Friday, May 27, 2022

‘The Book of Boba Fett’ Review: For People That Love to Love ‘Star Wars’

Warning: This review contains spoilers for ‘The Book of Boba Fett’.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, audiences were introduced to a minor character that, despite his complete and total lack of screen time, would go on to become a fan favorite in the years to come. Enter Boba Fett, the fearsome, infamous bounty hunter that unfortunately fell to a rather anticlimactic death in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. After making his triumphant, long-awaited return in the Disney+ series The Mandalorian (as portrayed by Temuera Morrison, originally Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones), Lucasfilm took things a step further by announcing that the character would be getting his own show — The Book of Boba Fett. The series picks up where the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian left off, with Boba Fett laying claim to Jabba’s throne after killing his successor, Bib Fortuna, with the sharp and dangerous mercenary Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) by his side.

The Book of Boba Fett wastes no time in fleshing out the once-mysterious character, immediately utilizing a series of flashbacks to explain how he survived his fall into the Sarlacc pit and his time spent with a tribe of Tusken Raiders. These memories are anchored within Fett’s time spent healing in the bacta pod at Jabba’s Palace. When he meets the Tuskens, we see that Fett is no match for their polished fighting prowess, despite his own reputation as a ruthless bounty hunter. To pull back the curtain on this character and expose the fact that, without his armor and fancy weapons, he wasn’t actually that great in hand-to-hand combat, was one of the single best narrative choices in the show. It was satisfying to see him humbled by the Tuskens and thrust into character development that allowed him to believably transition from a hired killer to a thoughtful leader. There’s something to be said for making a character work to earn their skills and power.

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While I personally spent the better part of the last two months thoroughly enjoying all that The Book of Boba Fett had to offer, the show has proven to be exceptionally polarizing amongst Star Wars fans. As a rule, most things that have come out of Lucasfilm since the original trilogy have been divisive, because it’s simply unavoidable given the sheer size of the fanbase and everyone’s individual, varying expectations. So it was a calculated risk to take off Boba Fett’s helmet and have him leave his past as a bounty hunter behind him, because that was what made him so interesting to many fans in the first place. But in reality, this is an example of dynamic, realistic storytelling. Star Wars may take place in a made-up world jam-packed with space wizards and laser swords, but that doesn’t mean its inhabitants should be damned to an eternally boring and static character trajectory. We all saw the ending of Return of the Jedi, right … ?

Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) in Lucasfilm's THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT
Lucasfilm

In regards to The Book of Boba Fett‘s tone and pacing, it’s not entirely consistent from beginning to end due to the nature of the story that unfolds. The show has a slow start, plodding through the various strategic moves that Boba Fett must make in order to establish himself. There are various moving parts that must be shifted into place across the first four episodes, including an explanation of Boba Fett’s time with the Tuskens and how he met Fennec, in order for the final three to pack the full punch that they promise. So basically, the show plays out like a 7-part movie, where the climax takes place in the latter half — and that’s totally fine. The quiet moments in the build-up to the finale were essential and also exciting for fans that like to revel in lesser-seen parts of the Star Wars universe that normally are barely given a second glance as scenes flash by in the films. Finally seeing the Tusken Raiders painted in a different light was brilliant (though the death of the tribe is one of my few gripes with the show), along with a peek into the inner politics of Mos Espa and the realities of Boba Fett’s position as daimyo.

As a whole, it’s easy to appreciate The Book of Boba Fett knowing the attention to detail at work behind the scenes and the air of respect for the Star Wars universe. The series doesn’t feel like it’s trying to evolve or change Star Wars as we know it, despite the fact that technology and the overall approach to filmmaking has changed dramatically since 1977. Instead, in the same vein as The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett pays tribute to all of the Star Wars properties that came before it, using them as blueprints to craft a nostalgic and consistent look and feel.

Paz Vizsla and the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) in Lucasfilm's THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT,
Lucasfilm

I was hopeful for a peek at the Mandalorian in this series, something to take off the edge while we await the arrival of season 3, and was subsequently shocked (and pleased) by the sheer amount of content provided not only for Din Djarin, but also for so many other exciting characters as well. Like a Christmas gift that was lost in the mail, the surprises just kept on coming: Black Krrsantan, Cobb Vanth, Peli Motto, Cad Bane, MORE LUKE SKYWALKER?! (and a look at the beginnings of Luke’s Jedi Academy), Ahsoka Tano, our beloved Grogu, and the list goes on. Knowing the strides that it took to insert a young version of Luke into The Mandalorian — since we can’t just pop Mark Hamill into a time machine — I had zero expectations to see more of the character, much less an entire training sequence with Grogu. With all that took place over the course of The Book of Boba Fett, I quickly lost count of the times I found myself punching the air in excitement between the appearances, the storylines, and the abundance of Easter eggs (“Wizard!”). Naysayers be damned, this show was so much fun to watch and experience, and there’s not a doubt that it serves as another remarkable achievement on the budding list of live-action Star Wars series.

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The Book of Boba Fett was made for people that love to love Star Wars, plain and simple.

All episodes of The Book of Boba Fett are now streaming exclusively on Disney+. Catch up on all of our episodic recaps here.

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