Could 1313's Story Also be Repurposed For The Mandalorian?
There are notable correlations that can be drawn between the premises of this discontinued Star Wars game, and Disney’s new TV show. In 1313, gamers would control the (initially) unknown human protagonist through the crime-ridden, subterranean level of Coruscant (designated 1313) during the early days of the Galactic Empire. This description matches The Mandalorian’s synopsis, with its reference to a hero navigating harsh, morally dubious terrains. Moreover, both 1313 and The Mandalorian occur at similar points within the Star Wars timeline, where new galactic governing systems are consolidating power in between the events of two trilogies. It may seem as if Star Wars: 1313 has been resurrected as The Mandalorian show, wholesale. But the situation is not as clean-cut as that.
Indeed, the notion of a live-action Star Wars television series expanding beyond the binary view of battling Jedi and Sith predates 1313. In 2005, George Lucas and his long-time collaborator on Star Wars, Rick McCallum, began development of Star Wars: Underworld. The show would, like 1313, take place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. It would heavily reference film-noir properties of the 1940s, with character-driven stories fleshing out the many criminal conspiracies at work within the galaxy at that time.
The show would focus on new characters, although writer Stephen Scacia revealed that it would occasionally gesture towards the Original Trilogy in a significant way. Moreover, Underworld would have depicted the meeting of Han Solo and Chewbacca, the origins of Emperor Palpatine, and even dynamic action scenes involving Boba Fett and his jet pack.
Sadly, the makers of Underworld found it difficult to secure either a network, or the necessary budget, which left this project in a state of limbo. But Disney’s subsequent takeover did not destroy the show’s prospects as thoroughly as 1313 were. When Peter Sciretta of Slashfilm asked the head of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, if Underworld’s scripts had been completely ejected in favor of all-new Star Wars material, she replied:
“No. No, interestingly enough, that’s an area we’ve spent a lot of time, reading through the material that [was] developed...And there was 1313 the game, [which] was….Unbelievable. So our attitude is, we don’t want to throw any of that stuff away. It’s gold. And it’s something we’re spending a lot of time looking at... and we may very well develop those things further. We definitely want to.”
The fact that Kennedy mentioned 1313 when asked about Underworld is very telling, especially in terms of The Mandalorian’s tone and narrative. In short, it seems like the disparate ideas of 1313 and Underworld have been merged together to form the basis of the upcoming show.
Who Is The Man Beneath The Mandalorian Mask?
Readers should not assume that Boba Fett is the protagonist of The Mandalorian. Certainly, it would appear that, until recently at least, Lucasfilm had bigger plans for Jango’s unaltered clone. In May 2018, James Mangold was announced as the director of a Boba Fett solo movie. Unfortunately, since then it appears that the film has been cancelled, following Solo: A Star Wars Story’s disappointing box office. Despite this setback, it’s very unlikely that Lucasfilm would have commissioned a Boba Fett movie and TV show to be produced – or released – concurrently.
Nevertheless, the mystery of the titular Mandalorian’s identity remains. Of course, the protagonist could very well be a previously unseen character, to chart this new exploration of the Star Wars galaxy. Yet rumors are already pointing to it being one lesser-known character in the new Star Wars canon: the ex-slave Cobb Vanth.
Vanth briefly appears in small anthological passages within Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy, which details his history. Freed from oppression after Jabba the Hutt’s demise, Vanth defends the settlement known as Freetown on Tatooine, protecting its inhabitants from those that would take advantage of the new power vacuum. The Aftermath series also hints that, in his role as a protector, Vanth dons Mandalorian armour which he purchased from a band of Jawas. It’s strongly implied that this equipment is Boba Fett's, which was salvaged from the Saarlac Pit.
At present, there’s no concrete evidence to suggest that Vanth is definitively the hero of The Mandalorian. However, the timeline, their premises – as well as Lucasfilm’s highly inclusive attitude towards every piece of canonical media – do match up. Whether Boba Fett returns or not – in The Mandalorian, or through a cameo on our cinema screens – is anyone’s guess at the moment. But for now, it is fascinating to acknowledge just how much Star Wars: 1313 and Star Wars: Underworld became the origins and influences behind The Mandalorian, before it hits arrives in the near future.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019