Warning: Contains SPOILERS for The Mandalorian season 2, episode 1, “Chapter 9 – The Marshal”.
The Mandalorian season 2 features Timothy Olyphant as Cobb Vanth, who wears Boba Fett’s armor as the marshal of Mos Pelgo on Tatooine, and was previously established as a character in Star Wars novels. In 1977, George Lucas introduced viewers to Tatooine, the desert planet. “If there’s a bright center to the universe, you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from,” Luke Skywalker complained as he wistfully longed for a life in the stars. For all Luke’s words, though, Tatooine has become a recurring location in Star Wars, revisited with surprising frequency. In fact, The Mandalorian isn’t the only Star Wars series that features the Marshal; The Book of Boba Fett includes Cobb Vanth in its cast as well, as the final episodes of the bounty hunter-focused series are set on Star Wars’ iconic planet of Tatooine.
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Din Djarin first visited Tatooine in The Mandalorian season 1, when he took on the mercenary and assassin Fennec Shand. He returned in The Mandalorian season 2, episode 1, “Chapter 9 – The Marshal”, as part of his quest to discover fellow Mandalorians. Unfortunately it turned out to be a dead end, because Din Djarin had stumbled upon an ordinary man who’d acquired Mandalorian armor from a bunch of Jawas. The armor was instantly recognizable, of course; it actually belonged to Boba Fett, who was revealed to still be alive on Tatooine in the final scene.
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The Mandalorian’s Marshal is in fact an established character in Star Wars lore. Cobb Vanth was first introduced in Chuck Wendig’s “Aftermath” trilogy, a series of books that released from 2015 to 2017, which essentially set up his role in The Mandalorian season 2. When Star Wars audiences last saw the Marshal, The Book of Boba Fett cast left him inside Fett’s bacta tank, as he apparently survived getting shot by Cad Bane. Here’s everything else you need to know about Cobb Vanth, Tatooine’s lone lawman and Marshall of Mos Pelgo.
Cobb Vanth’s Backstory (From Star Wars Books)
The Mandalorian season 2 may see Cobb Vanth make his live-action debut, but he was introduced in Lucasfilm’s Star Wars books. When Lucasfilm started planning out the Star Wars sequels, they hired Chuck Wendig to write a series of novels set immediately after Return of the Jedi, explaining how the galaxy reacted to the death of Emperor Palpatine. Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy charted the collapse of the Empire, the Battle of Jakku, and even the birth of Leia’s son, Ben. A series of interludes broke away from the main story, revealing what was happening on other worlds. Several of these were set on Tatooine, where a man in Mandalorian armor cut a swathe through slavers who attempted to run the planet after Jabba’s fall.
The story matches up broadly with the one told in The Mandalorian season 2. Cobb Vanth was a former slave who celebrated the fall of the Empire, and then was shaken to realize the galaxy wasn’t just going to default to stability. Groups like the Mining Guild saw an opportunity in the chaos, and encroached on Hutt territory in order to take over Tatooine – similar to how the Pyke Syndicate intimidated the Hutts. “Tatooine has its resources,” one representative of the Mining Guild explained in a conversation. “Dilarium oil. Silicax oxalate. But its so-called people are the most vital resource of them all. Some of the galaxy’s legacy breeding stock is here, and we wouldn’t want to diminish those slave bloodlines.” Vanth escaped being enslaved again by the Mining Guild, and fled into the desert.
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How The Marshal Got Boba Fett’s Armor
The Mandalorian season 2 doesn’t explain how Cobb Vanth acquired Boba Fett’s Mandalorian armor, but that tale is told in the Aftermath trilogy. Although Boba Fett was swallowed by the Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi, it seems the creature died soon after, critically injured by the explosion of Jabba’s sail barge. Industrious Jawas flocked to the corpse, scavenging for all they could find, and among their prizes they discovered a suit of Mandalorian armor, which was confirmed to be Fett’s armor in The Book of Boba Fett. Although readers understandably assumed that this was Boba Fett’s armor, the books themselves were ambiguous, because there’s no way of knowing how long a suit of beskar could survive inside the Sarlacc’s stomach; it could potentially have been from another Mandalorian who was fed to the Sarlacc thousands of years ago. That ambiguity is resolved in The Mandalorian season 2, with viewers immediately able to recognize the armor.
