The Mandalorian Vs. Boba Fett, Round 3: Potential Spin-Off Edition

With the third episode of "The Book of Boba Fett" now available, we're starting to get a more well-rounded picture of what his life will be like now that he's grown out of his Bounty Hunter S. Thompson phase and settles into his role as a fledgling mafioso. Just as "The Book of Boba Fett" series spun off from "The Mandalorian," this additional depth is also starting to help us see what potential properties Lucasfilm could (or should) spin-off from this new world. What new genres might we have in store? And most importantly, which series could produce the best spin-offs?

In another entry in our weekly "The Mandalorian vs. Boba Fett" series, we're going to compare the two helmeted titans to see which bounty hunter's world is shaping up to be the bigger, better world-builder in the Star Wars universe. Which of the two has greater spin-off potential? 

When you're with Fett, you're with Fett all the way (in his musical about edgy youths)

The third episode of "The Book of Boba Fett" sees the bounty hunter-turned-Daimyo dealing with a businessman's concern that some local youths had been stealing his highly overpriced water. He probably bills it as "coming from a Tatooine glacial stream," but it's certainly local tap water. Boba Fett sees through it, squares the account at a gangster discount, and solves the youngsters' employment issues by hiring them. It's an odd way to run an Employment Department, but okay. He's left with a small gang of rough-and-tumble young adults with shiny, colorful Space Vespas and loads of street smarts. They're a perfect, colorful crew to start up a musical spin-off about edgy youths. Think "West Side Story" in a desert, with less snapping and more blasters. We already have the cast!

By contrast, Mando is great at a lot of things. He's a wonderful dad, great at making friends and bringing communities together, fantastic at getting whooped by monsters ... but at no point does he collect a coterie of edgy youths for desert shenanigans. If one were to assign him the task of putting together an "Edgy Youth Musical," I'm almost certain he'd have no idea where to find any performers at all! As great as his Rolodex of allies is, only Boba Fett spends his time apparently casting a local Tatooine production of "Newsies." Shoot, I wouldn't be surprised if he's already written "When you're with Fett, you're with Fett all the way..."

Point: Boba Fett.

When you're on Tatooine, you're family in Fett's Fast and Furious-style Space-Vespa street racing series

Let's spend a second going back to those Space Vespas on Mos Espa. Yep, they introduce Space Vespas in "The Streets of Mos Espa." The soon-to-be-musical-star youths have a fleet of oddly colorful land vehicles that really stand out on the mean sandy streets of Tatooine, looking way more "Power Rangers" than usual for the "Star Wars" universe. Seriously, Tatooine's a desert planet with two suns, where everything is sandblasted and sun-bleached. Everything, that is, except this fleet of four brand-new, colorful, cute little shiny desert rides. I love them, but I don't understand it. Where do they keep them? How long do they spend maintaining them? Is that time commitment why they have a hard time finding work? Where do you even get them on Tatooine, so shiny and new? I have no idea, but it sets up an absolutely stellar "The Fast and the Furious"-style street racing spin-off film franchise. None of this "podracer" nonsense — this is a great setup for a Tatooine-set action series about a diverse group of young space hotties and their underground street racing culture in colorful rides.

By contrast, what Mando misses in a collection of edgy singing youngsters he also misses in their attendant fleet of colorful vehicles. Mando has gorgeously shiny armor but his characteristic ride is his ship (or, on occasion, some cool animals); he's certainly not known for a sweet land ride, let alone a set of them, and you can't have an underground street racing series without a set of badass land vehicles. This doesn't even begin to cover how the diverse folks in "The Book of Boba Fett" totally have that "it's about family" vibe, so all the ingredients are already there. Another point for Boba Fett, who is ahead this round 2:0.

The serious war epic Full Mando Jacket writes itself

We've seen Boba Fett be a lot of things in the "Star Wars" universe: a tough bounty hunter, a fledgling mafioso, a hard partier, a dedicated employer, and nearly Sarlacc lunch. In the new series alone, we have the makings of a musical, a street racing spectacular, even a Rancor-training series, but we haven't seen him in the makings of a grim-and-gritty war epic. When Fett fights with others as a suited-up warlord, they're often his foot soldiers, bodyguards, droids, or his one assassin friend, but never as part of a military unit. In his series so far, there also haven't been any imperial bases or troop encounters, or any secret windows into the day-to-day lives of military service (for either the good guy Rebels or Imperials). 

In "The Mandalorian" episode "Chapter 6: The Prisoner," we're introduced to ex-Imperial sharpshooter Migs Mayfeld (memorably played by Bill Burr) among other criminals, who double-cross Mando in a prison break before being defeated by him and captured by the New Republic. In "Chapter 15: The Believer," Mando needs the imprisoned Migs to help him get coordinates to Moff Gideon's ship. Migs helps Mando break into a secretive Imperial facility, and then Migs loses his cool and starts shooting officers left and right, a result of his anger towards an officer dismissing Imperial troops who died in Operation Cinder. The time spent in the base, Migs' anger towards the callousness of the Space Fascist military machine, and the efforts to break into the Imperial military facility all show the series' potential to easily spin-off a stunning war series that take us deep into the heart of military life in the "Star Wars" universe in the way that Boba Fett can't do. Point to Mando this round.

Mando has better surprise guest star potential

The third episode of "The Book of Boba Fett," "The Streets of Mos Espa," casually dropped an exciting surprise guest star in the form of Machete-turned-rancor-trainer Danny Trejo. His character's name isn't yet revealed, but upon the Hutts leaving Boba Fett in peace (at least temporarily), Fett's left with the gift of a sleepy little rancor, soon to be trained into becoming Boba Fett's desert-bound battle steed (he right away wants to ride the thing). Trejo's character may have a greater on-screen role to play, but even in so brief and simple a role, it's great to see Trejo grace our TVs with his always excellent presence, which was quite a welcome surprise. 

While it took three episodes to get Trejo's epic cameo in "The Book of Boba Fett," "The Mandalorian" hits the ground running with the entire story set in motion by the mysterious Client, who puts out the contract for Grogu in "Chapter 1: The Mandalorian." That Client, who returns later in the series, was surprisingly played by none other than the accomplished German film director Werner Herzog. It was a wonderful "get"' to start off the fledgling "Star Wars" series, and it was lovely to see Herzog step into the role. Mando has an edge in this one, though it's close. Trejo and Herzog are both excellent and welcome additions to the "Star Wars" universe, but at this point it's hard to say how integral Trejo will be in what's to come. Meanwhile, Herzog was giving an important role in the series' foundations, so much so that he has his own action figure. This might change as "The Book of Boba Fett" moves along, but given the importance of Herzog's character, we can see Mando pulling in better roles for top-tier guest stars in any spin-offs to follow.

As it stands, this means today's round of the epic Bounty Hunter battle has ended in a straight 2:2 tie. There will still be plenty of episodes for one to pull ahead, but so far it's a closely fought contest between two of the galaxy's most fearsome armored warriors. Tune in next week to see where the count lands!