Long-time Star Wars fans should have known – the show we first caught and loved, was actually about something else all along.
1977’s Star Wars wasn’t the first chapter in George Lucas’ sci-fi saga, even though it was originally released as such. It was actually Episode IV and renamed A New Hope later one. The original trilogy we loved in the cinemas? They were retooled as Special Editions 20 years later, with new scenes and existing ones recontextualized.
Then came the Prequel Trilogy that once again changed elements of what we knew of the Original Trilogy. Let’s not talk about the best-forgotten Holiday Special. Oh, Anakin Skywalker is the evil Darth Vader? But did you know he was also a heroic Jedi Knight? He also had an apprentice, Ahsoka Tano. Did you think Obi-Wan ‘Ben’ Kenobi was hiding in Tatooine after defeating Anakin on Mustafar, before he turned into Darth Vader? Well, then why is Disney+ touting a rematch between the former Jedi Master and Jedi Knight in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi streaming series?
Which brings us to The Book of Boba Fett, the highly touted sequel series that focuses on famed bounty hunter Boba Fett who *surprise spoiler alert* did not die as shown in Return of the Jedi (1983). His return was revealed in Season 2 of The Mandalorian, and his resurrection explained in the first episode of the new seven-episode series. With the recent finale that arrived this week, long-time Star Wars fans saw the divisive series draw to a close, and realised that despite the name in the title, the book, or TV series, was never about Boba Fett at all.
When the continuation of the Star Wars movies was first announced for the Disney+ streaming service, fans were elated. Disney’s Lucasfilm engaged actor Temuera Morrison, who played Boba Fett’s father, Jango Fett, from the Prequel Trilogy, to inherit the role of the famed bounty hunter, and for the show, they even brought back beloved actress/Disney Princess/Marvel Comics hero Ming-Na Wen as assassin/bounty hunter Fennec Shand. When news of The Book of Boba Fett dropped as part of an end credits scene in The Mandalorian Season 2 finale, fans were ecstatic.
Until they saw the first episode. To say that it had a slow start was an understatement. Fett’s escape from the Sarlaac was as yawn-inducing as his poorly executed death almost four decades ago, and as the episodes dragged on, few were excited about Fett’s turn from evil bounty hunter to anti-hero, his weak attempt at finding redemption while protecting the Tusken Raiders, and let’s not talk about his embarrassing turn at trying to take over the remnants of Jabba the Hutt’s criminal empire, with the help of several robotics-enhanced teenagers in color-themed speeders that crawled, and reminded audiences of the colour-themed Power Rangers.
Things only picked up in the action and story department when it got to episode five, famous for the unannounced but expected appearance of Pedro Pascal’s Din Djarin from The Mandalorian, and more famous because it was the episode that Boba Fett himself was reduced to the sidelines, and never even appeared.
In an episode of his own seven-episode show.
Fans indulged in the episode that expanded on elements of The Mandalorian, and even focused on the other show by getting fans excited over Djarin’s new ship, a rebuilt and repurposed Naboo N1-Starfighter, and of course, a teaser for the ever so adorable Grogu. If you’ve been craving for season 3 of The Mandalorian, then this will probably have you begging for more of Mando.
Episode six continued the investment into Djarin’s Mandalorian character, as it showed us more cameos beyond Grogu, including Luke Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano. And where was Boba Fett? He actually did appear this time, for all of 30 seconds.
Anyways, back to the finale. We’re not going to go into specific details of what happened, mainly because if you’re reading this, you’ve either seen it, or no longer care. Episode seven basically saw the inevitable war (if you can even call it that) between Fett and friends, and the Pyke Syndicate over spice, but the on-screen results were more like a street fight than a war among factions. The Pykes basically want to run spice through Tatooine, and Fett is all, “My Tatooine, My Mos Espa”. Another cameo that returned for the first time in live-action, and amounted to nothing much, Cad Bane, was basically someone for everyone to shoot at.
The finale was packed with action, but it was far from action packed, as blaster battles were inconsistent, and too many things were happening without a proper flow. Fine, the sequence with the Mando Bros, Boba Fett and the Mandalorian, jetpacking and fighting alongside one another was the coolest scene of the episode, and even the entire Star Wars Disney+ outing, but it was quickly followed by a rather weak Fett and his Rancor’s King Kong moment. Little Grogu’s timely save, and other little elements that saw our heroes win were rather poorly executed across the hour-long episode.
