The Mandalorian Vs. Boba Fett, Round 4: Cuddle Edition

Another episode of "The Book of Boba Fett" is upon us, and that once again means it's time to dig into the series and its "The Mandalorian" companion to decisively determine which bounty hunter is better. There are still many episodes left and a number of factors to weigh, but this week we're going to explore an often overlooked attribute that shows the softer side of the pair ... how much they embrace the cuddlier things in life. That's right, we're looking at which armor-clad gent is more inclined to embrace the adorable and commit to a snuggle.

Despite boasting some of the cutest, most cuddle-worthy aliens in sci-fi history (Ewoks, anyone? And who doesn't want to hug Chewie and his luxurious, massive mane?), the "Star Wars" universe has surprisingly never been among the most cuddly. Between heroes constantly at war with space fascists and a plethora of dangerous monsters, it's hard to find the time to stop and pet a porg or give Babu Frik some well deserved love ... unless they're in Mandalorian armor, apparently. Here is our Week 4 breakdown of The Mandalorian Vs. Boba Fett, and this time it's a Cuddle Edition.

Cuddling Space Babies is Pretty Much Mando's 24/7

In "The Book of Boba Fett," we see an entirely different version of the bounty hunter than before. Prior to his series Boba Fett mainly seemed like a hardened, cash-driven warrior, the kind who could pal around with the Hutt's at their Sarlacc pit murder parties and not bat an eye. Since surviving the pit, Fett has settled down considerably to carve out his own little corner of Tatooine. We've seen him hang out extensively with the Tusken Raiders, fall into their party scene, try on the latest fashions, and even collect a coterie of edgy youths with fancy, gorgeous space Vespas. What we haven't seen so far is if, with all his settling in and softening up, he's any good with babies. Four episodes into "The Book of Boba Fett" and we've yet to see any sign of a cheek-pinch-worthy sprite, a fact that Fett doesn't seem too concerned about.

By contrast, "The Mandalorian" literally centers around the cutest baby in the galaxy, Grogu, and how Mando embraces the 50-year-old-but-relatively-a-child little one. In fact, Mando's armor-clad heart so softens for basically-Yoda-junior that the Armorer makes them their own two-member Mandalorian clan, Clan Mudhorn (in "Chapter 8: Redemption"). It's maybe the cutest thing that's ever happened in the "Star Wars" universe. Mando spends the whole series making sure the little guy is cared for and swaddled safely, carrying the tiny tot delicately around when needed. He even takes his helmet off while holding Grogu before giving him to Luke Skywalker for training, prompting the baby to touch Mando's barely-seen face. It's touching, and both the show and Mando himself are very, very cuddly on the cute baby front. Mando gets a point.

Animals Love Cool Boba Fett

While Mando is the best in the galaxy at seeking out the cutest baby he can find and pinching its diminutive cheeks, animals are another thing. First of all, if it's a particularly deadly monster, Mando's getting whooped. He almost died an animal-based death several times in the course of his series, such as his harrowing Mudhorn encounter in "Chapter 2: The Child" or his Krayt dragon battle in "Chapter 9: The Marshal."  One of his more successful animal cuddle experiments happened with Tatooine's massiffs, reptilian hunting dogs associated with the Tusken Raiders (also in "Chapter 9: The Marshal"). He encounters a sizable pack, but he calls to the animals instead of shooting them. Approaching gently, a massiff comes straight to Mando just like a dog greets its human (complete with scratches and happy, dog-like massiff butt wiggles). It's cute, and shows that Mando is capable of a friendly animal experience.

In Chapter 4 of "The Book of Boba Fett," we once again see a number of Boba Fett's post-Sarlacc desert encounters. This time, however, a large part of the focus involves his relationship to a local Bantha, a massive, hairy, horned mammal that he rides through the desert. Boba Fett is absolutely great with this noble desert steed, giving him tasty treats, kind words, and affection, until he sets it loose in the desert on the way to reacquire his captured ship. Boba Fett tells it to go, even to "find other banthas, make baby banthas!" giving recognition that Boba Fett does at least know what babies are when they're animal babies. It's a warm, touching scene, and between that and last episode's inordinately long rancor-bonding moment, it's obvious Fett is a confirmed animal lover with a kind, cuddly touch. Point to you, Boba Fett.

Mando Basically Had a Cuddle Droid

Here's where it gets tough. The "Star Wars" universe has ample examples of cuddly critters that light up the internet, but it's also chock full of a wide array of robots of various personalities and levels of A.I. What they have in common, however, is a decidedly un-cuddly robotic visage. Mando, of course, is the galaxy's best father, and Boba Fett is a stone's throw from starting Tatooine's first cat café. Can either of these gents do the impossible and make a robot cuddly? One of Fett's regular assistants in "The Book of Boba Fett" is the humanoid robot 8D8. Voiced by the accomplished performer Matt Berry, he's not the most useful droid in the galaxy but he's Boba Fett's most stalwart robot companion. Fett, however, clearly has no interest in a cuddle droid ... he's treated like a mere assistant and nothing more. In the series' fourth episode, however, Fett encounters a slightly cuter droid en route to securing his stolen ship. He meets and dispatches a long-faced Xenomorph-looking bot and a six-armed chef droid doing a mean Shiva impression before finding a smaller LEP droid. He captures the fleeing robot, who whimpers and drops its ear-like antenna before turning itself off. It's a pretty cute robot, but Fett misses his chance to test its cuddliness. A shame, really.

By contrast, "The Mandalorian" sees Ugnaught vapor farmer Kuiil repair the hunter/assassin droid IG-11 (in "Chapter 7: The Reckoning") and reprogram/train it as a nurse droid, letting the robot protect the often-threatened Grogu. After its reprogramming, the droid thought of little else than caring for the sprite and ensuring its safety. IG-11 even rescued Grogu from Imperial troopers, sacrificing itself so our protagonists could safely depart when they were cornered (in "Chapter 8: Redemption"). Its final act before sacrificing itself? To touch the little Grogu's pointy green ears, an affectionate act from a droid that speaks to something a little deeper than simple programming. Technically Mando didn't do the reprogramming, no, but IG-88 discovers sadness in Mando's voice and it's in the latter's show that we discover that droids can both cuddle and care for a tiny tot and be cared about by a human in turn. Mando easily gets the point, winning this cuddle edition 2:1.

We've now seen which bounty hunter can handle monsters, try on fashionable wares, or which is most likely to direct a musical. We've seen Boba Fett go Bounty Hunter S. Thompson, Mando be the galaxy's best space dad, and both bring communities together. This round, we can confidently say who is the better cuddler, given which galaxy cutie they encounter. What's next? Tune in next week!