The Mandalorian spinoff juggles Boba’s past (how’d he get out of that Sarlacc?) with his new present as a budding crime lord.
Gather round, friends and foes: it’s time to talk a little bit about one Boba Fett. Debuting in the much-maligned Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978, Boba Fett is a story of a cameo gone good: appearing in an animated segment of the aforementioned special, briefly in the extended edition of Episode IV, in Episode V, and then meeting his seemingly ignoble end in Episode VI, Boba Fett became that breakout character whose legend outpaced his output.
The prequel films filled us in on more of his backstory: a clone of bounty hunter extraordinaire Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison), Boba was raised by Jango himself without any of the additions for good or ill that the other clones received. Following Jango’s death at the hands of Jedi Mace Windu, Boba had a variety of adventures, some shown in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (where Boba has become a young white child), and several now non-canonical comics and novels (which also gave him a wife and daughter, possibly something to remember). But in the official canon, he was dead until his reappearance in The Mandalorian season 2. Honestly, just watch the great Under the Helmet: The Legacy of Boba Fett (also on Disney+).
Having rescued near-dead mercenary Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) and helped Din Djarin rescue Grogu from Moff Gideon, Boba turned his attentions back to Tatooine (we will never, as a society, be free of Tatooine), killing Bib Fortuna and taking over Jabba’s palace in the credits sequence that launched a thousand think pieces. Will Boba be content to rule a crime empire rather than journeying across the galaxy? Does Fennec regret those cybernetic organs sometimes? Will Dave Filoni find a way to show us Order 66 again? Let’s turn in and see, shall we? Here we go!
There are two parallel storylines in the premiere–Boba and Fennec launching their crime empire and Boba’s flashbacks about his time immediately post-Sarlacc. For the sake of clarity, I’ll be covering the flashbacks first. Whilst recovering in his bacta pod, Boba has a series of dreams, beginning with a flashback to the planet Kamino straight out of the gate, and then a return to the Battle of Geonosis, where Jango died. We see the scene from Attack of the Clones where a young Boba finds Jango’s helmet, and while we get no Order 66 this episode, they still found a way to break our hearts.
We then move to more recent memories, as Boba wakes inside the Sarlacc and it’s possibly the grossest scene in all of Star Wars. It’s certainly the gooiest. Boba gets some oxygen from the armor of a nearby stormtrooper who wasn’t as lucky and proceeds to rearrange his way out of the Sarlacc’s guts, literally punching and clawing his way through its body and up through the sands. Once free, an injured and exhausted Boba can only collapse, unable to do anything as a sandcrawler of Jawas arrives and they divest him of his armor.
Sometime later, a group of Tuskens discover Boba, revive him via…grub goo?, and promptly tie him behind a bantha and drag him to their camp. The leader of the camp seems intrigued by Boba but doesn’t keep him from being beaten by a group of Tusken children or being tied up next to the fire alongside a fellow prisoner (a Rodian) and a massiff. Boba manages to free himself and take down the massiff (all on the power of one grub!) but the Rodian rewards his attempt to free them by alerting the Tuskens, forcing Boba to flee into the desert. He’s soon caught and challenged to a fight by the ostensible second-in-command, a fight which Boba loses.
The following day, a Tusken child and a massiff lead Boba and the Rodian (chained together) into the desert, making them dig water-filled gourds from the sand. This work is interrupted when the Rodian digs up a giant reptile with multiple limbs who promptly attacks the group. The Rodian is killed, but when the lizard beast goes after the Tusken, Boba can gain the upper hand and kill it with his chains. A bit familiar, that move. Boba, the Tusken child, and the massiff return to the village with the creature’s head, where the child gleefully tells his people about what happened. The leader gives Boba a gourd to drink from. Seems like someone may have gotten an upgrade from a stake by the fire.
…Boba Fett is a story of a cameo gone good.
In the present day, Fennec wakes Boba from the bacta pod so that he can get ready to greet the various people who are coming that day to pay tribute to the new Daimyo. Lacking a protocol droid (something the partners note the need to amend as they realize neither really understood the recent Aqualish visitor), Jabba’s former torture droid 8D8 (Matt Berry) is doing the introductions. Note: The captions ID the droid as 8D8, but IMDb calls it UK2-B, so until further verification, I’m going with 8D8 since they probably found him in a closet somewhere.
One of the visitors is Mos Espa’s Mayor…’s majordomo (David Pasquesi), a Twi’lek who offers no tribute save the Mayor’s “warm welcome” and makes it clear that the Mayor instead expects tribute from Boba and Boba should expect another delegation from the Mayor’s office. That doesn’t sound promising. The final piece of business is the introduction of two Gamorreans, former bodyguards of Jabba and Bib Fortuna. 8D8 suggests torture (hence why I think he’s that particular droid), but Boba instead has the pair swear their allegiance to him. Fennec wishes he’d just kill some people already.
Boba, Fennec, and the guards go into Mos Espa (Boba declines to be carried in a litter like crime lords before him), and the group heads to the establishment owned by Twi’lek Madame Garsa Fwip (Jennifer Beals). Boba makes clear that while he’s just as much in charge as Jabba and Bib before him, he intends to run things differently. Fwip seems intrigued if surprised by the new crime lord in town. On the way out, a cluster of assassins armed with stun batons and energy shields attacks the group; it’s not looking good for Fennec and Boba before the Gamorreans enter the fray, allowing them to turn the fight around. Fennec takes off after the two remaining attackers while Boba has the Gamorreans take him back to his bacta pod. He’s had a long day. Fennec corners the two men, killing one, and taking the other prisoner. Let 8D8 burn his feet, it likes that.
“Stranger in a Strange Land”, the premiere episode of The Book of Boba Fett, directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Jon Favreau, has less of the gritty darkness that I think some fans were expecting. But these are early days. Morrison and Wen are a fantastic duo to watch; more platonic best friends on television, please! It’s clear that neither of them really knows what they’re doing and the story potential for both their adventures and their crime empire learning curves is wonderful. It’ll be interesting to see how much of a crime lord Disney will let this character be (my honest guess is not much), but it’s perfect as a concept, particularly for Boba Fett. Please stay through the credits for Ludwig Göransson’s theme and add it to your Spotify rotations immediately.
- On the way to collect the gourds, Boba, the Rodian, and the Tusken see a homestead being trashed by some mysterious figures on speeders, who paint a symbol on the walls of the house before they leave. Let’s tuck that away for later.
- Let Boba breathe! The man couldn’t catch a single break this episode. Do not, however, let him breathe in his bacta pod–buy him a breathing apparatus that covers his nose!
- It seems very on-brand for both Boba and Fennec that they haven’t gotten a protocol droid yet. They’re not used to so much talking!
- Has Fennec ever mentioned to Boba that she sort of kidnapped his sister once?
- If some rounds in the good bacta can heal Boba up and return the melanin to his skin, then The Bad Batch has no excuse. Someone help Echo!
- Glad to see that Max Rebo has found work.
- Don’t ever make me look at a Rodian’s suction cup fingers again.
- Tusken Tween is no Grogu, but I love them.
The Book of Boba Fett airs Wednesdays on Disney+.