Boba Fett has been a Star Wars icon for years, but The Mandalorian gave us the Boba Fett we always wanted.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian.
There has always been a Mandalorian at the forefront of the Star Wars universe, even if he never earned it. Boba Fett has his own fan club, he is one of the most merchandised characters in the Star Wars galaxy and what’s he actually done?
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He can often be found standing, hands crossed. Perhaps he nods. Or says three words. But does he ever do anything that merits immortality? He takes a few shots—misses—gets thrown into the Sarlacc pit, largely by accident, and because of popular demand, no one will even confirm him as dead.
It’s all because he looked cool. That’s it. And the inherent belief that bounty hunters are badasses. The rest is hearsay. Rumors. People in the movie know of and have a reaction to the name and presence of Boba Fett, therefore he must be powerful.
Jon Favreau and the team behind the Mandalorian successfully ruined Boba Fett by creating the Mandalorian we’ve only ever dreamed Boba Fett to be.
You think about all the things that Boba Fett might have done that we never saw—fly around, kill whole armies, thrive in hand-to-hand combat, sparkle in the sunlight (just me?), shoot with pinpoint accuracy, have a mastery of numerous weapons.
Boba Fett has done maybe 5% of that. At least 5% that can be confirmed. But even if you go by what he’s done outside of his grand showing in the original trilogy, he doesn’t stack up to his competition. Maybe give him 75%.
Din Djarin, on the other hand? 100%. No, check that. 110%, because he one-upped Boba Fett with the father card too. And you’d think, after seeing his own father decapitated, that Fett would make being a father to some strange alien a higher priority. Maybe even went looking for his own Baby Yoda.
Din Djarin lost his father too. But rather than become a mediocre bounty hunter with no discernible conscience and a complete lack of personality, Din Djarin became a bounty hunter, then broke out of that because of his conscience, became a father first, and ended up with a complete story arc that is only going to get better in season two.
In short, Din Djarin could kick Boba Fett’s ass to Mon Cala and back. He also knows—or learned, rather—how to trust his support group. I don’t think Fett would ever entrust anything to Bossk or Dengar or his usual network of bros.
And sure, you could make the case that Star Wars wasn’t about Fett, so why would we see that much of him. Din Djarin gets his own TV show, of course he’s going to pop more. But even using the logic that you can only make the most of what you’re given, Boba Fett didn’t. He needed Darth Vader’s help to catch Han Solo and when it came to capturing him back, he died by accident.
Din Djarin didn’t die (yet [and hopefully ever]) but in the moment when it felt like he might, he demanded a hero’s death. To go out fighting. Not screaming. Not getting digested.
Jon Favreau is a genius. He took a fan favorite in Boba Fett, who had no depth to character beyond surface conjecture and what’s been added outside of the movies, and he gave us a better version of him with a different name. Touche, Mr. Favreau. Touche.
The Mandalorian is currently streaming on Disney+.