If you haven’t seen the newest episode of The Mandalorian on Disney+ you should stop reading this as soon as possible. But, weirdly, and perhaps more urgently, if you haven’t seen Attack of the Clones in a while, you may want to rewatch a little bit of that one, too. Yep, that’s right, the Star Wars prequel in which Anakin Skywalker famously said “I hate sand,” holds the key to understanding the big twist at the end of the latest Mando episode. But, if you’re fuzzy as to why that might be, here’s what’s going on. Spoilers coming at you!
Fairly early in the Season 2 premiere of The Mandalorian — “The Marshal” – we meet Timothy Oliphant as Cobb Vanth, who is totally wearing Boba Fett’s clothes. Boba Fett? Boba Fett? WHERE? Well, at this point in the complex Star Wars timeline, Boba Fett (the guy who brought Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt) is, in theory, very much dead. In Return of the Jedi (which happens just five years before Mando) we saw Boba Fett fall into the monstrous Sarlaac Pit after Han accidentally hit his jet pack with a spear. The monster pit burped, and that was that. Boba Fett was dead.
Now, we all read those comic books in the ’90s (Dark Empire) in which Boba Fett revealed that he didn’t die, and actually crawled out of that pit, but up until this point, that storyline has never been made official. That is, until now.
Throughout the episode, because Timothy Oliphant is rocking Boba Fett’s armor, we’re meant to think that Boba Fett is 100 percent still dead. But, in the final moments of the episode, as Mando and Baby Yoda fly away on Amy Sedaris’ speeder bike, we see…a guy who looks exactly like Boba Fett’s dad from Attack of the Clones!
The actor in the robe at the very end of the episode is Temuera Morrison. He played Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones, and all the rest of the Clone Troopers in Revenge of the Sith, too. In 2004, Morrison’s voice was added as the voice of Boba Fett into the “Special Edition” versions of the original Star Wars films. Basically, in Attack of the Clones, we learned that Boba Fett is a clone of Jango Fett, which means, in theory, as an adult, Boba would look and act just like Jango.
From a nerdy Star Wars fan point-of-view, this is pretty cool stuff, but the appearance of Temuera Morrison as an older Boba Fett is more than just a neat thing for the fans. Obviously, there are some mysteries to unravel about how Boba Fett’s Mandalorian armor fits into the larger mythology about the Mandalorians in the series, but thematically this twist is much smarter. Like Baby Yoda, Boba Fett was also once, a lost child. In Attack of the Clones, Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) swung his purple lightsaber and decapitated Jango Fett – Boba’s dad — right in front of him. At the time, in 2002, this was a fairly cut and dried villain origin story; the reason why Boba Fett was such an asshole in The Empire Strikes Back is that his dad was an asshole and the Jedi killed his dad. But, The Mandalorian has just added a new wrinkle to this.
The Boba Fett we see at the end of this episode is just a middle-aged guy without his fancy suit of armor. Basically, he’s back to being the lost child he was in Attack of the Clones. So, in most ways, he has more in common with Baby Yoda and Mando than any Jedi they might encounter. Just like Baby Yoda and Mando, Boba Fett lost his family at a young age. But, unlike them, he never really found any peace. And yet, Boba Fett is hardly a Darth Vader-type. In fact, we could argue that he’s not too different from Mando insofar as he mostly just took jobs for money. And it’s possible that this season of The Mandalorian will reveal that Boba Fett was still loyal to the Mandalorians, and just like our current hero, perhaps used some of his bounty hunting money for good. This is just a guess right now, but there’s nothing in onscreen Star Wars canon to contradict the idea that Boba Fett was secretly a softie. (Though plenty of old books and comics would.)
So now, the larger questions in The Mandalorian is this: When will we see Boba Fett again? And when we do see him, will we actually think of him as a villain? Or, an old friend who can help out? Hell, if Boba Fett is cool with it, maybe he can babysit Baby Yoda once in and awhile.
The Mandalorian is streaming on Disney+ right here.
Attack of the Clones — the first appearance of Temuera Morrison in Star Wars — is also on Disney+ right here.