Star Wars is cool for so many reasons. Laserswords. Pew pew guns. Things going boom. And then the deeper stuff. The relationships. The mythology. The Force. Somewhere right in between those two sits the costume design. Being that Star Wars is a used universe, you often get the rugged side of things. The unpolished and imperfect. This holds true for everyone from Anakin Skywalker, whose style progressively gets more emo as he moves toward the darkness, to beloved characters like Boba Fett. The problem, however, comes with the latter. Whereas Anakin’s apparel matches his narrative, Boba Fett just doesn’t have a narrative (at least in the original trilogy). Enter. Look cool. Look cooler. Look cool holding a sawed off blaster rifle. Die by the hand of a blind man.
Certainly there are those for which looking cool is good enough, and that is not a piece of fandom that should be negated. The Mandalorian Mercs and other costuming groups do amazing work to support our own galaxy not so far away. But if we strictly consider the narrative, it should cause some concern.
Let’s move away from Fett for the moment, as the love/hate around him is tied far too deeply for anyone to truly consider him objectively. A more recent character, however, should be considered: Her Shininess, Captain Phasma. Pulled from concept art for “The Jedi Killer” (later named Kylo Ren), Phasma’s character exists purely because she looks really, really, cool. She has arguably one of, if not the,best costume in Star Wars. Just like her predecessor, though, she doesn’t do anything worthy of the acclaim and publicity she received, at least in the films. It was only later, with the Phasma novel, comic, etc., that we really got any story at all. Just as the EU did for Fett, this endeared many to Phasma.
So this is the point where we have to ask, “Why does it matter? Why can’t things just look cool and that be that?” The answer to that is that it doesn’t. Some things are cool just because they look cool. That, in fact, is probably one of the reasons that the Star Wars galaxy has persisted. The plethora of background characters who got expanded on because fandom clung onto their look created a large part of the past and present canons.
Now, however, we have a new factor to consider: What if the character that looks really cool is the main character? This is a factor we must consider after learning more about The Mandalorian, which has fans (and Lucasfilm for that matter), so ecstatic that the anticipation may even surpass EpisodeIX.. However, for the majority of us who were not in the room when footage was shown, all we have to go off is the stills that make each character look like an utter badass.
From everything we’ve heard, this excitement is warranted. By every report, this show is not just the show we’ve all been waiting for, but also the show we never could have imagined. With veteran groundbreakers like Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni at the helm, yours truly has no reason to doubt anything about the show. The question, then, moves from if it will be good to how will it be good.
Phasma and Fett won’t cut it anymore. If we look outside of the Star Wars galaxy, to the DC Universe, we can see this issue in action. Suicide Squad had great design, cool characters, and an overall badass feel. It did not have a story to match. Even a more improved story, as in Aquaman, struggles when there are 73 heroic “pose and look at the camera while being really cool” moments. What we need is a Wonder Woman type situation. Endearing characters, amazing action, and a great story. The design almost takes care of itself.
What we need is…
Enfys is a perfect depiction of how to make a character look cool while also being effective. Throughout the film, Enfys was built up as a formidable opponent, even a villain, and then in the final moment it is revealed that she is far more than we imagined.
Sounds a lot like…
When The Mandalorian starts, it will be interesting to see how the Favreau and Filoni deal with the mask. Will it be just another cool prop, or will it follow in the stead of Enfys, Vader, and even Kylo Ren/Ben Solo, in helping create our understanding of the true character within?