Here’s who Timothy Olyphant could have played in The Mandalorian

Photo: Timothy Olyphant.. Santa Clarita Diet: Season 3.. Saeed Adyani / Netflix
Photo: Timothy Olyphant.. Santa Clarita Diet: Season 3.. Saeed Adyani / Netflix /

The Mandalorian is certainly popular with Star Wars fans, and this casting adds fuel to the fire

Fan service is a heck of a thing, and no one knows that better these days than Disney. For better or worse, Season 2 of The Mandalorian has been expanding its cast ever since it was announced.

Many of these expansions are characters from other Star Wars TV shows, including Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano, Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan, and possibly Temuera Morrison as clone trooper Rex (he is returning as Boba Fett, after all).

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These inclusions doubtless fueled a ton of fan speculation that followed. One announcement that got a lot of people talking was the casting of Timothy Olyphant. When he joined the show, many people assumed that he would be playing Cad Bane.

After all, the creators had already thrown in several other animated characters. Why not another?

Who is Cad Bane, and why should we care?

Originating in the 2008 Clone Wars TV series, Cad Bane is a ruthless bounty hunter with a look and attitude straight out of the Old West. In crafting the character, George Lucas and company took inspiration from Lee Van Cleef in The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, and that definitely shows.

He’s quick on the draw with his two pistols; he’s always one step ahead of both allies and enemies; and he retains his cool swagger under pressure from even the toughest obstacles. Bane pulls off jobs that other crooks would balk at. He’s the best bounty hunter around, and he knows it.

He’s already shown he can pull the hat off

It’s easy to imagine how Olyphant would be suited for a character like this in The Mandalorian. After all, two of his best-known roles are both top-tier gunslingers: Seth Bullock in Deadwood and Raylan Givens in Justified.

He’s shown that he can embody the old-time cowboy presence. He pulls off the ruthless intimation with the former character and self-assured coolness with the latter. In essence, two of Bane’s most defining qualities are well within Olyphant’s reach.

What’s more is that such an inclusion would feel natural since The Mandalorian is already heavily inspired by Western tales. That doesn’t just apply to its style and iconography. Not only is the titular character a gun-slinging bounty hunter in his own right, but the show itself deals largely with the seedy underbelly of the Star Wars universe. Given these aspects, a guy like Cad Bane would fit right in.

This doesn’t even factor in Boba Fett’s inclusion, which would make it all the more appropriate. Both of them were once considered the best bounty hunters in the galaxy, so the possibility of reclaiming their former glory would be tempting. This would presumably put them at odds with the Mandalorian.

We know that progressing in a particular field often brings us into contact with people further up the chain. The same rule could apply to the bounty hunting profession. If the Mandalorian continues to distinguish himself through more dangerous escapades, which will probably happen if the showrunners want to raise the stakes, then it’s only a matter of time before he deals with the big boys.

The Mandalorian
Goliath — Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video/Greg Lewis — Acquired via EPK.TV /

However, there do exist some sizeable obstacles to Bane’s inclusion. First, Olyphant is primarily known for playing heroes. In fact, both of his aforementioned characters are lawmen.

On the few occasions when he’s occupied a villainous role, such as Live Free or Die Hard, he mostly seems miscast. Goliath‘s Billy Bob Thornton or Olyphant’s Justified co-star Walton Goggins might be better suited to a baddie like Bane.

Second, The Mandalorian takes place decades after The Clone Wars. Sure, they could make Olyphant look older with alien makeup and prosthetics, but the character’s age might affect how active he’d be. I don’t know how long Bane’s species lives for. Even if he’s older than Yoda, I can’t imagine he’d still be as spry as he was in his heyday.

Of course, the creators could weave this into his character, making him an over-the-hill survivor a la Robert Duvall in Open Range, Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven, or John Wayne in some of his later films.

However, all of this is rendered null and void next to Bane’s biggest barrier. Supposedly, Olyphant is playing another character: Cobb Vanth, a mysterious man introduced in the Aftermath books. Granted, the showrunners could pull a J.J. Abrams-esque switch and reveal him to be someone else. Remember in Star Trek Into Darkness when Benedict Cumberbatch wasn’t playing Khan?

This might be the smarter action from a business standpoint given The Clone Wars is more popular (and well-loved) than Aftermath. Also, the books may be seen as a damaged brand due to the author being fired from Marvel for his Twitter tirades. However, I wouldn’t count on this being the case.

At this point, we’ll just have to wait and see who Olyphant’s character will be when The Mandalorian returns. Will he be a friend or foe? Will the line between the two be blurred? Only time will tell.

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Are you a fan of Cad Bane? Who do you think should play him in live action? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Mandalorian is available to stream on Disney Plus. Season 2 premieres Oct. 30.