The Mandalorian’s second season already has enough interesting things going on—babies yoda! sabers dark!—before it started heaping on the prospects of bringing back a few familiar faces…including the seeming, ominous return of Boba Fett. But a new report suggests things aren’t quite going to go the way many people may have expected.
Last week, the Hollywood Reporter got word that Deadwood and Justified icon Timothy Olyphant had joined the cast of The Mandalorian’s second season, but the trade was uncertain about just who Olyphant would be playing. Now, /Film is reporting the identity of Olyphant’s character, and not only is it a familiar one in the universe of Star Wars, it’s also paradoxically a very unfamiliar one: according to /Film, Olyphant is playing Cobb Vanth—a character you may not have heard of, but has very important connotations to the story of Boba Fett in the rebooted canon of Star Wars.
In Chuck Wendig’s trilogy of novels, Star Wars: Aftermath, Vanth makes a minor appearance in side-chapters woven throughout the first novel as a lawman on Tatooine. Vanth, a former human slave who freed himself, procures a set of acid-stained Beskar armour from a group of Jawas that is heavily implied to be Boba Fett’s—discarded by the gluttonous sarlacc after it seemingly munched him to death in Return of the Jedi.
Vanth uses the armour to become the protector and mayor of a small settlement he names Freetown, using the masked visage of it to hide his identity and reclaim Freetown as a place for good and honoured people on Tatooine, defending its citizens from the scum and villainy typically associated with the planet (Vanth sounds like just the role Olyphant was made for!). It’s an interesting way of continuing Fett’s legacy, to the say the least, but it’s always been kept very vague as to what was going on—Vanth has not appeared in any other media beyond the Aftermath books since. Now we might seemingly be getting answers.
Given that THR had also previously reported that Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett and the Clone Troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic in the Star Wars prequels, would be donning the armour of his clone son in the season as well, this raises plenty of interesting questions about how Morrison’s role will now play out if Olyphant’s purported role turns out to be true. Will he be playing Boba Fett in flashbacks, if Olyphant’s Vanth currently wears his armour, and Fett truly is still digesting in that Sarlacc stomach? Or has he indeed survived, and is now rather miffed that someone else is using his armour and his reputation in a way he may not necessarily agree with?
This opens up so many fascinating opportunities than just having Boba Fett back alive and well would, a way to comment on the legacy Fett’s imagery had in and out of Star Wars as a piece of fiction without just simply giving way to the easy fandom nostalgia of resurrecting him from his slow, excruciating death.
Or at least, we’d quite like to think so. We’ll bring you more on The Mandalorian’s plans for season two as and when we learn them.