The Mandalorian & Nostalgia: The Impact Of A Suit Of Green Armor

Disney's immensely successful series The Mandalorian debuted its second season with a powerful nod to one of the communities fan-favorite characters, Boba Fett, with an episode dedicated to his iconic armor.

Jon Favreau's The Mandalorian has been a smash hit for Disney and has single handily created the success seen in Disney plus. It's no surprise that its second season hit Disney's titular streaming service with a bang considering its rockstar characters, soundtrack, visuals, and production. Boasting a critic rating of 94% and a consumer rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, The Mandalorian season two is setting out to be just as successful as season one. 

There's a lot to unpack in the first episode; between Baby Yoda, worm dragons, and pit fights, there's one thing that stands out, a particular suit of green armor. Fans of the series will recognize it as the iconic suit worn by Boba Fett, the original Mandalorian. 

Boba Fett is one of the series fan-favorite charters; he was even rated #3 in Rolling Stone's 50 best Star Wars characters of all-time list. Fett has been the subject of several book series, seen countless game inclusions, and inspired cosplayers the world over. The impact of Fett as a character in the series can't be understated. We literally wouldn't have The Mandalorian without Boba Fett. 

His screen presence in the original series is shockingly small compared to his on-screen counterparts. With only a whopping four lines and a total of 6 minutes 32 seconds of screen time, it's somewhat shocking Fett had the impact that he did. With this in mind, fans have rightly assumed most of his initial appeal comes from his design.

Each element of his character's appearance allowed him to stand out, even stealing the spotlight from the main cast at specific points. The primary aspects of the design, namely the helmet and jetpack, are immediately recognizable and, at the time, not like any other character. Alongside this, his color scheme of deep greens, bright yellows, and red accents allowed him to pop amongst the muted beiges of Mos Eisley. 

With the appeal of Boba Fett attributed to his looks, it's fitting then that the initial episode in season two focuses around his titular armor. Even more to this point, the show is going out of its way to emphasize Fett's armor's importance, both on a narrative and meta-level. The first season of the Mandalorian shows that Mando and his people hold their armor a religious reverence. This reverence acts as a nod to the importance of Fett's original design. Still, more importantly, it creates a direct connection between Mando and the Audience.

As Mando and fans both treat Fett and, more importantly, his armor as powerful icons. This creative approach allows the audience to have the same immediate response to Fett's armor as Mando; shock, awe, and deep concern. By doing so, the story creates an excellent, empathetic relationship with Mando right away, increasing our investment in his quest.

Beyond clever meta-commentary and empathetic connections, the inclusion of Fett's armor makes for some fantastic story potential. Fett, as a figure, is incredibly famous in the Star Wars canon. He was known as the best bounty hunter in the galaxy. He was feared as much as he was respected, especially to bounty hunters, and doubly so to Mandalorians. Therefore, it makes sense then that Mando would treat this armor with such respect. He would honor it from a religious standpoint, of course, but he would also have a vested interest in finding out why Fett lost it in the first place.

Which means he would likely go through hell and back to make sure it sees its proper resting place, or more importantly, returned to its rightful owner. As in this episode, we never learn what happens to Boba Fett; the armor was worn by a local sheriff who got it at the Mos Eisley version of a pawn shop. The episode concludes with Mando, the sheriff, a small town's populace, and a clan of sand people killing a Krayt Dragon. This results in Mando getting Fett's armor from the sheriff and riding off into the sunset, but not before an ominous figure watches from afar. 

I was impressed at the show's author's ability to create a fantastic episode based on, what is functional, fan service. But unlike most fan service, which is all too often shallow and pandering, this call back to the Mandalorian that started it all felt both powerful and appropriate.

Samuel completed his Bachelor of Film and Media Arts from University of Utah and has more than 5 years of experience in high quality content production

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