Why The Book of Boba Fett Needed That Mandalorian Episode

Star Wars' new series The Book of Boba Fett took a detour from its own titular premise to do an episode of The Mandalorian. Mando gets a variety of upgrades and status quo changes for Season 3, but that detour in character and narrative has sparked something of a fierce debate in Star Wars fandom. A lot of people are now going in on how the best Book of Boba Fett episode is one that has nothing to do with Boba Fett – but that's quite the case. 

There's a distinct thematic reason the makers of Star Wars TV included this side-story of The Mandalorian in The Book of Boba Fett – let's explain: 

In "Chapter 5: The Return of The Mandalorian" Din Djarin finds himself in a strange limbo: he's kicked out of his Mandalorian clan for committing the "crime" of having taken off his helmet in front of others (during the mission to save Baby Yoda in season 2). At the same time, Mando won the Darksaber in battle against Moff Gideon, and that sword stands as symbol of leadership in the Mandalorian culture. Mando is told by the Armorer that he can only redeem himself in the waters beneath the mines of Mandalore – mines that have been destroyed by the Empire. In short: Mando has the chance to go from being the black sheep of his clan to the potential savior who brings the scattered clans back to Mandalore. 

Why We Needed This Mando Story in Book of Boba Fett

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(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Mando gets the request to re-team with Boba Fett and Fennect Shand at the very end of the episode and takes the job at no cost. It would have been easy to just have BoBF bring in Din Djarin's "muscle" as a crossover novelty – but instead, Star Wars seems to be building something bigger, and more significant. 

"The Return of the Mandalorian" builds a serious thematic bridge between Boba Fett and Din Djarin: one that needs to be established in the unfolding Star Wars Universe franchise. Both characters are legendary Bounty Hunters distinguished by their Mandalorian armor; at the same time, both are now "black sheep" that don't truly belong to the Mandalorian culture but still have deep ties to it.

The Mandalorian Season 2 re-introduced Boba Fett by also retconning his father, Jango Fett, into a Mandalorian warrior (not just a bounty hunter wearing the armor). The Book of Boba Fett has been exploring Boba's arc of getting a "second life" in which he is beginning to view having a family (or tribe, clan, gang, whatever...) as a serious need. However, getting that family has proven to be a hard quest. Din Djarin has also learned the value of family from his time with Grogu, and now has to rediscover his place in any kind of family, through some arduous quests and/or fights. 

By aligning these two characters in both mind state and purpose, Star Wars has created fertile ground for a strong new union between Boba Fett and The Mandalorian, as the larger story of Mandalore and its people moves forward in the franchise. So when you wonder why you enjoyed The Mandalorian episode of Book of Boba Fett so much, consider all the groundwork that led up to it – and just how much it will contribute to such big payoffs, down the line. 

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The Book of Boba Fett is now streaming on Disney+.