With the breakout success of the Disney+ series The Mandalorian and the return of one of the best original trilogy Star Wars characters, Boba Fett, it was an almost absolute certainty that we would be getting a Boba Fett led spinoff sometime in the near future.
Well, that near future is now upon us as The Book of Boba Fett has dropped onto the House of Mouse’s streaming service. So far, I’ve watched the first two episodes (the third one’s been watched by the time this goes live) and it’s fair to say I’m not as enthralled with it as I was with The Mandalorian.
Chapter One: “Stranger in A Strange Land”
Straight off the bat, this show gets brownie points for not pulling a Batman in DC extended Universe moment and showing us what happened to Boba Fett before he fell into the Sarlacc Pit. They know their audience well enough to know that if they’re watching a show with Boba Fett in the title, they know the history of Boba Fett. Well done Disney, gold star.
Oops, looks like I’m going to have to take that gold star away now Disney. Stop your whining and I’ll explain why. You already know why we’re watching your show, it’s to see Boba Fett be the badass bounty hunter we know and love.
What we don’t want to see is Boba Fett floating around in a tank for three-quarters of the premiere episode remembering stuff that you could have just shown. This would also keep some of the tension by letting us know that Boba escaped the situation fine.
So anyway, like I said the episode opens with Boba floating in the medical Bacta Tank for a couple of seconds before we’re flashbacked to show how he escaped from the Sarlacc Pit. We’re then treated to a huge chunk of the episode devoted to his trials as the prisoner of the Tusken Raiders interspliced with present-day events.
We’re given a few action set-piece crumbs mainly through an assassination attempt which has some decent fight scenes and a pretty cool parkour scene. It’s not shot horribly and I could tell what was going on so it gets a pass mark at least.
Unfortunately, it just feels so by the numbers. Introduction, talking bit 1, exposition scene, talking bit 2, generic action scene, and end of the episode. It’s so transparent in how it’s laid out and it’s frustrating to watch what could have been a killer opening episode.
Overall, the first episode is intriguing enough that I want to watch the next one even though I hope they don’t focus as much on the flashbacks as they did I this first episode.
Chapter Two: “The Tribes of Tatooine”
Well, that hope got dashed pretty damn quickly, didn’t it? We’re given a couple of scenes in the present day before jumping back into the flashback safari once again. There’s a neat interrogation scene that shows the more cunning side of Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), the introduction of Jabba the Hutt’s siblings The Twins and their fearsome bounty hunter Black Krrsantan.
The flashback shows more of Boba’s time with the Tusken Raiders. Specifically, it shows all the teachings and wisdom the Tuskens imparted on him about their combat style and desert survival skills.
Things go from bad to worse when the tribe is attacked by the Pyke Syndicate spice train. The attack is vicious and something in Boba changes. He borrows some weapons and a mount and rides off to find some help at the nearest town. He arrives at the shanty town bar to see a speeder bike gang terrorising the locals.
Boba launches into action, tearing the gang apart in an awesome action sequence showing off great choreography work, and was really the first time so far watching the show that I’d been fully invested in what was happening in the show.
This is really where the show leans most into the western genre themes because from the classic tavern brawl we flow right into the good old train heist. Boba trains the Tuskens on how to use the speeder bikes he’s “liberated” from the biker gang using the old reliable training montage.
The train heist begins and like with the bar brawl it got me engaged back in the show. The action was tight, I could tell what was going on clearly, and even though I knew Boba would be fine cause it’s a flashback but I still wanted everything to turn out well.
Well, everything ends up alright, minus a few dead Tusken Raiders. Boba gets his own special gaderffii stick and is inducted into the Tusken tribe for his leading them in the successful train robbery. Boba sets out into the desert to find the Pyke Syndicate to set the terms of remuneration for the Tuskens of the Dune Sea.
I was originally excited to see Boba Fett return when he popped back up in The Mandalorian and wanted to see more of what he’d get up to now that he’s free from any crime lords dictating his work. I was even more excited when the show was originally announced. Unfortunately, so far this show hasn’t really delivered what I wanted.
It seems like the showrunners had a look at the success of The Mandalorian and decided to make something in the same vein as the smash success. However, where they had integrated the story of Pedro Pascal’s newcomer throughout the episodes pretty seamlessly, they haven’t done that for Boba.
I understand why they aren’t able to do that in this case – Boba Fett has been around for decades in the hearts and minds of Star Wars fans. Pretty much everyone knows where he comes from and who he is. I just don’t think the flashbacks they employ are the best way to show what happened in the time between Return of The Jedi and now. It’s a narrative convention that’s used an awful lot and I don’t personally like using it.
I would have enjoyed these episodes if they just front-ended the show with the time between Boba escaping the Sarlacc and appearing in The Mandalorian and then continue with his time after his appearance on the show. Also, not only would it keep the episodes feeling more cohesive and not just a jumble of scenes stitched together at random.
I’m going to keep watching is show because I think it will get better. I just hope it’s soon.
What did you think of the Book of Boba Fett? Are you excited to see the return of Boba Fett? Let me know down below.
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