Jon Favreau Says ‘The Mandalorian’ Is Not a Boba Fett Tribute

You could be forgiven for thinking The Mandalorian, the first live action Star Wars series, has something to do with Boba Fett. They both wear very similar-looking gear, complete with a helmet featuring what looks like a T-shaped visor. 

However, Jon Favreau, the primary creative force behind the series, is here to tell you that The Mandalorian is not Boba Fett. Some may say, “Uh-huh. And JJ Abrams said that Benedict Cumberbatch wasn’t Kahn in Star Trek Into Darkness too.” However, we don’t think Favreau is pulling a fast one. 

What is a Mandalorian, anyway?

Jon Favreau speaking onstage
Jon Favreau | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

People who know Star Wars primarily from the movies may be confused, because that word has never been mentioned in any of the films.  Wikipedia defines it as a fictional race of people from the planet Mandalore. They are a warrior people who work as mercenaries or bounty hunters. 

Pedro Pascal will play the title role in the series premiering November 12 on Disney+. While he looks very much like Boba Fett, that character is not a true Mandalorian but a clone who wears Mandalorian gear and adopts their lifestyle. The Mandalorian in the new show is the real deal, according to EW

“Our guy is operating in a much more unforgiving landscape,” Favreau said. “A place where survival is difficult enough, let alone flourishing in that atmosphere and the politics have dissolved. It’s ‘might is right.’ And how does somebody earn a living when there’s no structure to society anymore and everything is collapsing in on itself? How do you work your way through the world?”

How did Boba Fett come to be? 

Most people first saw Boba Fett in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back. Although the character didn’t really do or say much (even less so in Return of the Jedi), he became a fan favorite as a kind of grade-A henchman. 

However, his character actually predates Empire. Although the character, and the concept of the Mandalorian race were created for the movie, his first mass media actually came in animated segments of the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, a 1978 production that only aired once on CBS. George Lucas hated it so much, he refused to reissue it. 

After Boba Fett became popular, however, Lucasfilm expanded on his mythology, and the actual race first appeared in a 1983 comic book.

The character retained enough of a following that Disney was going to make a standalone Boba Fett film, directed by James Mangold (Logan), but Lucasfilm killed that project after another standalone Star Wars tale, Solo, became the first Star Wars movie to lose money. 

What’s the buzz on ‘The Mandalorian?’ 

Anticipation is extremely high for the series, which got ecstatic reactions after Lucasfilm showed footage culled together from several episodes. Lucasfilm dropped a second trailer that seems to focus more on the character’s origins.

It’s narrated by Werner Herzog, an iconoclastic indie filmmaker who also works as an actor. 

“If The Mandalorian turns out to be as good as the trailers have me hyped for it to be, then let’s just give Jon Favreau a Star Wars trilogy of films and go to bed happy,” tweeted Ryan McCaffrey of IGN.

This news came the same day it was announced that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss backed away from making Star Wars movies to concentrate on their Netflix deal.

The Mandalorian is set after the Empire crumbles in Return of the Jedi but before the rise of the First Order in The Force Awakens. While Boba Fett was a villain, the Mandalorian will be more of an anti-hero. 

“Ultimately he wants to do the right thing,” Pascal explained. “But his duties could very much be in conflict with his destiny and doing the right thing has many faces.