Boba Fett is one of the coolest characters in Star Wars and made such an impact on the fandom in the 6 ½ minutes of screen time he had in the original trilogy. Having only four lines of dialogue and his face hidden beneath his Mandalorian helmet, he was such an enigmatic character that fans wanted more from him, despite his apparent death in the belly of the Sarlacc. George Lucas explored the character’s unconventional origins in Attack of the Clones, and The Clone Wars cartoon gave some hints of how Boba developed from an orphaned child into a bounty hunter, but it is The Book of Boba Fett which has given us the most in-depth look at this complicated character. Spinning off from The Mandalorian Season Two, the series reveals how Boba survived the events of Return of the Jedi, whilst the present-day storyline focuses on his attempts to take over the Tatooine underworld – moving away from hired gun to become a crime lord.
The Book of Boba Fett obviously shares a lot of DNA with The Mandalorian, but where its predecessor bounced from world to world in a galaxy-spanning adventure, this spin-off keeps events focused on Boba’s journey – although it does make use of flashbacks to fill in some of the blanks between his last appearance in Return of the Jedi and his reappearance in The Mandalorian. It is this period in his life that influences Boba’s decision to become a leader, as he learns the value of family and companionship from the Tusken Raiders and applies this to his decision to take care of Tatooine. It is a surprising shift in personality for the bounty hunter who was previously focused purely on himself and what he could gain, but much like Din Djarin, he has found a higher purpose than claiming bounties. His partnership with Fennec Shand is also explored in the flashbacks, demonstrating the debt of gratitude she owes him and the advisory role she undertakes.
Midway through the season, the focus does shift back onto Din Djarin and Grogu with two episodes that feel like a prologue for The Mandalorian Season Three. I was surprised at how much attention the characters got, with some substantial shifts in the status-quo to make this essential viewing for those following The Mandalorian storyline. The series also introduced some live-action versions of characters with Black Krrsantan and Cad Bane; both of which looked absolutely brilliant. Cad Bane was a particular highlight and the perfect choice of antagonist for the series finale as he gave off a real sense of menace in his appearances. While some viewers may have found the Mod gang to be a little garish with their colourful Power Ranger-esque hover-bikes, I found them interesting enough supporting characters to help flesh out Boba’s organisation, which to be fair was quite thin on the ground.
The Book of Boba Fett feels like a true sequel to Return of the Jedi, exploring the aftermath of Jabba the Hutt’s death and the fate of Tatooine after Luke left it. Thematically, it felt like a mob drama viewed through a science-fiction prism and there were definitely hints of The Godfather when it came to the etiquette of dealing with organised crime. As always with Star Wars, there were some homages to other films; Boba’s time with the Tusken Raiders brought to mind the Kevin Costner classic, Dances with Wolves, and I felt that the finale had a Seven Samurai vibe as the various anti-heroes stood together against the Pyke Syndicate.
While the Star Wars TV shows have avoided any direct links with the sequel trilogies, it was quite interesting to see the beginnings of Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy, which would eventually lead to Ben Solo turning to the dark side and Luke’s own exile to Ahch-To. The CGI de-aging effects on Luke Skywalker felt a lot more natural this time around, and it was nice to see him involved in the story at a greater level. The training sequences were truly a delight and, again, it felt like a sequel to Return of the Jedi, showcasing the next steps in Luke Skywalker’s development as he passes on the knowledge given to him by Obi-Wan and Yoda. It was also great to see the return of Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka Tano, providing some nice closure for the character by having her meet Anakin’s son and discussing him. Obviously, we will see more from Ahsoka in her upcoming series, but I suspect this might be the end of the Luke Skywalker appearances in these TV shows, unless the story goes in an unexpected direction, but it was fantastic to see Mark Hamill do the impossible and reprise the role during this timeframe.
Despite its title, The Book of Boba Fett seldom focuses on its central character, aside from the aforementioned flashbacks. With plenty of cameos from the comics, cartoons and movies stealing the limelight away from Boba; he doesn’t really get much opportunity to stand out in the same way he did in The Empire Strikes Back. Arguably, the Mandalorian is a much more interesting (and charismatic) character, but at least Boba has the cooler armour of the two. I did enjoy the dynamic between Boba and Fennec, but Temeura Morrison’s take on Boba feels somewhat bland and that was driven home further once Din Djarin reappeared.
Regardless of that, The Book of Boba Fett continues the current streak of success seen in the live-action Star Wars shows. The production values are simply off-the-charts amazing and it feels more legitimately “Star Wars” in tone than any of the sequel trilogy movies did. Whoever would have thought that TV would be the saving grace for Star Wars?
Score – ★★★★ ½
The Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian are both currently available to stream from Disney+
Check out our reviews for The Mandalorian here: