Four line of dialogue and just over six minutes of screen time in the original Star Wars trilogy, and for Forty Years, the character of Boba Fett has captured the imaginations of Star Wars fans across the decades. I certainly grew up fascinated by this mysterious Bounty Hunter and loved seeing his origin story fleshed out in the prequel trilogy not to mention jumping and shouting at my TV when the character was brought back from the dead seemingly in the Mandalorian show, absolutely blew my Star Wars Fanboy heart. So, when it was announced that following the finale to the Mandalorian, that he was getting his very own Disney Plus TV series, well I was happy as a Jawa finding a Droid without an owner.
I chose to wait for the second episode to air as well before putting my thoughts down as the first episode was shorter than I had expected but filled with so much awesome that I wanted to ground that excitement to see if the story telling of the first episode would carry into the second but obviously, we must start with how is began and I really liked the opening to this series:
Episode One – Boba Fett holds Court
Since his appearance in the Mandalorian, the first question I hoped this series would answer would be to explain for the first time since Return of the Jedi in 1983 that was left unanswered, how did Boba escape from the belly of the Sarlacc! To explain this mystery, the show has chosen to go with a very interesting way of telling the story, one which for anyone who has watched Arrow will recognize right away and it just works so brilliantly for The Book of Boba Fett.
What we have is two stories being told in one series, first we have the “modern day” story of how Boba Fett with Fennec Shand, played brilliantly by the also returning Ming-Na Wen, seizing control of Jabb the Hut’s empire but then we also have the flashback story of how Boba escaped the Sarlacc stomach and what happened to him before the events of The Mandalorian. This first episode opens with Boba inside a Bacta Tank, used for healing injuries such as the one we see Luke put inside during The Empire Strikes Back. Whilst inside the tank, Boba dreams of how he escaped the Sarlacc pit by using the breathing oxygen of a Storm Trooper, also a victim of the Sarlacc Pit, to refill his own oxygen before punching a whole in the guts of the Sarlacc and using his flame thrower to burn his way out to then push his way up through the sand to surface on the desert of Tatooine. We then see him fall unconscious from the effort before Jawa’s happen upon his body, thinking him dead they strip him of his armour leaving the body which is then found by a tribe of Sand People who take him prisoner.
Now all of that happens in just the opening eight minutes of the episode, successfully answering how did Boba survive and escape and not only is it a fantastic opening to his own series but immediately explains to the audience who would have been asking. I must give credit to Temuera Morrison who has completely brought the character of Boba to life after originally playing Jango Fett in the Prequel trilogy, just the very fact they chose and were able to bring him back as this character so many years later is just sublime as is his performance and it was a clever decision to also have Boba remove his helmet for a lot of the dialogue scenes as a juxtaposition to how in The Mandalorian which works best when the helmet is kept on for the character.
The clever way in which we get to see the events that lead to Boba appearing in the Mandalorian first before switching back to the present time in the story with Boba trying to assert his dominance to rule his new crime organization which also shows us the Code that Boba sticks to. He wants to rule his empire with respect and not fear, he chooses to walk the streets rather than being carried like a King unliked the previous heads of the organization. For someone as feared as Boba Fett, it is very interesting to see this idealistic approach which shows perhaps a more mature version of the character, perhaps shaped by the experiences we are also getting to see in the flashback scenes. This is helped so much by the character of Fennec, who serves as not only Boba’s number 2 but also his counsel and protector, who will follow Boba’s instructions but not afraid to raise concerns about possible threats to his new rule and it is very clear, that Boba’s position as leader is not absolute at this point. An attempt on Boba’s life during his walking around the people gives the chance to remind the audience just how lethal Fennec is as well but also a tease that Boba is still not back to full health as the battle leaves him requiring his Bacta Healing Tank whilst protected by his two Gamorrean guards.
This opening episode though short, gave a brilliant look at the criminal underworld of Tatooine in a time where new adventures and stories can be told in the Star Wars Universe. I am intrigued to see how Boba and Fennec try to establish their rule but a little more excited to see the flashback scenes, with the episode leaving us seeing how Boba saved the child of the Sand People leaders who hold him captive, earning their respect by the end of 38-minute episode. We had great action, some comedy, and a lot of world building with fantastic cast performance. Visually stunning and showing once again that Disney + Star Wars TV shows are the best Star Wars experience fans can have right now, it is fair to say it is both fun and frustrating to experience classic episodic weekly television and I am hoping for a lot of the seeds that were sown in Chapter One of this series to continue into Chapter 2.
