It’s the fulfilment of a long-held dream for many Star Wars fans. Ever since his onscreen debut in The Empire Strikes Back, the character of Boba Fett has captured the imagination of fans, despite a limited amount of screentime and dialogue.
After another brief appearance culminates in Boba Fett’s apparent death in Return of the Jedi, he leaves fans with more questions than answers. His history is, undoubtedly, a significant factor in Disney’s decision to resurrect the character. Giving him his own series results in The Book of Boba Fett.
After his brief but memorable appearance in The Mandalorian Season 2, The Book of Boba Fett picks up with the titular bounty hunter returning to Tatooine with Fennec Shand, intending to take over the power vacuum left by the death of Jabba the Hutt.
The early part of the season tells two stories – his power struggle with the other players in Mos Espa and the story of his escape from the Sarlacc pit. After being left dead by Jawas, who scavenged his armor, he is rescued by Tusken Raiders and learns the value of community and trust in others.
This serves two functions. Despite complaints from some pockets of the fanbase, the reality is creating a show around a relentless, near-mute bounty hunter would have made for a bland protagonist. Giving Boba an arc in these early episodes helps re-contextualize the character and give him more agency.
It also humanizes the Tusken Raiders, who until this point had historically been portrayed in Star Wars as mindless savages. Giving them a sense of real community and care for one another adds a new dimension to them as characters.
It also treads new ground for the franchise, as the structure plays between the two timelines. Star Wars hadn’t used flashbacks onscreen until The Last Jedi, and The Book of Boba Fett expands on this and doubles down on it.
After these first four episodes, the focus shifts as we are re-connected with Din Djarin. He returns to the armourer after the events of the Mandalorian’s second season.
After interacting with his fellow Mandalorians, he goes to Tatooine in the hopes of acquiring a replacement for the Razorcrest. With the help of mechanic Peli Motto, they rebuild a Naboo N-1 Starfighter, which is incredibly fast. The episode ends with Djarin being approached by Shand to offer some work.
The sixth episode is probably the most fan-servicey of the season. Instead of returning focus to Fett, the show doubles down on Djarin’s story, following him as he takes his new ship to Grogu and Luke’s planet. He then returns to Tatooine, and here we see him agree to work with Fett and the rest of the muscle he has acquired to fight the encroaching Pyke syndicate.
Meanwhile, we are treated to training sequences similar to Empire but with the roles reversed, as Grogu learns from Luke as his master. This has very little to do with the overarching plot of the series, but it would definitely be pleasing to fans. The episode ends with the live-action debut of another fan-favorite character from the Clone Wars.
Finale & Verdict
This boils down to a big battle between Fett and his gang members and the criminal Pyke syndicate. The finale has plenty of highlights and is probably the strongest episode of the season as it brings everything together in a satisfying manner.
The Book of Boba Fett is difficult to appraise. It certainly has strengths – the storytelling is pretty intriguing, as we learn more about Fett through comparing our knowledge of his past to what the show has him becoming. This arc is not only powerful but necessary for developing Fett as a character. While there are some problems with the first four episodes – pacing has been raised as an issue – I think they set up an exciting story.
What some fans (and reviewers) might regard as a positive was, in my mind, the biggest problem with the series, and that is the midpoint focus shift. The appeal of tying this series into the more successful Mandalorian is not lost on me. However, the nearly two episodes we spend with Din make Boba Fett a background character – in a series with his name on it. It might have worked better with tighter editing and perhaps splitting the focus more evenly between the two armored bounty hunters.
First Signs of Fumbling the Ball
Disney has started very strong in the exclusive streaming space with the first two seasons of the Mandalorian. They remain the peak of the original Star Wars programming on Disney Plus. While The Book of Boba Fett has its moments, it can’t compare to this high watermark.
The biggest problem with The Book of Boba Fett is the split focus. It plays like a company decision to tie the two series together. While it is fun to see Din and Grogu, not to mention Luke Skywalker, ultimately, it did the series a disservice. There are plenty of opportunities for other characters to be introduced. Instead, Disney repeats the gimmick of the second season of the Mandalorian.
Not only that, but Disney has played the game very well. Fans of the Mandalorian will need to watch The Book of Boba Fett for some context regarding the third season. The decision to move that show’s plot along significantly feels cynical and unfair to casual fans.
Ultimately, the Book of Boba Fett is a mixed bag. There are some great moments. Resetting the character with more compassion – older and wiser. The new plan, to leave his life of mercenary employment behind is an interesting arc. However, when they shoo in characters from their other popular series, it begins to lose its way. It is saved, however, by an intense finale. There are elements of a great series here – but unfortunately, it feels disjointed and somehow incomplete.
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