The Book of Boba Fett Is A Failure That Hold Warnings and Lessons For Future Star Wars Projects
When The Book of Boba Fett was abruptly announced at the end of The Mandalorian Season 2, there was a palpable sense of excitement across the Star Wars community. Despite Boba Fett only having a few lines of dialogue in his debut in The Empire Strikes Back and a disappointingly brief role in Return of Jedi, the bounty hunter has been one of the most popular characters across the long history of the Star Wars series. Fett’s design and armor, originally imagined by art director Joe Johnston and concept artist Ralph McQuarrie, has become almost as recognizable as Darth Vader’s imposing visage.
While Fett’s character has been fleshed out in the pre-Disney canon books (material now referred to as “Legends”) like The Bounty Hunter Wars, the bounty hunter has never been the focus of a film or series. The Book of Boba Fett was an opportunity for Lucasfilm to give Boba Fett the attention that many fans have long felt the character deserved. Despite the buzz that surrounded the show, the streaming series received a mixed reception. Given the outpouring of support for The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett seems to be the first real misstep for Star Wars on Disney+.
The Book of Boba Fett is a confusing, seven episode mess that fails established a clear identity for its central character. The show fails to keep its focus on Boba Fett and comrade Fennec Shand, two of the core characters of the show. Beset with pacing issues and the need to connect to other Star Wars properties, The Book of Boba Fett is storytelling failure that holds lessons and warnings for future Star Wars projects.
A Short Season With A Shifting Focus
One of the largest issues with The Book of Boba Fett is the shifting focus of its story. In article title “The Book of Boba Fett Is so Busy It Forgets to Make Boba Fett Interesting”, writer Chaim Gartenberg asserts that The Book of Boba Fett is “seemingly three shows” all wrapped into one package. The first show is the flashbacks to Fett’s time as a member of the Tuskens. The second show is Fett’s pursuits as a crime lord in Mos Espa. The third show within The Book of Boba Fett follows The Mandalorian‘s Din Djarin and Baby Yoda. Each of these three sections or shows within The Book of Boba Fett have their own merits, but folded together into a single narrative package, these three disparate parts become a storytelling mess.
The early episodes of the show explore Boba Fett’s past with the Tusken Raiders, along his current pursuits as a player in the Mos Espa criminal underworld. While the balance between flashbacks and present are imperfect, the Tusken flashback sequences establish what happeed to Boba Fett in the five years since falling into the Sarlacc Pit during the events of Return of the Jedi. The Tuskens have occupied a key part of life on Tatooine since 1977, but The Book of Boba Fett humanizes the Tuskens far more than any other story, treating them like an indigenous people with their own complex culture.
The early flashbacks give the viewer a strong indication of how the show is trying to reshape its titular character. The flashback lay a clear foundation for Boba Fett as a ruthless loner learning to care about a community rather than his own needs or desires. In an excellent Episode 2 set piece, the audience sees Boba Fett work with the Tuskens to take down a train and deal a blow to the PIke Syndicate. In a rather abrupt storytelling choice, Fett’s time with the Tusken tribe ends when the entire tribe is unceremoniously slaughtered off-screen in Episode 3. The abrupt conclusion to Fett’s experience with the Tuskens feels extremely hollow because show never really explores how the massacre affects Fett, and how Fett’s character is changed by his experience with the Tuskens. Fett never discusses his experience with the Tuskens in the present timeline, and his experience with his former surrogate family is never ties into to his quest to become a crime lord in any clear way. Because of this, the two versions of Fett, the fierce protector of a people and a crime lord seeking power, feel inconsistent.
Episode 5 (“The Return of the Mandalorian) and Episode 6 (“From the Desert Comes a Stranger”) prove to be the key illustration of the shifting focus on the show. These episode focus on characters from The Mandalorian, and barely even feature Boba Fett at all. In short, these episode feel more like The Mandalorian Season 3 than The Book of Boba Fett. These two episodes do little to advance the present struggle between Boba Fett and The Pikes, who are trying to take control of Fett’s territory on Tatooine. Instead of providing a simple but enjoyable cameo for the titular Mandalorian, these bloated deviation from the main storyline takes the focus away from Boba Fett and Fennec Shand, characters the viewers are supposed to be invested in.