Chapter 2 – Boba Fett faces new Challenges on Tatooine
It really feels like I have been waiting since last year (apologies for New Year’s joke) since watching the first episode, such is the joy of traditional episodic TV. I was very pleased to see that Chapter 2 has a long run time that the first with a good extra ten minutes to tell its story and I was hoping to see more flashback story and present-day story telling as we see the rise of Boba Fett continue.
We return to the present day with Boba trying to get information from the captured Assassin who tried to kill him, though he refuses to talk but Fennec uses Jabba’s old Rancor trick to rather quickly change the assassin’s mind who happily confesses that it was the Mayor, whose representative had refused to bring tribute to Boba unlike others, had hired the Assassins to take out Boba. I loved this scene a lot with its cheeky nod to something fans will instantly recognize as well as a lovely reminder that once again, it is the former throne of Jabba the Hut that Boba has now claimed as his own.
This episode also cements the fact that Boba’s rule is not set in stone yet and not only is the Mayor not accepting or respecting his claim to the throne and title as Daimyo, but now we see some very powerful players also arriving to claim the territory in The Twins, part of the Hutt family and cousins of Jabba, who believe that they have a right to claim the territory of Jabba. This whole scene, played out on the streets of Mos Espa is a chance for Boba to stand firm to state his right to rule with the Hutts retreating to no doubt try another day but not before introducing us to a new character in what I could only describe as the Brock Lesnar of Wookies, who Boba identifies as a Gladiator from the Death Pits of Duur. This opening twenty minutes is all about power posturing and letting the audience meet the different players in the game in a mini ‘Game of Thrones’ style political drama with different powers all claiming the right to take over Jabba’s old empire.
The one element to this series that I am really enjoying is the focus on the flashback story, told when Boba goes back into his Bacta healing tank and has “dreams”. We see Boba now being trained in how to use the Tusken battle staff, something we saw him use when we first see him in The Mandalorian. A good portion of this second episode is dedicated to this flashback stories and I am so pleased because for me, this is the more interesting story than the present day story arc because not only do we get to see how Boba came to be where he was when we see him in The Mandalorian which then leads to him claiming the title and power of Daimyo but we also get to see and learn as much about the Tusken Raiders as we do about Boba.
There is an almost Māori element to the Tusken tribe that has captured Boba, the respect that he shows them and they in turn are showing him respect since his helped rescue the leader’s youngling. Seeing Boba learning their fighting technique, something only valued Warriors in their tribe would be taught. This is a great look at Boba as a character once again, the training sequences show his patience and willingness to endure to improve and become a better fighter but his respect for these Tuskens when all we think of Boba is a relentless and merciless Bounty Hunter is a tremendous contrast to see.
That side of Boba is not lost however, and when a mysterious Train speeding across the sand suddenly open fire on the tribe killing their creatures and members. After helping them to burn their dead according to their tradition, Boba becomes the Fett we know as he spies a Speeder Bike gang and requests the tribe leader allows him to take one of their Rifles and his practice staff and we see Boba walking across the desert to the bar the gang are in and he makes short work of them, beating them roundly before having a drink at the bar, then stealing their speeder bikes as he has come up with a plan to stop the Train from attacking the tribe once and for all.
Even without his Mandalorian armour, Boba Fett is a vicious and deadly fighter but the softness when he interacts with the Tuskens adds such a new dynamic to a character, we know so very little about, even from his time in The Mandalorian series. There is a lovely fun element as Boba tries to teach the Tusken warriors how to ride the speeder bikes to execute his plan of attacking and hijacking the train in one of the best action sequences I have seen yet in a Disney + Star Wars series. The visual effects are incredible with a blend of CGI and physical stunts making the whole sequence feel more like a old west train heist…just with laser pistols.
Temuera Morrison physical performance is simply outstanding here with it being as impactful as his delivery of dialogue, he just has such a presence on screen that even when the story jumps back to the present day and he is in his full armour, we know the man underneath it, we know that under the stillness and quietness Boba may show those who would threaten him, he is still a deadly warrior capable of clearing an entire room on his own should he choose to. The flashback story is only helping to grow this legend of Boba Fett with so many layers that in just two episodes, has already grown in my eyes and no doubt other fans. There is no real indication of how far in the past the flashback scenes are but by the end of this episode, Boba is rewarded for his help by being dressed in the traditional clothing of the Tusken and taken through the ritual resulting in him being shown how to craft his own weapon, both of which is how we see Boba in the Mandalorian before he reclaims his armour.
So far, The Book of Boba Fett is just outstanding Star Wars storytelling, which is no surprise seeing how once again the team of Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni are once again leading this show. The quality of these Star Wars shows is still putting to shame the last trilogy of films making Disney + the best source of Star Wars content just as it is with MARVEL right now.
The wait for next week’s episode will be worth it, but the first two episodes have certainly set the tone and I for one cannot wait to see where this story goes.