To put it simply, it might have possibly made for an exciting battle, but does it make for an exciting finale to a ho-hum series? No, not really.
Looking back, the whole series probably left more questions than answers. Elements that were set-up in the first episode, such as Fett’s escape, his desire to take over Jabba, and his time spent with the Tusken Raiders, were not important to the final episode. Sure, his Tusken Raider weapon gave him an advantage over Cad Bane but it was a massive set-up for a tiny pay-off, establishing that before his time on Tatooine, the older Bane was a superior bounty hunter over Boba Fett.
So what else did we learn about Boba Fett across the five episodes he was actually in? He’s the daimyo of Tatooine, perhaps with a little bit more respect than before. He also has a few new buddies, also known as the Power Rangers Vespa Gang, and his new Wookiee enforcer, Krrsantan.
Fett hasn’t gone on any sort of journey (literally or metaphorically) and he didn’t learn anything new about power and leadership – his survival was because he had help, from Mando to Shand. In fact, what we got were flashbacks of his time with the Tusken Raiders, and how that basically ignited the kind-hearted and empathetic part of him. The story doesn’t come full circle to something and doesn’t elevate the beloved character in any way. In fact, they had the poor old man going around in circles.
Now let’s postulate the real reason for this series – without a clear antagonist or villain in this story, The Book of Boba Fett seemingly intends to rise Fett from the ranks of a murderous bounty hunter to a respectable leader. Sadly, they didn’t really give him a proper bad guy to defeat gloriously. Sure, there are the Pykes, but all they are, are a bunch of goons hiding behind masks and barrels. Shand even took their leader out in less than 2 minutes of screentime. Yes, she is Master Assassin Shand after all, but come on, there could’ve at least been some struggle.
Cad Bane was a welcomed and surprising addition, but unless you saw the animated shows where he first appeared, there is little to love about Bane. The character was first seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: The Bad Batch, and is known as one of the galaxy’s best bounty hunters, but this show didn’t tell you that.
For fans familiar with the character, and his history with Fett (Cad Bane used to mentor him), seeing them face to face again was great but the series forgets that there are viewers who are likely not as well-versed in Star Wars canon. For new viewers, all they see is a blue-individual with very little context. They hint that they know each other and then boom, Fett wins. Where is the suspense or drama? Even the first potential threat introduced in the series – the Hutt siblings – came and left after a poorly planned assassination.
With no character growth throughout the series, and no real strong villain to cement Fett’s new hero persona, the question is, what, or who, did the show focus on?
Within those two episodes, the Mandalorian learns to wield the Darksaber, gets rejected by his Mandalorian brethren, reunites with Grogu after separating from him in The Mandalorian Season 2 finale, and pledged loyalty to Fett by putting his life on the line to help him keep Mos Espa. Along the way, he got a new ship to replace the lost Razor Crest, and we get to see what happened to Luke Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano, and they even spoke.
Yes, the first on-screen interaction between Luke Skywalker, son of Anakin, and Ahsoka Tano, apprentice of Anakin, took place in The Book of Boba Fett. We also learned that Luke has Yoda’s lightsaber, and we see the new Jedi school being built.
How will Season 3 of The Mandalorian even start? Grogu left at the end of Season 2, and suddenly, he’s back in Season 3. You won’t know what happened unless you watched The Book of Boba Fett, and that’s the only reason for watching it.
The very final scene of the series, before the closing credits, wasn’t even of Boba Fett and Fennec Shand. It was of Din Djarin and Grogu venturing off into space. As cute as it was, it felt as if Mando and Grogu were in fact the most important characters on The Book of Boba Fett, but that’s impossible, because the Mandalorian already has a show named after him.
Even the show’s post-credit scene ignores Boba Fett, and instead, we get Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant) in a bacta tank, fresh from his battle with Cad Bane. Standing over him is Mod Artist (Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner), who used cybernetics to save Shand. Can we infer that he’s doing the same to Vanth? Hmmm. An officer of the law taken out by an outlaw, and rebuilt with technology. Does this mean that we’re seeing the creation of – pun FULLY intended – RoboCobb?
As fans, we want to see more of Boba Fett in future Star Wars projects, but in ones that respect his name and history. Do we still want a Boba Fett-centered series? That’s a big Fett yes, because as far as we’re concerned, The Book of Boba Fett wasn’t about Boba Fett at all.