An Advertisement For A Shared Universe Rather Than A Story With Its Own Merits
One of the major issues with the Boba Fett is its place as part of the interconnected Star Wars streaming universe. The Mandalorian‘s second season spent much of its eight episodes making connections to pre-established Star Wars characters like Bo-Katan, Ahsoka Tano, and Luke Skywalker, and The Book of Boba Fett continues this trend, though the results were far less effective. The choice to include Din Djarin (The Mandalorian), Ahsoka, Luke Skywalker, and Baby Yoda ultimately takes attention away from characters like Boba Fett and Fennec Shand. This brand synergy and shared-universe building may be key to Disney’s Marvel films and show, but Star Wars has always operated differently from Marvel.
As previously stated, there are two full episodes in The Book of Boba Fett in which the titular character is sidelined for The Mandalorian characters. Episode 5 and Episode 6 proves to be solid piece of entertainment on their own rights, but the shift in focus from Boba Fett to Din Djarin and Baby Yoda highlights how shared universes and interconnectivity can completely derail a story. The Mandalorian is Star Wars‘s premier property and the inclusion of these characters completely distracts from Boba Fett’s main plotline in obvious and frustrating ways.
If The Book of Boba Fett wanted Din Djarin in the show, it could have easily accomplished that without distracting from the main plot. Fett could have simply contacted Din, a character he already has a connection to, and request the bounty hunter’s help on Tatooine. Din could arrive on the planet without showing the events related to Luke Skywalker, Baby Yoda, and Armorer. The problem with Din’s introduction is the fact that The Book of Boba Fett is also tasked with advancing the plot of The Mandalorian, along with its own plot. The result of trying to achieve these two different goals in a clunky two episode story arc that serves as a resolution to cliffhanger set up in finale of The Mandalorian Season 2 but these episode do very little to advance or change the struggle on Tatooine.
An Iconic Villain Wasted By Poor Plot Structure
One of the most significant additions to The Book of Boba Fett is The Clone Wars bounty hunter Cad Bane, who appears for the first time in live-action. Episode 6 concludes with Bane emerging from the desert to engage in a exhilarating western showdown with the Tatooine lawman Cob Vanth. Despite this thrilling introduction, Bane proves to be another example of how The Boba of Boba Fett mishandles its characters. Bane is set up as the core antagonist of the finale, yet the show never explores the character or his deep connections to Boba Fett. The show assumes that most viewers know Bane’s significance to the Fett family and his place in the wider Star Wars canon. This is a mistake, given there is a wide variety of fans who have never seen any of the Star Wars animated show. Without any flashbacks or extended exposition to give deepen the relationship, Bane comes off as a shallow, if stylish character.
If the writers wanted Bane as the main villain of the series, the character should have been introduced earlier than episode 6, which would have given the conflict between Bane and Fett more time to develop. Fett spends much of the series in conflict with the Pike Syndicate that hires Bane, so introducing the character earlier would not change the overall narrative of the show. The show could have also made an adjustment to have Bane be part of the raiding group responsible for the death of Fett’s Tusken tribe. This would further establish Bane credibility as a ruthless villain, and deepened the animosity between Fett and Bane.
If Cad Bane’s inclusion was handled more thoughtfully, the character could have been an effective adversary for Fett. Returning to Chaim Gartenberg criticism of the show, the writer asserts that the show could have established Bane as “a darker foil that Fett is striving to avoid becoming.” Bane, and his action throughout the show, could have served to illustrate how Boba Fett has grown out of his role as a mercenary for hire. By confronting Bane, Fett could also demonstrate his new identity as a man devoted to a community in need.
Overall, The Book of Boba is one of the strangest Star Wars project in the past few years. The entire series felt like a strange monkey’s paw situation, giving fans things they have been begging for, but wrapping it in a package that ultimately left fans and critics many wanting something more substantial. While Disney had solid critical success with The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett revealed some potentials flaws in their approach to Star Wars streaming shows. The team behind the show was unable to resist the temptation of using the characters from The Mandalorian, and this choice takes valuable screen time from “key” characters like Boba Fett and Fennec Shand.
While Disney and Lucasfilm has not made a public comment on a potential Season 2 of the series, it seems unlikely that The Book of Fett will receive a second season. It is very likely that Boba Fett and Fennec Shand will reappear in other connected Star Wars series, but The Book of Boba Fett ties up many loose ends related to the character. The story of Boba Fett has finally been told, though many are left wishing it could been told in a more effective way.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
Having watched the latest episode, there’s more than a nod to Akira Kurosawa. It’s an odd little series but I like it very much so far.
It doesn’t work for a few reasons.
