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'The Mandalorian' continues to make us ask – what is "the way"? Boba Fett was the first Mandalorian we knew, but is he a true Mandalorian?

Is Boba Fett a Mandalorian? A look at all the fan theories

As more Mandalorian warriors fill our screens, our excitement levels continue to soar as high as their jetpacks launch them. Who isn’t enamored by cool Mandalorian armor variations – blue, green, red, silver. But is it really the shiny shell that makes a Mandalorian? What lies inside the Mandalorian armor? 

The first Mandalorian Star Wars fans are introduced to is Boba Fett, a bounty hunter donning his class green helm & chest piece. Now, Disney Plus’s The Mandalorian is taking a deep look into what it means to be a Mandalorian and how their presence proliferated in the Star Wars universe. 

The end of The Mandalorian season 2 episode 1, “The Marshal” flashed us a stunning shot of actor Temuera Morrison (a familiar Fett actor), indicating that Boba Fett is alive and may have a real presence on the show this season. But after our knowledge of the Mandalorians has expanded, fans can’t help but ask –  is Boba Fett a true Mandalorian?

(Spoiler warning: this article does explore events of the latest The Mandalorian season 2 episode 3, “The Heiress”. So if you’re not quite caught up, get to it!)

Baby Boba

To answer the question of whether or not Boba Fett is a Mandalorian, it’s important to look at where he came from and how he was raised. Boba Fett’s origins are certainly not that of the typical Mandalorian. Though, it’s essential to note that Boba Fett does still wear armor of the planet Mandalore (or did wear the armor before Cobb Vanth found it.) 

Boba Fett is actually a clone of Mandalorian bounty hunter Jango Fett. Played by Temuera Morrison in the Star Wars prequels, Jango Fett requested an unaltered clone of himself to be raised as his son. Thus, Boba was taught the ways of the Mandalorian from his father. 

However, with only his father as an idol Boba Fett was relatively isolated from the strong presence of Mandalorian culture, unlike Mandalorian protag Din Djarin who grew up with a devout Mandalorian collective. Moreover, when he was only ten, Boba’s father Jango died in the Battle of Geonosis, and his sole Mandalorian influence was severed. 

Does Boba say “this is the way?” 

It’s hard to discern exactly how Boba Fett’s Mandalorian upbringing impacts his way of life. He certainly adopted the tradition of becoming a bounty hunter from his father. As seen in the original Star Wars trilogy, Boba Fett worked a lot for Jabba the Hutt and Darth Vader on occasion. Though his on-screen time was relatively brief (and his lines even more brief) he became a fan favorite. 

Thus Boba Fett’s return in The Mandalorian is a gift for fans longing to know more about him and what he’s up to now that we know he survived the treacherous sarlacc pit. Considering Boba was presented as a villain to the original Star Wars protagonists, his definition of the Mandalorian way may have been less merciful than Din Djarin’s who currently stands at odds with Imperial forces trying to capture the Child (Baby Yoda.) 

What defines a Mandalorian?

Technically, neither Boba Fett nor Din Djarin are literal Mandalorians because neither of them are from the planet Mandalore, the place where Mandalorian people and the Mandalorian culture originates. Din isn’t a native Mandalorian since he was rescued as a foundling by his new tribe, and Boba was a clone raised on planet Kamino.

But being a Mandalorian obviously reaches beyond location & lineage. Different Mandalorian groups, such as the “New Mandalorians” and the “Death Watch” broke off and established their own culture with new ideals. 

After the last episode of The Mandalorian, “The Heiress”, we got a glimpse of Mandalorians following a code that strays from Din Djarin’s strict Mandalorian tradition. As new Mandalorian character Bo-Katan Kryze illuminated, Din’s traditions aren’t universal. 

Din Djarin was brought up by the “Children of the Watch” described as a “cult of religious zealots”, who draw from old values commanding him to eternally hide his face. However, as evident by the newly-introduced Mandalorians, removing helmets isn’t always a core Mandalorian principle. 

Renowned in Star Wars history, Bo-Katan Kryze (played by Katee Sackhoff) has been a part of several splinter Mandalorian groups like the Children of the Watch. Therefore, she’s surveyed Mandalorian culture as it has spread & developed. Seeking the heralded dark saber, Bo-Katan will undoubtedly be a Mandalorian to remember throughout the series.

What is “the way”?

So, what does make a Mandalorian a Mandalorian? This question will undoubtedly continue to be explored throughout the series as Din Djarin grapples with new challenges. Will he hold onto his traditional ways or will “the way” become more elastic as he journeys on? 

Will Boba Fett face these questions about his Mandalorian identity as well? When (or if) Boba Fett makes contact with Din Djarin, how will their Mandalorian ways contrast? We’re still reeling with questions about if Boba is still a bounty hunter or what his next plans are, but we’ll just have to patiently wait for him to reappear.    

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