Has The Mandalorian painted Tusken Raiders in a new light?

The Sand People: they are one of Star Wars’ earliest alien species considering they made their frightening debut in A New Hope. However, their debut wasn’t in a rewarding light. Instead, George Lucas depicted the Sand People as these super-scary natives of Tatooine who attack good people like Luke Skywalker and Anakin‘s mother, Shmi, and take them back to their villages in the middle of nowhere where they torture their human captives until death.


The Sand People are scary…or at least they were.

The Mandalorian, created and mostly written by Jon Favreau, decided to give the Sand People a different narrative and treated them as decent folk. As Mando communicated with the Sand People in Chapter 5: The Gunslinger everyone was forced to sit back and look at these characters in a different light.  If Mando didn’t have a problem with them…should we? And two weeks ago during the season premiere episode, we got an exciting return to Tatooine where the Sand People were able to be depicted as reasonable and seemingly not-that-evil individuals who helped aid the citizens of Mos Pelgo in their plight against the massive and super-dangerous Krayt Dragon.


It has been stated that the Sand People were based on Native Americans which only worsens the way they were being depicted before The Mandalorian. We saw them as terrifying savages, not noble natives of the terrain who just so happen to have some legitimately horrifying barbaric practices against Tatooine’s foreign colonizers. I mean, to see a Sand Person cleaning the teeth of his Bantha in Chapter 9: The Marshal was just…so rewarding. Who knew I needed that?!


But what makes this altered narrative of the Sand People even deeper is just how much of a spotlight it blares on Anakin’s slaughtering of one of their villages. Remember in Attack of the Clones when he went to rescue his mother, found her half-dead, watched her die in his arms, and went on a murderous rampage through the village?


At the time, I never batted an eye at the horrific act he was displaying. I mean, it was the Sand People! And they killed Shmi! So what if they met the blazing end of a deadly blue lightsaber? But now, I look back on that scene in legitimate horror knowing how he tore through that village killing “not just the men, but the women, and the children too.”


Anakin is evil. It’s a fact. His anger caused him to do atrocious things like kill younglings! Just think about that. We all saw him step into that Jedi council room hooded and cloaked not as a protector of the tiny Jedi but as their killer! And this cold, eeeevil, heartlessness didn’t begin there. That destructive whirlwind of pure darkness began in that village with the Sand People and the thought is, now, pretty disturbing.


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Annlyel James is a prolific Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. She is passionate about Star Wars and Marvel but loves a wide variety of movie genres. Aside from her role with Future of the Force she also writes for her blog: annlyelonline. Follow her on Twitter @annlyeljames where she channels the Force frequently!


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2 thoughts on “‘The Mandalorian’ Humanizes The Savage Sand People

  1. Excellent article and a great opinion piece article. Favreau once again “expanded” the universe and showed that these “savages” are people too. Well done! 🙂

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