The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett may be set in a galaxy far away, but both Star Wars series draw strong inspiration from classic Western movies. Like many Westerns, The Mandalorian is about an isolated figure who wanders from place to place, frequently encountering trouble. The Book of Boba Fett, which was strongly connected to The Mandalorian, continued this Western influence with its depiction of Tatooine as a lawless frontier under threat.


In addition to the clear thematic inspirations from the Western genre, both Star Wars series contain homages to classic Western movies. This takes the form of everything from similar plot elements to direct visual references. Westerns were among the pulp texts that inspired George Lucas to create Star Wars, alongside classic sci-fi serials and samurai movies, and The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett continue the tradition by referencing several Western classics.

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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Paul Newman and Robert Redford hiding behind a rock in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

The Mandalorian and Book of Boba Fett both contain references to George Roy Hill’s revisionist Western classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The first episode of The Mandalorian ends with a shootout similar to the ending of Butch Cassidy, where like Butch and Sundance the Mandalorian and IG-11 decide to shoot their way out of a situation in which they are vastly outnumbered rather than be captured. The Book of Boba Fett episode 7 also makes reference to this iconic scene, with the walled Freetown set bearing a particular resemblance to the famous doomed showdown.


Shane wearing a cowboy hat in Shane

1953’s Shane was integral to establishing the character of the Western antihero, similar to how Boba Fett and Din Djarin are portrayed in their respective Disney+ series. The Mandalorian season 1 episode 2 draws parallels to Shane when Kuiil thanks the Mandalorian for “bringing peace to my valley”, similar to a line in Shane’s closing scene where he promises a child that “there aren’t any more guns in the valley.” Like Shane, Din has to leave for his promise to be effective, unsuited for life in the peaceful world he has created.

A Fistful of Dollars

A group of men in A Fistful of Dollars

Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns are a major source of inspiration for The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, which include several references to them. The Mandalorian episode 3 includes a metal vest very similar to the one worn by Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name” in A Fistful of Dollars, the first movie in Sergio Leone’s “Dollars” trilogy. Timothy Olyphant’s Cobb Vanth, who appears in The Mandalorian season 2, also wears a similar makeshift metal vest, with his made from salvaged Mandalorian armor. Timothy Olyphant’s casting as Vanth could also be seen as another Western nod, with Olyphant previously starring in the 2000s Western series Deadwood.

The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven

One of the most thorough tributes to the Western genre takes place in The Mandalorian episode 4, which essentially takes the plot from classic Western The Magnificent Seven. As in the movie, Din helps an impoverished village defend themselves from local raiders, including training them in combat. There’s also a nod to the film in The Mandalorian season 2, when Din comments “Good shot” and Boba Fett says “I was aiming for the other one”, a riff on a very similar dialogue exchange in The Magnificent Seven. As The Magnificent Seven was a Western remake of Akira Kurosawa’s epic Seven Samurai, this episode is actually a homage to multiple Star Wars inspirations.

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The Wild Bunch

The gunslingers walk through town in The Wild Bunch

The Mandalorian also pays tribute to Sam Peckinpah’s bloody Western The Wild Bunch. During the first episode, Din mounts a giant laser turret and starts firing at his attackers. This is a visual reference to the Battle of Bloody Porch scene in The Wild Bunch, where Peckinpah’s anti-heroes mow down enemies in a similar fashion.

For A Few Dollars More

The second film in Leone’s Dollars trilogy could also be considered an inspiration for the pilot episode of The Mandalorian. Leone’s movie stars two bounty hunters who team up before eventually double-crossing each other. This is similar to the dynamic the Mandalorian and Taika Waititi’s IG-11 have in The Mandalorian episode 1.

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid

There are also a lot of comparisons that can be drawn between The Mandalorian and another Sam Peckinpah Western, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Din’s relationship with Greef Karga, in which the two are both friends and enemies, is similar to that between lawman Garrett and outlaw Billy. The Mandalorian also draws on Peckinpah’s theme of old gunslingers trying to find a place in a changing world, which was also a core element of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

The Great Train Robbery

The Great Train Robbery

One of the clearest homages to the Western genre in The Book of Boba Fett comes in episode 2 of the series, when Bob Fett is tasked with robbing a train carrying contraband, working together with the Tusken Raiders. The train robbery was a staple of Western movies, stemming from one of the first examples of the genre, the 1903 short film The Great Train Robbery. The Book of Boba Fett even includes similar elements such as Fett traveling along the top of the train.

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The climactic standoff between Blondie, Tuco, and Angel Eyes in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The final film of Leone’s “Dollars” trilogy was its most influential, most famously for the long, drawn-out three-way standoff at the climax of the film. Both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett have their own take on this iconic scene from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. In The Mandalorian episode 6, Din finds himself in a similar standoff after being double-crossed on a job. The Book of Boba Fett episode 6 similarly contains a three-way shootout between Cobb Vanth, Cad Bane, and Cobb’s deputy, with a lot of tight close-ups mimicking Leone’s direction.

High Noon

Gary Cooper dressed as a cowboy in High Noon

The other film that defined the archetypical Western duel was 1952’s High Noon. The meeting between Boba Fett and Cobb Vanth in The Book of Boba Fett takes place in a public street with all the citizens hidden inside, just like the meeting between Gary Cooper and Ian MacDonald’s characters in High Noon. However, the meaning of the two fights are complete opposites: Cooper’s Marshal is alone because he has been abandoned by cowardly townsfolk, whereas Boba Fett is fighting to protect the community that he has found. This is an example of how the Western homages in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett use imagery and plot elements from classic Westerns to create new meaning.

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