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.
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