When Timothy Olyphant showed up in the Season 2 premiere of Disney+’s The Mandalorian, and as the titular Marshal of the episode no less, viewers were delighted. Aside from being the latest in a series of stellar surprise guest performances on the show, Olyphant was clearly having a blast playing the kind of swaggering Western hero he perfected during his time on Justified.
But to fans of the wider Star Wars lore, Olyphant’s appearance as Cobb Vanth goes deeper. Yes, Vanth’s acquisition of Boba Fett’s armor from the Jawas in “The Marshal” made it official that the legendary bounty hunter made it out of the Sarlacc and is still alive somewhere, but there’s even more to it than that.
As a new video on the Star Wars Explained YouTube channel points out, Cobb Vanth isn’t a brand new character; he’s actually been part of the franchise’s sprawling mythology for a while now.
Back when J.J. Abrams took the helm of Star Wars for the sequel trilogy, he ruffled a lot of fans’ feathers by effectively erasing the continuity of the vast extended universe that had been built up via novels and comic books over several decades, and brought in science fiction novelist Chuck Wendig to write a new, “official” account of the events that took place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. This new trilogy of books, entitled Aftermath, included a subplot involving Cobb Vanth and his activity on Tatooine following the destruction of the Death Star.
Vanth’s version of events in “The Marshal” does differ slightly from the way it all plays out in the books, but that’s easily explained away as showrunner Jon Favreau wanting to finesse the character’s backstory in order to mine greater dramatic potential out of “The Marshal.” For instance, in the books, Vanth cooperates with the Tusken raiders, while in the show, it takes Mando’s intervention to get Vanth and the people of Mos Pelgo to see past their differences with the desert nomads.
Check out the video below for more details on Cobb Vanth’s place in the wider Star Wars story, and the role he still might play if he shows up again on The Mandalorian. After all, both he and Mando did say he hoped their paths would cross again.
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