Boba Fett is back from Star Wars purgatory after spending many years as neither dead nor alive. In Chapter 14 of “The Mandalorian,” Fett not only makes his reappearance but he also shows us that he and his father (Jango Fett) are both Mandalorians. If you have watched “The Clone Wars” television show, you may have some questions regarding how the Fetts are Mandalorian. After all, the Prime Minister of Mandalore said that they were only common bounty hunters. In this article, I am going to break down how all this information ties together and even delve into how Boba Fett is a little different from the rest of the Mandalorians.
Before we talk about the present, we must look into the past and examine some older Star Wars material. In the Legends comic book titled “Jango Fett: Open Seasons” and the video game called “Star Wars: Bounty Hunter,” we see the origin of Jango Fett, Death Watch, and many other Mandalorian stories. In these stories, Jango Fett’s parents were killed by the Death Watch because they were protecting an opposing Mandalorian faction called the True Mandalorians. Jango managed to get free and was rescued by Jaster Mereel who was the leader of the True Mandalorians. Long story short, Jango was adopted by Mereel, Jango advanced through the Mandalorian ranks, Mereel was killed, and Jango continued on in his place.
Thanks to The Mandalorian, we now see that this story or something similar to it is now Canon. Boba tells Mando that Jango was a Foundling and that he fought in the Mandalorian Civil Wars. Many people, including myself, have even translated the chain code in Boba’s armor and it lists Jango’s mentor as “Jaste.” It hasn’t been confirmed, but that piece of information leans very closely to Jaster Mereel being Jango’s mentor once again.
“Now hold on,” you might be saying, “didn’t Prime Minister Almec say that Jango was just a common bounty hunter?” Yes, he did say that. There are actually a few ways you could view his statement. Almec supported the Death Watch during the Clone Wars. In “Open Seasons,” the True Mandalorians were at war with the Death Watch. Assuming this is the basis for the lore of Jango being a Foundling and serving in the Mandalorian Civil Wars, it would make sense for Jango to have fought against the Death Watch. This would also mean that Almec would be at odds with Jango. Another theory is that Almec only views people born on Mandalore as Mandalorians. Jango was born on Concord Dawn — in the Mandalore sector — and was inducted into the culture. The theories could be endless but the most important thing to keep in mind is that Almec has shown that he only cares about his own well-being, he has lied to his other Mandalorians, and he has even murdered his fellow Mandalorians. I wouldn’t trust anything he says. However, I would trust Boba Fett who actually has a written document of his heritage.
Speaking of Boba Fett, when he first met The Mandalorian he said that he was just a simple man making his way through the galaxy instead of saying that he was a Mandalorian. Yet he showed Mando his chain code which stated that he was a Mandalorian by heritage. So, the question remains: is Boba Fett a Mandalorian or was that just what his father was?
To answer this question, I did some research into a real-life example. During the feudal period of Japan, there were Samurai called “Ronin.” Ronin was the title given to Samurai whose masters had died or who had lost their master’s favor. These Samurai would wander Japan and most took up work as mercenaries. Some would serve as bodyguards for wealthy merchants or guards for caravans. I like to compare Boba Fett to the Ronin. Boba lost his father at the hands of Jedi Master Mace Windu. Jango could also equal as Boba’s mentor or master since Jango was teaching Boba before he died. Since Jango died, Boba was now the last member of Clan Fett and he was without a master or mentor. Instead of regroup with other Mandalorians, he chose to wander the galaxy as a mercenary and sell his skills to the highest payer. If a Ronin is still considered a Samurai, then Boba Fett would still be considered a Mandalorian.
Of course, there are some limitations with this example. That’s the result of comparing fiction with reality. However, I still feel like it is a very good example. George Lucas and Dave Filoni both like to use Samurai films as inspiration for Star Wars, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they used the Ronin as an example for Boba Fett.
With all that said, I think it is safe to conclude that there is no specific way of becoming a Mandalorian in Canon. You can be born a Mandalorian, be adopted into the culture, or continue in your parent’s footsteps. This new episode for The Mandalorian added some much-needed pieces to the overall puzzle and opened up many doors for the future. I have high hopes for the future of Mandalore and I cannot wait to see where they go next with the Mandalorians.