Boba Fett Book Review: Star Wars (Series) Better Without Boba Fett

Boba Fett’s Book was always going to carry out an arduous task. Only the second live-action Star Wars series – all seven episodes are now available on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar – it arrived at the end of 2021, after two seasons of the beloved The Mandalorian. It’s two full seasons of Grogu, better known as Baby Yoda, carving out a place in our hearts through some instantly memorable moments. Two seasons of a bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal) stirring up his fatherly spirit, overcoming his dislike of droids, and finding his place in the galaxy. And then, when The Mandalorian season 2 ended with a touching goodbye for the two, it was The Book of Boba Fett – made by the same creators – that stood in the way, resulting in a two-year gap between seasons 2 and 3.

To be fair, a subset of Star Wars fans have been crying out for more Boba Fett for ages. This is basically why The Book of Boba Fett exists. The enigmatic presence of Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch in the 80s) in the original trilogy – he had only a few minutes of screen time before he died – allowed audiences to imagine a whole world of stories around the character. Unfortunately, for a very long time, outside of the books and comics that have since been declared non-canon, there was no place for it. Star Wars was a film franchise led by Skywalker. Other characters just existed around them. In the prequel trilogy, Star Wars creator George Lucas gave us more Boba Fett by revealing that the famed bounty hunter had a “father” in Jango Fett Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison, now playing Boba Fett in the series Disney+). And oh, it’s a clone.

But since Star Wars producer Lucasfilm became owned by Disney – the entertainment giant bought it from Lucas for more than $4 billion (roughly Rs. 29,896 crore) in 2012 – a standalone feature by Boba Fett was in the works. And it would even have happened, with Logan director James Mangold at the controls, had it not been for the critical and commercial failure of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Thanks to this, the Boba Fett movie – and other “Star Wars Story” projects such as Obi Wan Kenobi – were left out. It took the success of The Mandalorian for Lucasfilm to reinvent them as a Disney+ series. (Obi Wan Kenobiwith Ewan McGregor back in the title role, is also expected in 2022 after The Book of Boba Fett.)

Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett in The Book of Boba Fett
Photo credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

But oh boy, that turned out to be a miscalculation. The problems with The Book of Boba Fett were, of course, multiple. On some level, this story has been told before – by the same people. It’s called The Mandalorian. After all, the two are enigmatic bounty hunters hailing from the Mandalore race. Din Djarin’s (Pascal) story in The Mandalorian is what a Boba Fett movie could have been. Except by adding Grogu to the mix and breaking away from Star Wars lore (for one season anyway), Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau – also the creator of Boba Fett’s book – was able to go places no one else could. had visited before, literally and thematically. With The Book of Boba Fett, he returns to the ground he himself has traveled. Why put yourself in this place?

Not that it can’t work. Star Wars has shown it itself, with writer-director JJ Abrams mimicking the structure of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope on Episode VII – The Force Awakens. The Boba Fett Book’s biggest flaw is poor, lazy writing. The first four episodes, devoted to Fett’s character development, were totally unnecessary. The backstory was largely boring – all it did well was expand on the Tusken Raiders – and the actual story unfolded at a monotonous pace. Stuck in the same place (Tatooine), The Book of Boba Fett stopped. He could have overcome that if he had something to say or show, but the episodes didn’t have much to offer. And when they ran out of Fett’s past and present, The Book of Boba Fett simply dropped it and moved on to Din Djarin.

It also gave new meaning to Boba Fett’s book described internally during production as The Mandalorian Season 2.5, as the new Star Wars series literally became a bridge to The Mandalorian Season 3. Frankly, it was an absurd decision – does anyone realize what this show is called? More than a quarter of The Boba Fett Book had nothing to do with Boba Fett. Disney+ and Lucasfilm would have been better off releasing these two Mandalorian-led episodes as part of Season 3. But giving Mando his own episodes on someone else’s show, The Boba Fett Book doesn’t served as further proof of how bored Boba Fett was. The new Star Wars series instantly improved as soon as it left its main character behind. This is not beautiful.

