Star Wars Lore – The Death Watch (Canon)
Decades before the outbreak of the Clone Wars, an equally brutal conflict erupted between the people of Mandalore for control of their Outer Rim homeworld. Yet the irony of preserving their planet through chaos and destruction was lost upon either side, or so it seemed. In reality, Satine Kryze of the eventual victors, the New Mandalorians, was so averse to the overwhelming death toll, that she sought to govern through pacifism and harmony. This led to years of prosperity and peace for the people of Mandalore, all while their fallen adversaries wasted away in exile on the moon of Concordia. But from the ashes rose two formidable fighters with enough influence to spawn an equally vengeful army. And so, the Death Watch was born...
A Watchful Eye
Backed by a rumoured five thousand warriors, whose lust for revenge fueled their every move, the Death Watch chose to re-emerge amidst the turmoil of the Clone Wars. This chain of events deeply worried most in the galaxy, and Duchess Satine Kryze was certainly no exception. The sheer thought of another civil war, never mind a pan-galactic conflict, was deeply harrowing for the pacifist. Though it must be said that the Duchess was far from alone. Whether it be Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, or the Governor of Concordia, Kryze truly possessed many close friends and allies. It's just a pity one of her most outspoken supporters was in fact the leader of the Death Watch...
The Waiting Game
Given their quest to restore Mandalore to the warrior ways of its past, many just assumed the Death Watch would waste little time in unleashing a wrath of chaos and bloodshed. And given their affiliation with Separatist leader Count Dooku, it's easy to see why. But their leader was far more cunning than many gave him credit for. In fact, Pre Vizsla's status as both the Governor of Concordia and the mastermind of the Death Watch remained a mystery for some time. Such a ruse quickly unraveled, however, when Kenobi and Kryze uncovered their base of operations. Ultimately, the Duchess and her Jedi companion found a way to escape their adversaries, but not before an epic lightsaber duel.
The Art of Failure
Unable to dismantle their enemy from within, Vizsla and his men tiptoed ever so closer to full-blown bloodshed. Firstly, the Death Watch attempted to outright assassinate Kryze on multiple occasions. And secondly, they and their allies manipulated a recording of Deputy Minister Jerec, in a plea for help against the Death Watch themselves. By doing so, they hoped to engineer a Republic occupation of Mandalore, where its people would turn upon the New Mandalorians for their apparent welcoming of “foreign invaders”. But when Jerec's original, unaltered message fell into the hands of the Galactic Senate, the plan quickly fell through.
Having failed to dethrone the Duchess once more, they and the Separatists finally parted ways – although the split was anything but amicable. In fact, Vizsla sustained a rather nasty cut to the face following a lightsaber duel with Count Dooku. Yet the leader of the Death Watch was left far from unnerved. He almost seemed to carry the scar with pride, or at least that's what his men thought. Regardless, their fortunes took a drastic change for the better upon discovering the Zabrak brothers Savage Opress and Maul – both of whom were Force-sensitive, while the latter previously served as a Sith Lord. Using their incredible combined power, the Death Watch began uniting various factions within the criminal underworld. And so, the Shadow Collective came to be. This finally allowed the Death Watch to capture Mandalore for themselves. Better yet, however, they manufactured an appearance of conquering saviours, by staging various battles between themselves and the united Black Sun, Pykes and Hutts. There was only one problem: Vizsla was not to be trusted.
The Fate of the Death Watch
In a swift move that he would later come to regret, Vizsla incarcerated both Maul and Opress. But knowing the pull of each Zabrak, neither brother would remain locked up for long. In fact, Maul openly challenged Vizsla to a duel do the death, with the winner being rightfully crowned leader of the Death Watch. Vizsla accepted; and Vizsla was beheaded. However, his right-hand warrior, Bo-Katan, was far from willing to serve the so-called usurper. So, while she and a small band of Death Watch soldiers escaped with their allegiances elsewhere, the rest continued to serve Maul as Super Commandos...
Now it's time for this week's question: which leader of the Death Watch do you believe was the greatest? Let us know in the comments below!