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SYFY WIRE The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian: Robert Rodriguez used his sons' Star Wars action figures to map out Boba Fett's return in Season 2

By Josh Weiss
Boba Fett The Mandalorian

For his contribution to The Mandalorian's second season, director Robert Rodriguez went all out when it came to Boba Fett's return. Before "Chapter 14: The Tragedy" even started filming, Rodriguez shot a backyard demonstration of the bounty hunter (played onscreen by Temuera Morrison) taking out Stormtroopers, using his young sons, Halloween costumes, and Star Wars action figures as stand-ins.

"I ended up turning a 3-page battle scene into a 9-minute battle scene because I was just that excited to be bringing Boba back," the director explains in the new Disney+ documentary about the making of Season 2. "I told [showrunner Jon Favreau]: 'I've been waiting to see this version of Boba Fett since I was a kid. Boba has to be different, he can't just seem like another Mando. He has to move differently; feel different; occupy a completely different space; and have a weight and gravitas to him that shows why he's such a legend.' I wanted him to live up to his name that we would whisper since we were kids [and] be that mysterious character with a past that makes you want to know more about him. If Mando is a gunslinger, then Boba needs to be a barbarian."

Upon showing his homemade demonstration to Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni, the latter allegedly said, "Wait a minute, were those just action figures I saw?" Rodriguez responded with, "Well, yeah, I didn't have anything else on hand." Filoni said, "No, you don't understand, that makes it the coolest animatic ever." The director's first thought was: "These are my people!"

Robert Rodriguez Boba Fett backyard
Robert Rodriguez Boba Fett backyard

Another element that helped make Boba distinct was his fighting style, which incorporated haka-inspired movements from Morrison's Māori background. "'Ha is the breath, 'ka' is fire," the actor says in the hour-long special. In addition, the scars on the character's face are meant to be a reflection of his time spent in the Sarlacc pit, where the creature nearly digested him.

"My approach was to pretend that this is the only other time or episode that we'll even seen Boba Fett," continues Rodriguez. "It needs to satisfy. I don't want to take for granted that he'll show up later in other episodes. He needs to be all things — right here, right now. That's what Boba Fett is all about. This episode needed to say: 'Boba is back,' and that was my main personal mission."

For whatever reason, the behind-the-scenes project steers clear of Luke Skywalker's surprise cameo in the finale, preferring to skip right to the post-credits scene, which sets up The Book of Boba Fett. Centering around Fett and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), the spinoff is slated to begin production before Season 3 of The Mandalorian. Rodriguez is executive producing the new series (scheduled to premiere in December 2021) alongside Jon Favreau and Filoni. 

As we see in that final scene, Fett returns to Tatooine in order to kill off Bib Fortuna (Matthew Wood, who also previously played the character in Episode I: The Phantom Menace) and assume control of the criminal empire once run by Jabba the Hutt.

Boba Fett & Fennec Shand The Mandalorian

"He's the kingpin of the galaxy," Morrison says of Boba, "you don't want to mess with this guy. It's like when you walk into the those cowboy bars; the saloon doors open and the first thing you're gonna find out is who's the number one gunslinger around here. Otherwise, you're dead. So, I'm that guy."

As for why Fortuna put on a couple of pounds since Return of the Jedi, Favreau reveals that the throne in Jabba's palace corrupts the latest despot to sit on it, similar to wearing the One Ring in J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. "It's like how the ring makes you gaunt; it's a metaphor for gluttony," he says.

The first two seasons of The Mandalorian are now streaming on Disney+.