Did Kevin Rubio’s Tag And Bink Just Cameo In The Mandalorian Episode 8?
by Olly MacNamee
(++WARNING: This article contains some minor spoilers for The Mandalorian ep.8++)
While other sites are losing it over the significance of the closing scene of The Mandalorian series finale, and in particular the reruns of a very specific weapon seen in the hands of Moff Gideon (played by Giancarlo Esposito), like so many others I was taken by the scene depicting two scout troopers taking turns in punching ‘Baby Yoda’. It was enough of a stand out scene that I did find myself asking: who the Hell were they anyway and why the inclusion?
Well, given that this episode was directed by Taika Waititi, it should come as no surprise that such a scene would be included. Waititi cut his teeth in comedy and this background certainly delivered the best of the three Thor films to date; Thor: Ragnarok. And they said sequels are weaker, but not in Thor’s case. Indeed, you can still sense Waititi’s influence on the character in the two climactic Avengers film that followed.
Well, as we take a time-out from the main action and zoom in on two scout troopers cunningly waiting their moment to bring back the Child, without being slaughtered by their commanding officer, Moff Gideon, in a comical scene that, while cruel towards the Child, is certainly funny for all the right reasons. From a purely structural point of view, the inclusion of such comical scenes act as something of a breather for audiences after some pretty tense scenes It’s why, immediately after Macbeth has assassinated King Duncan, we get a drunk porter spewing sexual innuendo and making appropriate, dramatically ironic, comparisons to the gates of Hell. It also underlines just how awful troopers are when it comes to shooting, with both failing to hit a static object only a few meters away from them. Storm Trooper really are the doofuses of space. I’m surprised the Empire lasted as long as it did.
But then, when you go as far as to discover that both are played by well established comical actors, Jason Sudekis and Adam Pally, then you know it could also be yet another very clever cameo; something Star Wars has been doing for some time now, after including the likes of Daniel Craig as well disguised storm troopers, or Kevin Smith offering his voice to the movies.
Then it occurred to me that these two, and their back and forth banter, seemed familiar. Could this two unnamed and, ultimately doomed, trooper be Tag and Bine, two characters who were created by Kevin Rubio for Dark Horse and have featured, albeit in the background, in every major Star Wars moment from the films. The Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the Star Wars universe, Tag and Bink have successfully ambled, stumbled and prat-fallen their way through George Lucas’s baby leaving their fingerprints everywhere, if you know where to look. But, were the two Tag and Bink?
Unfortunately not. While Waititi could well be a fan of the original comics, and indeed the fan film, TROOPS, that brought Rubio to the attention of Star Wars fans across the globe, it was Kevin Rubio himself who clarified exactly where Tag and Bink are at this precise moment in Star Wars history. And, they’re nowhere near Moff Gideon and his troops. Still, its a fun theory for all of the five minutes I waited for a response from Rubio. And, many thanks that I did.
But, with the inclusion of such a scene, could this be enough for Marvel to resurrect these great inclusions to the Star Wars canon? After all, they were going to be included in Solo: A Star Wars Story, but the scene in which they were included was lost to editing. No surprise there, given the issues with this underrated film.
Only that I liked the episode. T&B are actually intrenched with The New Republic at this point in the timeline. After the battle of Jakku they joined a Corellian racing team sponsored by Tag’s family.
— Kevin Rubio (@TheKevinRubio) December 29, 2019
Still, in using this tenuous question to write up this article, it certainly has given me the best of excuses to not only remind people out there of Tag and Bink (who knows, Marvel may be reading this, right?), but also of Rubio’s fan film too, which heads up this article. Enjoy.
The Mandalorian Season 1 is available now on Disney +
Tag and Bink Were Here trade is available now from Marvel Comics