First, Fett is meant to be an amoral bounty hunter turned crime boss. But the morality of the Star Wars universe is too simple to have an antihero protagonist doing space Breaking Bad. So the show repeatedly emphasises his righteousness and treats his criminal kingpin status like something embarrassing that it doesn’t want to draw attention to.
Second, Morrison is too old to play a conventional action hero. There’s lots of interesting things they could have done with an ageing Fett character, but I guess they didn’t because again it doesn’t sit right with the sort of Saturday morning serial type stories these SW series want to tell. Doing more with Ming-Na Wen’s character might have helped.
Feels like the Madalorian series was made because they wanted to explore all the interesting avenues thrown up by Fett in the original films, while starting with a fresh character to avoid the above issues. So I’m not sure why we needed a Boba Fett series as well.
Also, though, just lots of baffling choices- why introduce the Hutts, then have them leave an episode later? Why are there two whole episodes of The Madalorian inserted into what was already a short run? And among all the vast arrays of creatures and characters in the SW universe, could they really not come up with anything better for Fett’s entourage than space mods on hover scooters?
I agree that The Mandalorian took some of the ideas/story concepts that we once associated with Boba Fett, and used them in the show.
They’ve made 11 films of varying quality and several TV series to tell us how the Jedi are actually a bit shit. Yet much of the fan base want more jedi.
Boba Fett went from being a mysterious and cool slimmer guy to a thick, old stoic man who carries his helmet around like a football helmet and is forced to interact with a wooden co-star. The show lacks charisma and charm and yes ruins the character of Boba Fett. Some mysteries should remain just that, mysteries!
I agree with the bad decisions. I particularly agree with the ‘wooden co-star’. I really can’t quite believe her shitty delivery and presence and wonder how much better the whole show might be if they nailed better casting for that role.
But I personally reckon Morrison brings charisma to the role, despite how they’ve botched his character.
None of the actors have given a great account, but the script is so poor that it’s hard not to feel some sympathy. The script (or actors reading of it) is sometimes actually nonsensical. See below, the last sentence.
I trust them to work in their own self-interest. My deal is a lot better than what the Syndicate would offer. They may be stubborn, but they are not foolish enough to see that the Pykes would eventually take over the whole planet.
They’ve shot themselves in the foot by having to cast a man 25 years too old and out shape just because his face was used for all the clones in the prequels. It would have been more sensible to cast an actor of the same build as Jeremy Bulloch and digitise a younger Morrison’s face onto them. And don’t get me started on the scooter gang – they’re even referred to as ‘Mods’..!
It all boils down to Din Djarin being the Boba Fett we were looking for.
Maybe I’m old and jaded because I was a Star Wars baby. Saw the original at the cinema when I was five. Grew up obsessed with it. Only when I saw the ‘Special’ Editions in the ’90s did I realise that the films I’d thought of all my life as beloved masterpieces were actually just ropey, dated kids’ movies. Then Lucas’ execrable prequels killed it stone dead.
Even for a lapsed fan like me, though, Book of Boba Fett is particularly poor. All that Fett ever was in the originals was a cool-looking helmet with an attitude. Now they seem intent on convincing us that he’s a really nice guy. The scene when his pet bantha was licking his face and wagging its tail was a new low to rival Leia’s Mary Poppins bits in the risible Last Jedi.
This franchise has been running on empty for forty years.
Boba Fett was *never* a great bounty hunter. He spends his boyhood up to “Return of the Jedi” losing bounties and getting his arse kicked. “Star Wars” is all about rebirth, redemption. So is this show. People need to stop acting like the franchise owes them something.
I’m gonna redeem myself by becoming a crime lord.
You make it sound like he lost all the bounties. He definitely delivered Solo to Jabba. The strange bit is that Jabba must have demanded that Solo be captured alive, and yet once delivered he was kept in deep freeze.
I disagree; the main issue with this programme has been one of time, and not having enough of it over the programme’s run to do the story (or stories, more correctly) they’re trying to tell justice.
The flashback sequences were, in my opinion, excellent and engaging; the second episode, where Bob gains acceptance into the Tusken tribe carried genuine emotional heft, and was my favourite bit of live-action Star Wars media since ESB. Problem was that arc was then quickly broken in the next episode.
Then you have Bob’s present day travails trying to establish himself as daimyo; these felt rushed and not particularly believable (four people controlling a city? How?). Then you have two episodes that were essentially something else. Episode five was excellent, but not the programme billed, and episode six waisted too much time essentially recreating Luke’s training montage from ESB. Was that really necessary, other than to give viewers another look at a slightly unconvincing animatronic alien?
