The “All-Too-Familiar Mandalorian Armor” in “Star Wars: Empire’s End”

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(This is a review of Book 3. See the reviews for Book 1 and Book 2.)

Today, Chuck Windig’s conclusion to the Aftermath trilogy, “Empire’s End,” hit the shelves.

In “Aftermath,” an acid-damaged set of Mandalorian armor — discovered by a sheriff named Cobb Vanth within the confines of a Jawa sandcrawler — has captivated many fans with the idea that it may be Boba Fett’s.

With “Life Debt,” we discovered that the Jawas have been plundering the depths of the Great Pit of Carkoon and the Sarlacc had been damaged by the explosion of Jabba’s Sail Barge. Charred pieces from “a luxury barge” were also found in the aforementioned sandcrawler.

Now in “Empire’s End,” if you were hoping for any direct, hard-as-duracrete answers about Boba Fett’s ultimate fate, well… we’re just going to have to wait.

“Bring him out!”

Two Red Key raiders—Yimug the Gran, Gweeska the Rodian—drag the man in all-too-familiar Mandalorian armor out into the center of so-called Freetown.”

“You don’t deserve that armor,” Lorgan says, his voice a hiss like sand against sand.

Is it even real Mandalorian armor? Looks like something hammered out on a swindler’s forge. Besides…wearing a strong man’s armor doesn’t change how weak you are. Take his helmet off.”

(Bold emphasis added.)

The book gives us a little more character development for Cobb Vanth — the man wearing the familiar armor here — who is turning out to be quite the interesting character himself. Not to spoil any of his details, but suffice it to say that he has a massive agenda against the Red Key Company that threatens his town.

While the character of Cobb Vanth is unexpectedly a compelling one, we cannot assume that he is Boba Fett nor Boba Fett’s replacement.

Despite this latest description of the gnarled Mandalorian armor, there is no trace of Boba Fett in this book, nor any implication of his presence. We also don’t get any proof that this is really Fett’s armor, although it is strongly implied in these Tatooine interludes.

So, what are your thoughts? Do you think the armor is truly Boba Fett’s? Would you like to see him make a miraculous return in the new canon? If so, how would you like to see his story continue?

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Star Wars Aftermath: Empire's End
Del Rey Books | 2017
AVAILABILITY
Hardcover

(Artwork at top of Boba Fett by Kevin Prangley. Not related to the “Aftermath” trilogy, but close to the look-and-feel of what Cobb Vanth may look like in this scene.)


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4 Comments

  1. Adam says:

    I think Cobb Vanth is a ex-Mandalorian looking for Boba Fett’s remains for a Mandalorian rebellion

  2. Adam says:

    to spark a Mandalorian rebellion*

  3. Joseph O'Hara says:

    I am literally ecstatic with anticipation at seeing Vanth played by Timothy Olyphant, which is possibly the most perfect casting imaginable for the character. And also slightly spooky casting, given that Chuck Wendig imagined him as a hybrid between Justified’s Raylan Givens (played by Olyphant) and Fury Road-era Mad Max (played by Tom Hardy).

    I don’t support the unfortunate theory, though, that Fett will come back for the armor. What is this, ‘Twin Engines of Destruction’? Why can’t fans enthuse about new characters and ideas without having to go back to old and, frankly, banal stories? There is no reason why Fett fans shouldn’t be excited to see Vanth on screen and, not only that, but to want to see the character be involved in loads of stories. Vanth salvaging Fett’s armor does not diminish Fett or, by having Vanth continue to exist, necessitate a showdown between those characters. If anything supporting that as a theory diminishes Fett, it binds our favourite bounty hunter to a single narrative and makes him dependent on his ruined armor as though it was the only thing interesting about him. If his involvement in The Clone Wars is anything to go by, there is the potential for a nuanced character there – one that transcends the armor that old Legends lore and our childhood fantasies have welded him to. I, for one, would be very interested in seeing Fett develope as a character sans armor for a while.

    What we have in Vanth is essentially how Daniel Keys Morgan envisioned Fett pre-prequels, a Western-style law man with a shady past wearing another man’s armor. In fact in Morgan’s ‘Last Man Standing’ short novella heard specifically that Fett’s real name was Jaster Mereel, again pre-prequels lore, and that he had taken the name Boba Fett from someone else. That Fett was older, grizzlier and altogether more Eastwoody and given that Olyphant played Eastwood, aka The Spirit of the West, in ‘Rango’ a few years back I would not be surprised if his Vanth didn’t lean into that imagery in a big way.

    If Fett has abandoned the armor, for reasons as yet known only to folks in the Lucasfilm story group, and we know have – as Wendig intimated – what is effectively Fett’s armored successor, who better than to inherit the acid chewed armor than a character that riffs off that pre-prequel Legends proto-Fett?

    1. Interesting take! Now, it’s just an unofficial report suggesting the “Aftermath” trilogy is informing major plot for “The Mandalorian.” So, possible there’s no Cobb Vanth here. Even Jodo Kast gets mixed up looking like Boba Fett sometimes, as you know from “Twin Engines of Destruction.”

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