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The case for setting that 'Justified' revival in space - and also just making it 'Star Wars'

C'mon, we all know Cobb Vanth is just Raylan Givens with a blaster, right?

By Trent Moore
Timothy Olyphant The Mandalorian 2

Yes, he’s more than flexed his comedic chops along the way (we will forever mourn the cancellation of Santa Clarita Diet), but you wouldn’t be entirely remiss to say that Timothy Olyphant has become known for playing a certain type. A certain gun-slinging, man-of-few-words, cowboy hat rim-down-over-his-face kind of type.

It started in the HBO period western Deadwood, then was refined into high art on FX’s acclaimed modern day western Justified, where Olyphant brought to life the gruff, trigger-fast U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. Justified ended following a six-season run from 2010-2015, but like his fictional marshal who walked off into the sunset still strapped at series’ end, Olyphant wasn’t quite done cowboy-ing.

He took his holster to a galaxy far, far away in Disney+’s live action Star Wars series The Mandalorian, playing the *checks notes* marshal of a small settlement on Tatooine named Cobb Vanth. He traded the revolver for a blaster, and even wore Boba Fett’s armor for a while, but make no mistake — Cobb Vanth is pretty much Raylan Givens with a bit more facial hair and some sci-fi style flair. And that is not a bad thing. The man plays his type, and plays it well.

Vanth has continued to recur occasionally in the Star Wars universe after being introduced to live action in The Mandalorian, even getting a recent quick-draw duel on main street in the current season of The Book of Boba Fett. Disney hasn’t been stingy when it comes to introducing new and new-ish characters with A-list stars across these live action shows, but even with stiff competition like Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka Tano and Katie Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan, Olyphant’s Vanth has undeniably become a fan favorite all his own.

Then came the surprise news in recent weeks that FX is reviving Justified with a new season of the series dubbed City Primeval, picking up several years after the original run with an older, more grizzled Raylan working toward the twilight of his marshal career. We’re getting more Olyphant, which is always a good thing — and it’s more gun-slinger Olyphant, which is even better.

But if we’re getting a bit more of that trademark gun-toting swagger, why not just send it off to space and give us Star Wars: Justified: The Cobb Vanth Chronicles. Or, you know, maybe something a bit less of a mouthful? Disney does own FX these days… just sayin’. Shift a column here, a column there on the Mouse House master plan. Drop Raylan on Tatooine and let the fun begin. He could be chasing down spice runners, or a prequel story settling an old grudge that has reared its ugly, alien head. It's a wide open universe, after all.

Seriously — there’s clearly an appetite for more of what Olyphant is bringing to the table with characters like Raylan and Vanth. The news of the Justified revival was deservedly met with near-universal praise, and Cobb Vanth steals the show every time he shows up in the Star Wars universe. Heck, Olpyhant could even shoot the shows back to back — just be sure to swap out the “bang bangs” with “pew-pews” in post (and edit in a few background droids with green screen).

Lucasfilm has already announced a full slate of Star Wars spinoffs and live action projects, ranging from Obi-Wan Kenobi, to Rogue One prequel Andor, to an Ahsoka solo series (just to literally name a few on the slate). But there’s also one project that stalled out in development: Rangers of the New Republic, which would’ve reportedly featured Gina Carano’s Cara Dune at one point. When Disney parted ways with Carano, that project was reportedly put on indefinite hold. It’s not exactly rangers, but how about a marshal of the New Republic? 

If Disney+ wanted to build out another Star Wars series to fill that slot, they’re sitting on a perfect one that’s already established with a backdoor pilot’s worth of stories across the existing Star Wars shows. Olyphant has a career of proof he can carry a show like this, and Justified essentially provides a rough template for what a potential Cobb Vanth project could look like (just, y’know, with more aliens and lasers and less meth and coal-digging). 

Put simply: Disney is already breaking a good mix of new players like the Mandalorian, and mining deep into its bench of fan favorites for this Star Wars slate. If Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan, and Boba Fett can get there own shows — why not Cobb Vanth? Even if it’s just a one-off miniseries with a high noon adventure or two. Hey, we’re not picky.

Regardless, like most everyone else we’ll be watching that Justified revival when it hits. But still... wouldn’t it just be so much cooler if it were in space?