It’s Ladies’ Day
All of us who have been watching The Mandalorian have no doubt come to the conclusion that this show is dominated by male characters. There are only five women, as opposed to the eleven men, on the show. Not counting Baby Yoda, who, although referred to as a “he”, I prefer to think of as a “they”. The point is, there aren’t a lot of ladies on The Mandalorian, but the ones it does have are completely and utterly badass. Be warned: mild spoilers ahead.
Played by former mixed martial artist Gina Carano and appearing in Chapter 4, “Sanctuary,” Cara Dune kicks ass and takes names. She’s absolutely jacked in the muscle department, which is great to see in a female character. A lot of the time, women in popular media aren’t allowed to be physically strong because it makes them “less attractive”. Cara Dune takes that tired trope and rips it in half with her bare hands like a phone book. She teaches an entire village hand-to-hand combat, almost singlehandedly takes down an Imperial Walker, and doesn’t let the Mandalorian get away with any BS. She’s laid-back and chill, but will break your fingers and steal your wallet for good measure if you cross her. Cara Dune is great and I’d watch a mini-series about her in a heartbeat.
Introduced in the most recent episode, “The Gunslinger”, Peli Motto is obviously featured for comic relief. Played by the always-amazing Amy Sedaris, Peli is a woman who knows her vocation better than anyone else. She’s a businesswoman, she’s tough and no-nonsense, but she’s also kind. She takes to Baby Yoda immediately because she sees a creature in need, and it’s clear to see she loves her droids. Peli’s character was created to make us laugh, but she became something like our friend’s mom whom we’ve come to think of as our mom, too.
Assassin, top-notch sniper, the Star Wars equivalent of Undesirable No. 1., Fennec Shand, played by Ming-Na Wen, doesn’t really get a lot of screen time, but the time she does have is action-packed. Her character is explored through her actions against other characters. That makes sense, because she makes her living taking violent actions against others. She’s sly, and wily, and knows how to get her way out of tough situations…well, almost. I wish we got to know Fennec Shand a little bit more, but as a side character, she was successful. To be honest, I could’ve really gone for a Fennec Shand/Cara Dune girl-power team-up.
Undeniably my favorite character so far (besides Baby Yoda), The Armorer showed up in Chapter 1 and bewitched me. Portrayed by Emily Swallow, the Armorer is probably the most important Mandalorian on the planet; she fabricates the helmets and the armor that make the Mandalorians what they are. She’s cool, calm, and collected, but can still kick some serious ass, as we saw in Chapter 8. She’s imposing and a little bit intimidating, but she turns out to basically be your weird neighbor who’s into tarot and crystals and destiny. Also, she has the most gnarly outfit.
Xi’an knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to do whatever it takes to get it. She’s ruthless and tricky and doesn’t play by the rules by a longshot. To be honest, I didn’t really like her, but I don’t think we’re meant to like her. I admired her dedication to her brother (even if he didn’t really care about her in the end) but essentially Xi’an is an unlikable character. She was interesting and I would like to know more about how she came to be part of that life, but that doesn’t mean I liked her. Which, I think, was a success as far as her character goes.
What’s great is that The Mandalorian writers had the opportunity to make most of these characters male, but they didn’t. Call it a quota; say “but they have to include a certain amount of women or people will complain”; I think it’s interesting that some of the most powerful characters on the show are female. Take from that what you will.