From t-shirts to bumper stickers to memes across the galaxy, “This is the Way” has become the preeminent Star Wars catchphrase in 2021. But like “May the Force be with you” before it, “This is the Way” carries great significance in the fictional world of the series—especially in Star Wars: The Mandalorian.
The Way may refer to something akin to religious laws or commandments, though it is never stated as such. Rather, the eponymous protagonist Din Djarin and other Mandalorians invoke the quote at key moments that gradually reveal a bigger picture. Read on for more, although be warned—there are some slight spoilers for Din’s story.
While we don’t know every facet of the Way, we do know that a core tenant is protecting other Mandalorians and providing for “foundlings”—orphaned children that come under the protection of a Mandalorian. Din’s reluctance to remove his helmet is also foundational to this order. In Season 1, Episode 3 the mysterious Armorer asks “Have you ever removed your helmet? Has it ever been removed by others?” After replying in the negative, she states that this, too, is the Way.
Remember that in the galaxy far, far away, even the Jedi’s devotion to the Force is considered a religious practice, exemplified in Rogue One by Chirrut Îmwe’s prayer turned meme: “I Am One With the Force and the Force Is With Me.”
Like followers of the Force, the Way has its own sects too. When Din meets a helmetless Bo-Katan in season two, he doesn’t believe she could be a Mandalorian. After they manage not to kill each other, Bo-Katan explains that Din comes from the Children of the Watch, which she describes as a “cult of religious zealots that broke away from Mandalorian society.” Bo-Katan suggests there are other paths which he can take in this galaxy.
This is ultimately the first step in Din’s final character arc—forging his own way in a galaxy where Mandalorians can coexist with each other in their diaspora, eventually breaking that foundational rule about wearing a helmet in the series’ emotional conclusion.