6 Thoughts on The Book of Boba Fett (Review)
For the longest time, the Boba Fett movie seemed impossible. Star Wars was back, new movies were being made, and a Boba Fett feature film was always on the table. He’s one of the coolest, most instantly iconic characters in the history of science fiction. The world was clamoring for more of this dastardly, hot shot character. But a movie never happened. And instead we got seven episodes of a TV show: The Book of Boba Fett. It has come and gone and, unfortunately, did not live up to those decades of hype.
TV Show Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good
I love The Mandalorian as much as the next person. It seemed like a silly Boba Fett knock-off at first, but then The Mandalorian came out swinging and has become a cultural touchstone the world over. And something about its success convinced those in power that the knock-off could bring back the original, and now Boba Fett has been re-established and is ready for action. Too bad that action turned out to be pretty perfunctory, with a lot more walking and standing around than badass bounty hunting. Still, at long last, we had our Boba Fett media project, and that in itself is pretty cool.
Join me after the jump for my review and thoughts on the first season of The Book of Boba Fett. Expect FULL SPOILERS for all the episodes, and what this means for The Mandalorian going forward.
6. It was fine
I largely felt nothing watching The Book of Boba Fett. Generally speaking, the show was fine and featured enough action to be worthwhile, but this show was so lacking in real, emotional character development or stakes that I don’t think any of it ultimately matters. This was especially apparent for me because I watched both the Book of Boba Fett finale and the season 4 finale of Cobra Kai in the same week, and the two episodes couldn’t have been more different.
I hated the fourth season of Cobra Kai. I really don’t like what the show has become with its cartoonish supervillainy and karate drama, and I was hate watching most of season 4 — until the finale. That two-part finale at the All Valley Tournament was amazing. The drama was perfect, the character arcs were fully explored, the emotions were high and the twists were unexpected and glorious. That tournament finale paid off seasons’ worth of character development and delivered some truly memorable moments that wiped away all my hatred and hate watching from the previous episodes.
Nothing in the final episode of The Book of Boba Fett came even close to the emotion and drama of Cobra Kai. It was a bunch of random characters and cameos weakly shooting at a pair of meaningless robots. That was the entire finale, as far as I’m concerned. And the rest of the show was just as weak. Boba Fett spends a couple years doing Dances with Wolves with the Tusken Raiders? Very predictable with very little payoff. The big bad are the Pykes? Nobody cares about the Pykes. Cad Bane makes his live action debut? He’s dead in the next episode, having barely factored into the season as a whole. Boba Fett saves the people of Mos Espa? From what? Their lives don’t seem all that different after he’s the last man standing. It’s not like he’s made a lot of changes to anything. It’s not like he ever mentions grand plans to make the city better.
The Book of Boba Fett did not have any real emotional stakes or character drama or forward storytelling progress. It relies solely on Star Wars character cameos and Star Wars-brand action. That was enough to keep the show watchable, and really just that.
5. Why was Boba Fett doing any of this?
Boba Fett is renowned as one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy. So whose bright idea was it to switch him away from being a bounty hunter? The show gave him a line somewhere in the middle about how he didn’t want to work for idiots anymore, that he wanted to be the boss, so that justified it in story. But why did the show move away from just being about Boba Fett kicking butt and collecting bounties across the galaxy? Why was watching him fumble his way into being a crime lord the plot for the show? Especially since he never shows any propensity for doing crime? He’s pretty strongly opposed to the drug trade for no particular reason. Was it really a better idea to feature a Boba Fett who just wants to sit on his throne and accept gifts from random underlings?
For that matter, why does he want to take over Jabba the Hutt’s territory so badly? Yeah, he worked for Jabba in Return of the Jedi, but the galaxy is a big place. Why does Boba Fett want to insert himself as crime lord in this random stretch of desert in and around Mos Espa? He has a spaceship, he has a reputation; why not leave Tattooine and go anywhere else? Especially when Mos Espa clearly becomes too difficult to manage. He’s beset on all sides by criminals who have just as much claim to Jabba’s empire as Boba does. It’s not like Tatooine is his homeworld and he’s attached to it. He’s famously from an ocean planet.
