The Book Of Boba Fett proves that the events prior to Return of the Jedi were nothing more than a ripple in the pool of the galactic adventure awaiting us.
Boba Fett is a cultural icon adored by millions of devoted fans the world over. His exploits are legendary. And his sensational return in the second season of The Mandalorian was enough to send fandom in raptures. Now, the creative minds behind the series are back with The Book Of Boba Fett; an all-new standalone series that follows the legendary bounty hunter on his quest to assume control of Jabba’s criminal empire. But can Jon Favreau and his wonderful team capture the same lightning in a bottle and solidify Boba Fett’s legacy?
NEVER JUDGE A BOOK…
Of course, they can. Was there any doubt? I mean, it is Boba Fett after all. But before we dive into this thrilling first episode I have to stress that it wasn’t all sweetness and light. There are a few minor detractions along the way. But no series is perfect. Expectations are extremely high and it was always going to be an uphill battle to meet those expectations. But overall, we are left with a gripping debut episode that finally answers the question that has tormented fans for decades.
HOW DID HE ESCAPE THE SARLAAC?
Now, to be clear, I will not be diving into spoiler territory. But needless to say, within the first five minutes we finally resolve the mystery. And it is handled with the utmost care. The series taps into the essence of George Lucas’ masterwork and expands upon it gloriously. From there we explore Fett’s struggle to survive. Lensed through a series of flashbacks, we get to see the legendary bounty hunter captured by Tusken Raiders and thrust into slavery.
While the flashbacks help fill in the blanks of the past, a sudden jolt thrusts us back to the present. And it is here where Boba and his loyal sidekick Fennec Shand plan to assume control of Jabba The Hutt’s criminal empire. What follows is an adventure on two fronts; with one leg in the past and one in the present. It’s a bold choice, but not always a welcome one.
Whereas most fans would be forgiven for thinking that the show would dive right in with an action-packed debut episode; the series takes a detour and explores Boba Fett’s character. We get to see him at his lowest point. A broken warrior. But one that still holds his sense of pride. Albeit a badly scarred one. His struggle to survive will be a key focal point throughout this series and will shape his destiny moving forward.
We witness him engaging in hand-to-hand combat with Tusken Raiders, and look on as he suffers defeat. But, as time progresses, Robert Rodriguez drops breadcrumbs for us to follow that hint and him earning the respect of the Tusken’s and learning their methods. Mainly their rules of engagement. This ensures Fett’s lethal prowess when he confronts the squad of Imperial Stormtroopers in The Mandalorian Season 2.
The series also makes use of Fett’s involvement in the prequel movies. And some of what unfolds links directly to the loss of his father. Which, I suspect will feature heavily moving forward. The opening moments hint at Fett struggling with recurring nightmares. And these flashbacks will need to be resolved to allow the character to move on to the next chapter of his story.
Of course, no Star Wars project would be complete without the inclusion of a creature or two. And The Book Of Boba Fett does it with panache. We are introduced to a new creature that will have Ray Harryhausen fans dancing with delight. Plucked straight from the imagination of the Godfather of special effects, the new creature boasts multiple arms and a head hauntingly similar to Harryhausen’s Ymir from 20 Million Miles To Earth and The Kraken from Clash Of The Titans.
Just like The Mandalorian, this series boasts the harmonious music of Ludwig Göransson. Albeit in a reduced capacity. The bulk of the score has been composed by franchise newcomer Joseph Shirley. The composer offers an admirable soundtrack for the first episode and takes to Star Wars like a duck to water ensuring some much-needed continuity with The Mandalorian. And I cannot wait to see where he takes the symphonic tones of the galaxy far, far away in future episodes.
Of course, the success of this series hinges on the performances of its cast. And is here where those nasty expectations rear their ugly head. Temuera Morrison owns this role and he grows into it more and more by the second. And with this series exploring the character at its lowest, it is refreshing to see a different side of him. However, it is here where the detractions set in. As a lifelong Fett fan, seeing a vulnerable side to Boba Fett is unwelcome.
Having grown up with “an idea” of who he is, witnessing him broken and beaten is a polarizing experience, one that will prove to be divisive. But as a cinephile, I understand the pilgrimage this will take him on, and the payoff will come in the last act as the Boba Fett we know and love rises to prominence. But aside from some pleasantly emotional moments, the weakness on display is not what I have come to expect from a character as beloved as this.
Rounding out the cast, aside from a few noteworthy background characters is Fennec Shand – played by the unswerving Ming-Na Wen. Sadly, she fades into the background during the premiere episode and aside from chasing down some would-be assassins, has very little to do. Except for retreating into Fett’s shadow. But hopefully, she will be allowed to shine in future episodes. A character like Shand deserves no less. But on a positive note, her relationship with Fett has grown somewhat since the events of Mando: Season 2. So it’ll be interesting to see how their bond deepens throughout the season.
It was always going to be an uphill battle appeasing the fans and bringing Boba Fett back to the screen, but Robert Rodriguez has pulled it off. The debut episode adds some much-needed depth to the character. And though, some of what transpires will divide the fans, the essence of the character shines through. As is always the case, the warrior is defined by the journey, and the battles he has won, and Boba Fett has many more to look forward to.
It just goes to show that the events prior to Return of the Jedi were nothing more than a ripple in the pool of the adventure awaiting us. And with Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, and Robert Rodriguez on hand to bring the series home, the future looks bright for this bounty hunter. And that is an exciting prospect.
The Book Of Boba Fett is now streaming on Disney Plus.
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Phil Roberts is the Owner, Daily Content Manager, and Editor-In-Chief of The Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Batman, DC, Marvel, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, King Kong, and the Ray Harryhausen movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force and babbles frequently!