What is the Tusken Sign Language in ‘Star Wars’?

tusken raider sign language
Image via LucasFilm

The Tusken Raiders are some of the most iconic creatures in the Star Wars universe. First seen in the first Star Wars movie, the beings have made hundreds of appearances in Star Wars media and become some of the most well-known aliens in the franchise. However, one of their newest appearances saw them use a new form of sign language that has captured the internet’s imagination. 

When Did The Tusken Raiders Use Tusken Sign Language?

tusken raider
Image via LucasFilm

The Tusken Sign Language was first seen in Season 1, Chapter 5 of The Mandaloriantitled “The Gunslinger.” However, it wasn’t until the first episode of Season 2, titled “Chapter 9: The Marshal” that the new language caught the internet’s collective attention. 

After the episode was broadcast, several viral tweets spread across the internet. These tweets drew attention to the backstage situation that led to the language being developed. And this led to many people looking into the fascinating development of this element of the series. 

How Did Tusken Sign Language Come About? 

Boba Fett with the Tuskens
Photo via The Book of Boba Fett/Disney Plus

Tusken Sign Language was developed by Troy Kotsur, a deaf actor who won his first Oscar this year. In an interview with The Daily Moth, Kotsur explained that the script mentioned that the Raiders would communicate using some form of sign language. However, a hearing member of the production team said that a deaf person should be brought on to consult about the topic. 

Thus, Troy Kotsur (who also played one of the Raiders seen in the episode) was brought in to consult and develop the language the Raiders used to communicate.

“Did research on the culture and environment of Tusken Raiders. I researched on the desert called ‘sand people’. That is what Luke Skywalker calls them ‘sand people.’ Anyway, my goal was to avoid ASL. I made sure it became Tusken Sign Language based on their culture and environment.” And this led to the development of the unique form of sign language.”

During the interview, Kotsur shares the Tusken sign for Mandalorian. Saying that “it’s based on the helmet and the “M” handshape.” Kotsur ends the interview by saying:

“I hope that you keep telling Disney + that you want to see more sign language. I hope that the producers keep an open mind because this is just the beginning.”

Can I Learn Or Translate Tusken Sign Language? 

The Book of Boba Fett - Tuskens
Photo via The Book of Boba Fett/Disney Plus

Currently, there is no complete guide to Tusken Sign Language. Like other fictional languages, internet users have quickly tried to translate the language. 

A Facebook group called “Tusken Raider Sign Language” sprung up and quickly acquired over 700 members, all of whom poured over the episode to work out its secrets. So maybe, one day, Tusken Sign Language will become like Klingon, a complete language that can be used to communicate in the real world.

About the author


Jonathon Greenall

Jonathon Greenall is a news and SEO writer for We Got This Covered. Jonathon has been a freelance media writer for several years and has appeared on several sites, including CBR and Enbylife. They're also an experienced TTRPG designer, and their games have been featured on Gizmodo, TechRaptor, and other outlets. Jonathon is a lifelong fan of movies, comic books, and anime and has covered everything from the latest big hits to obscure forgotten media.