Welcome to another edition of Mando Spotlight, where I discuss a part of Mandalorian lore from the official Star Wars canon. This week, I will be talking about the Mandalorian Crusaders and Neo-Crusaders. I will admit, this will be a short article, since not much information has been released on the Crusaders and Neo-Crusaders. They are canon, though, and that's the important thing to take away from this.
Who are the Crusaders? At this point, not much is known other than the fact they are a faction of Mandalorian warriors (or super commandos) that fought against the Jedi during the days of the Old Republic. The Crusaders would become major influences for the Mandalorian terrorist group known as Death Watch. In fact, Pre Vizsla, leader of Death Watch, had a mural of the Mandalorian Crusaders fighting the Jedi of old. It was displayed on a wall in his apartment.
Another mural of the Mandalorian Crusaders can be seen underneath the speaking balcony in the capital Sundari.
Now, you wouldn't know these are the Crusaders unless you visited the official episode guide for "Shades of Reason." In the trivia gallery, it states, "The mural directly beneath the speaking balcony depicts Mandalorian crusaders in battle with Jedi." So they get officially named in the episode guide.
The Mandalorian Crusaders in STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS seem to wield swords against the Jedi in battle. Their look is very different from their appearance in the Expanded Universe/Legends brand.
The above picture is from "The History of the Mandalorians," which is a 10-page article published in the Star Wars Insider 80. It is a part of the Expanded Universe/Legends brand and is written by Abel G. Peña. As you can see, the Legends brand look is a lot different than THE CLONE WARS version.
Who are the Neo-Crusaders? Unfortunately, even less is known about the Neo-Crusaders in official canon. They have only one appearance in canon, and that is through their helmet only.
The Neo-Crusader can be seen in Garnac's hunting trophy collection. It sits next to a familiar crystal skull.
The Neo-Crusader helmet isn't mentioned by name in the episode, but if you check out the official episode guide to "Wookiee Hunt," the trivia gallery states, "Among the trophies in the Trandoshan hunting lodge are wampa and Wookiee pelts; stuffed and mounted heads of an Ithorian, a Gungan, a Gran, a Skrilling, a reek, a rancor, a dragonsnake; an ancient Mandalorian Neo-Crusader helmet.." So, again, we have the episode guide officially naming this helmet as being a Neo-Crusader helmet, making them canon.
Judging by the helmet seen in STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS, the Neo-Crusaders look similar to how they appeared in the Expanded Universe/Legends brand.
As you can see, the look of the Neo-Crusaders in the Legends Brand's STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC is pretty much a match to THE CLONE WARS version.
Where can you see these references to the Crusaders & Neo-Crusaders? Check out the television series STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS & STAR WARS REBELS. More specifically, watch these following episodes:
For Neo-Crusaders - "Wookiee Hunt"
For Crusaders - "The Mandalore Plot," "Shades of Reason," "The Lawless" (Also, "An Inside Man," from STAR WARS REBELS)
Would you like to see the official canon lore on the Crusaders & Neo-Crusaders expanded upon? Let me know in the comments below.