The Mandalorian season 2 simplifies the story of how Cobb Vanth acquired the Mandalorian armor from the Jawas. But, frankly, there’s no reason he would tell Mando every detail of his life, so there’s no continuity problem there. Still, the end result was the same; Vanth decided to declare himself Tatooine’s first Marshal, and he used the armor to dramatic effect, freeing the town of Mos Pelgo. To the Marshal, Mos Pelgo is “Freetown,” a place where no slaves are held. Presumably, he gained a reputation among slavers, who objected to their trade being disrupted but found themselves unable to defeat him – and, ultimately, word of the Marshal was passed to Din Djarin.
Who Plays The Marshal/Cobb Vanth in Mandalorian Season 2
Lucasfilm has cast to type with the Marshal, as Timothy Olyphant takes on the role of Cobb Vanth. A Hawaiian actor who was raised in California, Olyphant’s career has frequently seen him play the part of conflicted lawmen and even U.S. Marshals; he’s best known for playing Sheriff Seth Bullock in HBO’s Deadwood and Kentucky Marshal Raylan Givens in FX’s drama Justified. Interviewers note he essentially plays this character in real life as well, treating conversations as sparring matches, consistently demonstrating an ironic deadpan sense of humor, which is in full display during his interviews with talk show host Conan O’Brien. He’s even taken to walking around wearing a cowboy hat. Little wonder Olyphant was willing to become another Marshal, this time in a galaxy far, far away.
What Happens To The Marshall in Book Of Boba Fett
After the events of The Mandalorian season 2, Cobb Vanth returned to the Star Wars universe in The Book of Boba Fett season 1, episode 6 “Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger.” When Fennec Shand finds Din Djarin in Tatooine to enlist his help against the Pyke Syndicate, Djarin in turn enlists the help of Vanth and the people of Freetown. However, when Cad Bane arrives at Freetown to convince the people to remain neutral on behalf of the Pyke Syndicate, Vanth gets shot by Cad Bane in the ensuing standoff, cutting short Cobb Vanth’s return in The Book of Boba Fett. After the dust has settled in The Book of Boba Fett season 1, episode 7 “Chapter 7: In the Name of Honor,” the last scene shows Vanth resting and recuperating in Boba Fett’s bacta tank, watched over by the mod artist who turned Fennec Shand into a cyborg – suggesting a similar fate for the Marshal.
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Boba Fett’s Return Explained: How He Escaped The Sarlaac
The Mandalorian never explains how Boba Fett escaped from the belly of the Sarlaac, but this is fully cleared up in The Book of Boba Fett. In order to survive, Fett used oxygen from a half-digested Stormtrooper nearby. Aside from preventing Fett’s full digestion by the Sarlaac, Fett’s Mandalorian equipment also allowed him to escape the belly of the beast, as Fett’s flamethrower came in handy when he cut his way out.
The Mandalorian season 3, as well as The Book of Boba Fett season 2, are bound to continue the story of Cobb Vanth. As for which series is likely to make a main character out of The Marshall, The Book of Boba Fett is the more likely bet, as Vanth was last seen in Tatooine, while Din Djarin and Grogu have left the desert planet. Although Vanth is unlikely to get his own Mandalorian armor, the mod artist could give Vanth certain enhancements that would allow him to better resume his duties as the Marshall of Freetown.
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Tom Bacon is one of Screen Rant’s staff writers, as well as a Peer Mentor for new writers and a member of the Care Team, offering support and a listening ear to members of the Comics group. A lifelong fan of major franchises including Star Wars, Doctor Who, and Marvel, Tom is delighted his childhood is back – and this time it’s cool. You can find him on Twitter @TomABacon.
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