By Lauren D’Ambra
*Spoilers for episodes 1, 2, 3, and 4 below! Read at your own risk*
When The Book of Boba Fett was announced in December of 2020, Star Wars fans were skeptical. The announcement came in the form of an end credit scene attached to the end of season two of The Mandalorian. The Mandolorian is widely regarded as the one of the most popular Star Wars series of all time and fans were left to wonder why Star Wars seemingly put one bounty hunter on hold only to put an older one back into the spotlight. The show’s premiere on December 29th, 2021 was met with general enthusiasm and the series seems to be on track with other Star Wars projects in terms of popularity.
The series has so far centered itself around the title character, Boba Fett, as he tries to maintain order and power as Tatoonie’s newest Daimyo, the Star Wars equivalent of a crime lord. The show opens with flashbacks of Boba Fett escaping from the infamous sarlacc’s pit (for anyone that needs a refresher, Boba Fett fell into the pit and to his supposed death during a scuffle aboard Jabba the Hutt’s cruiser in the opening scene of Return of the Jedi). The show then revealed how Boba Fett lost his iconic armor, something that was touched on in season two of The Mandalorian but never fully explored, and showed him taken captive by the elusive Tusken Raiders that freely roam the deserts of Tatoonie. The show oscillates comfortably between flashbacks of Boba Fett’s time with the Tusken Raiders and the trouble he faces in trying to control his new territory.
The Book of Boba Fett is clearly trying to capitalize on the factors that made The Mandalorian so great: wide scenic shots, an incredible musical score (courtesy of the amazing Ludwig Göransson), a powerful yet emotional main character, and a plot that can comfortably be played out in separate acts/episodes. The Book of Boba Fett has definitely tailored itself after The Mandalorian and in doing so, has set itself up to emulate some of The Mandalorian’s incredible success.
The show has done well in many aspects so far. As mentioned earlier, the soundtrack for the show is absolutely wonderful; it gives Boba Fett a distinct musical theme and adds a new level of character to the show. The costume crew has done an incredible job bringing Boba Fett and his crew to life. The makeup and special effects for different creatures within the show is also admirable. The action scenes have been very good; Fennec’s intense pursuit of a group of assassins in episode one is highly reminiscent of scenes from Shang-Chi and Boba Fett’s fight scenes are wielded with an undoubtable Mandalorian flair. The series has also done an exceptional job with casting, Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett and Ming-Na Wen as master assassin Fennec Shand are a fantastic team and their relationship is definitely a selling point for the series.
Of course, the series, like just about every Star Wars project, is also a little controversial. The controversy stems from two different aspects: the Tusken Raiders, featured predominantly in episodes one, two, and three, and a rebel biker gang that appeared early on in episode three. Considering this first group, the Tusken Raiders have always been background characters in the Star Wars universe. Their first appearance in A New Hope painted them to be a primitive people living in the rolling sands of Tatoonie. The Book of Boba Fett has gloriously fleshed out the Tusken Raiders and given them an incredibly detailed characterization. In moments that bear a strong resemblance to Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves, Boba Fett is slowly assimilated into their tribe and he accepts them as the family he never had. Then, in a rather twisted turn of events, every member of the Tusken tribe is unceremoniously killed off in a speed biker raid midway through episode 3. Given all the praise and intrigue generated by the Tusken Raiders, it seems rather foolish to kill them off just as the show was gaining traction. The show’s forerunners have made various comments to defend the decision, including stars Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen. Several comments have been made suggesting that there is more to come regarding the Tusken Raider’s story, but this is mostly speculation within a curious fanbase.
The second bit of controversy stems from the introduction of a colorful biker gang. Star Wars fans immediately reacted to the crew in the only way Star Wars fans can, by creating a divisive rift down the middle of the fandom with both sides desperately defending their position. The biker gang in question consists of four rather steampunk (cyberpunk maybe?) looking teenagers who were originally put on Boba Fett’s radar when they stole water from a local water monger. Each member of the gang has a brightly colored (think 50s-60s hot rod chrome) hoverbike that has reminded more than one fan of an Italian vespa. The biggest complaint appears to be that the biker gang doesn’t look “Star Wars-y enough” to warrant relevance in the series. Once again Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen offered commentary and stated that they enjoyed filming with the gang and that there is more to come.
Given all this, it is tough to tell where exactly The Book of Boba Fett lies in the vast Star Wars universe. It may not be able to top The Mandalorian in terms of success, but the show seems to be picking up its pace, a sure sign for an epic conclusion. It’s also important to remember that we’re only 4 episodes into a seven episode show, and that if The Mandalorian is any indication, the bulk of the action will appear towards the end of the season. Overall, the series does require a fairly extensive bit of prior Star Wars knowledge to fully enjoy, but it is also a relatively easy show to get sucked into and has certainly proved to be an interesting watch. Who knows where Boba Fett and Fennec’s adventures will lead them next? Will Mando make an appearance? Is there really a conspiracy theory going on between the other crime lords in Mos Espa? Who knows! Either way, The Book of Boba Fett has proven itself to be an intriguing show and we’re excited to see what tomorrow’s episode will bring.