The Boba Fett Book also gave its leads – Morrison as Boba Fett and Ming-Na Wen – very little to do. And Morrison being told to remove his helmet didn’t add much, when the Kiwi actor could have had the same impact by keeping it on. He doesn’t have many expressions, that’s what I’m saying.

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Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in The Book of Boba Fett
Photo credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

But even the best episodes of The Book of Boba Fett had their own problems. Some typical of Star Wars. Following Grogu’s departure with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) at the end of The Mandalorian Season 2, everyone, including me, wondered how long Grogu would stay offscreen. After all, Baby Yoda was arguably The Mandalorian’s biggest star. But we haven’t even reached Season 3 of The Mandalorian until Grogu’s (inevitable) return. The Book of Boba Fett also brought back Luke Skywalker, this time in broad daylight. Not content with giving him a few minutes towards the end of The Mandalorian season 2 finale, The Book of Boba Fett gave Luke Skywalker a starring role in its sixth and penultimate episode.

Star Wars has a real problem with nostalgia. The nine-film Skywalker saga ended in the worst mode, too indebted to the past. And even though that saga is technically over, Star Wars writers continue to find new ways to unearth Skywalker’s name. Over the past five years, Hamill has returned to play Luke — one way or another — in The Last Jedi, The Mandalorian, and now The Book of Boba Fett. Meanwhile, Hayden Christensen will reprise his role as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in two upcoming Star Wars series: The Previous Obi Wan Kenobi opposite McGregor, and later Ahsoka – another The Mandalorian spin-off, from Star Wars veteran Dave Filoni – which follows Rosario Dawson as her former Padawan, Ahsoka Tano. Why can’t Favreau, Filoni and Co. leave them alone?

On one level, the problem lies with Lucasfilm itself – it wants to sell toys and theme parks with strong ties to the Skywalker era. The result is that the Star Wars universe is collapsing in on itself all the time. If George Lucas was good at one thing, it was to expand the world. But everyone involved in Star Wars today refuses to do that beyond a certain point. While Favreau did the first season of The Mandalorian well in this regard, the second season felt like a cycle of backdoor pilots for more Star Wars, Ahsoka to Boba Fett’s Book. This was all supposed to lead to the “climax” New Republic Rangers, though thanks to Gina Carano’s firing that series is dead – and its ideas could make it into The Mandalorian season 3.

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Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin, Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in The Book of Boba Fett
Photo credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

Ultimately, The Boba Fett Book was the worst possible start to the expansion of — what I dubbed it two Decembers ago — the Star Wars cinematic universe on television. The Mandalorian had excelled with his naked approach; The Boba Fett Book needed Favreau to do more, and well, he failed. This showed the limits of Favreau’s storytelling abilities. And more importantly, The Book of Boba is further proof that Lucasfilm needs to expand the talent base, not batten down the hatches. The Star Wars universe is already plagued by this problem, the making of Star Wars should not fall into the same trap.

This is the second time this has happened to Star Wars in recent times. After some behind-the-scenes issues in Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, Lucasfilm returned to Abrams due to his ability to handle the soft reboot of The Force Awakens franchise. He bombed. And now Favreau has done the same after his success on The Mandalorian. Luckily for Favreau, he can brush this miniseries off like it never existed — too bad for those few episodes in the middle. Good luck Star Wars fans and guide the creators on how they incorporate Boba Fett’s book into their recommendations – and get back to doing what it does well with The Mandalorian season 3.

A section of Star Wars fans took issue with Boba Fett removing his helmet too much on The Boba Fett Book. Alas, that was hardly a problem in a show where everything was going nowhere. At least Mando and Grogu are back together – we even got some instantly memorable Baby Yoda moments in the Boba Fett book finale – and are happily flying away away from Tatooine. Good riddance.

All seven episodes of The Book of Boba Fett are streaming on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar. In India, The Book of Boba Fett is available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.


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