Lucasfilm / Disney
A regular 1978 Kenner action figure of Boba Fett goes for around £200 on eBay. If the vintage Star Wars toy is actually on its original ‘unpunched’ card, that can take you all the way up to £18,000 as it did in 2015 at an auction in Stockton-on-Tees. But if you find a pristine, carded Boba Fett Kenner Products prototype with a rare J-slot firing rocket, which never shipped due to safety concerns and collectors believe only 20 figures are out there, that’s $157,500. In other words, less is more when it comes to Boba Fett.
The Mandalorian armour-wearing bounty hunter, whose screen time is less than 18 minutes across The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi (though he features elsewhere), appears to make an appearance in the closing sting of the Jon Favreau written and directed opener to The Mandalorian season two, now available to stream on Disney+.
His iconic, customised helmet and armour, now faded almost beyond the recognition of anyone but YouTube detectives, pop up much earlier in the episode, on Marshall Cobb Vanth, human neckerchief Timothy Olyphant hamming it up nicely. And the actor we see brooding in the Tatooine desert is Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones; with Boba, of course being Jango’s clone/son in true Star Wars fashion.
As Luke Skywalker once said, “no-one’s ever really gone” and it seems this applies to Boba Fett, who fell into a deadly Sarlacc pit after Han Solo knocked his jetpack with a pole in Return of the Jedi. Our Mandalorian in the TV series, Din Djarin, is searching for more of his people to help him in his quest to deliver Baby Yoda – The Child – to Jedi who can take care of everyone’s favourite new animatronic addition to the Star Wars universe. So the plot checks out for the reintroduction of the character and the grizzled, scarred face of Morrison in episode one certainly matches The Mandalorian’s dark, Western aesthetic.
Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni are walking a seriously teeny tightrope here, though. The closer The Mandalorian gets to the core saga, the more risk they take of turning fan service into uncontrollable toxic fan rage. Holding out until the closing moments of this first 54 minute instalment shows restraint – though I do wish they’d held back even more by keeping Morrison with his back to the camera as Mando speeds by with his armour.
There’s also the Solo of it all. As the Screen Junkies Honest Trailer points out, no-one asked for the line where Han is assigned the name ‘Solo’ by a pompous Imperial Navy recruitment officer. Seeing beat-up Star Wars relics, whether it’s ships, trinkets or people, adds a certain thrill but Kathleen Kennedy and her stable of directors have been known to overdo it. The gold dice in the Millennium Falcon spring to mind.
And Boba Fett is perhaps the classic example of the gaps in his timeline, whether filled in by comics like Enemy of the Empire and Bounty on Bar-Kooda or not, driving the mystery and the appeal to fans and, Disney no doubt notes, collectors. The coming weeks will reveal how precious Favreau and Filoni will be with the Boba Fett mythology. If we see more than 18 minutes of him, though, chances are they’ve made a mistake.
The best evidence that The Mandalorian season two isn’t veering too heavily into territory covered by the original trilogy is the 99 per cent of the first episode that doesn’t feature a character who may or may not be Boba Fett. Like the first series, it looks epic enough but more importantly it’s all refreshingly local, even though the action does take place in the ghost town of Mos Pelgo on Tatooine. Favreau is clearly having a lot of fun, verging almost into parody with his Beskar armour clinking and finger twitching in the saloon, I mean cantina.
Our lone wolf Mando is enlisted by the aforementioned Marshall to take on a Krayt dragon that’s terrorising the town and eating unsuspecting banthas; his cub Baby Yoda barely makes a peep all episode. This Dune-meets-Moby Dick ‘slay the leviathan’ set piece is full of dust and sand and dragon bile, yet still manages to look beautiful thanks to Favreau’s eye for angles.
In the lead up to this, we get all the beats we’ve come to expect from season one. A tight fight sequence at a Gamorrean Guard axe battle, Jawas, Tusken raiders, a smattering of Amy Sedaris wisecracks, a nighttime campfire and those earworm musical themes from Ludwig Göransson. It’s a formula and it sure does work. This Mandalorian doesn’t need too much outside help.
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