A bit about Jaster Mereel
 
Anyone who follows / visits my blog for Mandalorians most likely noticed by now I don’t talk much about Jaster Mereel, even though he is, Legends-wise, an important figure in their history. In general, I’m not a big fan of him or True Mandalorians and for sure I hate how tie-in materials glorified Jaster even though, from my perspective, he didn’t show anything that special in the main source (Jango Fett: Open Seasons).

Anyone may argue how comics is a very limited medium to present everything in great details, that the story was about Jango’s past, so it makes sense that Jaster, Montross and Tor were the supportive characters driving the plot and fulfilling important roles in Jango’s life (a mentor/father, rival/betrayer and enemy). But at the same time, even with limited space, Tor managed to lay two devastating traps (and one by using Jedi as a tool of doom, something that rarely happens, even less for Mandalorians), outmaneuvering both Jaster and Jango at some point in the story and showing good fighting & tactical skills. You don’t need to like him, you may disagree with his philosophy of life, behaviour and etc, but the comics built Tor as someone’s that leaves a strong impression based on his action that we actually could see with our own eyes while Jaster is mainly praised by tie-in materials as a great leader and some sort of reformator (what for me seems to argue with original source a lot) and sometimes, if remembered at all, by other Mandalorians. At the same time, comics didn’t show much Jaster in favorable circuments. I mean, we met him on the run from Death Watch and hiding in field crops that belonged to Fetts, then saving Jango only to almost die in fire and in the end being saved by Jango’s quick thinking. With the help of orphaned boy, he scored one victory on Concord Dawn then timeskip happened (sadly omitting the years of raising Jango) and finally Jaster led his men straight into trap, got betrayed by his own man and was killed on Korda VI. Understandable, Tor and Jaster played different roles thus comics made Vizsla the “active” character while Mereel was more “passive”.

And you know what? Even with my despiste for the biased source materials that treat Jaster as some epic character while demonizing Tor and tons of personal jokes about Jaster / True Mandalorians shared with my close friend and fellow Tor fan (and god knows, we joke about them as much as we joke about Jedi), I do think that Jaster Mereel has a great potential as character and it is a true shame his story is not exploited beyond few basic informations. I mean, a former Journeyman Protector (a man of law) joining Mandalorian Mercenaries that kill for money / personal ambitions on right and left? The term a “reformed murderer” sounds intriguing on its own and there is the whole conflict with Tor Vizsla, the uneasy(?) relationship with Montross and family bond with Jango to explore.

And the sad thing about Jaster Mereel is how, despite the cult of True Mandalorians, he is almost forgotten. I know, hoping for New Canon to bring Legends Mandalorians to life is too much to ask when Jango Fett (and Boba) is barely recognised as Mandalorian in the first place but there is some irony that right now the true Mandalorians are tightly tied to Death Watch and TCW additional materials at least mentioned that Pre’s relatives / clan members were warriors of Death Watch and there was Bounty Hunter Code with Tor Vizsla’s Manifesto.So, Tor’s existence is/was to some degree confirmed even despite the drastic changes that happened to Mandalorian lore thanks to The Clone Wars & Disney.

And yeah, BHC did mention Jaster Mereel and True Mandalorians but in all fairness? The Bounty Hunter Code was so great but wasted opportunity to flesh out Jaster, who had/lead a company actually called “HeadHunter”on Korda VI




which may suggest Mereel’s True Mandalorians also took more typical bounty hunter jobs (and seeing how both Jango and Montross went into business, it seems logical to assume they both already had some experience in this field). This in turn could nicely connect Jango’s past to the career of Bounty Hunter, as in a way to explore the time he spent with Jaster Mereel, what he learned from his mentor/father figure and would absolutely make sense for Jango to pass the book/notes to young Boba. Especially since he wanted a clone for himself to pass the Jaster’s Legacy.




I understand that the Death Watch’s Manifesto was a means to connect the old lore with changes made by TCW. Even as a non-objective source, it has its own value but frankly, including it into stricte book about bounty hunters feels a bit off. Jaster’s own notes could give the fans the same information about Mandalorian history and even about the conflict between Death Watch and New Mandalorians, as a third (less involved?) party and it would make sense for Jango to have it in the first place (as a memento because Jango was sentimental enough to keep Jaster’s stuff years after his death) and pass it to Boba who from the start was meant to carry on Jaster’s Legacy.

And yeah, sure, it was possible for Jango to get hold of a top secret Death Watch book and pass it to Boba “to know your enemy”, but I personally think that Jaster’s notes would carry more emotional impulse. And well, I’m curious about Jaster’s mindset. And I’m saying that as a fan of Tor Vizsla because frankly, the manifesto doesn’t sound much like him (or at least the impression of him built for me by comics) and even Jango shares similar doubts about the authenticity of the author. So yeah, in regard to this one source, I would rather have Jaster’s POV than one dictated for TCW for Tor.

The other wasted opportunity happened in the latest Marvel comics (what is the real reason for the rant). You know, the War of the Bounty Hunters - in one of the issues, Boba had a sidequest and worked under the name of Jango.




And I know this was supposed to be an emotional scene, a son using father’s name and canon remembering about elder Fett and so on. But the only thing I felt at that moment was how Jaster Mereel felt from grace and how it was easy to make a callback to all the older Legends sources (retcon?) of both Jango and Boba using Jaster Mereel’s name while working undercover. As you know, keeping the memory of a man supposed to mean so much to Jango and Mandalorian history - and by that allowing Boba to fulfil his own father’s desire.

Yeah, I know, I wish too much and hope is overrated anyway. It is just bizarre how the perception of Mandalorian lore changed in the last 20 years.

I never thought there would come a day to say this, but Jaster Mereel deserves better than being some idealized symbol or obscure character forgotten at every turn.


Hashhana



Tekst napisany na/Essay posted on Cienie-Isengardu
 

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