In this weekend’s season opener of The Mandalorian, we meet Cobb Vanth on-screen for the first time, who is wearing Boba Fett’s Mandalorian armor. While this is Vanth’s first time appearing on-screen, it is not his first time appearing in the Star Wars universe, as he previously appeared in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy. In Wendig’s trilogy, he appeared in Aftermath (pp. 297-301), Aftermath: Life Debt (pp. 205-209), and Aftermath: Empire’s End (pp. 146-151).
Cobb Vanth Comes Across Boba Fett’s Armor in Aftermath
Boba Fett’s Mandalorian armor first appears in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath, when we read of it appearing in a Jawa sandcrawler (p. 300):
Adwin spies a large, long box on the floor. He whips off the ratty cloth that’s covering it and
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.”
“T actually think I might take that home with me,’ Cobb says.
“I think not,” Adwin says, turning around, the helmet tucked under his arm. The blaster at his hip suddenly feels heavy, pendulous. Eager to be drawn. A strange sensation, that. Adwin feels like he’s really getting into the spirit of this planet. He’s never had to shoot a man before.
Maybe that day is today. An exhilarating feeling, oddly.
Cobb grins, crosses his arms. “What are you thinking, company man? See, I could really use that armor. I figure being a newly appointed lawman-”
“Self-appointed, I think,” Adwin says.
But Cobb doesn’t take the bait. “Being a lawman, I could use some protection against those corrupt types who might think to seize the opportunity here on my planet. That armor is mine.”
Adwin smirks. He takes his thumb and pulls back his tunic, revealing the blaster. “Cobb-” “Sheriff Vance, to you.”
“Oh.” Adwin laughs. “Sheriff, I’d hate to have to draw this blaster-”
And then Cobb Vanth takes the armor (p. 301):
Cobb Vanth’s hand is up in a flash-there’s the shriek from his own blaster, and it punches a cauterized hole clean through Adwin’s shoulder on his right side. His hand goes limp, lifeless. The helmet clatters oat of his other hand. He backs against the shelf, terror-struck
“You, you monster . . Cobb shrugs. “Oh, now. I’m no monster. No worse than your boss, that Weequay dung-muncher, Lorgan Movellan. I know his scam. I know all the scams. Afraid the Republic is back and gonna put their boot down on all the lowlifes and scum-lickers, the syndicates are trying to find new ways to appear legit. And with the Hutts fighting one another for control, bunch of these little quote-unquote mining companies are swooping in with brutes like your boss at the helm. A new age of mining barons. Wont fly. ‘m here now. Me and others like me. Bringing the law to this lawless place. And that starts with me shooting you and taking that armor out from under you.”
Adwin whimpers. “Please don’t kill me”
“Oh, I’m not. I’m leaving you alive so you can go tell your boss that hed best pack up and hit the hyperspace lanes out of this sector, lest he wants me coming for him in my new-well, new to me-suit of armor”
“I will,” Adwin says, sinking to the floor. He watches Cobb pick up the box of armor before heading to the door.
On his way out, Cobb says: “Next time you wanna pretend to be a gunfighter, best to shoot first, talk later. Bye now.”
Cobb Vanth Wearing the Armor as Mos Pelgo’s Sheriff
Cobb Vanth next appears wearing Boba Fett’s armor in Aftermath: Life Debt (pp. 207-208): “There, a man in Mandalorian armor, the suit of it pocked and pitted and streaked with scars. Armor that looks eerily familiar, and Malakili’s innards clench at the sight of it. A carbine hangs at the man’s side.” And he interacts with Malakili (p. 208):
Next to him stands a tall woman. Head-tails which means she’s Twi’ lek-though one of those head-tails is mangled, its end puckered with scar tissue. At her hips hang twin pistols.
“I’m Issa-Or,’ she says, a sneer to her lips. The man removes his helmet. His cheeks are lined with salt-and pepper stubble. He winces against the double suns. “I’m Cobb Vanth. Lawman and de facto mayor of what used to be Mos Pelgo.” “Freetown, now, the Twi’lek says. “A place where good people can come if they’re willing to work. If they’re willing to stand tall against the syndicates. Against folks like Lorgan and Red Key.’ Malakili nods as if he understands. But he doesn’t. Not yet.
Cobb kneels down. “You look familiar to me.”
“I am no one.” “Everybody’s someone, my friend. Thing about Freetown is, to live
inside our walls means to be useful. Are you useful?” And here, Malakili’s spirits sink. He is not useful to anyone. He admits as much, his dry eyes going suddenly wet with tears. “I have no value to you. Kill me. My creature, Pateesa, is dead. All my beasts are gone-” The Twi’lek says, “You a beastmaster?” Master. If only he deserved such a word. But he gives an uncertain nod. “I train beasts. Yes.”
The two share a look. Vanth chuckles: a dry sound like rocks rolling together down the side of a cliff. “We got a couple unruly rontos that could use a steady hand. Can you handle that? There’d be payment. And a homestead for you if you care to claim it? His sinking spirits are suddenly buoyant. Purpose dawns inside his heart bringing light to darkness once more. “I… can.” “There’s something else,’ Issa-Or says. “Should we tell him?” “Why not? If anybody can help…’
Cobb Vanth Wearing Boba Fett’s Armor in Aftermath: Empire’s End
We finally see Cobb Vanth wearing Boba Fett’s armor in Aftermath: Empire’s End (p. 151):
Vanth kneels down on his chest. “What you think I stole, I say I earned. You think I’m just some slave, and that’s one part of the story. But you don’t know the rest. What I’ve seen. Who I was before. And I know my time is short. ’’ve poked the monster, and now it is awake. I’ll die in service to this town, and maybe this town will die with me, but we wont be the last, not by a long shot. The next ones who come, they’ll know me, they’ll know my time, they’ll carry the flags of Freetown even if Freetown is gone. And one day, Tatooine is free even if me and my ‘swindler’s forge’ armor and my little town have been claimed once more by the sands. Now hold still. I gotta carve a message into your face before I send you on your way.’
Lorgan cries out as Vanth reaches for him.