The one thing that I think *has* been a genuine success is Bob’s characterisation. Many of the complaints seem to be that this Bob isn’t the Bob many imagined, but is that not the point? Would you, if you had found yourself sitting in a big carnivorous hole, look at the life choices that had led you to that (literally) rather sticky situation. I like that Bob, always my favourite Star Wars character (partly because he was such a blank slate, partly because he looked so good), has seemingly reassessed his life, and realised that to thrive, he has to try something else, try to act in a different way. I also like the fact that it was a spell with a similarly mysterious race of people that cemented this for him. He’s a proper character with personality now, and just because people think he’s not the character they imagined doesn’t ruin his legacy. People change; circumstances change them. Even fictional ones.
It’s absolutely fine if the character is written as having changed and on some sort of redemption arc. But then the characters actions have to make sense in that context- if that’s what you want to do with a character, why would you have them become a mafia boss?
The problem is that the show wants to portray Boba as righteous and heroic, so it can’t really show him acting as a crime boss, which just leads to confusion and dissonance.
There have been two excellent episodes of The Book of Boba Fett, neither of which had anything to do with The Book of Boba Fett.
The five that did were cheap looking, boring and completely lacking in energy.
I thought the train heist episode was excellent. The rest have been mediocre.
Jango and Boba Fett were neutered by Lucas’ interminable prequels. After that, the mystique was already dead and gone.
It’s not as if Boba Fett even did anything in the original trilogy and was a key character anyhow. He just sort of stood around looking cool. Then got slapstick yeeted into the Sarlaac pit.
The most action we saw Boba Fett undertake was in the Holiday Special when he rode a dinosaur.
George had them as one and done villains in both OT, prequels
Jango might be described as one-and-done, but Boba? Even disregarding his appearance in the noncanonical Holiday Special, he was in both ESB and ROTJ. The latter appearance was much disliked by fans for how easily he was apparently killed off. But I think for it to count as one-and-done he would need to be absent from ROTJ.
Boba appears in ‘return’ for continuity sake but Lucas, never a fan of the character in the end, couldn’t wait to ditch him for a sight gag.
He only revived him in the CW series to placate said fans
Ironic that Lucas, who never really understood fett’s appeal, only brought him back in CW because of the fans fury at his supposed death in ‘return’.
It could have worked it they kept his helmet on and made it proper dark. That way you could have had him as a kind of corrupted anti-hero who potentially comes good in the end. But that would take guts and character development which is not really something they are going for with this type of kid friendly, nostalgia filler.
In fact they could have even mirrored aspects of Darth Vader’s ‘journey’ which would have been more of a subtle nostalgia nod while also being darker.
The Star Wars Universe makes the DC Universe look like the Marvel Universe.
Since they “course-corrected” after The Last Jedi and just did everything fans on the Internet want, Star Wars has been pretty rubbish. CGI Luke in the Mandalorian was the beginning of the end for me.
I find the moral compass of the series very confusing. Apparently, Fett wants to be a crime lord, but a nice one, like a sort of grumpy but ultimately loving uncle. A bit of protection racketing is fine, but spice-running is wrong and nasty, as is price-gouging.
Don Corleone was a ‘good gangster’ because he refused to sell drugs like the other families. We have had lots of dramas about crime bosses who are angels compared to their rivals, competition.
It was a really, really weird show that felt like they had the budget for a new series of the Mandalorian but not the scripts/talent availability so they just cobbled this together instead.
That said I think the ‘old’ Boba has in no way lost his mystique, he was just a cool guy who didn’t say anything, this is effectively a completely different character.
He did, he said (asking Vader about Han Solo, who was about to be frozen in carbonite): “What if he doesn’t survive? He’s worth a lot to me.”
Vader responds, “The Empire will compensate you if he dies.”
The first 4 episodes were interesting but it seemed like the show was more about Tatooine than Boba. I really liked the episode with the Tuskans. But then they gave us 2 more Mandalorian episodes which is great, but what does it have to do with Boba? An unusual show with some interesting ideas for sure.
It has been very weak and disappointing until BOBF was rudely interrupted by Season 2.5 of The Mandalorian, which has been much better.
I don’t think their vision of Boba Fett has matched up to many people’s ideas, I think people wanted something like later series Breaking Bad in space but Disney were never going to give us that. So instead we get this. Whatever it is.
The one thing I keep waiting for, seeing as he’s taking his helmet off all the time, is that Boba Fett actually has the most famous face in the galaxy as he’s a clone… but literally nobody has ever mentioned this.
