The question of whether or not Jango and Boba Fett are Mandalorians has been ongoing for a while.
Obviously for most of us, Boba Fett was our first introduction to “Mandalorians,” as he was the first one we ever saw wearing the armor. But then in Attack of the Clones it was revealed that Boba was actually a clone of his father, Jango Fett. So we all assumed that Jango was a Mandalorian… but George Lucas didn’t see it that way.
So in The Clone Wars, when we finally explored the Mandalorians in-depth, Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Prime Minister Almec that he recently encountered a Mandalorian named Jango Fett – but Almec responds, “Jango Fett was a common bounty hunter. How he acquired that armor is beyond me.”
It was clear that Almec and other Mandalorians didn’t consider Jango Fett to be one of them, and neither did George Lucas. As Dave Filoni explained years ago in a documentary about the making of Mandalorians for The Clone Wars:
“So the idea that Jango Fett is not a Mandalorian, that’s something that comes directly from George. I think that when we first saw Jango in Attack of the Clones, that a lot of us, myself included, we assumed that he must be a Mandalorian. There he is in Mandalorian armor. So it was kind of this early assumption that Jango must be a Mandalorian, and that was interesting to see. But that was never stated in the film. It’s never stated that he’s a Mandalorian. He’s always just referred to as a bounty hunter.”
Ever since, that has been the prevailing narrative, that Jango and Boba Fett were not Mandalorians. The Star Wars twitter account even posted something last summer about how, “Iconic Mandalorian helmets are so well-made that even non-Mandalorians like Boba Fett find ways to acquire them for their own needs.” Or two years before that, the same account tweeted that the darksaber wouldn’t have any significance to them since they were not Mandalorians.
From George Lucas to Minister Almec to the Star Wars social media team, the common notion has been that the Fetts are not true Mandalorians.
But that obviously presents a problem once Boba Fett was brought to The Mandalorian, as we have repeatedly seen Din Djarin’s insistence that only true Mandalorians wear the armor. This, after all, is the way. All of this came to a head in Chapter 14, when Fett and Djarin finally met.
Djarin: Your father was a foundling?
Fett: Yes. He even fought in the Mandalorian Civil Wars.
Djarin: Then that armor belongs to you.
By Mandalorian customs, a foundling was a child adopted by the Mandalorians and fully brought up in their ways and customs (including, it seems, armor). Then, when the foundling reached a certain age, they had the choice to take the Mandalorian creed or not. Din Djarin is actually a foundling, and he obviously took the creed. Grogu is also a foundling, entrusted to Djarin’s care, so his mission is either to raise him or reunite him with his people. So Jango Fett was also a foundling!
Fett also fought in the Mandalorian Civil Wars. We don’t really know anything about this conflict, but it sounds like Fett had a strong enough tie to the Mandalorians that he even fought in their war. In other words, I think that this answer given in The Mandalorian both changes Jango Fett’s backstory while at the same time not directly contradicting prior material.
How so? Well, Jango Fett was a Mandalorian foundling, but it doesn’t seem he took the creed (or, if so, that he walked away from it) and opted for bounty hunting instead. So a purist like Almec probably wouldn’t consider a foundling like Fett to be a true Mandalorian, and it would be likely that other Mandalorians would share similar sentiments.
So was Jango Fett a Mandalorian? It’s complicated, but yes, it seems like it. So then the armor rightfully belonged to Boba since his father was given it legitimately.
But Boba Fett didn’t take the creed, and it’s questionable whether Jango did either, which confronts one of the core ideals of what it means to be a Mandalorian, as it is a creed more than a race. So for Almec to say they aren’t Mandalorian does actually make sense, and isn’t just an outright lie. If the Fetts didn’t take the creed and weren’t following the ways of the Mandalore.
And this all ties in to a pretty significant storyline this season on The Mandalorian: Din Djarin being confronted with what a Mandalorian actually is. What makes a true Mandalorian? Djarin’s ideas of that are being confronted on an almost-weekly basis this season it seems.