Has ‘Star Wars’ Retconned The Canon Boba Fett Armor Story?

Star Wars canon can be a tricky topic. In April 2014, about a year and a half after Disney bought Lucasfilm, the franchise did a reboot of sorts, assigning the Legends label to the Expanded Universe and trying to make books, comics, and video games going forward as canon as the films and the shows. Before this, Star Wars had a tiered system, though that system was sometimes controversial when it came to contradictions, particularly when The Clone Wars TV series stomped over some of the Clone Wars lore that had already been established prior.

Lucasfilm has tried to stay consistent with canon over the last several years, but there have been contradictions here and there. Some have been easy to reconcile, and others just have no sensible solution. An example of the latter would be Darth Vader Annual #2 by Chuck Wendig, which contradicts events we see in Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel and the Vader and Tarkin relationship that has been depicted in other materials.

Ironically, it seems on the surface that The Mandalorian may have contradicted lore established in Wendig's Aftermath trilogy, even as the team behind it was trying to elevate Cobb Vanth from the pages to the screen. For those unfamiliar, Cobb Vanth, who appeared in the second season premiere titled "Chapter 9: The Marshal," first appeared in the Tatooine interludes of the Aftermath books, set 4-5 ABY, or five to four years before The Mandalorian. While we get a flashback in the season premiere detailing Vanth's backstory and how he bumps into the Jawas who have Boba Fett's armor, there are some details from the text that are missing.

In the books, it is mentioned that Vanth is a former slave. In the first interlude, we readers got to meet him through the eyes of Adwin Charu, who turns out to be with the Red Key Raiders, a crime syndicate that fills the void left by the absence of Jabba the Hutt. Pretending to be from a mining company, Charu tries buying goods from Jawas. He meets Vanth, who helps him earn the trust of the Jawas. Then Charu spots the Mandalorian armor in a box covered by a cloth:
"From the box, he withdraws a helmet. Pitted and pocked, as if with some kind of acid. But still– he raps his knuckles on it . The Mandalorians knew how to make armor, didn’t they? 'Look at this,' he says, holding it up. 'Mandalorian battle armor. Whole box. Complete set, by the looks of it. Been through hell and back. I think my boss will appreciate this.'"
At this point, Vanth says that he intends to take the armor for himself. He ends up shooting Charu in the shoulder and returns to Mos Pelgo as a lawman. Other events in subsequent interludes include meeting Malakili (the beastmaster of the rancor in Jabba's palace) and even striking a deal with Tuskens to help the townspeople against the Red Key Raiders. The latter event does not seem like something that would have happened, given Vanth's interactions with the Tuskens in The Mandalorian. So are these events no longer completely canon?

While it is possible that the team behind The Mandalorian chose to ignore certain aspects of Vanth's story in the literature, I do think it is still possible for these sources to be reconciled. As the flashback unfolded during my viewing of "The Marshal," I appreciated how everything was being told from Vanth's perspective. He is the narrator, so it does not have to be a perfect representation of how events took place in the books. We have seen how unreliable flashbacks could be in The Last Jedi. For the sake of brevity and catching Din Djarin up to speed, it makes sense that Vanth would omit the part where he faces Charu. If we are to take the flashback literally, I still think that Vanth pointing at the armor could still have happened before it gets covered by a cloth and then seen by Charu.

As for the Tusken aspect, that is a bit tricky. However, there are four years between these different interactions with the Tuskens, and a lot could have happened in that time to create more mistrust between them and the townspeople. Allies for one particular conflict does not necessarily make people completely okay with each other permanently. Vanth has worked with Tuskens before, but maybe something happened in between that made him hesitant to work with them again. I know it is a stretch, and it might never be explored, but it is a way to look at it.

Now to answer the question: Did The Mandalorian retcon the Aftermath interludes? I think the answer is: maybe, but it is not difficult to reconcile. And that works for me. It does not feel like a Dark Crystal situation, where the YA novels and the TV series tell different perspectives but present some of the same events in ways that feel different enough from each other to be irreconcilable. I think the story of Boba Fett's armor is easy to put together here. Ultimately, I really enjoyed how the episode presented Cobb Vanth and how it utilized the Tuskens. Star Wars canon has not been without major contradictions, but I think the aforementioned sources regarding Cobb Vanth and the armor are fairly easy to fit together.

Source(s): Screen Rant