be created using EVA foam or traced onto the fabric using a stencil. Similar techniques may replicate the unique geometric patterns found on other parts of the costume, which should evoke the iconic armor worn by Mandalorian warriors. Additionally, the headgear, reminiscent of the one worn by Jango Fett in the 2002 film Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, serves a practical purpose by providing warmth during colder months. Furthermore, these outfits offer young cosplayers the opportunity to portray "younger" versions of established Mandalorian characters such as Bo-Katan Kryze and Sabine Wren, enriching their imaginative experiences within the Star Wars universe.

3. Ursa Wren’s “Nite Owl” Armor from Clone Wars

The character, Countess Ursa Wren, possesses one of the most distinctive Mandalorian armor designs within the official canon. Every component of her armor, from the helmet to the chest piece and cod, has unique features that contribute to its overall appearance. The design holds significance as it represents her affiliation with both the Death Watch and the Nite Owls during the Clone Wars era.

When she appeared in the last season of Clone Wars, her return elicited excitement among fans. Her appearance, adorned in a Nite Owl-styled armor similar to Bo-Katan's, came as a surprise to many, considering her smaller role compared to her prominence in Star Wars: Rebels.

Despite the limited screen time, Ursa's armor has captured the attention of some fans. Notably, her helmet and the yellow Clan Wren imagery on the armor have been the subject of discussion. There is even a theory suggesting that this armor may have been passed down to her daughter, Sabine Wren.

While the armor shares similarities with other Nite Owl designs from the Clone Wars era, it is important to recognize the unique elements that distinguish it. The yellow Clan Wren imagery serves as a visual connection to Ursa's role in Rebels, as well as Sabine Wren's journey in the show. This unique design deserves appreciation and recognition, just as the Countess armor Ursa wore.

2. Fenn Rau’s “Sundari-Inspired” Armor from Rebels

Is it possible that I am the sole individual in attendance who believes it to be an egregious oversight to not witness the realization of Fenn Rau's final armor design, as presented in the "Legacy of Mandalore" narrative from the animated television series, Star Wars Rebels? This design bears a striking resemblance to the armor worn by the royal guards of Satine Kryze, a character featured in the earlier animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. This connection is significant, as Fenn Rau serves as a Mandalorian Protector, and the Protectors are known for their loyalty to the royal family of Mandalore, which includes Rau's friend, Bo-Katan Kryze. Moreover, the geometric patterns adorning various components of his armor, including his helmet, along with the blue, silver, and gold color scheme, serve as prominent references to Mandalore's capital city, Sundari, and its role as the seat of the royal family.

Before I get into number one, here are a couple of honorary mentions that are worthy of recognition by the Star Wars cosplay community.

1. Unused Concept for Bo-Katan Kryze by Dave Filoni for Clone Wars

The original design concept for Bo-Katan's armor, which later became canon, featured a color scheme inspired by Boba Fett's armor in Empire Strikes Back, but with a silver hue and a feminine silhouette, continues to captivate and inspire cosplayers. While this concept was ultimately not used in the ultimate design, it is a fascinating glimpse into the creative process and offers a unique interpretation of the character. It would be delightful to observe more cosplayers embodying this early concept design of Bo-Katan, as it provides a refreshing and imaginative take on her iconic Mandalorian armor.

2. Rook Krast

In my evaluation, the visually striking design of Rook's red and black super commando armor, which possesses distinct feminine aesthetics has consistently captivated me. The composition and artistry of the armor's elements are noteworthy. The arrangement of three red lines beneath the chest piece effectively differentiates Rook from Nite Owl, while simultaneously conveying her distinctive identity and characteristics. This design choice is both aesthetically pleasing and narratively significant, as it establishes Rook as a unique and formidable figure within the Mandalorian universe.

Another remarkable aspect of Rook's armor is her helmet, which features two pointed slopes atop its structure. This unique design element is visually intriguing and contributes to Rook's overall distinctive appearance. Additionally, the design of Rook's jetpack, which bears a striking resemblance to bat wings because of its shape and coloration, further reinforces her unique identity. The combination of red and black coloration mirrors the appearance of the character Maul, resulting in a visually striking and cohesive armor kit.

