Right now, the Star Wars universe is expanding much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe did when it got its first few hits on theaters. The catch of course is that for Star Wars it’s about their TV-style hits (via Disney+) as their last few movies were financially huge…but incredibly divisive. Yet, The Mandalorian Seasons 1 & 2 (of which I reviewed) showed that there was a lot of potential in switching things up and giving more long-form stories to characters that we needed to know and build up upon. And after The Mandalorian Season 2, that meant giving a show…to Boba Fett. But what would that season be like?
Well, as you’ll see in our The Book Of Boba Fett Season 1 Review, a lot, and yet…not enough.
The ironic thing about Boba Fett is that his history in “canon” is both long and incredibly short. He was only in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi for a short period of time. It was the games and Legends comics/novels (that are non-canon now) that built him up as a truly wonderful character (at times.) The Clone Wars cartoon showcased his rise in various ways but after Return of the Jedi, his book was unwritten, until now.
We start out both in the past and the present. As we see “dreams” of Boba Fett getting out of the Sarlacc Pit and then finding his way into the “custody” of the Tuskan Raiders. Meanwhile, in the present, we see the aftermath of Mandalorian Season 2’s stinger via him, along with Fennec Shand, trying to rule over the territory that was once owned by Jabba The Hutt.
What surprised me, and likely others was how much time we spent both in the past and the present here. In a way, they took the approach of Arrow (especially the early seasons) where the past influenced the present in big ways. Including how Boba Fett has his new mindset of wanting to rule instead of being led by “idiots who get our kind killed” as well as why he wanted to “rule with respect instead of fear”. All the while, we see the steps he has to take in order to maintain his “reign” in Mos Eisley and beyond.
One could argue that these are the strongest parts of the series. I personally appreciated the respect and time given to the Tuskan Raiders and their culture. They were often seen as just monsters, but as Mandalorian season 2 showed, they’re a race, and a people, who have traditions, beliefs, and yes, families. Seeing them through the eyes of Boba Fett was honestly really fun. As well as him helping them grow in his own ways and getting their respect to the point where he actually becomes one of them.
Meanwhile, in Mos Eisley, we get to see the underworld there in ways that were only teased before. We see the power and respect that one in Boba’s position can get (see: helmets full of credits) as well as meet a cool cast of characters that (if a certain Tuskan had survived…) would’ve been an epic squad when united (which we did almost get per the season finale).
I honestly liked how Boba handled things for the most part in the “present timeline” because while others (including Fennec) saw the potential for problems, he saw the potential for opportunity. Even hiring people that she (and others) wanted dealt with. He even hired the incredibly epic Black Krrsantan (who if you didn’t know comes from the Star Wars comics) after he was sent to kill him, and almost succeeded! For the record, I was almost livid when I thought they were going to kill that Wookie in the season finale, I was that attached to him.
This goes to show how much Temuera Morrison brought to the role. This isn’t the same Boba Fett who helped trap Han in Carbonite. Or even the young man from The Clone Wars who was only focused on being like his father and getting revenge on Mace Windu for a time. This version of Boba is one who had seen the worst of his life, survived it, and wanted to do better by those like him, and you WANT him to succeed. Sure, he does at times get made to look ridiculous (see: the fight with the rat-catcher robot), but more times than not, he’s a boss.
Speaking of bosses, Fennec Shand, everybody! I know I’m biased because I REALLY like Ming-Na Wen (from Agents of Shield, she’s the voice of Mulan, and other things, naturally), but she plays Fennec perfectly. I (again) was almost livid when I thought she died in Mandalorian Season 1 because she’s too good to kill off. And here she plays the perfect foil to Boba while also being incredibly epic and capable. Her final “killing spree” if you will in the season finale was a highlight of the season for sure.
Another thing I appreciated is how they handled certain story elements and setups. For example, they made it clear very early on (via an assassination attempt) that Boba’s reign wouldn’t go unchallenged, and they quickly put him on his heels so that he had to think fast to get more troops to back his claim to Jabba’s former throne. Even bringing in a set of Hutts themselves (and revealing why you can’t just kill a Hutt without consequences) to challenge Boba.
And legit, one question I had during the beginning episodes was, “Why doesn’t someone just kill Boba while he’s in the Bacta Tank?” Fast forward a little bit, and an epic Wookie tried to do just that! It’s these little things that really make me smile. As well as the “modders” that we meet that really helped fill out the ranks of Mos Eisley, the bringing in of the Rancor (owned by Danny Trejo!) that Boba teased he’d ride into battle…and he did just that, and more.
Oh, and the fight sequences! There were some really good ones in The Book of Boba Fett. Including the assassination attempt in episode one, the two-pronged fight with the droids in the season finale, and certain duels with a character we were all thrilled to see…Cad Bane.
While I’ll get to certain OTHER inclusions in this review very soon, I have to pause and show appreciation for Cad Bane and how he was used here. He was created for The Clone Wars cartoon, and from the word “go” he was awesome. He had a presence, a look, and a cold-hearted nature that made him perfect for that series and others. He was brought into the comics, put up against Fennec Shand (pre-Mandalorian) via The Bad Batch, and now, got his live-action debut.
