In the first season of The Mandalorian, Din Djarin begrudgingly accepted a job working with rookie bounty hunter Toro Calican on Tatooine: track down one of the galaxy’s most feared assassins, Fennec Shand. Djarin and Calican wound up doing exactly that, though not without struggle. But while Djarin went to get a ride, Shand convinced Calican that the bounty on his ‘ally’ was worth more than she was. She succeeded, but her plan backfired, as Calican shot her and left her for dead to go after Djarin instead.
As is often the case in Star Wars, though, Fennec Shand did not stay dead.
She returned in The Mandalorian season two, with the show picking up on a mysterious scene from the first season that saw a strange, unknown figure approaching Shand’s body. It was confirmed to be Boba Fett in the second season, and it was revealed that he stepped in to save Fennec, causing her to form a partnership with Fett – both of them having survived being left for dead on Tatooine.
Though it’s likely the plan was always to have this be Fett and to bring him into the series, it sounds like it wasn’t always the plan to have Fennec Shand still around. But she did return in the second season of The Mandalorian, and then she returned in The Bad Batch (set years prior), and now she’s returning in The Book of Boba Fett. Not bad for a character that, from the sounds of it, was originally left for dead in the writer’s room too. Here’s what the recent profile from The Hollywood Reporter on The Book of Boba Fett had to say about it, including a quote from Ming-Na Wen:
Wen’s character was introduced in the first season of Mandalorian and then was seemingly killed off. “There was no ‘seemingly,’” she says with a laugh. “It was very clear at the time.” But Favreau and Filoni had a change of heart and decided to concoct a storyline whereby Boba revived Fennec and the duo teamed up.
Granted, sometimes the actors themselves aren’t up to speed on all the possible plans with their character, so it’s plausible that Wen just wasn’t made aware of any further plans. However she mentions that it was very clear, and so we’ll trust her on that. Assuming that’s the case, then, it just goes to show how great decisions aren’t always planned out so far in advance, and that sometimes changes of heart like these wind up being terrific for storytelling purposes. And really, that’s a big part of the history of Star Wars as well.
See, for all the talk of plans in recent years with Star Wars films, the reality is that Star Wars has rarely (if ever) been planned out to the degree some fans seem to think it needs to be. The original trilogy certainly wasn’t!Tons was changing as the trilogy went on. And here it sounds like something significant changed in-between seasons of The Mandalorian too. My point is that plans change, and that’s a good thing often times. All of the best Star Wars projects have undergone changes like this and therefore could be seen as deviating from a ‘plan,’ but only to those unfamiliar with the very nature of storytelling like this.
So anyway, it’s interesting that something as seemingly significant as Fennec Shand surviving – which sparked her being one of the main supporting characters in season two of The Mandalorian and a co-star on a brand new live-action series as well – isn’t always totally planned out, and that’s ok! Storytelling ebbs and flows throughout the production process, and all that really matters is the final product seen on-screen.