I remember when I first saw Boba Fett. It wasn’t onscreen, it was special offer on the back of the box of a Star Wars toy my parents had gotten me. And it was in between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. I thought ‘who is this guy?’ because he wasn’t in the first film and no news about the second film had come out. It turns out that he was in a scene that had been cut from Episode 4 and would be appearing in Episode 5 (Empire). Ok cool…..he looked cool with a rad suit of armor and a jetpack. He had a few minutes of screen time in Empire, said a few lines, shot at a few people, and flew off in his spaceship with a frozen Han Solo. Nothing noteworthy but the suit looked cool.
Then came Return of the Jedi where nine year old me was expecting a little more action from the guy this time around and……didn’t get it! He had about 30 seconds of fighting and then (spoiler alert) he got sent hurtling into the Sarlacc pit when a blind Han Solo accidentally triggered his jetpack in 3 Stooges fashion to send him flying to his apparent death. What we thought was a cool character destined for big things was much different from what George Lucas saw; in his eyes Fett was a side character whose purpose was fulfilled once Luke and the gang rescued Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt. I was bummed out for a minute but I quickly accepted that he wasn’t that important of a character after all, he just looked cool. And I moved on.
But some of you didn’t! In fact, a lot of you didn’t. You guys pulled out the stops to make Boba Fett into a thing, and after almost two decades they gave in. They gave him tidbits of a back story when they came up with the character of his father Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones. They gave him a story of escaping certain death in the Tales from Mos Eisley novel. And then years after that we got to see him live during season 2 of The Mandalorian and the game was afoot. One mid credit scene after the Mando season 2 finale, and here we are. The Book of Boba Fett was announced, then we were off to the races. So would this side character prove justified in having an entire series made for him? To borrow some terms from the world of pro wrestling Boba Fett is the proverbial midcarder who is believed to be more than that by the very online section of the fanbase and finally got main event one of the pay per view specials; for all intents and purposes he is Cesaro and this series is his Backlash 2021. Does he fare the same? Let’s find out.
Tenemura Morrison and Ming-Na Wen were great as Fett and Fennec Shand, picking up right from where they left off in season two of The Mandolorian. They are a constant high point from beginning to end and make all their scenes worth watching. Even when things slow down to a crawl or meander too much they are a joy to watch. They played off of each other well and did great job of being partners in the mission without some contrived romantic relationship forced into the story. And they made for a perfectly contrasting pair – Fett the mercenary with a conscience and Shand the ruthless one who had to channel her tactics in the right direction to complement her more compassionate partner.
The finale wrapped everything up in great fashion and was the best episode of the entire series. It was a virtual All-Star game of sorts as the regulars were joined in battle by some familiar faces to take down the bad guys. It also played out like an old western, which is about as much a homage as you can give to George Lucas as anything. While the first six episodes moved slow in parts the finale cleaned everything up great and ended the show with a bang.
The first four episodes moved at a very slow pace. Fett spent a good chunk of each one having flashbacks while soaking in a Bacta tank. While those flashbacks did a good job of fleshing out the character and adding some layers to him they took up entirely too much time that could have been spent on current events. Even worse is that even with all of that we still didn’t get much explanation as to why Boba Fett is doing what he’s doing. Why take over the Mos Eisley underworld? Fett was revealed to be a man of conscience and honor through those flashbacks so why become a crime lord at a moment when he was finally free of any such ties? We never find out.
There’s a real question as to whether or not Kathleen Kennedy, Dave Filoni, and company are not expanding their horizons enough with these series. Next up is Kenobi, which stays in the same corner of the galaxy and focuses on another set of legacy characters from the original trilogy in the way that Mando and Fett gave a lot of shine to characters from Clone Wars (Ashoka Tano, Cade Bane, Bo Katan) as well as Luke Skywalker himself. Those who are hoping to see some expansion beyond the Skywalker saga era are gonna be waiting for a bit and might be wondering if it’s ever going to happen. As someone who is all in on Skywalker land, I’m not at the point of being full on that front. There are some untold stories that took place between films that have some legs to work with. The question is which ones, which brings us to…….
Was it well written? Yes. Was it well acted? Yes. Was it necessary? No. Here’s the thing – the main reason many of us were drawn in by the character of Boba Fett was the armor he wears. That’s it. There wasn’t anything else because they didn’t give him anything else. And between Jedi and now we got plenty of stories about other people who were also wearing that cool armor, so why did we need to go back to him? The answer is that we didn’t, at least not for a whole series. Between Clone Wars, Rebels, and The Mandalorian we’ve gotten plenty of good stuff featuring men and women who wear that armor. They got stories, they got histories, they got traditions, they had missions, you name it. And we got all the recurring adventures we need from a guy wearing that armor with Mando.
Was it good? Yes. But it is a problem that episodes 5 and 6, the ones that might as well be labeled Mandalorian Season 2.5, were the ones that sparked the most excitement before the finale. I came out of thinking that we absolutely do not need another season of this. Now do I want to see more of Boba and Fennec? Absolutely! But are the Tattooine crime world and who rules it a subject that I think we need to dwell on for long stretches? Not really. That corner of the Star Wars Universe is best as a place to be visited but not to live in. As the show closed it was fitting that the final shot was of Mando and Grogu flying off to their next adventure because that’s where we want to go.
Final grade? Overall quality 4/6 (good), enjoyability (3/4), Total grade 7/10. If you’re interested then by all means check it out. If you’re on the fence you can skip to the fifth episode. If you’re leaning against but have FOMO then jump to the finale or to episode 6. You won’t regret watching it but you’ll live if you don’t.