What Are the Rules of Mandalorian Armor?
As the series regularly reminds us, Beskar metal is one of the most prized substances in the Star Wars universe. It’s incredibly strong, especially when forged into armor by Mandalorian blacksmiths. It’s capable of deflecting blaster bolts and blunt force impact that would otherwise kill the wearer. It’s even resistant to lightsaber strikes – the main reason the Mandalorians were so successful in waging war on the Jedi in the early days of the Old Republic. The fact that Mandalore itself perhaps remains enslaved by a remnant of the Empire during this period and most of its warriors have gone into hiding has ensured Beskar is more elusive and valuable than ever.
Unsurprisingly, Mandalorians are extremely protective of Beskar, even among their own culture. A Mandalorian warrior must earn their armor piece by piece, just as Din Djarin did over the course of Season 1. Being a true Mandalorian has little to do with being born into the right family. It’s all about upholding the customs. That’s why Mando is so upset at the sight of an outsider like Cobb Vanth wearing Beskar armor in “The Marshal.” It’s an affront to his culture and heritage to see a non-Mandalorian wearing Beskar. The fact that Cobb purchased the armor rather than winning it in battle makes it even worse. Mandalorian custom demands that Din reclaim the armor for his own people.
Is Boba Fett a Mandalorian?
The fact that Cobb Vanth’s armor is the same suit once worn by Boba Fett makes matters even more complicated. Even though Boba Fett was the first exposure Star Wars fans had to the culture and weapons of Mandalore, neither he nor his father Jango are actually Mandalorians. In fact, Jango Fett was officially disavowed by the Mandalorian people, who view him as nothing more than a mercenary who conned his way into wearing a Beskar suit. Given that he shares his father’s blood (and is a clone of Jango) and inherited many of his tools and weapons, Boba Fett is also persona non grata to all true Mandalorians.
Din is surely unaware of the history behind the armor he now safeguards, but it will be interesting to see how he reacts when and if he learns the full story of its owner. Will he allow Boba Fett to reclaim his property, or will Fett’s status as a Mandalorian impostor put the two characters at odds? Given that Fett apparently discarded his armor after escaping the Sarlaac and never returned for it, we have to question whether he actually wants it back in the first place. That iconic suit may pass to another Star Wars character in Season 2 – someone willing to earn the Beskar in a way Jango and Boba never did.
Is That Really Boba Fett?
“The Marshal” ends with a cameo we’ve all been expecting since news first broke that Temuera Morrison is returning to play Boba Fett. That appears to be Fett roaming the wastes of Tatooine, though dressed in what looks like the robes of a Tusken Raider rather than his familiar armor. He’s even seen carrying the trademark gaffi stick and rifle of the Sand People, bringing to mind past depictions of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s time as a Tatooine-bound nomad.
While that’s clearly Morrison in the final shot, we can’t be 100% sure this is Boba Fett. After all, Fett once had millions of clone “uncles” who formed the backbone of the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. It’s not impossible that this could actually be Captain Rex or another ex-Clonetrooper who’s managed to outlive the Empire.
However, the physical characteristics of Morrison’s character certainly suggest it’s Boba Fett. We can see telltale facial scarring and a complete lack of hair and eyebrows, both of which are likely souvenirs of his time spent inside the Sarlacc’s belly. Also, despite his many battle scars, this character appears to be firmly in middle-age territory. Boba Fett should be around 41 or 42 by this point in the Star Wars timeline. By comparison, if he were a clone this character would probably appear much older. The Clonetroopers were specifically engineered to age quickly and die out once they no longer served a purpose. Rex may have lived long enough to fight in the Battle of Endor, but he looked far older by that point than his physical age would suggest.
It’s still possible this scene is meant to be a red herring and we’re seeing someone other than Boba Fett. It could be one of the more genetically distinct clones from squads like Bad Batch or the Republic Commandos, as they may not age as quickly as their brothers. But the simplest option is probably the most likely here.
Boba Fett Lives: How the Bounty Hunter’s Story Continued After Return of the Jedi
Is Boba Fett a Friend or Foe?
Given his antagonistic role in the original trilogy and the animated Clone Wars series, it’s easy to assume Boba Fett is meant to be a villain in Season 2. As we’ve already explored, his armor may wind up becoming a major point of contention, with Fett trying to reclaim his property and Mando refusing to hand it over to an outsider. Fett may also be after the bounty on The Child’s head. He could be eager to reclaim his status as king of the mercenary hill following his embarrassing defeat in Return of the Jedi (which after all was only five years prior to The Mandalorian).
That said, just as we can’t be 100% sure Morrison is playing Boba Fett in that final scene, it’s too early to say whether Boba Fett is meant to be an ally or enemy to Din Djarin in Season 2. He may have completely different reasons for being interested in his fellow bounty hunter. Maybe, despite his family being rejected by proper Mandalorians, Fett mourns the downfall of Mandalore and wants to lend a hand in reuniting its divided people.
That armor may be the key to understanding Fett’s place in the larger Mandalorian puzzle. Though Chapter 9 expands on a plot point from the Star Wars: Aftermath novels with its depiction of Cobb Vanth as the heir to Fett’s armor, we still don’t know the full story behind that transaction. How did that group of Jawas come into possession of the armor in the first place? Was Fett robbed after escaping the Sarlacc? Did he exchange the armor for supplies or passage off-world? Did he sell it with the hope of leaving his old life behind him?It’s also worth remembering that we’ve potentially seen Boba Fett twice so far on the series (the other case being the post-credits stinger in Season 1, Episode 5). Both scenes take place on Tatooine, which could suggest Fett has permanently made the desert world his home. This may lend further fuel to the theory he’s trying to leave his past behind and lead a simpler life. Even his outfit argues as much, suggesting he may live a nomadic existence among the Tusken Raiders. We don’t know exactly what Boba Fett actually wants at this point in his life. We can’t even say for sure he’s specifically interested in Din Djarin or if their paths simply keep crossing thanks to the whims of the Force. For now, brush up on our Boba Fett Explained feature for more on how he survived his apparent death and what role he might play in the series,
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.