Update: Redemption has arrived in Episode 5 of The Book of Boba Fett!
There aren’t many who can walk up to Darth Vader, and stand beside him without trembling in fear. Likewise, there aren’t many that the Sith Lord trusts to that extent. The only exception was Boba Fett.
A feared bounty hunter – many run away when they see his green, red, silver and gold armour – and very little live to tell the tale of ever crossing him. Perhaps it’s also the mystery of never ever seeing his face that leaves so many afraid of the man behind the helmet.
Fett was first introduced to screen fans in Star Wars Holiday Special (1978). He was later seen in The Empire Strikes Back and seemingly died in The Return of The Jedi, where he remained for almost 40 years (Original Expanded Universe appearances notwithstanding), until new Star Wars owner, Disney, surprised fans with Fett’s return in the second season of The Mandalorian, as part of the House of Mouse’s small screen expansion of its Star Wars universe.
And when it was announced that an entire series on the famed reborn bounty hunter was due at Disney+ at the end of 2021, fans lost their collective shit because the franchise was finally going to get more than four lines and a collective on-screen appearance of six minutes and 32 seconds out of the guy.
But four episodes in, fans are losing their shit, and not in a good way. Maybe it was the way the franchise revealed how Boba Fett escaped death in the Sarlacc pit – his unspectacular death in 1983, which fans criticised then, was matched by an equally uninspired and tepid escape, of having him simply burn his way out – that removed much of the mystery and allure of the character. His presence was etched in some legendary status that the truth was never ever going to match.
We’re not saying The Book of Boba Fett is a shitty show, because co-star Ming Na Wen as Fennec Shand is incredible, or that those who enjoy it aren’t true fans, but respectfully, the frequently unmasked and talkative Boba Fett in the series isn’t the silent, intense bounty hunter who stood up to Darth Vader.
As far as we’re concerned, the one fans didn’t know much of but loved anyway died in the Sarlacc.
The once-menacing bounty killer has now become a softie with a heart of gold. This was first seen in The Mandalorian in which Fett spoke of his fear and disapproval of the Empire. He later joins the light side and is positioned as a “good guy”, when he fights alongside fellow Mandalorian, Din Djarin.
In The Book of Boba Fett, he relinquishes his title as a bounty hunter and even releases a Wookie assassin (Black Krrsantan) free just moments after the furry killer tried to kill Fett in his sleep. The new Fett, who we are to believe was greeted by an epiphany after his fiery escape from the jaws of doom, even stroked a massive Rancor behind its ear, and called a Tusken raider ‘mate’.
Are we to believe that this is the same Fett who had no problem working for the Empire and Jabba the Hutt? The same Fett who was a cold-blooded gun-for-hire who had no time for fraternising? Did Disney replace the original man under the mask with a clone, expecting fans to not notice?
Black Krrsantan wasn’t the only one who tried to mess with Fett. A team of assassins were sent to take him out and when Shand chased after them, Fett wanted them alive. To torture him? Waterboard him to get information? No. Fett threatened to keep the assassin beneath the palace where Jabba the Hutt’s famed Rancor lives, except it was later revealed that there was no Rancor at all. Cheap tricks? Not cool. Even if it’s for comedy.
It’s fascinating how Disney+ was able to make one of the most popular and talked about characters of the original trilogy into someone so… not. Perhaps the main intention of The Book of Boba Fett is to evolve the character into a respectable leader, someone that current kids can probably see and adore as a just and fair figurehead in the Star Wars universe. In recent years, Hollywood, and fandom, have embraced the anti-hero, and Star Wars has been guilty of it. We get it – Han Solo was introduced as a rogue smuggler who turned his life around after joining the Rebellion, and so did Lando Calrissian.
But Fett, like Vader, is evil. They did despicable things in the name of the Empire and turning a fan favourite into a new sort of hero cheapens their legacy.
The problem now, is that the Star Wars franchise, lacks heroes. Luke, Leia and Han from the original trilogy? They’re dead. The prequel trilogy brought back Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and introduced Qui-Gon but they are also all dead. And let’s not start with the abysmal sequel trilogy that Disney seems interested in keeping in cold storage – none of the Star Wars projects it has announced since the end of the Skywalker Saga has involved the new characters of Rey and Finn, as if Disney realised they made a mistake and went back further into its Star Wars library to give fans what we want – classic characters.
And if fans want Boba Fett, and seeing how Fett – and actor Temuera Morrison – have aged over the years, the opportunity is there. But is it a right one?
There are other ways to breathe new life into an old character, who still keeps true to the version that fans love. Fett could still be the new Daimyo of Tatooine, and remain a badass who isn’t afraid to use force where necessary. He can still be a respected and powerful leader without letting folks walk all over him, or be seen as teaming up with teen power rangers in their colourful bikes.
When bringing a beloved character to the forefront after years of mystery, you wouldn’t and shouldn’t unravel the mystery so quickly. In fact, tease the audience, let them see who he is instead of telling. If fans took a shot every time the character says “I am Boba Fett” to a character who literally does not care, they can easily down another extra to escape the sense of embarrassment we have for a fan-favourite character.
Disney+ should’ve given fans the big Boba Fett badass experience before expanding or introducing other undiscovered parts of him. It’s the very least we could’ve gotten after pining and loving him after four decades and four short lines.
With three more episodes left in the pipeline, there’s still time to see if the series will turn around. Though, seeing how each episode has been a bigger disappointment than the last, we would prefer if an assassin succeeded, and put Fett, and audiences, out of their misery.
Catch The Book of Boba Fett on Disney+.