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You might know him as ‘The Marshal’, or maybe, ‘Hey, that guy’s wearing Boba Fett’s armor!’ But Cobb Vanth has much more to him than meets the eye, as I’ll show in this bio.
The character was created first for The Aftermath novel trilogy by Chuck Wendig, the first of which was released in 2015. October 2020 saw the first live-action portrayal (by Timothy Olyphant) in Season 2 of The Mandalorian.
At the time I’m writing this page, Cobb’s story is still in development. Still, I’d say it’s pretty clear that Disney will continue to explore his life in upcoming series or films.
At the moment, the last glimpse we get of him comes right at the end of The Book of Boba Fett – and he’s certainly not down and out. In fact, it looks like he’ll be back with a vengeance!
The unavoidable theme of Cobb Vanth’s life is that of freedom. What does it cost? And how does a person react when it’s challenged?
Come with me as I explore his story so far.
Key Details Up Front
Cobb Vanth is the mayor/marshal/sheriff of Freetown, a town on Tatooine formerly known as Mos Pelgo. After starting life out as a slave, he becomes the leader of this out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere city and is constantly fighting dangerous invaders and influences.
He eventually gets hold of the Fett Mandalorian armor and uses it to wipe out the Mining Collective, a gang that seizes control of Freetown. He later uses its superior weaponry and defenses to help eliminate the krayt dragon terrorizing the region.
Eventually, he’s confronted by Cad Bane, who orders him to allow the Pyke Syndicate spice trade to operate through the region. When he refuses to back down, the bounty hunter shoots him.
He’s saved by a modifier – but what he’s turned into is something that we’ve yet to find out!
Cobb Vanth Overview
Cobb Vanth was born and raised on Tatooine. For such a “desolate place”, as C-3PO calls it, Star Wars sure does spend a lot of time there! He had a star-shaped mark carved into his back, a sign of slavery earlier in his life.
He won his freedom (or perhaps escaped) and became the marshal of Mos Pelgo, an isolated town in Tatooine’s northern hemisphere. Other than that, we don’t know anything about his childhood. Not yet, at least.
Mos Pelgo and the Mining Collective
In the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Endor (where the Rebels destroyed the Death Star, overthrowing the Empire), the Mining Collective seized control of the area, rounding up the inhabitants. Vanth was able to flee into the desert.
Here, he encountered Jawa traders, exchanging a camtono of silicax oxalate crystals for some Mandalorian armor. Although he didn’t know it at the time, this armor previously belonged to Boba Fett and would attract the attention of Din Djarin.
At the Jawa sandcrawler, Vanth ran into another individual who wanted to buy the armor, Adwin Charu. He was a representative of the new enterprise, Red Key Company.
As it turned out, the Red Key Company was a crime syndicate looking to seize control of Tatooine immediately after Jabba the Hutt’s death. The Mining Collective was also under their directive.
After Charu challenged Vanth, he shot him (without killing him) and left. Returning to Mos Pelgo, Cobb single-handedly cleared out the Mining Collective, freeing his people from their grasp.
Soon after this incident, the people of Mos Pelgo renamed their town ‘Freetown’ as a symbolic gesture of what they’d been through and continued to go through. Skirmishes and power wrestles with the Red Key Raiders (a gang sponsored by the ‘Company’) would continue over the following years.
In 5 ABY, Cobb rescued Malakili, a beast master (the guy who cries when Luke Skywalker kills Pateesa, the rancor in Jabba’s Palace).
Malakili helps him by training rontos and looking after a young Huttlet. He also worked on developing a mutually beneficial relationship with local Tusken tribes, despite resistance from his own people and constant attacks from warring Raiders.
The Red Key Raiders invaded Freetown, taking control once again. This time, Lorgan Movellan, the leader of the Red Key Company and all its criminal objectives, led the attack. He and Vanth questioned each other, trying to establish what the other was looking for on Tatooine.
When the Red Key enforcers brought Malakili and the Huttlet out, the young one shrieked, signaling Tusken Raider reinforcements. These drove the Raiders away, with Cobb carving a message onto Movellan’s face for his superiors to see. It was a sign of his refusal to bow to fear.
By the time 9 ABY rolled around, life remained tense, with the threat of crime syndicates always luring. On top of the difficulties arising from protecting their freedom, a krayt dragon had started targeting Freetown. It threatened their existence and lives, so it had to be dealt with – but nobody nearby had the expertise.
Enter Din Djarin and Grogu (the Mandalorian and the Child). Djarin tracked Cobb down after hearing rumors of a Mandalorian living out in the desert. He was disappointed to find the Marshal and was almost prepared to kill him, only stopping after seeing Grogu’s inquisitive look.
Din agreed to help take out the krayt dragon in exchange for Vanth’s Mandalorian armor. Thanks to Djarin’s rather intense idea, they were successful, having raised a force consisting of villagers and Tusken Raiders.
The Pykes and the Spice Trade
Not long later, the Pykes launched their bid to seize control of the black market spice trade on Tatooine. This was just another part of the power struggle for Jabba’s criminal empire.
Finding Pyke Syndicate members smuggling spice through his territory, Vanth confronted them. He killed three when attacked, allowing the final one to escape.
Din Djarin returned to Freetown, asking for help supporting Daimyo Boba Fett against the Pykes. Once the Mandalorian left, the Duros bounty hunter, Cad Bane, emerged from the shadows, shooting and almost fatally wounding Cobb. The threat was clear: leave the Pyke spice trade alone, and nobody would get hurt.