Korkie Kryze

Regarding the many theories circulating on the internet, suggesting that the presumed "nephew" of Duchess Satine Kryze is potentially her covert child with the purported father, Obi-Wan Kenobi, it is surprising that a few individuals have undertaken Korkie as a cosplay project. Incorporating Korkie cosplayers would serve as an excellent addition to Mandalorian cosplay gatherings attended by Satine and Obi-Wan cosplayers. While a workable option for Korkie cosplay is the male "Mandalorian Cadet" attire, he dons an alternative outfit in the episode titled "The Lawless," in which he attempts to liberate his "aunt" from incarceration at the hands of Maul's Mandalorian army. The brown, silver, and navy blue geometric patterns on this specific outfit possess a striking resemblance to potential "soft parts," prompting speculation regarding whether he intended to wear armor to assist in the liberation of Mandalore from Maul and collaborate with Bo-Katan and her Nite Owls. A notable advantage of this outfit is its versatility, allowing it to be used as soft parts for customized Mandalorians as well, whether for a personalized interpretation of Korkie in traditional Mandalorian armor or an original character Mandalorian. The selection is at the discretion of the individual.

Having presented my esteemed honorable mentions, I now take great pleasure in revealing the paramount underrated Mandalorian or concept design that is truly deserving of the cosplay community's adoration.

1. Duchess Satine Kryze’s Concept Armor from Clone Wars

In a bygone era, Dave Filoni contemplated giving Duchess Satine Kryze with her own set of armor, intending for her to don it in an earlier iteration of the "Siege of Mandalore" that would have unfolded during the fifth season of Clone Wars. In this original conception of events, the longstanding animosity between Death Watch and the New Mandalorians would have ultimately given way to common ground, forged through the fusion of their idealistic beliefs to preserve Mandalore. In response to this newfound reconciliation, Satine resolves to fight alongside her reunited people by undertaking a rite of passage that would have culminated in her earning the right to wear her parents' armor and lead her planet alongside her sister Bo-Katan in the struggle for freedom and security.

Considering the influence of Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth: The Golden Age on various aspects of Satine's character, the concept armor drew heavily from the armor worn by the 16th-century Tudor queen in a scene where she led her nation into war against the Spanish Armada and emerged victorious. Additionally, her helmet was loosely based on the faceplate-like masks depicted in Expanded Universe stories set during Mandalore's early years.

Ultimately, this version of the "Siege" never came to fruition, and Satine met her demise in the season 5 episode titled The Lawless. It would be another six years before Disney, the parent company of Star Wars, revived The Clone Wars for a seventh and final season that repurposed the "Siege of Mandalore" storyline to focus on Ahsoka Tano and Bo-Katan Kryze, retooling it as a story told from Ahsoka's perspective during the events of Revenge of the Sith.

Despite Satine's popularity among Star Wars cosplayers, few have depicted her wearing armor. The existing cosplays are primarily based on fan art that imagined Satine in armor before she embraced pacifism. It would be a unique and interesting endeavor for more Satine Kryze cosplayers to undertake this unused concept art as an homage to an alternate version of a well-known story.

The Elizabeth-inspired chest piece can serve as the foundation, with other armor components customizable to incorporate live-action-inspired elements. Ahsoka's belt and "hip" armor from Season 7, as well as her knee and shin armor from the last season, offer suitable options. Alternatively, Sabine Wren's live-action shin armor could also be employed. Regarding the helmet, cosplayers may opt for a Nite Owl-styled helmet changed to resemble Satine's headdress from her debut episode in Season 2, should they find the t-shaped faceplate mask overly conventional for a feminine Mandalorian armor kit.

It is important to note that Satine never wore armor in the Star Wars canon, and as such, most costuming groups will not approve of cosplays depicting her in armor.

In your opinion, are there any other underappreciated Mandalorians and conceptual designs that you would like to see cosplayers portray more frequently? This would provide an excellent opportunity for discussion regarding future cosplay projects and characters that merit greater recognition from the cosplay community

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About the Creator

Jenna Deedy

Zoo and Aquarium Professional, Educator, Cosplayer, Writer and B.A. in Psychology whose got a lot to share when it comes to animals, zoos, aquariums, conservation, and more.

Instagram: @jennacostadeedy

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  • Flamance @ lit.28 days ago

    Very nice work

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