THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT
Boba job weak
The fate of the galaxy’s most infamous bounty hunter has been a hot topic in Star Wars fandom ever since his farcical tumble into the Sarlacc. This The Mandalorian spin-off doesn’t skimp on explaining what happened next, but suggests that we should sometimes be careful what we wish for.
A TV series devoted to one of Star Wars’ most beloved characters should have been a dream ticket for Disney+, but it soon becomes clear that a guy who was always more memorable for his outfit than anything he said works better as an enigma. Everything we learn about Jango’s son chinks away at his aura of cool, to the point that come the season finale he’s not even the star of his own show.
The series wastes little time explaining how the bounty hunter (Temuera Morrison) escaped the belly of the beast, but it’s rather less efficient at filling in the other gaps in his timeline. The early episodes are dominated by flashbacks to Fett’s wilderness years in the Tatooine desert, telling you everything you ever needed to know about his backstory – and plenty more that you didn’t.
In Boba’s post-mandalorian present, meanwhile, the show fails to deliver on the early promise of his attempts to seize control of Jabba the Hutt’s crime empire. His reinvention as a cuddlier, more conciliatory “daimyo” is at odds with the mercenary who ruthlessly pursued Han Solo, and his world is disappointingly light on both scum and villainy – this is far from the Godfather-in-space teased by pre-release publicity.
And yet for all its struggles to get a handle on its leading man – or his woefully underused sidekick, Fennec Shand (Ming-na Wen) – The Book Of Boba Fett is still unmistakably Star Wars. Tatooine has always been one of the franchise’s most appealing destinations, and the show revels in the chance to show familiar characters and locations from a new perspective. The level of geeky detail is also impressive, with the sheer volume of callbacks to prequels, sequels, books, comics and videogames demanding a rewatch to keep up.
SPOILERS AHEAD! But the series’ biggest gift to the franchise is the way it makes you appreciate The Mandalorian more. When Boba Fett moves into the background in episodes five and six – allowing Mando and Baby Yoda to resume their adventures – creator/showrunner Jon Favreau rekindles the fire that made his first TV show in a galaxy far, far away so memorable. Those crossover storylines suggest that Star Wars’ take on a Marvel-style shared universe is in good hands – just so long as Fett stays away from top billing...
Executive producer/director Robert Rodriguez plays both Dokk Strassi and Mos Espa mayor Mok Shaiz.
Far from the Godfather-inspace teased by the pre-release publicity