Huge spoiler for “The Mandalorian” Season 2, Episode 1: Boba Fett lives!
The last time in canon Star Wars we saw the iconic bounty hunter Boba Fett was when he fell into the Sarlacc Pit in “Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,” though many fans argued that his armor appeared in a “Star Wars: Aftermath” book — a claim that seems to have confirmed as Cobb Vanth, the character that dons that armor appears in “Mandalorian” dressed in Fett’s old armor. This of course leads to immediate speculation as to whether or not Fett is still alive, a question the show answers in short fashion with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo of Temuera Morrison as him in the very last scene of the episode.
Fett is scarred and alone, suggesting that he might have been roaming Tatooine for a very long time after “Return of the Jedi.” But what has he been up to, and what are the show’s plans for him? Here are two scenarios I think are most probable:
1. Fett was stripped of his armor by Jawas and wants it back
We learn from the episode that Vanth bought Fett’s armor off of Jawas, and as such, it would make a lot of sense that they would have stripped it off a weakened Fett, especially given how valuable we know Mandalorian armor is. This would also support why he was so close to the Mando, Vanth, the townspeople of Mos Pelgo and the Tusken Raiders at the end of the episode, though it does beg the question that if Fett had been on Tatooine all these years, why didn’t he try to reclaim his armor sooner?
2. Fett is in hiding and done with everything
I think this is more likely. Bounty hunting is a hard profession, and it’s possible that after being eaten alive by the Sarlacc Pit and escaping it only to find that one of his biggest employers — the Galactic Empire — has fallen, Fett decided to ditch the armor and call it a day, living the rest of his days in isolation as a hermit.
If Fett were to retire, he’d have to ditch his armor, as his enemies identify him with it, and its value would only serve to draw unwanted attention.
Though both scenarios have the same main conclusion: Fett has been doing a whole lot of nothing on Tatooine for the five years between “Return of the Jedi” and “Mandalorian.” And I don’t expect to see much of him in this show, unless Mando having his armor directly forces him into conflict with Fett during a later episode. But for fans, and what this means for Star Wars going forward, I think the main takeaway is this:
“The Mandalorian” showrunners are committed to honoring and respecting legacy characters
After the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy’s mishandling of all original trilogy legacy characters save for Han Solo — especially with Luke Skywalker, whose character arc and direction is truly mind-boggling — I couldn’t help but fear for the worst when I first saw Vanth in Fett’s armor. It was like the show as dancing on the grave of Boba Fett, holding his corpse up to mock us with it. Or so I first thought.
Vanth was quickly developed as a likeable character who donned the armor with purpose, and breathed new life into it. And at the end of the day, it was revealed that Fett was not killed off after all, and that the showrunners were willing to preserve the integrity of his character, even though I’m not sure they’re going to do much with him.
It’s miles away from how the sequel trilogy handled legacy characters, and it inspires from me even greater confidence in the showrunners’ care of the franchise.
Note: There is a possibility that I’m wrong, and who we see is a completely different character played by Morrison. But I find this highly unlikely, not only because it would serve no purpose other than to enrage fans, but the only other canon characters it would make sense for Morrison to play — clone from the prequels — would all be in their 80s at this point.