As of this writing, my reviews of Fennec Shand’s appearances on The Bad Batch Season 1 mark my most-commented articles of 2021. Thanks to the support of my readers, I’ve found motivation to blog about Fennec one more time this year. While I wait for The Book of Boba Fett to herald her return to Disney+, I’ll share my thoughts on her smallest Mandalorian appearance so far, then on her seasonally-appropriate debut in non-canon animation.
Among all of Fennec’s scenes across The Mandalorian Seasons 1 and 2, the ones from Chapter 15: “The Believer” mark the only ones I didn’t blog about at all last year. My favorite parts of that episode occur during the second half, so I felt the need to deviate from my usual review format in order to endorse the chapter. (If I felt more pretentious, I’d write something like, “Just as Din Djarin broke his rule about hiding his face in order to demonstrate his love for Grogu, I broke my rule about hiding Mandalorian spoilers to demonstrate love for him.”)
Even after three viewings of “The Believer”, I’ve struggled finding much interesting to say about Fennec Shand’s role. Her strongest contribution involves teaming up with Cara Dune to help Din Djarin and Migs Mayfeld escape the mining hub, by shooting some Stormtroopers from a distance. It provides excitement, but tends to get overshadowed in my mind by Mayfeld and Din killing Valin Hess and some of his goons before it, and Boba Fett destroying some TIE Fighters with a Seismic Charge after it. Fennec and Cara don’t get much time to build a camaraderie, between never sharing any conversations about subjects other than men, and Gina Carano’s apparent inability to deliver a compelling performance. (Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long to see The Mandalorian team Ming-Na Wen up with another professional actress, as Fennec meets Katee Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan Kryze only one chapter later.)
None of that severely lowers my appreciation of “The Believer”, aside from Carano. I understand the need to remain focused on Din’s paternal determination, and the chapter excels at demonstrating it. Finally, I wouldn’t pick any of Fennec’s scenes in this chapter as Ming-Na Wen’s biggest Star Wars-related embarrassment, especially compared to Fennec’s anti-climactic demise in Chapter 5: “The Gunslinger”.
“It’s a decorating contest for Boba Fett’s starship as Boba and the Mandalorian keep trying to one up each other with wild and creepy designs. However, an expected winner emerges to put both Boba & the Mandalorian to shame with their design.”
Among the first four Mandalorian-centric Lego Star Wars YouTube shorts, the Halloween-themed Scary Starship bears the least similarity to any actual Mandalorian episodes.* As such, I find it the most interesting watch, although all four shorts have their charms. As I’ve immersed myself into the Mandalorian fandom, I’ve found some strange intrigue in the question of what Din Djarin, Boba Fett, and/or Fennec Shand would like to do together, in addition to fighting Imperials and claiming Mandalorian artifacts. For now, Scary Starship marks the closest I’ve seen to an official answer. Even though no Mandalorian actors provided any dialogue – which currently seems typical of Lego Star Wars – the cartoon delivers some entertaining visual humor. Fennec’s decorations for the Slave 1 cleverly riff on distinctive Star Wars imagery, in a manner that balances scary and silly aspects of the Halloween season. I just find it ironic that the description on the Star Wars Kids YouTube upload refers to her as “an unexpected winner”; among Mandalorian characters who appeared beyond Season 1, she seems the closest to a zombie.
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*I would admit that the similarities between the first Lego Mandalorian short, Snowflake Snack, and Chapter 10: “The Passenger”, feel coincidental, as Snowflake Snack premiered two days earlier than the latter.