Show Review, The Book of Boba Fett

Show+Review%2C+The+Book+of+Boba+Fett

Story by Alex Paulino, Staff Writer

     I don’t usually talk about myself in these reviews, but I think it’s necessary for this specific instance. Boba Fett is my favorite fictional character. A very blunt and convoluted claim, but ever since I was young I have been in love with his character. He inspired my love for Sci-Fi, partially inspired my love for film, and inspired my love for the Western; there is a lot I owe to this particular Star Wars character. When it was announced that, after years of radio silence regarding the character, he would be receiving his own solo show, I was obviously psyched. 

     I still believe there is a lot you can do with Boba Fett, as for the longest time he had just been the typical “cool space bounty hunter” archetype. The Book of Boba Fett was going to change him. There would be characterization. There would be development. There would be a heartfelt deconstruction of everything Boba Fett has done up to this point. There was so much potential, there was so much talent amongst the team. Director Robert Rodriguiz has directed countless off-the-rails action films before, along with Jon Faverau and Dave Filoni who have created some of the best Star Wars content the community has seen in years. 

      The story itself is also extremely promising. The Book of Boba Fett follows directly after the events of The Mandalorian season two (another show produced by Faverau and Filoni). It follows an aging Boba Fett, as he rejects his former life of a bounty hunter to become the Daimyo of the desert planet, Tatooine. On his side is mercenary Fennec Shand, who previously endowed herself to Fett after the events of the first season of The Mandalorian. Their rulership of Tatooine, a planet in the Star Wars universe, doesn’t come easy, as they’re put up against the forces of the galaxy’s underground along with Tatooine’s own mayor.

Boba Fett and his new design, as seen in the season finale.

     When I first heard this premise, I was thrilled. I wanted Star Wars to swerve away from the typical campy tone, and lean in more on the grittier side established by The Mandalorian. I love it when this series decides to become more of a character study of its icons, like what we saw in 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story and various of the Star Wars comics.  This show borrowed inspiration from The Mandalorian, the promising premise of the show, the talented producers behind it, it seemed like this show was destined for greatness. All of this was, unfortunately, too good to be true. The Book of Boba Fett is buggy, inconsistent, and merely a shadow of what it could be.

SPOILER WARNING: There will be spoilers for the entire Book of Boba Fett show throughout the rest of the story!

     I will give credit where it is due, the show does start off relatively strong. The first episode sees Boba Fett escaping from the Sarlacc Pit, where he was left off after the events of 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Immediately, we are shown that this is a much different Boba Fett than the one we’ve known for the past four decades. He is wise-cracking, he is weaker, he can falter, but I actually like these traits. I am okay with a different interpretation of this character.  

     Additionally, the incorporation of the Tusken Raiders in this show is also appreciated. It is nice to see this show expand on the culture found on Tatooine, including specific groups that reside there. Boba feels more human when he is surrounded by the Tuskens, there are moments where he feels the need to fight back, but he resists because of people like the Tuskens. This is good character development, as it further shows how Boba has grown past his cold-blooded demeanor in previous Star Wars stories.

Temura Morrison reprises his role as Boba Fett, after his appearance in The Mandalorian Season 2.

     The first two episodes focus on these aspects a good amount. The thing is, however, The Book of Boba Fett is split into two narratives, each fighting for their individual spotlights. 

     The heartfelt Tusken stories, and the extremely sloppy present-day stories where Boba Fett attempts to rule Tatooine as the Daimyo. The show grinds to a screeching halt when it tries to balance these two stories, and it never works because there is no link between the narratives. Typically with flashbacks, they usually correlate with whatever is occurring in the present of the story it is in. When the show is done with its tangent on Boba Fett and the Tuskens, it resumes to the present day as if nothing happened. It ends up feeling extremely disjointed and the structure fumbles as a result. 

      With all these narratives happening at once, it would be unreasonable to add an additional storyline. But that is exactly what The Book of Boba Fett does. 

      In Episode Five, the plot lazily forces in Din Djarin/The Mandalorian to save face. I have the opinion that this show absolutely did not need to force in Din Djarin. Season Three of The Mandalorian is already premiering a year after this show, so there really is no reason to force this character in, other than to shamelessly remind audiences of a much better show. 

