Copy Editor — Gretchen Lee
Before his appearance in The Mandalorian, I can’t say that I cared much for Boba Fett. I thought his armor was cool, but otherwise I saw him as a generic, violent character who served as a blank face upon which males could project themselves into the Star Wars universe.
The sophomore season of The Mandalorian gave Fett a bit more depth: he was strong, humorous, and had a certain degree of selflessness that added a complexity I found intriguing. When The Book of Boba Fett was announced, I was interested.
The beginning episodes show how the bounty hunter escaped the Sarlacc pit, trained a tribe of Tusken Raiders, and rescued Fennec Shand so they could topple Jabba the Hutt’s crime empire and take it for their own. As Fett heals, he remembers the people who saved him and navigates the political climate of Tatooine.
The first four episodes are excellent. Boba Fett comes alive as a complex character. He has a dark and painful past he tries to improve, but is still largely self-serving. He’s a fascinating character on multiple levels. We see him connecting with the Tuskens, trying to create stability in the local community, and bonding with animals in an endearing way.
The exploration of Tusken culture was one of the most interesting bits of Star Wars lore I’ve seen in a while. Understanding them as more than the faceless, violent people previously shown was an excellent narrative choice and added even more complexity to this series. The audience becomes attached to them as Boba Fett increased the emotional punch and raised the stakes of the central conflict.
The show uses comedy to balance some of its quieter moments. Boba Fett runs a driving school for Tuskens, pets a Rancor and calls it a good boy, and adopts a bunch of bored teens, creating levity that fits with the overall atmosphere of Star Wars media.
My central complaint about the first four episodes of The Book of Boba Fett is that the fight scenes felt awkward and slow. This could be overlooked because of the stellar plot and character development.
In episodes five and six, the narrative takes a sharp turn. Instead of focusing on Boba and Shand preparing for a territory battle with spice traders, the story follows characters from season two of The Mandalorian. At first, some of the cameos were fun, but it didn’t take long for the sixth episode to feel like a complete divergence from the original plot.
I enjoy a bit of fan service every now and again, but it must suit the plot and continue driving the narrative. The sixth episode stalled the story. It felt like a cheap way to get people excited about the series, which diminishes the work put into the other episodes and lessens the value of the cameoed characters.
Overall, I’m disappointed. The Book of Boba Fett had a strong beginning that has now been trampled by an overindulgence in fan service. I was hoping for a unique story about characters we haven’t seen much in the Star Wars universe, but Boba Fett has become a background character in his own show and, with only one episode left in the season, it’s unlikely the issue will be corrected.