'The Book of Boba Fett' Review: This is Star Wars saga at its best

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

What have always made the Star Wars saga memorable are its heroes and villains. Speaking of heroes, who is the greatest of all Star Wars heroes? That spot is undoubtedly reserved for the one who successfully resisted the dark side of the Force against all odds. Who can forget the epic lightsaber duel on Cloud City in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ which paved the way for arguably the greatest reveal in movie history? By now you would have guessed that it's Luke Skywalker that I am talking about. In the original Star Wars trilogy, Luke had a powerful nemesis (other than Darth Vader, of course) who was apparently killed in ‘Return of the Jedi’ after falling into a sarlacc. He was none other than Boba Fett—an armored bounty hunter, serving the crime lord Jabba the Hutt, on the desert planet Tatooine. Of course, at the time, George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, had no idea that Fett would become so popular with the fans. After all, the fans adore the Star Wars villains as much as they love the heroes, if not more. And now that Disney has acquired Lucasfilm, no Star Wars character, whether dead or alive in the canon, is off the radar. And voila! Boba Fett is not just back, but he has a spinoff series of his own titled ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ taking place after the events of ‘Return of the Jedi’. Fett is played by the Kiwi actor Temuera Morrison.     

Now, ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ is technically is a spin-off from the series ‘The Mandalorian’ whose second season saw the legendary crime lord and bounty hunter making a much-awaited return to the Star Wars canon with the episode director Robert Rodriguez not leaving any stone unturned to make Boba Fett look as badass as possible. And the effortless ease and disdain with which Fett decimates an army of stormtroopers in that episode of ‘The Mandalorian’ got the fans doubly excited. But the fun didn’t just end there. The final episode of the second season of ‘The Mandalorian’ has a post-credits scene in which Fett travels to Jabba's Palace on Tatooine where he kills Bib Fortuna to claim the throne. And to think that it happens immediately after Luke Skywalker’s epic appearance in that episode of “The Mandalorian”, it’s anybody’s guess how exciting these last few years have been for the American television and web.

Now, just like ‘The Mandalorian,’ Disney isn’t providing the bingeing option for ‘The Book of Bobba Fett’ and so a new episode would be released every week. So far three episodes have been released and surprisingly the response from the critics as well as the audiences has been mixed. The general expectation after what was seen of Fett in ‘The Mandalorian’ is that he must unleash his dominance over Jabba's territory on Tatooine from the word go in ‘The Book of Bobba Fett’. After all, he is supposed to be this mean and ruthless bounty hunter who can single-handedly wipe out an army of stormtroopers without breaking a sweat. Ruling Tatooine in comparison should be child’s play for someone of his pedigree. However, on the contrary, Fett isn’t taken seriously by anyone on Tatooine. For, they all see him as just another bounty hunter who served Jabba. So, Fett basically has two options. He can either kill all those who oppose him or convince them to accept his daimyoship. “Jabba ruled with fear. I intend to rule with respect,” Fett categorically tells his confidante Fennec Shand when the elite assassin offers to kill someone who tried to defy his authority. Jon Favreau, Robert Rodriguez and team clearly want to build up the things slowly and the first three episodes have done an effective job of introducing the world and setting the things in motion. The stage is now set for Boba Fett’s rise to supremacy on Tatooine.

Now, it is important to understand that two different storylines are running parallel here. One of the storylines is following the ‘The Madalorian’ timeline with Boba Fett declaring himself as the Daimyo of Tatooine. So, it basically follows his struggles to consolidate his power on Tatooine and suppress any form of mutiny. Already, he has been forced to confront a panoply of fascinating characters, including the Twins, Jabba the Hutt's cousins, and Krrsantan, a fearsome Wookiee bounty hunter. The other storyline, which unfolds in form of flashbacks every time Boba Fett is resting in his bacta tank, follows Fett after he barely escapes from the sarlacc that swallowed him, only to be left for dead by the Jawas who steal his Mandalorian armor. He is subsequently captured by the Tusken Raiders whose respect he must earn in order to not just secure his freedom but also realize his true potential.  

It’s really the Tusken Raiders segments that elevate 'The Book of Boba Fett' above the Star Wars sequel series as well as ‘The Mandalorian’. The second episode features some truly breathtaking sequences set in Tatooine’s desert lands that offer a fascinating parallel to Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’. The lives and ways of the Tusken Raiders up until this point were never show from this proximity. I personally wasn't expecting 'The Book of Boba Fett' to be such a meditating experience and it is certainly not without truckloads of action-packed adventure. Replete with easter eggs, fascinating characters (old as well as new), and brilliant crossover moments, 'The Book of Boba Fett' is really Star Wars at its best. In the recent times, the Star Wars films may have been disappointing but shows like 'The Mandalorian' and 'The Book of Boba Fett' are proving that the Star Wars saga is far from done.

A version of this review was first published at The Daily Guardian.

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