It’s pretty shameful how lazy the writing on BOBF has been. I don’t expect Citizen Kane but in an age of high-end TV writing they have to do better. The whole thing seems incredibly rushed and ill-considered.
I wish they would go back and fix Luke’s face in the last episode of The Mandalorian.
I doubt it would take much doing, given it’s been fixed on YouTube (and indeed one YouTube creator was snapped up by Lucasfilm to get Luke right this time)
I wouldn’t be surprised if they do. I think they may have done this on other things.
I dislike the fact that Disney is trying to turn a villain into a hero. Making Boba Fett all cuddly doesn’t work. Plus the fact it looks like a badly dubbed Italian sci-fi film from the 80’s doesn’t help either.
Disney have been doing that to a lot of their legacy villains like cruella and Maleficent
Could be worse. It could be the undubbed Turkish version.
I nearly didn’t make it past the first episode after seeing the fight scene that looked like it had been choreographed by the Power Rangers. But I am glad I did because the series does improve a lot. The only problem is that it hasn’t improved because of the title character who just isn’t likeable or believable. How are you supposed to be a local crime lord when your entire entourage consists of a single side kick and two Gamorean guards? The later addition of what looks like a bunch of anime castoffs riding very slow floating Vespas doesn’t do much to improve things.
The saving grace for this series came in the form of the Mandalorian who appears to have taken over as the main character. I think they should have really made this as the third Mandalorian series with Boba Fett being a side story as so far there hasn’t been enough substance to justify a series dedicated to the character.
It could be worse, you could be watching Star Trek.
For me, Cobb Vanth is really the true Boba Fett ‘character’, at least as I imagined, and it’s ironic that he initially wore Fett’s armour.
Timothy Olyphant has been playing that same character for the last 15 years because he does it so well.
Boba Fett doesn’t have a legacy. He was a very minor (if quite cool in small doses) character who died a quite funny death in Jedi. He’s Greedo with better armour.
His role in ESB, though minor, was significant to the story. It seems he was the one who alerted the Imperials to the fact that the Millennium Falcon was heading in the direction of the Lando system.
They should make a tv show about that band that always appears in the Star wars universe. First in Return of the Jedi I think. Maybe they were all once in fairly successful rock-bands in their early twenties but when the garage rock they were playing falls out of fashion their record labels drop them and they end up forming some half baked jazz fusion band for hire. We follow their slow but exciting crash from the heady days of rock stardom into drugs and alcohol abuse, stints in rehab before they meet at a halfway house and form the new band. Turns out that Jabba’s palace is some space version of CBGB’s and Blondie closes the show with a killer rendition of Atomic with Animal from the muppet show on drums
I find it impossible to take seriously a character whose name sounds like “booby fat”.
I have many similar thoughts when I did a review. I too don’t get Boba’s face turn. So out of character.
The weird face turn was uncharacteristic & out of left field too.
For me, the show was a return to something comforting and familiar. My whole family enjoyed it.
A big problem with the series is that it felt very rushed and unnecessary, the best episodes of the seasons didn’t have anything to do with the Boba Fett character and where instead episodes that teased season 3 of the mandolorian.
The problem I have with a lot of projects Disney + releases is that they are too short of a series to actually fit everything in. With The Book of Boba Fett, it essentially became The Mandalorian season 3, which in itself distracted from the actual show. A six/seven-part series, for example, the Book of Boba Fett and Moon Knight (another notable mention) are just too short to actually present anything meaningful.
I am of the earliest generation of Star Wars fans- I saw “A New Hope” when I was 14 and am now in my 50’s and still love all things Star Wars. I was so looking forward to the BOBF, but was really bored with the first few episodes. The crime syndicate plot was all over the place and the abrupt massacre of Boba’s adopted Tusken family felt like a bad insert since there was no real follow up. I thought Boba’s back story would have been more interesting if they stayed with it longer. I was actually cheered up by the Mandalorian episodes, even though they threw off Boba Fett’s character and plot development. At least something interesting happened. I am looking forward to Mando season 3 and loved the Kenobi tv series, but would not be inclined to give a second season of Boba Fett any of my time.
Great analysis! The Book of Boba Fett really missed the mark for what Star Wars fans and critics look for. I’m curious to see how they proceed with it.
I did enjoy the Boba/Tusken storyline quite a bit and would have hoped for more of this dive into the Indigenous populations a bit more, but alas the show was destined to move towards more contemporary Star Wars at some point