With Disney+ series The Mandalorian just a few days away from its premiere, it’s natural to wonder what the connection is between the series and one of Star Wars' most popular characters: Boba Fett. The Star Wars universe keeps expanding, not only in films with the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but also on TV and now also on the realm of streaming. Disney+ will be the home of a new Star Wars series titled The Mandalorian, which takes place five years after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
When the series was announced, fans thought that Boba Fett was going to be the main character, as he’s the one usually linked to Mandalorian culture. However, Boba Fett’s Mandalorian origin is a misconception not only among fans but also within the Star Wars universe, as he wore a Mandalorian armor but wasn’t one of them. Instead, The Mandalorian will focus on a different character played by Pedro Pascal, and Boba Fett will not be featured.
Still, The Mandalorian holds connections to Boba Fett, though they're not as obvious as many might think. Mandalorians have their own mythology in the Star Wars universe, and it’s all thanks to Boba Fett’s popularity.
Mandalorians Are Warriors In Star Wars Canon
Mandalorian history was explored in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which is now labeled non-canon, but many elements from there were brought to canon. The Star Wars universe can be confusing sometimes, but what’s known about Mandalorians is that this cultural group originated on the planet Mandalore, and had a role as legendary warriors against the Jedi. The Mandalorian ways went through a change when the pacifist New Mandalorian political faction, led by Duchess Satine Kryze, controlled Mandalore’s government, leading to internal conflict with other groups like Death Watch who wanted to keep the warrior ways of the Mandalorian. After the rise of the Empire, the Mandalore system was ruled by the Empire with Gar Saxon as their Viceroy.
Mandalorian society was structured like a pyramid: the ruler (or Mad’alor) sat at the top of the societal pyramid along with the Protectors, followed by the Houses (political factions made up of family clans). Although they mostly rejected their martial ancestral ways while Duchess Satine Kryze was in command, they maintained a police force and secret service. Because the Mandalorians were warriors (whether the pacifists want it or not), they had a strong code of honor, and single combat was an important part of their culture, so much that it was even used to settle leadership disputes.
They had advanced combat training, and their signature combat style (a mix of melee, ranged, hand-to-hand techniques, and technology in their armors) was developed when their conflicts with the Jedi began. The black lightsaber (or Darksaber) appears in many Mandalorian stories as it was created by the first Mandalorian, Tarre Vizsla, becoming a symbol of leadership for the group – and the only way to obtain it is by defeating the previous owner in combat. As you can see, warriorship is a big part of Mandalorian culture.
Boba & Jango Fett’s Mandalorian History
Mandalorians have a very distinctive armor, which has helped them build a reputation that was feared across the galaxy. Both Boba Fett and his father, Jango Fett, wore Mandalorian armors, which kept the memory of Mandalorians alive after the Empire’s subjugation of Mandalore. But even though they looked like Mandalorians, neither Boba or Jango were actual Mandalorians – fans and even characters assumed they were simply because of their iconic armors.
Jango Fett claimed to have been born on the planet Concord Dawn, a Mandalorian world, though the veracity of this isn’t clear. He was widely regarded as the best bounty hunter in the galaxy, but to the eyes of the government of Mandalore, he was a renegade and a pretender. Clone Wars shed some light on the matter, with Mandalore’s Prime Minister Almec saying that Jango Fett was “a common bounty hunter. How he acquired that armor is beyond me.” Jango was later recruited by Darth Tyranus (aka Count Dooku) and relocated to the remote planet of Kamino to serve as the genetic template of clone troopers for the Grand Army of the Republic. His only request was the creation of an unaltered clone he could raise as his son – and that’s how Boba Fett was “born”.
Boba Fett was trained by his father, but he’s not a Mandalorian either simply because he never became one. Anyone – really, anyone – can become a Mandalorian, but even though his father passed on his knowledge to him, Boba Fett never actually learned the Mandalorian way. How he got the armor (or, at least the helmet, as he could have tweaked his father’s armor) is also a mystery, although it’s possible he made his own. Ultimately, Boba Fett is actually an outlaw bounty hunter with a Mandalorian-like armor instead of an actual Mandalorian. However, Boba’s legend kept the image of Mandalorians alive (even if his actions and ethic didn’t exactly match theirs), both in the Star Wars universe and the real world.
The Mandalorians Are Developed From The Boba Fett Myth
Boba Fett was that one character that made only a brief appearance in the original Star Wars trilogy and yet became insanely popular among fans. George Lucas even stated that, had he known Boba Fett was going to be so popular, he would have made his death more exciting (though it was later reported that Lucas had said Boba survived, so there’s that). But aside from being a gold mine for Star Wars, as there are countless products with Boba Fett’s image, his popularity also prompted the expansion of Mandalorian history.
The Expanded Universe is the home of a lot of literature about the Fetts, assumed to be Mandalorians just for their armors – but all that is now considered non-canon. Mandalorians were introduced to canon in Clone Wars, which took some elements from the Expanded Universe, and finally set the record straight on Jango and Boba’s long-assumed Mandalorian status. The Fetts are not part of that culture, but their legend – especially Boba’s – is what made the Mandalorian mythology in this universe possible, and thus the upcoming series as well.
The Mandalorian Series Replaces The Boba Fett Movie
At some point in time, when the Star Wars anthology series of films was still a thing, a Boba Fett spin-off film was in development. The project went as far as to having a director (James Mangold), a producer and writer (Simon Kinberg), and was even said to be an adaptation of a Legends story focused on the character. The project had been teased for so long that fans were eagerly waiting for the film to happen. However, Solo: A Star Wars Story’s underperformance at the box office and mostly bad reviews prompted the studio to not move forward with the rest of the anthology series and instead focus on other projects.
A Boba Fett standalone film might not happen in the foreseeable future (Star Wars is in constant expansion and the studio’s plans change quite often, so really, anything could happen), but The Mandalorian is coming to fill in that void. As previously mentioned, the title alone was enough to make many fans believe that the series will be about the most famous “Mandalorian” of all – but Boba Fett isn’t one, and he’s not even going to appear in the series. Instead, the series will follow an unnamed, independent Mandalorian bounty hunter “in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic”, this after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order.
The Mandalorian doesn’t have a direct connection to Boba Fett, but it wouldn’t have been possible without him and his legend. Hopefully, the series will help expand the Mandalorian mythology a bit more and add more to the legend of Boba Fett, whether he’s still alive or not.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019