The Book of Boba Fett: Series Review – Chapter 1: Stranger in a Strange Land

I’m one of those people who grew up loving Boba Fett, and subsequently Jango Fett after that… I was 13, give me a break. There was just something so enigmatic and cool about this armoured up bounty hunter whose face you never saw and who hardly spoke a word. I’m not the only one who felt that way considering the legacy that was born from the character after the original trilogy.

A legacy that led to his presence in the second season of The Mandalorian and this series to follow it.

Right at the top of this post, I’m going to be really honest. I have worried that Boba Fett explored isn’t an interesting enough character to carry his own series, it’s been the big thing nagging at the back of my mind since the series got announced with the ending of the Mandalorian in December 2020.

And this first episode… I can’t say it does anything to alleviate my concerns in particular.

But let’s get into it. The Episode starts off seemingly right after Boba Fett and Fennec Shand have swooped into the palace of Bib Fortuna and taken control for themselves of Jabba the Hutt’s former criminal empire.

We open, not in the throne room though, but in Fett’s bedchambers. And instead of a lavish bed, he has a large Bacta Tank, within which he sleeps. Right away, this image of him in the healing pod raises a whole bunch of questions. Did his time in the Sarlacc Pit leave him with an ongoing malady that requires constant attention? Or is this a by-product of him being a clone?

Despite the fact that he is supposedly a perfect copy of Jango Fett, maybe the Kaminoian Cloning Process is not without its imperfections and his body is starting to break down? This is not unlike a story that happened in the old Legends Timeline, where a 70 year old Boba Fett and his granddaughter searched for a cure to his body breaking down due to a fault in the cloning process.

I mean, at 70 years old, for a man in Fett’s line of work, that’s good going… but he still got cured and could continue being the curmudgeonly, reluctant new Mandalore of that particular timeline. I don’t exactly foresee that being the direction this version of the character is going to end up taking, but it’s very early in his story yet.

While he dreams in the pod, we flash back to see how Boba cuts his way out of the Sarlacc through sheer force of will. It’s a little less interesting than my theory that a Krayt Dragon ate a part of the Sarlacc that had him trapped that came from the first episode of the Mandalorian’s second season, but it really just ends up being something that feel like the story just needs to get out of the way rather than being a focus.

From here, a partially digested Boba has his armour stripped from his body by Jawas and he is taken hostage by Tuskens. Within the flashback, Boba tries to escape a couple of times, before being taken to observe raiders stealing water from a moisture farm before being ordered to dig for strange fruit in the sand that contain the water the Tusken’s subsist off.

The young Tusken, who takes an increasing interest in Boba ends up getting rescued by the bounty Hunter when a huge, centaur-like sand creature attacks and Fett jumps on its back and chokes it out with a chain. This show of strength is enough for the Tusken’s to accept him as an equal and not a prisoner.

Which I guess is the quick explanation of what Fett has been doing for the past five years between Return of the Jedi and the events of the the Mandalorian. I assume we’re going to get more flashbacks as the series goes on, showing a continuation of the plant with the raiders stealing from the moisture farm.

That’s the stronger and more interesting side of the story this episode tells in my opinion. As in the present, Fett and Shand accept tribute from the businessmen and politicians of Tatooine. Although, as it turns out, the respect and fear that Jabba once wielded is a thing of the past. Whether that’s Bib Fortuna’s fault over the past five years or the sudden appearance of a new person in charge remains to be seen.

After getting shafted by the Mayor of Mos Espa, Fett decides to take a walk into the town himself, Shand telling him over and over that he should be carried into down, not walk on his own two feet. Her main concern is that lost souls that find themselves calling Tatooine home only understand rule through fear. Fett, on the other hand, wants to run things a different way.

Not through fear, but through respect. I look forward to the series delving into why his mindset is this way. Like I said at the top, we know basically nothing about the adult Boba Fett and what kind of person he ended up becoming after his appearances in the Clone Wars. We saw the beginnings of it in the season 4 Episode: Bounty but it’s been a long time since then.

As they walk around Mos Espa, they’re ambushed by a team of assassins wielding large shields, an attack that they survive, but one that leaves Boba battered and vulnerable looking right in the middle of town. The very thing Fennec said to avoid earlier in the episode. He sends her off to bring back one of the escaping assassins alive and he is rushed back to his palace to be placed back into the Bacta Tank, where his flashback can continue.

As of this episode, I feel like I’ve been left with a lot of questions rather than anything else, but not necessarily in the good way. Fett is such an incomplete character in my eyes that now they’re having him star in his own show, I have to wonder if they’re going to do the deep dive on him and really get into his, or if they’re going to try and have him remain the stoic, enigmatic character we all remember from the original trilogy.

Honestly, I really hope they do the former rather than the later. Pandering to nostalgia is cool and everything, but this is a show starring Boba Fett and if he doesn’t see any significant development over it’s course I am seriously going to question the purpose of this series existing.

Not that I’m down on this show by any means. But after the second series of the Mandalorian, it feels like a hard application of the breaks in terms of ambition and stakes. Why does Fett want to take over Jabba’s criminal empire exactly? Does he have any interest in his Mandalorian heritage at all? Why does respect matter to him so much more than ruling with an iron fist.

These are all questions I deeply hope the series delves into over the course of its run. This episode was fine and everything, but I was expecting more. Which I’m sure Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni will deliver on, I mean they’ve been knocking it out of the park so far.


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