His presence in this show works because he not only has a relationship with Boba Fett (via The Clone Wars), but he is absolutely someone that the Syndicate would hire to take care of their problems. He’s smart, quick on the draw, and is absolutely ruthless. Seeing him go up against Boba (to the death) was awesome, and while some will be sad he died, at least he got to have one last ride that further cements him as a staple of this franchise.
My Book of Boba Fett review is over 1200 words deep at this point and you’re probably wondering…when is the shoe going to drop? Well, it’s here, and right now.
Because without a doubt the biggest downfalls of this first season are that of balance and focus. The first four episodes honestly do a good job of building up the conflict between Boba and his new foes while also revealing his path “back to life”. The problem though is that at times it’s very heavy-handed on what they show. Multiple episodes focus more on the past than the present, and as such, two episodes basically reveal the same thing…they need to be ready for war. They could’ve had more movement than that while also spreading out the flashbacks more (like they did in Arrow in the early seasons).
This brings us…to episodes 5 & 6. If you recall, there are 7 episodes in The Book of Boba Fett and two of them…don’t have Boba Fett saying a single word. One of them doesn’t even have Boba Fett in it! So what fills up these two episodes? The Mandalorian, of course.
Yes, Din Jaren is back, and while I love Mando as much as anyone…they basically stopped Boba’s story in order to tell “The Mandalorian Season 2.5″. No, really, they did. Even though they skipped over a VERY important conflict to do so (see: Bo-Kotan).
In these two episodes, we get the setup for The Mandalorian Season 3. Complete with finding The Armorer again…and then being disowned by her (“This Is The Way”). Then he gets a new starship via a Naboo starfighter (which as many have pointed out wouldn’t work for a bounty hunter because…where do the bounties go?). And then…arguably my biggest bone to pick…he goes and seeks out Grogu/Baby Yoda.
Yes, just when you thought he was gone…he’s back, and spoilers…he’s staying. I’ll explain in a bit, but the thing with this is not just “how did he find them?” (remember, no one knew where Luke was in The Force Awakens), but why did he go back and see him after that VERY TEARFUL (from him and us) goodbye at the end of The Mandalorian Season 2? The whole point (as noted by Luke) was that he had to tell Grogu to let go and go with Luke. And while Mando does “let go” after giving his gift (which was infinitely adorable), then all of a sudden Grogu decides that he’d rather be with Din than training to be a Jedi.
So…that basically renders all of Season 2 of Mandalorian…pointless. They risked a lot to not just get Baby Yoda back, but to find him a master (remember, that was his “quest”), and in the end…they went right back to where they started: Mando and Baby Yoda.
This questionable content is added upon by even MORE cameos from The Mandalorian cast. Including Luke training Grogu for a short time. Ashoka being there (simply because she’s a “friend of the family”), the ship mechanic and her droids, Cobb Vanth (who thank goodness is not dead), and so on. Yes, they do tie it all together, but…it felt like overkill. Remember, this is “The Book of Boba Fett“, not “The Tale of Boba and His Mandalorian Friend”. Losing two episodes (and parts of the season finale) to Mando’s storyline versus building up the narrative with Boba felt really off. Especially after the ending fight when things were just…done.
It honestly took the Game of Thrones route where you don’t see the fallout from the fight and yet Boba’s in charge and no one is opposing him. Because that’s totally how things work…
What’s more, after all that struggle, all that fight, and all those people getting hurt…Boba literally turns to Fennec Shand and says, “We’re not cut out for this…” and when you add that to the stinger with Cobb Vanth, that implies that if there is a Season 2…it’s not going to be about Boba ruling over Mos Eisley. So again…what was the point?
Furthermore, while we did get some really cool characters, some of them didn’t get fleshed out as much as they could have been. Mainly, the “modders” who helped out Boba throughout the season. This is the first time (to my knowledge) that such a group existed in the Star Wars universe, or at the very least in live-action (I haven’t read all the comics and books so I can’t confirm this), and yet I swear that we don’t hear their names until episode 6 or 7! What were their motivations for being modders? What were their personal attachments to Mos Espa? I don’t know, and that bothered me. In fact, we get more backstory and insight into who Black Krrsantan was than them! And he had it spoken ABOUT him because he only speaks Wookie! Oh, and sadly, I agree with most people that the Modder bikes were tacky. Sorry.
I also want to note that the “PR Twi’lek” was annoying as sin and I have no idea why they let him talk that much…I was honestly hoping that character would be killed, but he wasn’t…*sigh*.
In the end, when you put this all together, The Book of Boba Fett is a very confusing mix of what could’ve been, and what was done. They could’ve easily brought in Mando without all of the focus put on him and fans would’ve been just as happy. They could’ve balanced out the “dreams” and the present storyline more so that one didn’t overshadow the other. And they could’ve built up some of the supporting cast more to make this feel more like a squad outside of just showing them in action.
To be clear, this first season wasn’t bad, far from it. But it felt like they didn’t know what they wanted at times, and leaned into the past more than they should’ve. Hopefully with Season 2, if there is one, we won’t have such issues.
The Book Of Boba Fett Season 1 Review
As our The Book Of Boba Fett Season 1 Review shows, there was a lot of things to love about this series, but key elements, along with questionable timing and character placement, left it feeling less than what it should.