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Why Cobb Vanth From The Mandalorian Season 2 Looks So Familiar

Star Wars fans rejoice, because season 2 of The Mandalorian is finally here, and by all accounts the new season is set to up the stakes for Mando (Pedro Pascal) and The Child in ways fans likely cannot yet comprehend. 

When last we saw the pair, they'd bested the remnants of an imperial force and were setting off for parts unknown in the galaxy far, far away, leaving allies Cara Dunn (Gina Carano) and Greeg Karga (Carl Weathers) in guardianship of Nevarro. Little did they know, the man commanding that band of Stormtroopers (Giancarlo Esposito's Moff Gideon) actually survived the fray, and with the fabled Darksaber in hand was clearly on a path for vengeance.

Said path will no doubt lead to another major showdown at some point in The Mandalorian's second season. Not surprisingly, that showdown doesn't come in the season 2 premiere, with Mando continuing to search the Outer Rim for The Child's people — a search that leads them back to Tattoine. In the desert town of Mos Pelgo, our fearsome squad meets a man wearing some very familiar Mandalorian armor. He turns out not to be a Mandalorian at all, but a local marshal named Cobb Vanth. 

You'll almost certainly recognize the mug on the actor who portrays the character (first introduced in the Star Wars book Aftermath). It belongs to Timothy Olyphant, who's been a regular on both the film and television circuit over the past couple of decades. Over that time he's become that rare actor who's every bit as impressive in starring roles as he is as a supporting player. Here's why Cobb Vanth from The Mandalorian looks so familiar.

Timothy Olyphant tried to tame the wild west on Deadwood

If you did recognize the chiseled features of Timothy Olyphant on The Mandalorian, you no doubt know that his turn as the marshal around Mos Pelgo is hardly the first time he's played a lawman on screen. Nor is it the first time he's done so in a Western-tinged tale of complicated moral justice.

That formula was, after all, pretty much intact on HBO's beloved-but-tragically-short-lived historical drama Deadwood. Created by small screen vet David Milch (Hill Street BluesNYPD Blue), Deadwood borrowed heavily from actual historical events, and utilized real historical figures to tell a stylish, pulse-pounding tale of a near lawless South Dakota town struggling to civilize itself just enough to become a legit Midwest business hub, a task made all the more difficult by the deeply corrupt saloon and brothel owners who run the town (Ian McShane and Powers Booth).

Deadwood made it's HBO premiere back in 2004, essentially revitalizing the Western genre for a new generation of cable television viewers. Timothy Olyphant was front and center for the entirety of Deadwood's three-season (and one movie) run on HBO, portraying the virtuous but morally flexible Marshal Seth Bullock. And while most Deadwood fans rightfully point to Ian McShane's towering work as the furiously foul-mouthed Al Swearengen as the finest among Deadwood's beyond impressive ensemble, there's little question Olyphant's more understated work as Bullock is every bit as impressive — particularly when he's trading lines with other screen heavies like John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Molly Parker (DexterHouse of Cards), and Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad).

Timothy Olyphant brought his own brand of justice to the Appalachians on Justified

Whether it's because of his exceedingly intimidating gaze, or his uncanny ability to deliver tough guy lines with a cooler than cool bravado, or the fact that he just looks really good in a cowboy hat, Timothy Olyphant has made more than his fair share of appearances as lawmen over the years. In doing so, he's also delivered some of his most impressive screen work, as he did in his six-season run on FX's brilliant, and egregiously underrated crime drama Justified.

Set in the dusty rural towns of eastern Kentucky's Appalachian region, and boasting origins from the pages of literary crime legend Elmore Leonard, Justified again found Olyphant wearing the badge of a U.S. MarshalIt also found him once again portraying a morally flexible lawman who has his own way of doing things, though throughout Justified's critically lauded run on FX, Olyphant's Raylan Givens doesn't just bend the rule of law more than he essentially twists it to his own will. As such, Raylan is frequently operating in seriously gray areas of morality, which understandably makes for some truly great drama.

Justified brought no shortage of that drama FX, airing a total of 78 episodes between 2010 and 2015. While the series earned praise in critical circles and was a regular presence at Emmy Awards ceremonies, it still feels like not enough people actually watched this show. That, of course, means not enough people have actually seen the incredibly dexterous work Timothy Olyphant delivers throughout. If you're among them, seek Justified out in the streaming realm or elsewhere ASAP. You will not be disappointed. 

Timothy Olyphant hilariously spilled blood in the burbs on Santa Clarita Diet

Hopefully, you are among the many who've been blown away by Timothy Olyphant's brilliant dramatic turns on DeadwoodJustified, and dozens of other projects over the years. Lest you think the man is purely a dramatic force, he's proven more than capable of earning a laugh or two as well. That fact is evidenced by lively turns in 1999's ensemble indie Go, the short-lived sitcom The Grinder, and some categorically hilarious appearances on The Office and The Good Place.

Olyphant is typically at his best when he gets to fuse both comedy and drama on screen, which he got to do in spades on the pitch-black Netflix laugher Santa Clarita Diet. If you're unfamiliar with the series, it featured Olyphant portraying a normal suburban dad whose life gets turned upside down and inside out when his wife (a rarely better Drew Barrymore) unexpectedly dies, and even more unexpectedly returns as a flesh-eating zombie.

Yes, that setup is as crazy as it sounds. And yes, both Olyphant and Barrymore have as much fun with it as you'd think, with each delivering performances that run the gamut of human emotion. The bounds of human decency are frequently tested on Santa Clarita Diet too, with series' creatives giddily indulging in moments as hilarious as they are absurdly gory. 

To give you a taste of how far they push, the series actually features a severed, decomposed talking head as a central character (voiced by Firefly castmates Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk no less). And while Santa Clarita Diet is certainly not to all tastes, those looking for a gonzo horror comedy featuring a hilariously off-kilter turn from Timothy Olyphant need look no further.