Fett would kill Bane in the ensuing battle for Mos Eisley, resulting in the Pyke Syndicate withdrawing from the planet. Cobb, in a comatose state following his blaster wound, received medical attention from a modifier.
What will he turn into? Ah, I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. The Mandalorian Season 3, maybe?
Cobb Vanth Key Moments
This list contains what I’d consider the key moments from Cobb’s life (thus far explored). I’ve only mentioned his appearances in the live-action series rather than referring to the books. However, those are well worth a read!
- The Mining Collective invades Mos Pelgo, forcing Marshal Vanth to flee – The Marshal (20:35) – flashback
- He grabs the silicax crystals camtono – The Marshal (21:36)
- A Jawa sandcrawler saves him from the desert and trades for Boba’s armor – The Marshal (22:14)
- Cobb clears the Collective thugs out of Mos Pelgo – The Marshal (23:30)
- Cobb meets Din Djarin, and they almost fight – The Marshal (14:34)
- The two agree to trade the armor for assistance in killing the krayt dragon – The Marshal (19:15)
- Cobb and the Tuskens negotiate a wary deal – The Marshal (25:30 – 28:40)
- The attack on the krayt dragon – The Marshal (39:23)
- He gives Din Boba’s armor – The Marshal (48:00)
- Din comes to meet Vanth to ask him to assist Boba Fett – The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 6 (30:00)
- Cad Bane almost kills him to quell the threat to the Pykes’ spice trade – The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 6 (37:00)
- Vanth is being healed and repaired by a modifier – The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 7 (56:54)
Cobb Vanth Key Quotes
I guess every once in a while, both suns shine on a womp rat’s tail.
This expression is Vanth expressing that sometimes, everyone gets lucky.
Power hates a vacuum.
As much as I’ve grown fond of the armor, I’m even more fond of this town.
This reminds me of Rose’s quote from The Last Jedi: “That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love.” I agree that the context in which she says this doesn’t make the most sense, but the sentiment is there.
Tell your people I wasn’t the one that broke that.
Blink, and you’ll miss it, but this is a subtle reference to The Return of the Jedi. When Cobb hands the armor over to Din in The Marshal, he tells him he didn’t break it. Of course, that was actually a semi-blinded Han Solo swinging wildly into space.
Think it through.
When he confronts the Pykes, he allows them the chance to escape. They don’t take it. In this case, Cobb definitely didn’t shoot first.
When Din arrives at Freetown, he’s confronted by a deputy. Cobb scolds the young man without being overbearing. It’s a gentle, almost father-like interaction.
This planet’s seen enough violence.
Standing up to Cad Bane – even when he’s old – takes some serious guts. Vanth has seen what violence has done to Tatooine and refuses to bow to it, forcing the bounty hunter to shoot him.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Did Cobb Vanth die in The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 6?
Answer: He didn’t. Cad Bane almost fatally shot Cobb in a brief standoff in Freetown, hitting him in the shoulder. He demanded that the villagers allow the Pyke spice trade to operate unimpeded, something Vanth refused.
After his new deputy drew his blaster, Bane shot Cobb and then the deputy four times. The marshal collapsed on the desert ground, motionless, as did his blaster-ridden right-hand man.
When I first watched it, I thought Cad Bane had killed Vanth. I was gutted, but I thought it was an impressive storyline tactic to highlight the merciless evil of Bane and the Pykes.
Of course, at the end of the episode, we learn that Vanth survived and is being healed/repaired by a modifier.
Question: Why does Cobb Vanth Distrust the Tusken Raiders?
Answer: Cobb’s distrust of Tusken Raiders, and the subsequent tense meeting in The Marshal, stems from how he’s spent most of his life as mayor of Freetown dealing with attacks. These have originated from gangs, crime syndicates, and Tusken tribes.
Eventually, the two parties learn to work together. While they might not see eye to eye, open communication goes a long way.
Question: What Will Happen to Cobb Vanth Next?
Answer: If I knew, I’d definitely tell you. But I don’t, so I can’t.
Here are a few thoughts for you to mull over for now. I’m sure the answers will be revealed in the next year or so (or maybe even earlier!).
Rangers of the New Republic was originally going to feature Cara Dune. Ever since that whole debacle, it’s unlikely that her character will return. Disney will need a new lead if it is set on going ahead with the project. Fennec Shand is an option, but she’s attached to Boba and hardly New Republic material. Maybe they’ll use Vanth instead.
When we last see him in The Book of Boba Fett, Cobb is being worked on by a modifier. How much of him will be replaced? Surely not too much – he was only hit in the shoulder! I imagine not showing us exactly what’s happening gives the relevant showrunners an awful lot of creative license.
I expect to see him show up (or hang around as a key character) in The Mandalorian Season 3 or any Book of Boba Fett sequels (if there are any plans for that, they’re not yet announced). Perhaps he’ll even have his own series!
Although he’s actually quite a widely loved character, we don’t know much about Cobb Vanth. He only appears in the Aftermath trilogy and two live-action episodes on Disney+ (aside from indirect mentions).
I expect him to play a much more significant role in the upcoming series. Maybe he’ll even make it onto a film. Who knows what LucasFilm is planning?
Overall, Cobb’s life teaches us to stand up to evil and bullies on a personal and a collective level.
He always returns to Mos Pelgo, aptly renamed Freetown, keeping it safe from dangerous influences (not just dangerous people). As soon as any slight indication of a threat emerges, he’s there to deal with it (such as with the Pyke spice runners).
Maybe that’s an attitude we can apply to ourselves!