Timothy Olyphant in 'The Mandalorian' is like if Josh Brolin and Pierce Brosnan had a baby, in 'Justified,' on Tatooine

Timothy Olyphant as the Marshal in 'The Mandalorian.'
Timothy Olyphant as the Marshal in 'The Mandalorian.' (Image credit: Screenshot/Lucasfilm Ltd)

This post contains mild spoilers regarding Olyphant's character in The Mandalorian.

Timothy Olyphant is one of those underrated gems of acting. Deadwood never got its due, even with the HBO movie. Justified was one of the best-written five years of TV we've had in a long time, thanks in no small part to its source, the late Elmore Leonard.

And while he has more than his share of forgettables — as any long-working actor will have (Rock Star, anyone?) — there was just something about Cobb Vanth in the first episode of Season 2 of The Mandalorian. (We'll avoid other spoilers here, but be sure to check out our full review for more.)

The gist is this: Mando has to get Baby Yoda back to his peeps, and he needs the help of some fellow Mandalorians to do so. And supposedly there's one hiding out on Tatooine. (Yes, as in Luke Skywalker's home planet, which we also revisited in Season 1, as well as in the Star Wars sequels.)

That's where we meet "The Marshal."

Timothy Olyphant as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens in "Justified."

A Marshal of a different sort — Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in "Justified." (Image credit: FX Networks)

You can't help but smile a little — in that perfect sort of way Olyphant can manage — upon hearing that name. It's undoubtedly a nod to his Justified character of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. Even the character seems to have been cribbed ever so slightly, with a good person doing what has to be done to get things done. (Givens' penchant for shooting first, and sometimes second, then letting someone else worry about the questions, is just part of what made Justified so much fun.) That was Ralan Givens, and that's Cobb Vanth. We certainly don't get the same sort of depth of character in an hour-long episode that you do in multiple seasons, but you can tell it's there.

There's also the physical appearance of Olyphant. It's been no secret that he'd appear in Season 2, we just didn't know how, or when. And when his face first appeared on screen, I'll admit to a momentary confusion. Is this a skinnier, pre-Thanos Josh Brolin? Did I stumble into the Dune remake? Or, wait, is it the gracefully aging Pierce Brosnan? Some of that was the haircut, perhaps — especially stylish for dessert life, but whatever — or maybe it's mostly in the eyes. Or maybe it's the beard. But once you see it, you can't unsee it.

Regardless, Olyphant was a great addition to what's mostly been a fun series. The storytelling is there. The nostalgia is there. (Sometimes a bit too much, but that's going to happen.) My question now?

Who's next.

Phil Nickinson

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for AndroidCentral.com and Mobile Nations and is the Dad part of Modern Dad.