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Boba Fett's Fighting Style On The Mandalorian Chapter 14 Explained

Contains spoilers for The Mandalorian "Chapter 14"

It's not easy to bring Boba Fett back to life.

After all, the adult Boba's last big live-action fight –– above the Sarlacc Pit in 1983's Star Wars: Return of the Jedi –– ended about as poorly as possible, an utter and embarrassing defeat thanks to an accidental hit from a half-blind Han Solo. That the character has retained a reputation as one of the galaxy's most dangerous men is something of a miracle (especially considering his bare minutes of screen time in the original trilogy).

Any movie or TV series that shows him in combat has to both live up to that reputation and redeem his performance on Tatooine that day — not to mention match or surpass the countless action figure battles the character has been starring in over the last 40 years. Fair play then to The Mandalorian, where chapter 14 director Robert Rodriguez and actor Temuera Morrison crafted a portrayal of a confident and deadly combatant that drew on Morrison's cultural background to meet the decades of expectations.

Morrison told the New York Times that his goal was to bring a Maori spirit and energy, called "wairua" to his performance. "I've been trained in my cultural dance, which we call the haka. I've also been trained in some of our weapons, so that's how I was able to manipulate some of the weapons in my fight scenes and work with the gaffi stick."

How Temuera Morrison influenced Boba Fett's use of the gaffi stick

It's this weapon that Boba makes his first, brutal impression with in Chapter 14 before retrieving his armor from the Razor Crest. Gaffi sticks, or gaderffii, are commonly carried by Tusken Raiders on Tatooine as all-purpose melee weapons and tools for surviving the harsh desert. It makes sense that Boba Fett, last seen on that planet, might have become proficient in their use. With a spear point on one side and a heavy hooked mace on the other, he is able to decimate a cluster of Stormtroopers, splintering, crumpling, or stabbing right through their armor as they try to fight through him and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) in order to recover the Child Grogu for Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). 

It's a fitting weapon for Morrison, given his background. Though the gaffi sticks were likely based on Fijian war clubs known as totokia, the Maori also historically used several types of staff weapons that combined stabbing points on one side with heavy clubs or axes on the other. His training with these weapons, such as the tewhatewha, meant he knew how his character would have to move and swing to do the type of damage shown in the episode.

What returning to Boba Fett's armor meant to Temuera Morrison

As intimidating as Morrison makes the seasoned, robed Boba Fett, that version of the character still feels somehow incomplete. The mystique and the appeal of Boba Fett is inherently tied up in the armor, so much so that it arguably spawned the long history of Mandalorians and eventually the very series in which the character is now appearing. When the time came for him to return to this iconic outfit, Morrison felt the weight of the outfit, and found it thrilling. "The costume makes you feel like Superman," he said to the Times. "When I put the armor on for the first time, it just felt right."

In the context of the episode, his appearance in the armor, just as Mando (Pedro Pascal) and Fennec are being pinned down by another dropship worth of stormtroopers, signifies game over for that particular Imperial contingent. He cuts through them with extreme prejudice until they retreat back to their ships in the face of his onslaught of explosives and knee rockets, and then he blows them both out of the sky with his backpack missile.

Though the end of the episode certainly makes it seem as though Boba Fett and Fennec will be accompanying Mando at least for the near future, Morrison played coy about the possibility of more Boba Fett appearing either on The Mandalorian or on his own rumored spin-off series. "There's room for this to go someplace. I hope I'm going to be included," he said. With only two episodes remaining this season for Mando and company, fans will soon know just how far Boba Fett goes, at least for now.