The personification of cool, Boba Fett is a mystical character for Star Wars aficionados. But can everyone’s favorite bounty hunter, who’s always been an interesting side character, carry a series on his own? If the pilot for The Book of Boba Fett is any indication, the answer is yes. The premiere of the new Disney+ series is full of action, Star Wars lore, and answers to long-awaited questions.
Unless you watched the animated Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978, chances are your first encounter with the galaxy’s baddest bounty hunter was in The Empire Strikes Back. He spoke only four lines in that 1980 classic but from that point on, fans have always wanted more Boba. “Space Clint Eastwood” (as I like to call him) is mysterious, speaks in terse, abrupt sentences, and has a jet pack—so he’s always been adored. But how he fits into the Star Wars universe has been hard to pin down, as some of his exploits are canon and some are not. The Book of Boba Fett looks to remedy this.
When we last saw Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) in the Season 2 finale of The Mandalorian, he was debating Mandalore political machinations with Bo-Katan (Katie Sackhoff) and helping Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) rescue Grogu/The Child from the hands of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). After Luke Skywalker (CGI Mark Hamill) shows up to save the day and takes Grogu away to Jedi pre-school, a post credits scene shows Boba and his No. 2, Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), strolling into Jabba the Hutt’s old digs on Tatooine and making themselves comfortable.
The Book of Boba Fett doesn’t pick up his story in Jabba’s Palace. Instead the premiere episode spends the first 12 minutes answering two of Star Wars fans’ most burning questions: How in the world did Boba survive the sarlacc pit, and what happened to him afterwards? Through Boba’s dreams (in the opening scene we see him sleeping in a healing chamber), viewers see flashbacks of Boba’s death-defying journey. This includes his physically grueling escape from the sarlaac, his armor being stolen from his exhausted body, and eventually his imprisonment by Tuskens.
When the premiere moves into the present, Boba and Fennec are in the throne room, accepting gifts as local legitimate businessmen bend the knee to Tatooine’s new “daimyo.” (This is Japanese for a feudal lord, and yes I had to google the term.) A series of characters arrive to pay tribute, including Dokk Strassi (played by episode director Robert Rodriguez) bearing a wookie pelt. While many are looking to play nice with the new crime lord, that’s not the case for the mayor of Mos Espa, who sends his majordomo without a gift. He’s looking for some tribute of his own.
Throughout the premiere, including his time in the throne room and as he makes his way around Mos Espa, Boba reveals himself to be a different kind of leader. While Fennec suggests that things will go smoother if follows the Hutts’ lead, Boba finds being cruel an unnecessary way to show strength. He spares the lives of two Gamorrean guards and refuses to be carried around town in a litter, two of several moves Fennec disagrees with.
“Jabba ruled with fear,” says Boba Fett. “I intend to rule with respect.”
Boba’s leadership style isn’t the only point Jon Favreau’s script wants to get across to viewers. There’s a lot more to Boba Fett than looking cool. The bounty hunter has a moral code. Respect is paramount to him, not only receiving it but earning it. This is displayed by how he treats others, but also through his own actions.
When he meets with Garsa Fwip (Jennifer Beals), who runs the Sanctuary Cantina, he politely introduces himself, letting her know he’s now in charge but that things will continue to run smoothly under his supervision. Through flashbacks, we also see how he shows respect to his captors. A Tusken boy frequently watches over him; it would be easy to kill him and run off—but Boba doesn’t do that. He has principles.
Boba Fett is also unique in another unexpected way. An older warrior, Boba takes his lumps. We see him get knocked out, electrocuted, and routinely beat up. Make no mistake, Boba Fett is still a badass. But seeing a hero who has to struggle, and Boba often does, makes him more relatable than most heroes in the Star Wars universe.
During the intriguing 38-minute premiere of The Book of Boba Fett it’s clear Boba Fett will have his hands full this season. Conflict with the mayor of Mos Espa seems inevitable, and a team of assassins attempt to take out the bounty hunter and Fennec midway through the episode. Other local warlords are likely to want a piece of Jabba’s former turf so potential enemies are fruitful. There’s also much more to learn about Boba’s history. A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it clip showing a young Boba picking up Jango’s helmet in a scene from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones reveals a past that frequently haunts him.
While loaded with promise, the premiere won’t grab audiences like the pilot of The Mandalorian. That said, this new series certainly offers a strong start to a series promising more background into one of Star Wars’ most fascinating characters.
New episodes of The Book of Boba Fett air Wednesdays on Disney+.
Terry Terrones is a Television Critics Association and Critics Choice Association member, licensed drone pilot and aspiring hand model.
When he’s not crawling his way out of a sarlaac pit, you can find him hiking in the mountains of Colorado. You can follow him on Twitter @terryterrones.
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