I wrote a review of The Book of Boba Fett after the first three episodes, and in that article I was hopeful that we’d get to see the growth of a character that was previously painted as a villain.
What was it I said? “what sets apart the new Star Wars media and the old Star Wars content is compassion”.
Oops. I was wrong. What sets apart The Book of Boba Fett is that the writers lost their vision. In a series named after Boba Fett, we see very little of him after the 4th episode, and his presence is almost as an aside to the Mandalorian.
And why is that? What happened in the production process that made it seem okay to sideline the titular character?
(Spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian).
Boba Fett Is a Setup
The show was originally going into untapped territory, exploring a character who we’ve only seen as a grown killer and a traumatized kid. But Boba Fett remains then same throughout most of his show, remaining stoic and honor-bound.
This is the Boba Fett we see nursed to health by the Tuskens, and it’s the Boba we see walking through the streets of Mos Espa after they defeated the Pykes.
So if there wasn’t a palpable character shift for Fett, why make the show? Sure, seeing our beloved bounty hunter mount the Rankor to destroy new and improved droidekas was pretty cool, but what was the purpose?
You’d think with such a massive budget, around $15 million per episode, that the showrunners would be keen to make the show stand up in its own right.
Instead, The Book of Boba Fett sets up the next season of The Mandalorian, and that’s about all it manages to accomplish.
As soon as Fennec Shand turns to Boba Fett in episode 4 and says that credits can buy muscle and she knows where to find it, the show gets derailed. From that point onward the show’s no longer about Boba Fett, it’s about the Mandalorian.
Too Much Star Wars
The Book of Boba Fett is a prime example of the biggest pitfall Star Wars content creators face: repetition.
We’ve seen nine films dedicated to the Skywalker story, which is six too many. We’ve seen Luke Skywalker and Ashoka Tano show up in The Mandalorian because they’re familiar characters and they pull in views.
And we’ve seen The Book of Boba Fett Frankenstein together a cast of old heroes and villains for the sake of fan-pandering.
The problem Star Wars has—or we should say, Disney has—is that it’s too afraid to branch off and create new content. They know what makes money, and they’re scared to turn from that. In reality, and I think I voice an opinion many Star Wars fans have, if Disney puts out new, fresh Star Wars content we’ve never seen or imagined before, we’d be overjoyed.
The Mandalorian was one of the wholly original ideas that didn’t rely on a Skywalker to succeed, and the first season was awesome. It was a good show in its own right. But as time went on, we see it fall prey to the common Star Wars pattern, which means bringing back old characters from animated shows and shifting the focus to the same old storylines.
That being said, The Mandalorian still succeeded as being a great addition to the Star Wars universe that wasn’t completely consumed by lightsabers, Jedi, and the Force.
If The Book of Boba Fett had stood up a little straighter and stuck to its guns, it could have been a passable show with its own story.
Instead, the showrunners bring in Mando, Grogu, Ashoka, Luke, and Cad Bane (a call back to an old Clone Wars story arc that was dead on arrival).
The Other Boba Fett Problems
I mentioned earlier that Boba Fett doesn’t really change much as a character. He takes the throne of a stepped on criminal empire and tries to hold onto his authority. We don’t see Boba Fett reach any profound realizations about the strains of power, nor do we see him face off against any worthy adversaries.
Fennec Shand manages to kill off the Pyke leaders, the treasonous Mayor, and the back-stabbing crime families in a single go. And yet it takes Mando and Boba Fett fifteen minutes to take out two battle droids?
And Cad Bane.
With all the backstory we see at the beginning of the series, with much of the first few episodes consisting of Fett remembering how he escaped the Sarlacc pit, there isn’t a single mention of Cad Bane. For those who don’t know, Cad Bane was an infamous bounty hunter who appeared in the animated Clone Wars show and acted as a mentor to a young Boba Fett. Yet, that storyline is largely incomplete, and not even canon, I might add.
So, to bring in a character like that as a nemesis for Fett, it’s contrived. A last-ditch effort to inject a little conflict into the series ended up as a shock-factor cash grab of recycled material.
At the end of the day, all I can say is that I expected more. After The Mandalorian, I thought we’d entered a new era of Star Wars that was fresh and inventive and didn’t fall prey to old habits.
But, I guess I was wrong, and we’ll see just how wrong I was when the Obi-Wan Kenobi show brings back all kinds of old, probably already dead, characters.