The final few episodes also feature a lot of people talking about how Boba Fett owes it to the people of Mos Espa to stay and protect it. Why? How does he owe Mos Espa anything? Near as I can tell, Mos Espa just happens to be the closest city to Jabba’s Palace. And do the people really want a crime lord? I just don’t think it makes any sense for famous bounty hunter Boba Fett to randomly decide it’s his life’s mission to settle down on a random patch of desert planet and sit on a throne. He could have gone anywhere or done anything.
4. Shoulda retooled it into The Mandalorian season 3
I think we can all agree that the best episodes of The Book of Boba Fett were the ones that focused on The Mandalorian and Grogu. Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard and Dave Filoni, these episodes were fun, adventurous and focused on characters with real development, who we really care about. And if Din Djarin and Grogu were going to factor so heavily into two out of seven episodes of The Book of Boba Fett…why not just make this season 3 of The Mandalorian? It wouldn’t be so jarring to think that Din would just tag along with Boba Fett and Fennec Shand after giving up Grogu. He’s looking for something to do, so he helps them out on Tatooine. You could fit in his visit to his old clan, and his visit to Grogu ahead of the big battle. Take out all the Boba Fett flashbacks, since none of them really matter, and fill them with more of the Mandalorian and you’ve got a pretty solid season 3.
Heck, The Book of Boba Fett ended with Din and Grogu reunited and moving on with their lives. That is major character and story development for The Mandalorian. Why put it in a separate show? The first season of The Book of Boba Fett should have just been the third season of The Mandalorian with Boba Fett as a major guest star.
3. Fennec Shand was criminally underserved
I don’t know what Star Wars has planned for Fennec Shand, but she didn’t do a whole lot in The Book of Boba Fett. She works nicely as Fett’s right-hand lady, but she doesn’t have much character or agency of her own. She’s grateful Fett saved her life, but she seems to only stick with him because that’s what the script says. Does she have her own hopes and dreams? Her own goals? Does she like Boba Fett as more than a friend? Did she really not get a moment with Cad Bane after their fight in The Bad Batch? Ming-Na Wen is obviously great in the role, but she could also use a lot more to do.
2. Boba Fett himself was pretty cool
For all the complaints I have about this show, I still like Boba Fett himself. His new costume design looks good, and I love the matte repaint of his armor. Actor Temuera Morrison does a fine job in the role, even if him being a stocky old man probably hampered things more than anyone would like to admit. Still, I liked Boba Fett. I liked seeing him in action, I liked seeing him as the focus of his own thing. The show around him might have left me wanting, but Boba Fett himself remained a pretty cool dude. That’s gotta count for something, right?
1. I don’t know what I want from Star Wars anymore
After watching the Luke Skywalker episode of The Book of Boba Fett, I decided that I would be perfectly happy if Star Wars just wanted to do fun fan service stuff from now on. Ahsoka, Luke, Cade Bane, Black Krr’Santan; if we just get some adventures were characters like this swirl around, I’d be perfectly happy. But then I watched the finale. And I watched a couple episodes of James Gunn’s Peacemaker TV show. And then I started writing this very article. And I realized that all of the character cameos in the world cannot make up for flat, emotionless, storytelling. So I don’t know what I want anymore. If these great, wonderful creators can still only produce something as mediocre as The Book of Boba Fett, is it too much to ask that Star Wars TV shows be great? When Warner Bros. can make something as good as Peacemaker, is it too much to ask that Star Wars shows also be that good? Does such quality really depend on a creator as unique as James Gunn?
So I don’t know what I want from Star Wars anymore. I tried getting into The High Republic, but the first novel left me wanting. I haven’t found the interest in starting the second book in the Alphabet Squadron trilogy, despite buying all three books. I don’t like Cal Kestis. I’m worried that the Ahsoka Tano show is just gonna focus on Ezra and General Thrawn. I’m not about to stop watching or playing or engaging in Star Wars things. I just don’t know where I’m going to stand going forward.
And all because those idiots just kept shooting at those giant robots even though it was clearly established that their shields would hold. What a buncha rubes.
Posted on February 16, 2022, in Lists of Six!, Star Wars, Television and tagged Baby Yoda, Boba Fett, Disney+, Fennec Shand, Grogu, The Book of Boba Fett, The Mandalorian. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.