The initiative to promote the new animated series Star Wars Rebels continues with the August 18 premiere of “Art Attack,” the 3-minute short featuring Mandalorian weapons expert and artist Sabine Wren. Easily becoming a fan favorite, Sabine is the character who appears the most in fan art and cosplay. (Check out cosplayers Liz Perales, Mockingnerd, and the first official Sabine Wren for the Mandalorian Mercs, Eitanya of Eitanya Designs and the Buurenaar Verda Clan.) Without a doubt, Sabine has captured the attention of many fans, including myself.
Despite my growing love for the character and her tough personality, what I love most about her is her connection to Mandalore. Her attitude is “rooted in her Mandalorian heritage.” Certainly not New Mandalorian heritage. The New Mandalorians were a political faction led by Satine Kryze with pacifistic virtues and ideals. New Mandalorians casted away the warrior mentality and the armor that went with it. Sabine is the complete opposite. Here’s an excerpt of my post that introduced Sabine back in February 2014:
The last time we saw Mandalore (the following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Clone Wars season five), Maul had joined forces with Pre Vizsla to terrorize the capital and depose Duchess Satine Kryze. The alliance, however, was short-lived when Maul challenged Vizsla and defeated him in a duel. Soon thereafter, Darth Sidious removed him from the picture completely, leaving Prime Minister Almec to lead the New Mandalorians. What happens during the waning months of the Clone Wars and the rise of the Empire is part of the Expanded Universe, thus, we don’t know what condition Mandalore is in following the events of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
In the literature, a new regime replaces the one that had been ruled by Duchess Satine and the New Mandalorians, and Mandalore later aligns itself with the Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS). When the Galactic Republic transformed into the Galactic Empire, Emperor Palpatine officially pardoned Mandalore for its involvement with CIS, calling upon Mandalorians to take up mercenary work during the Jedi purge. The Empire also established a base of operations on Mandalore, similarly to how we’ll see the Empire operate on Lothal in Star Wars Rebels. The Imperial rule tightens its grip over Mandalore, however, often strip-mining the beskar (Mandalorian iron) deposits and forcing Mandalorian citizens to work in factories to contribute to the war effort.
If Mandalore in Star Wars Rebels reflects what has been written in the Expanded Universe, then (hypothetically speaking), Sabine could have left Mandalore to escape the constricting grip of the Empire. It also explains why she expresses herself through a form of vandalism–to rebel against what the Empire has done to her home and people.
Did the regime carved out by the New Mandalorians completely fall apart in the following years, leaving Mandalore to return to its warrior roots? Is Sabine a product of that shift?
She hoped that if one of the stormtroopers did spot her, he would pause in fear at the sight of her Mandalorian helmet. There were few signs of her people in the galaxy these days other than the notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett, who wore Mandalorian armor. His captures and kills had only helped spread the legend that the Mandalorians were the most fearsome warriors in the galaxy.
– Star Wars Rebels: Rise of the Rebels by Michael Kogge
According to Rise of the Rebels by Michael Kogge, Mandalorians aren’t as common as one would assume. Sabine described them as “legend” and that there were “few signs” of them throughout the galaxy. Is she referring to the Mandalorian past before the New Mandalorians took over or is she referring to something else that may have happened between Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels? If the Mandalorian warrior way of life started to pick up again after the death of Satine Kryze, the Empire could have come into the picture and extinguished that thought. As seen with the Legends literature, the people may have been forced to hard labor, effectively keeping the warrior inclination under an iron fist. I sincerely hope we get to discover these details during the series. Although Sabine has been described as one to not talk much about her past, I hope it will come up one way or another.
In “Art Attack,” a special Star Wars Rebels short, Sabine sneaks into an Imperial compound, looking to create a diversion for her friends aboard the Ghost. Spotted by stormtroopers, she proves too quick to be captured – and leaves behind an explosive surprise.