     The Mandalorian in The Book of Boba Fett does not work on a fundamental level. Both characters look and are portrayed in extremely similar ways. By forcing in Din Djarin, they are actively removing focus from the show’s main protagonist. They remove so much focus, in fact, that Boba Fett doesn’t even appear for the entirety of episode five. What is worse is that he has under a minute of screen time in episode six. Why bother calling a show The Book of Boba Fett if Boba Fett is not going to get the respect he deserves?

     Instead, we just get more and more haphazardly included cameos. I am probably alone when I say that both Luke Skywalker and Ahsoka felt extremely out of place in episode six. The two characters probably don’t even know Boba Fett is alive, so why do they have any sort of input on the storyline? They should’ve been added to the beginning of The Mandalorian season three. As a matter of fact, why not just put everything regarding The Mandalorian in his season three? Why does it need to be so sloppily shoved into this particular show?

     At the tail end of episode six, we get one last cameo: this being the notorious bounty hunter from the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Cad Bane. I felt like he actually made sense for a show like this, as Bane and Fett contrast each other in their ideals. Boba Fett has rejected bounty hunting and wants to improve himself, while Cad Bane treats bounty hunting like it’s his religion. However, he is introduced so late into the series that he cannot really make an impact. He shows up, out of nowhere, in the second to last episode and just dies in the season finale. 

     He keeps mocking Boba Fett for trying to redeem himself, which is an extremely interesting concept that this show never expands upon. Boba Fett receives no sort of backlash for randomly deciding to not be a bounty hunter, and people only mention his previous life as a cold-blooded mercenary in passing dialogue. This could have been the opportunity to do something interesting with Boba Fett, but they don’t take this chance. If Cad Bane was built up as the main antagonist of the show instead, this would be a better decision. But just like everything else in The Book of Boba Fett, it is done in an extremely messy and convoluted way.

Cad Bane returns after his appearances in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and The Bad Batch.

     Besides just the faults of the plot, the show is written in an extremely poor way as well. Characters will often pop up out of nowhere at the perfect time, like the aforementioned Cad Bane in the season finale.

     There are numerous cringe-worthy pieces of dialogue that hinder the show. Sometimes, there are extremely random scenes of massive exposition that abolish the show’s pacing. I found it particularly funny how in the season finale, Fennec Shand explains the big plan for their big battle to Din Djarin and Boba Fett, despite the fact that they should already know about the plan in the first place. 

     I have been rambling about all the negative aspects of The Book of Boba Fett, but it is not entirely bad. For starters, I think the performances are incredible. Temura Morrison is giving it his all, as he has been playing both Boba and Jango Fett since 2002’s Attack of the Clones. Ming Na-Wen also does a great job as Fennec Shand, it is just a shame that this show does nothing with her character. The action in this show, particularly in the season finale, is also extremely fun. Robert Rodriguiz is great at creating gigantic battles that feel exciting in every second, which shine particularly in a few episodes. The direction in this show can also be quite stunning. I thought Bryce Dallas Howard did an amazing job with episode five. I may have issues with that episode in terms of what it does with the series, but I can say with confidence that she is an extremely talented director. 

     The Book of Boba Fett presents a lot of interesting ideas, and like I stated previously, everything about this show is so promising. A character study that dives into how Boba Fett has evolved past his bounty hunting life sounds amazing, but the showrunners simply do not care about Boba Fett enough to dive deeper into those concepts. I really want to enjoy this show, but there is so much holding it back.

     I want to love The Book of Boba Fett, because I love this character. I love everything that has been done with him ever since his introduction in 1978 in the Star Wars Holiday Special. I love Boba Fett when he is extremely well-written, and I even love him when he is written in a completely different way. What I care about most is that there is a genuine inspiration, or care, for the character. You can write these characters in the worst way possible, but as long as you feel confident in what you are writing and you have a genuine passion for them, I have no issue with it. I cannot respect The Book of Boba Fett in this regard. 

     It is clear that they do not care about this character. They care more about advertising other shows, like The Mandalorian and the future Ahsoka show, which leaves me wondering why they even bothered making this in the first place.  There’s too much fluff, there’s too little nuance, and there is too little Boba Fett to keep me interested in this show.

Make A Better Show/10

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