What is there to say about The Book of Boba Fett. It’s a show that I feel universally had fans expecting something much different from it than it ended up being. And while now, in hindsight, the response to the series as a whole is pretty positive, I think that the series ended up being something of a false promise based on its name and premise.
Rather than talking about these episodes one at a time, I’ve ended up going back and talking about them all in quick succession. Which has helped me have a broader perspective on them rather than the episode synopsis and wild speculation of each episode that is my usual fare on this blog.
The big outcome of which wants me to say that; while Book of Boba Fett is entertaining piece of Star Wars television on the whole, it feels like a pretty big let-down to me as a standalone story focusing on long time fan favourite character Boba Fett. People are making that gag all over the place, but this series really felt much more like a follow-up to the Mandalorian’s second season than it did a truly original show.
By the time we get to episode five, we’re covering the stories of Din Djarin and Grogu again, with cameos aplenty from Luke Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano. Which end up being much more engaging stories than the one we were getting with the Fett on Tatooine. The thing is, Boba Fett was always stoic to the point of being an enigma.
It felt like Favreau and Filoni wanted to keep that knowable aspect to his character somewhat, despite the fact that fans know literally everything about him thanks to all the supplementary material that shows us exactly how he got from Kamino to this spot right here. And in their desire to keep him somewhat mysterious, they mostly forgo really giving him any overt character moments.
His biggest moments this entire series come when his new family in the Tuskens; who show him the value of respect, tradition and honour, are slaughtered in his absence. A moment he severely underplays in his reaction to it. And the other is his reuniting with Cad Bane and their obvious shared history, getting the better over the veteran bounty hunter using the fighting style he learned from the Tuskens.
Like, the development and the character stuff is there, but it’s extremely underplayed. So much so that it hardly reads during Morison’s performance. They made Boba Fett cool, but that feels like the overriding desire at the expense of him being very dynamic or emotive in any aspect other than when he’s fighting in an action sequence.
The real problem I’m having with all of this is that in order to have more time with Boba, showing us those private moments or showing any vulnerability in him whatsoever, we’d have had to lose what ended up being amongst the best parts of the show in terms of my enjoyment of it. And that is the continued story of Din Djarin and Grogu.
It’s kind of bizarre at their story continues in a series that isn’t their own. And this isn’t like a side story, it’s literally how they reunite and Grogu choses to be a Mandalorian over a Jedi. It makes seem like all stories set within this time period are all going to be more vitally connected to one another than we might have initially thought. With the stories of all of these characters continuing in the third season of Mandalorian and the Ahsoka series that follows that.
Which could very easily mean that Boba Fett’s story and his rise in the “underworld” as the galaxy’s nicest crime lord could very easily see vital development in either of those stories.
As far as this episode itself goes; it’s a very good climatic action finale, bringing all of the players introduced so far back together to have one final fight in the streets of Mos Espa against the Pykes and their huge war droids. The real payoff to the episode being the reveal of Boba Fett riding back into battle atop his new Rancor and winning the day almost singlehandedly. It’s a plant and payoff I’ll admit that I totally fall for, having completely forgot about the Rancor from a few episodes ago, culminating in a confrontation between Boba Fett and Cad Bane.
I really wish more had been made of this relationship and build to their fight. Cad Bane is a fantastic and storied character in the franchise due to his presence in both Clone Wars and The Bad Batch. His connection to Boba runs deep due to their shared history as bounty hunters and the fact that they both share a mentor/father figure in Jango Fett.
None of that really comes up in this series, Bane remains enigmatic, ruthless and lethal, doing what Boba Fett himself did for fans in the original trilogy of movies, and putting it off far better you could argue. By the time they do fight, it doesn’t feel like the dramatic weight is there. One of the outcomes of the series’ shortcomings that I’ve mentioned time and time again over the past seven weeks.
In the end, I think The Book of Boba Fett is a series that really struggled to define its own identity. In the early days, it was carried by cool flashback sequences that showed Boba growing close to and adopting the ways of the Tuskens who saved his life. Only for those episodes to be weighed down by less than engaging story being told in the present day.
But it was early days and the series was establishing Boba’s character, whereas he arguably lacked one before. Or at least an established moral compass strong enough for him to start a war with other crime lords over the state of the planet. Then, when he started butting heads with the Pykes and the other families over his newfound morals and personal ethics, we cut away and start telling another story entirely.
One that continued the tale of Din, the darksaber and his reuniting with Grogu. Which was fantastic on its own and for fans of the characters from the first two series of the Mandalorian, but it came at the espense of Boba Fett and his story, which meant that by the time he had his confrontation with his former “brother” and peer, it kind of felt like it lacked the real dramatic weight and tension that it really should have.
I like The Book of Boba Fett. They did what they needed to do to keep the fans happy, but I do wonder about the reasoning behind their choices to focus so much on the other characters and no invest that time into their titular one. Was this the plan all along or there a sense of unease from Disney or the creatures that they needed to include these more marketable characters or else…